Why Google Maps’ Offline Navigation Sucks

Google Maps is one of the greatest map apps on your phone…that is when you have internet.  Before, if you wanted to use Google Maps on the go there was no way you could without a data connection.  However A little while ago  Google Maps added the ability to download maps.  The feature was not what most users were expecting.  You could only download a small square of the map and not an entire city or country.  It basically made Google maps useless if you planned to travel a huge distance without constant internet.

One thing you should know (which I found out the hard way) that the offline maps are meant SOLELY to replace paper maps.  For example, lets say you are in Chicago with no internet connection and you want XXXX Street.  Google will NOT be able to give you the directions.  You need a data connection for Google to calculate the directions for you.  In addition, you will not be able to look up the nearest places without a data connection either.  It makes Google maps almost useless unless you have a constant data connection.

The one thing that Google Maps does provide you is the ability to download an extremely tiny portion of a map.  Then it is able to use your phone’s GPS and determine where you are.  That is basically all it can do.  You can also view the things around you MANUALLY by just browsing through the map.  If you are lost it might tell you where you are but it will not tell you how to get home.  You will be better off paying for an actual GPS app because Google Maps’ Offline Navigation is a huge dissappoitment.

Watch the video carefully as it will show you EVERYTHING that you can do in offline mode which is not much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Agondonter7 Emil Teofanov

    Yep, the offline maps without offline routes are quite useless.

    • Learn something

      Because you can’t read a map.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Agondonter7 Emil Teofanov

        When was the last time you traveled ~2700 km using paper/digital maps?

        • Blow me

          The last time I got lost in your Mom’s vagina…

          • Emil Teofanov

            Hello dear Mr./Ms. “Blow Me” and “Learn something”,
            you most probably have some underlying psychological problem or latent personality disorder.

            Judging from your alternating nicknames—“Blow Me” and “Learn something”—you have a distinct case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

            Dissociative disorders are usually attributed to overwhelming stress. Such stress may be generated by traumatic events in the childhood (e.g. extreme childhood mistreatment, sexual abuse, etc.), or by intolerable inner conflict. Please, look for professional help, and take care of your psychological health.

            You can contact the American Psychiatric Association (APA) at the following telephone numbers:
            1-888-35-PSYCH or 1-888-35-77924
            From outside the U.S. and Canada call: 1-703-907-7300

            Or, you can write to the psychiatrists via snail-mail and ask for help:
            American Psychiatric Association
            1000 Wilson Boulevard
            Suite 1825
            Arlington, VA 22209

            Best regards.

  • fegwerg

    dude, thats because offline mode disables network location, which is independent from 3g data service. and even apps such as lama only use your data location (derived from phone masts)

  • Alex Hernandez

    There is no excuse for this! If other apps on the market are able to do this, then this should not be a problem for Google. I love my Google maps, but with unlimited data gone, this is a must have feature. The article is on point. Thanks for clearing this, I thought I was doing something wrong when I seen I could not get navigation working.


  • Izhar_Khan

    Despite caching the map of some area in offline mode you can not use google maps to search POI or get Directins which make it worth only paper maps.

  • Bill Berry

    I remember taking T-Mobile to task in regards to what’s the point of GPS if it isn’t independent of a cellular signal? I use CoPilot GPS on Android; it’s not perfect but it’s not bad either; Navigator isn’t bad either but it’s offline where I need it to be.

  • tommariner

    I am frustrated too! But one can almost understand — you know that Garmin, Tom-Tom are pressuring their Congressmen and in constant contact with the FTC yelling monopoly.

    Why would you ever pay $50 for an app or $500 for a device when your phone does it better? Watch the movie “Tucker” to see the story of once dominant industry leaders who hire legislators and lawyers rather than innovate in their market. The line is “You made the car too good!”

    Yeah a giant tech company can drive everyone else out with inferior products and unfair marketing. But those who should be innovating can also focus too narrowly and refuse to invest in the future.

    Actually most European countries are also hungrily eyeing at the big cash reserves of Google, with the “Streetview Privacy” stupidity to get big fines — they all have cameras on every corner recording every minute of every day and are dinging the Streetview Cars that whiz by for ten seconds every two years.

    • Super2cool

      Similar points are made in “Who Killed the Electric Car.” Companies will do anything to keep their business alive… even if it kills innovation.

  • Watak

    I cannot take your seriously as an “author” when you fuck up simple grammar such as ” If your lost it might tell”.

    However this is good to know.

    • Super2cool

      Sorry about that. I just fixed it.

    • You Grammmir Nazi

      Careful while throwing stones, pusscake.

  • Gytha Ogg

    But if you accessed google maps from your phone’s browser – then you have the option of saving the page for offline views. I find the direction list a lot more helpful than the map…This will work until they stop supporting maps website access from mobile devices (like they killed gmail chat from mobile).

  • experienced user

    Unfortunately, the latest Google Maps REQUIRE a data connection, even if you have downloaded offline maps. Its the dumbest idea since screen doors for submarines.
    Previously, I was able to download an offline map for an area that I was going to visit. Even a small map works great with gps when I am in an unknown area. I spent 3 days at a wedding in New Jersey and found every street that I needed. I simply turned on my 2.3.4 Android droidx and used the map flawlessly. Then Google started screwing around with revisions, and several times, my offline maps were trashed. Now, I download an offline map and since I keep mobile data off (due to the roaming charges that seem to rack up incredibly fast), I can’t even start the Google map app – it says “this app needs a data connection to run” – WTF – I have offline maps for this very reason.
    The ONLY way around this is to start MAPS when you have a data connection, then check that your offline MAP is still there. (They get trashed if there is no data connection -or maybe during the automatic updates – they really want to know where you are at the expense of your data plan – thanks for that google!). Once you are sure that your offline map is there, turn off your data connection. The Map app will allow you to load an offline map now because it is already running.
    Oh – BTW, don’t reboot your device because Maps won;t start if there is no data connection. Wait until you have data.
    Another thing – offline maps will use GPS very well and you don’t need network location services from your provider!

    Google is becoming less and less useful to me. (I see myself moving to MSN home page when iGoogle goes away on Nov 1.)