I am about to travel to Cairo. Usually when I tour somewhere I have offline Google maps downloaded on my phone and I mark all places to be visited.
Is there a convenient alternative for a city like Cairo for which offline maps are not available?
While Google Maps may not provide offline maps for this area, OpenStreetMap has mapped Cairo pretty well.
There is a large number of apps for offline maps based on OpenStreetMap. My favorite so far is Locus Map. Locus Map has different data sources, some allow downloading, some don't. "4UMaps" is one that works for Cairo.
Another app I tested is MapFactor Navigator. This one features good car navigation, but is generally slower than Locus Map.
There are many more apps, but that would be a different question. The bottom line is: look for an app based on OpenStreetMap that allows downloading areas. The ones I named are a good example to start with.
My favourite app for exactly this purpose is Maps.me.
They allow you to download countries or provinces/states, depending on the area. You can add your own locations.
They recently added driving and walking directions.
Another answer for OpenStreetMap, but I like OsmAnd~. While less polished than others I find it's more usable in practice than Maps.me, though YMMV. Only trouble is it's a bit of a pain to install - OsmAnd itself costs money in the Play Store but (since it's open-source) there's a free redistribution available through F-Droid, an Android package manager.
Yet another great option is the free app HERE WeGo. It allows to download free offline navigation worldwide.
The size of the offline map for Egypt is about 350MB.
Unlike most Open Street Map based solutions, the app if a full offline navigation with Car/foot/public-transport routing (depending on location, I am not sure if public-transport is available in Cairo)
You can check the quality of the map on the web version.
Google Maps is quite important in Cairo because of traffic jams. You're best option is to buy a really cheap sim card with internet once you land in Cairo. This will be much more useful than any other option. Getting from Point A to point B in Cairo could take an hour more if you choose the jammed way. A Taxi driver would speculate which route is faster at which time and as another answer said they know the city pretty well. Its really cheap to take a taxi in Egypt(e.g 10min about 3km can cost 0.5 Euro), however for a tourist you might not get those prices.
Another good option however(also via Internet) is uber. Almost all drivers use google maps and can get you to your destination via the fastest route. However they are usually new as uber drivers and do not know the city as taxi drivers do
Print off online ones (preferably in colour). Cairo is a big city and something legible to cover all of it that way would not be practical but that should not be necessary since most people would use taxis to get from place to place if far apart. Taxi drivers know the city quite well and will head towards the right area and ask once there if not sure of the exact location of a particular address.
Note that even the best maps may be misleading. I walked hours longer than necessary because Google showed the entrance to my hotel on one street and, though the same block, it was on another. Then a large building I was using as a reference was not the one I thought it was - Google had "vanished" the one I thought into a park, for security reasons. Consequently I was one quadrant out until I found a different landmark.
If staying in a hotel it is quite likely to have a city guide, both a free fold-out sheet and books.
This Cairo city map gets OK reviews on Amazon but it is a bit old (2005).
A review for an equally old map says:
There are no good maps of Cairo. Period. This is probably the best of them but Cairo is a huge city so there are lots of streets that are not shown. Also, despite the cover, this map is English ONLY, which is a real weakness. It is also very large, so you end up folding it into something usable, which ends up tearing the corners.
I usually download maps directly to my Garmin device from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl. Some companies, such as Everywhere maps and globes in Toronto, Canada, can get the best available topographic and mapping data and print it on demand for you. But you likely won't get anything better than the old paper city maps or Openstreetmap quality.
On google maps if there is no off-line option you can type "ok google" to save the map.
That being said, it worked for me in Germany where no offline button was given, not in the UK (where there was an offline button) a week later. I have no idea if it goes deeper than just if there was the button there or not.
I just used maps.me on my iPhone in Cairo (and Luxor) last month (Dec 16). The maps seemed very accurate) although they didn't tell you exactly what kind of neighborhood you'd be getting into). My paper tourist map would have been totally inadequate.
(Interestingly, as soon as I left the tourist areas, nobody bothered (or even looked at) me, and I don't look remotely Egyptian.)