is there a map app like google maps that will work on an offline iphone? a mac os x app will do, too.
June 10, 2012 7:49 PM   Subscribe

is there a map app like google maps that will work on an offline iphone? a mac os x app will do, too.

I have my iphone and my macbook on me but no cell phone connection and only at hotels wifi.*

that of course sucks on a roadtrip and that's why I've been wondering if there is a map app for my iphone that will work without a live connection to a cell tower or even a mac os program that will do the trick. think google maps just offline. I need to find streets and get directions in the US.

(*=it's a german unlocked iphone, I tried getting a prepaid with data but straight talk was the only option and I didn't know I couldn't get a sim at a walmart. so no 3g for me, not even edge.)
posted by krautland to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
There are a handful of OpenStreetMaps-based offline maps apps. OSM's quality is variable; in some regions it's quite good, in others not very good, so you might want to evaluate it against another map before deciding to use it.
posted by hattifattener at 7:56 PM on June 10, 2012

There are several apps that do this. My favorite now is Maps With Me. It's unusual in caching vector data, so you can draw very detailed maps with relatively little storage. It's also free, although the paid version has some nice features like street name search. There's also an older generation of apps like OffMaps that cache raster OpenStreetMap map images. The maps are prettier but they take a lot more space and you can't zoom in as far. I'd start with Maps With me and see how you like it. It's particularly good for walking around European towns.

Neither of those apps will do driving directions; only show you maps. If you need offline directions it gets a lot more expensive, you need to buy TomTom or Navigon or the like for about $50. These apps are great, full replacements for standalone GPS navigation units. But they are expensive.

One other stopgap that works; you can get directions while on WiFi in the iOS maps app, then use those while offline. This seems to work pretty well, but I don't know if the app is designed to really work this way or it just kinda does.

iOS 6 is widely rumoured to have a new maps app. My fingers are crossed it has offline support.
posted by Nelson at 8:03 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have City maps 2 go for my iPod, and I really like it. You purchase the app, and you can download as many cities as you like. I haven't tested the GPS as the iPod doesn't have that.
posted by jb at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's always CoPilot - I have the Android version and like it.
posted by rfs at 8:53 PM on June 10, 2012

I also use and like CityMaps2Go on my iPhone and iPad. I tried a bunch of similar apps and it was the only one I could find which consistently got the job done.
posted by high5ths at 11:01 PM on June 10, 2012

I use MotionX GPS when I travel. You can download maps ahead of time, by region or by the route you're going to travel. It is quite fully featured. Downloading maps is free; only the initial app download costs you (and I think there is a limited free version), so it is worth a shot to see if you like it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:06 PM on June 10, 2012

If you want walking and transit directions, get mtrip. I'm I'm London right now with a similar situation and it's the best I've found. I've tried most of the above (and will try the others). Mtrip isn't free, but it's a small price to pay to be so much less annoyed... :)
posted by reddot at 12:43 AM on June 11, 2012

I also use CityMaps2Go by on my iPod Touch. .. but the maps are a bit ugly compared to google and its just not as good with customizing the maps as googlemaps is with its Layers and different Icons, and drawing lines and shadings.

I have lots of Google My Maps and I wish there was a way to transfer these to my iPod touch. but I haven't worked out any method yet.
posted by mary8nne at 12:54 AM on June 11, 2012

Here's details on Apple's new iOS 6 maps. It doesn't look like they did anything offline.

Skrobbler ($3 in US) is another offline vector map viewer for iOS 6. On a quick test it's better than MapsWithMe. I'm not wild about the rendering, but the app is very fast and includes some basic offline routing. Address search is pretty limited, but it has a handy database of points of interest: bars, hotels, restaurants, etc. Also walking vs. driving directions.
posted by Nelson at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2012

City maps 2 go is fantastic. I'm on vacation now with no dataplan and downloaded the maps I needed before leaving. The app even has location finding (and a whole built-in list of businesses, transit, etc) so you can figure out how to get yourself from place to place with ease. Between that and using google maps when I have wifi if I need anything more, I haven't had any of the way finding trouble I did last time I was in an unfamiliar place (or data charges!).
posted by urbanlenny at 9:26 AM on June 12, 2012

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