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I am travelling to Iceland soon, and just found out that my Garmin GPS does not give directions in Iceland.

I know that I will have plenty of locations with Wifi during my vacation, but this will not be the case while driving around the country. I do not want to pay the roaming costs for internet abroad.

This is what leads me to the question: Is there an Android GPS app which lets you download large maps offline in advance, so that you can use the GPS directions without having an internet connection?

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Note that you can just glance at Playstore to find what you need. BUT as you point out, it has to REALLY, ACTUALLY work when offline. Be careful! Great question! –  Joe Blow Aug 31 at 10:32
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You could get some free OpenStreetMap based maps for your Garmin GPS. See this answer (about the UK, but would also apply to Iceland). –  vclaw Aug 31 at 11:12
    
consider also Maps.Me which seems to have "better looking" maps than the open street map maps. the OSM maps show "all road and cities the same size" which is annoying. maps.me SEEMS to more easily show freeways as large lines, small roads as small lines and so on. –  Joe Blow Sep 3 at 10:36
    
Also - note that you can very simply get the (totally free) google maps application; and these days you can rather easily download the goog maps data for offline use. (Just click around to find the "download for offline use" button, or find 100s of sites that explain this.) the only real downside is the insist you have a google account, to use the feature. –  Joe Blow Sep 3 at 10:40

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The past couple of months I've been travelling in the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. I didn't want to pay for data for Google Maps (although I did in a couple of places).

I found two options:

1) Pre-cache google by moving the map around a bit while on wifi. Then when you go out, the maps work. However, this is only for the map - not for GPS navigation.

2) OSMAnd. This is a GPS map app that uses Open Street Maps, and has built in directions with voice as well. I used it in my car in the US, and as a pedestrian in other places, and it worked fantastically, and was definitely offline only as I had no data connection.

Official Site for OSMAnd

It was a bit of a drain on the battery, but when in the car I could have it plugged in anyway, so not too big a deal while driving.

It allows you to download maps for states or countries in advance, and I didn't find any problems with the data, navigation or directions. It's not the prettiest, but it is functional.

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OsmAnd allows you to download the open map data for any country you wish. I find it to be fairly good map coverage for the areas I have traveled in. But I use it more to track where I am rather than as a source of directions for getting somewhere specific. It does have directions function, but I haven't needed to use it, so can't give feedback on how well that function works.

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You might want to try MapFactor: GPS Navigator which is free and allows the usage of free maps from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project, which I believe does have maps for Iceland available.

The app can't quite reach the standard of a separate navi, but does a good job nonetheless.

You might also want to have a look at the OSM Android Wiki page which lists a whole lot of options that use OSM maps on android.

Note: live traffic information (via RDS/TMC) is pretty much never available on phones since the required hardware is not on board. Some apps offer live traffic data online, but usually at a premium - and it would return to the original problem of not wanting to pay for roaming.

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dude "MapFactor" has in app purchase, is it "ads, then pay to get rid of the ads"? (I can't be bothered downloading to find out!) thanks –  Joe Blow Sep 3 at 9:56
    
no, it offers the possibility to use both free and paid for maps (I believe TomTom, but not certain on that one..). –  greyshade Sep 3 at 12:25
    
just checked: it is TomTom maps. The only ads you'll see in the app is on the progress screen while downloading maps (maps must be downloaded, the app then works completely offline), there's not ads or anything in navigation or when viewing maps. –  greyshade Sep 3 at 12:29
    
Fascinating - thanks for that! That is key information, because (a) TomTom maps are excellent, but (b) the TomTom android app has the famous "Utterly Insane Problem" where it "works offline" BUT!! it uses a wifi connection to check you are actually licensed! So, it's hopeful the MapFactor product would not suffer this problem, when using TomTom maps. –  Joe Blow Sep 3 at 12:39
    
I've actually never bothered getting the TomTom maps since (around central Europe at least) the OSM maps are pretty, pretty good, so I can't say whether it has that 'bug' or not - I would be surprised if it did. –  greyshade Sep 3 at 12:41

I use Sygic for turn by turn navigation and Locus Pro with Open Street Map vector maps for everything else. Both worked abroad with roaming disabled and in places without cellular network. Both are paid apps though. There probably are lots of other options as well, but these two will surely work offline if you preload the relevant maps.

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Just for the record, I just bought/downloaded and investigated on both ipad, android

-- Galileo Pro which is an OSM product

-- I also glanced at some other OSM products

-- Google Maps (these days has freely download to the cache feature)

-- Maps.Me which is made by a german company. (five bucks)

In all cases you download the app. Then one way or another download the maps, for, the area(s) you want.

My findings and opinion in short:

-- Galileo. Work fine BUT the maps are "all the same color". The map are not clear, ie, large v. small towns are not distinct, large v. small roads are not distinct

-- I glanced at some other OSM products, but they look the same. (Perhaps someone knows different?)

-- Goog Maps. Fine BUT I find the download system is very annoying. You sort of have to scroll to where you want, and then download that: you have no idea what full area you are getting or how much detail. You just want a simple list with items like "download Iceland". The scroll around thing is just annoying, and there's no queue etc.

-- Maps.Me. For me it works. 1, install the app. 2, a list of world countries appear. It says "download which countries?" You just click all the ones you want. it puts them in a normal download queue you can see and downloads them. You get absolutely total detail, for, all of, the item you download.

For example if you download "Austria" you get, as far as I can see, as much detail as is possible with online maps (I'm pretty sure as much as goog. maps).

Note - there is indeed "Iceland!"

{Annoyance: for some countries it breaks down to sub-regaions, which is just stupid. But that's life.}

So for me the "maps.me" product works. I deleted the rest and use that now.

Hope this helps someone.

Footnote: everyone prefers the look of actual Michelin maps. I've bought a few of the Michelin map products (say "France" or whatever), which are, simply, the michelin maps of that country, offline on your ipad. Ridiculously though, they are only the high level maps, not the detailed maps! Almost every comment by purchasors on the app store complains about this. Michelin (I know you're reading), just charge 10x more and make it the whole map.

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Maps.Me is using map data from OpenStreetMap. And yes, it is rather good for viewing a map. Though it doesn't do routing, so won't give you directions. –  vclaw Sep 3 at 11:56
    
@vclaw - thank you so much for that interesting info. So the OSM data CAN IN FACT be displayed in a "pretty" way; showing freeways as freeways, lanes as lanes, big and small cites. Thanks for that info!! –  Joe Blow Sep 3 at 12:37

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