Google is taking a significant step backward regarding offline maps, by turning it from a (rather limited) feature into an easter egg that is not discoverable and cannot (as far as I know) be interrogated. That is, after using the easter egg to make some area available offline, it appears that you won’t be able to verify that it is available. (I can’t tell, since the maps update hasn’t rolled out to me yet.)

Just like #reader , this may help encourage consumption of either libre or  commercial alternatives. Will more people start to contribute to #OpenStreetMap and load OSMAnd on their android phones? Or will +Garmin get an uptick in sales?

“OK Maps” - A special hidden feature for offline maps users in Android 7.0 - Google Product Forums

Kevin Otte July 10, 2013 12:54

You just encouraged me to download OSMAnd to play with. Offline maps on my WiFi only tablet will hopefully be nice. Not sure how routing will work though.

Michael K Johnson July 10, 2013 13:00

Routing is hard. Even for those who specialize in it…

Garrett LeSage July 10, 2013 13:19

MapsWithMe uses open street maps, does caching, and is pretty simple. No routing, and it’s not open source, but it’s good for what it is — probably the simplest way to get offline OpenStreetMap on your Android phone.

Here’s the link to the free version:

There’s a for-pay without ads (it’s what I use and it’s still pretty cheap).

If the other OSM viewers for Android have improved in the past year to be usable, I’d love to hear about it.

Garrett LeSage July 10, 2013 13:27

(I’m trying OSMand. It looks pretty good so far — still waiting for the downloads to really use it, however. Thanks for the tip!)

Giuseppe Bilotta July 10, 2013 13:28

+1 to switching to OSM and OSM-based apps. I recommend OSMand is open source (even though the official complete version is not gratis) and it does routing . And suddenly this has become more relevant.

Michael K Johnson July 10, 2013 14:28

I loaded OSMAnd to make sure I had offline data on my recent Scandinavian trip and was glad to have it. Not as polished as Google maps but was really useful for getting around, especially on rural hiking trails. Was easy to preload the maps for the countries I was visiting. I still have to set up an OpenStreetMap account to find out how hard it is to contribute the one new track I recorded for a trail that wasn’t in OSM.

Onkar Shinde July 10, 2013 16:47

OsmAnd provides best offline map experience based on OSM. Adding POI and uploading tracks is easy too.

Offline routing may not be perfect for each scenario but it is getting better. And it is open source. :-)

Eugene Crosser July 11, 2013 13:45

I am using OSM more and more for planning my backcountry endeavours. But Google’s sattelite imagery is irreplaceable.

Kevin Otte July 11, 2013 20:03

Did a driving run with OSMand last night. Fairly decent, but a few subtle things I’m used to missing in the spoken announcements. MapFactor Navigator also looks interesting. Will have to try it out next time I go wandering.

Kevin Otte July 11, 2013 20:14

… if it stops crashing :/

Frank Vanhoof July 12, 2013 20:41

Osmand comes with the option to use two online routing services as well as offline. Both Open Routing and Yours routing. I’ve had good experiences with both of them as well as the offline option. Also Osmand has spoken route announcements in many languages.

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