On Thursday, Google introduced a new “Download map area” within Google Maps for Android users. This new Labs add-on allows users to select the specific Google Place they are looking for and download a map covering a 10-mile radius, which even reveals details at the street level. It makes life easier in areas where there is no Wi-Fi.
The director of product management for Google Maps – mobile revealed in a blog post: “When you’re visiting an unfamiliar location, Google Maps for mobile is great for getting an idea of how close you are to your destination, where streets and landmarks are in relation to each other, or just for getting ‘un-lost.’
But what if you don’t have a data signal, or you’re abroad and don’t have a data plan?
“We say that if you use Google Maps for mobile, you’ll never need to carry a paper map again. The ‘Download map area’ lab in Google Maps 5.7 for Android is a step in making that statement true even when you’re offline.”
For those of you who have no idea what Google Labs is, it is an interesting feature where you will find several experimental features that can be enabled when needed. The beauty of Google Maps for Android is that it can be used right from the phone.
The Download Map Area
Now with this release of The Download Map Area, Google takes its Google Maps a step further, and this can prove to be a god-send for travelers, as it is almost like a physical map, but without the hassle of carrying around bulky paper. The beauty of this map is that it can be stored in a phone or tablet, to be accessed – without a data connection.
Before this option was introduced, if you had used Google Maps for mobile, you would know that without a data connection, all you could see was an image of the place on the left.
Of course for this option to work, you will need to plan in advance and actually “download” the places you need. If you’re traveling to a particular place, you will first have to open up the ‘Places page and use the “More” option to download Google maps for that particular place, to get a 10-mile radius details. This obviously needs to be done when you have data coverage. The download hardly takes time and you have all the maps and the details you need within a couple of minutes, and Google Maps would have stored the base map tiles and the landmarks on the map.
Are There No Issues With The Download Map Area?
If you’re searching for drawbacks, you may find a few. The first thing is that you will need a data connection for a satellite view and 3D buildings, or if you wish to search for Places or get directions. The maps are stored in your cache and will expire after 30 days. Of course, you can download them again whenever you have a data connection.
Other Features Of Google Maps
While the “Download Map Area” is a new feature that is bound to facilitate travelers immensely and prove to be very useful, Google on its official website; wishes to remind people about the other important features that Google Maps comes with.
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The Scale Bar and Measure features are well-known to users who have been using Google Maps.
Scale Bar – Assessing the Exact Distance
With more than 20 zoom levels offered by Google Maps, it is extremely easy to zoom in and zoom out with ease. But when zooming, you may find that even a landmark that is quite a distance away may seem close, misleading your calculation. This is where the Scale Bar comes in and helps update the distances based on the level you’re zooming at. Using this option, you will have a clear idea of the distance even when you zoom in, alleviating the need to walk or travel longer distances without having a clear idea of the distances involved.
Measure – Distance Between Two Points
Measure helps you find the distance between any two points on the map. When you click on the tape measure icon, you will be able to point out any two locations on the map and Google Maps will get to work right away and give you the distance between the two points.
Accessing Download Map Area On Google Labs
Accessing the Download Map Area on Google Labs is easy. Get into Google Maps using the menu button on the phone and click on “More” to find “Labs.” If you’re using a tablet, use the menu button in the Maps section. The Download map area is found on the latest version of Google Maps and can be used on Android 2.1 + phone versions.
While we have no idea of the level of appreciation Google will receive for this new feature – the Download Map Area – in spite of it seeming simple enough, can prove to be very useful to travelers visiting places they have never visited before and especially those who use public transportation.
With stop-by-stop transit navigations made available for about 400 cities all over the world and with faster access to directions, Google Maps Download Map Area for offline use for Android users adds too the increasing user-friendliness of Google Maps and may very well be what people are looking for.