How to make Maps cache ALL available zoom levels on Android?
May 5, 2014 2:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm running Kitkat and Google Maps 7.7. Using the cache feature, I can save a certain area of a map. However, not all of the zoom levels are saved - if I zoom out far enough to encompass the area I want, the more granular zoomed in levels don't get saved properly. I've found this, but it seems that the functionality is no longer available in current versions (and I'd like to avoid sketchy options if possible). At the moment, I'm manually zooming in and caching lots of sections of the map to ensure that all levels are saved, but it's fiddly to do and there's no easy way to ensure that I've covered every section.
posted by Solomon to Technology (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Unfortunately, I'm stuck using Google Maps, as some other software that I'm using simultaneously requires it.
posted by Solomon at 2:51 AM on May 5, 2014

MOBAC removed Google/Yahoo/MS maps years ago. You might be able to download an older MOBAC version, but the map tile definitions might very well have changed in the meantime so even that "sketchy" option would be of limited use. Maybe there's an option to re-add Google Maps to MOBAC through configuration in the mapsources.xml, though I have my doubts on the feasibility.

There's an android software called Mytrails that has some 30+ map providers; most of which are downloadable for offline use. However, specifically for all Google map types (maps, terrain, hybrid, earth), I get the message "This map provider does not allow offline map creation".
So I doubt any other piece of (android) software has permission to DL Gmap tiles for offline use.

Which means you are stuck using Google Maps app on android to download Google Map tiles. If other map tiles are fine for your use (ie. MS/Yahoo/OSM/...), you could use the above mentioned MyTrails to download a selectable zoom range (often 1-15, sometimes 1-17). I'm sure there are many more apps with that functionality.
posted by Akeem at 6:39 AM on May 5, 2014

I know, it's infuriating. Doubly so because it used to be so easy to add places to My Maps and I had a lot of content gathered there (and the export feature doesn't give you back the original data). I searched for a long time and settled on OsmAnd, which will let you import a list of favorites and is intended for entirely offline use. The maps look like crap, but at least they work, which I cannot say for the crippled Google Maps / Google Map Engine mongrel that is currently available. You could always downgrade, it's not like KitKat is a big upgrade.
posted by wnissen at 6:57 AM on May 5, 2014

OpenStreetMaps might have a client that would provide this sort of functionality. It seems like the sort of thing that community would support. I haven't tried, so, let the reader beware, but it might be worth reading into if OSM has the data you need.
posted by Alterscape at 8:15 AM on May 5, 2014

Not directly answering your question but I think if you target your search to apps that target backpacking etc they do a great job of cacheing maps due to their users being off the grid. Gaia is my favorite and it does a great job both on and off the roads, with a whole bunch of map layers available.
posted by H. Roark at 10:12 AM on May 5, 2014

I don't know whether it works any better, but Google just updated the offline maps functionality today.
posted by wnissen at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2014

Response by poster: Hmm. I'm not sure if it's coincidence or placebo effect or what, but Maps does seem to be downloading more data, and when zoomed in, it seems to show lower (?) levels in greater detail.

I did sort of attempt using Mobile Atlas Creator to grab a .kmz file of the relevant areas, but it just seemed like a not-OK thing to be doing. It loaded into My Maps OK, but I didn't try anything further than that.
posted by Solomon at 2:18 AM on May 7, 2014

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