Thursday, February 25, 2021
Home Technology How to Use Offline Maps

How to Use Offline Maps

a woman using maps on the iPad

Today, people use online maps widely to find their way on a regular basis. The most popular maps among these online maps are Google Maps, Bing Maps, and OpenStreetMap. But, what would you do when you get stuck in some area where there is no internet? In such a situation, offline maps might be of great help. For this purpose, c:geo supports offline map files from OpenStreetMap using the mapsforge format to help users in these times.

Don’t know how to use Offline Maps? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Here is a complete Offline map tutorial for your convenience. But first, you need to know, “what is c: geo”?

c:geo

c:geo is an unofficial client for geocaching.com. Currently, the application is only available for Android devices. c:geo app is full-featured, open-source, and always ready-to-go, making it very durable for its users. The app also offers some extra features that include basic support for some other platforms for geocaching. No web browser or exports are required for running this application – all you need to do is download the application, and you are good to go.

The main features of c:geo are as follows:

  • You can use OpenStreetMap or Google Maps in offline mode.
  • Caches can be searched by several criteria.
  • The searches can be logged either offline or online.
  • Cache information is saved on the device.
  • You can easily create or manage waypoints.
  • You can navigate through maps, compass, and other apps.
  • Functions like offline caching – offline maps.

You need to have an account (new or existing) on geocaching.com to get started. The app is very simple to use, along with so many additional features.

c:geo doesn’t only support map files but also related map themes. With a custom map theme along with the offline map, you can easily customize the view of the map according to your requirements. For example, trail marking for hiking, height lines, and much more. Some offline map files need a matching theme to be installed in order to work properly.

The following steps will help you install, download, and configure such themes and offline maps easily and correctly.

Steps to Use Offline Maps

All the steps need to be followed accordingly for proper results:

  • Downloading the themes/maps
  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Usage

1. Downloading the Themes/Maps

The first and most important step of the tutorial is downloading an offline map file that is compatible and also covers the desired geographical area. Several services are available on the internet that provides ready-to-use and updated map files. Some examples of these map files include:

The sources mentioned above are just a few out of many map files available on the internet.

2. Installation

Note: Some users have reported that some of the tools used for transferring files from or to the PC and smartphone may corrupt the files during the transfer. Therefore, it is recommended to download the files directly to the smartphone. Also, a good file explorer must be used in order to copy, decompress, or move the files.

  • Installation of map files: The offline map file you downloaded needs to be stored on your device in any folder of your choice. For compressed (*.zip) offline map files, you will have to decompress them first. The proper file extension for a map file is *.map (e.g., Germany.map).

For this tutorial, assume that you saved the map file to myfiles/sdcard/mymaps.

  • Installation of themes: It is completely optional to download a theme file along with the map file, but if you download one, you will need to store the theme file on your device along with the map file.

Usually, the theme file is compressed (*.zip), and it needs to be decompressed before use. You will see some folders and several small files in the compressed file. Just make sure that this structure stays untouched while decompressing the file.

3. Configuration

After storing the map and theme (optional) files on your device, it’s time to configure c:geo. The configuration is required to use the right directories for searching maps/themes.

You can find the following settings in c:geo:

Menu > Settings > Map

The related settings will be empty at the start. You have to select the directory from this menu, in which you stored the files in the second step of this tutorial. Now, while sticking to the above example, you will have to configure the following directories:

 

Menu Item

 

 

Setting

 

Offline Maps Directory

 

 

/sdcard/mymaps

 

Map Themes Directory

 

 

/sdcard/mythemes

Simply tap on the related menu to select the folders. The folders will be automatically scanned by c:geo, and it will find the map files and corresponding directory. You can directly select the list if it consists of the required directory.

If the required map/theme directory is not present in the list, then you will have to tap the “Choose directory” option located at the top to select the directory manually.

The configuration of the directory should look like this in the menu at the end:

After completing all of the above steps, your maps/themes files are ready to use.

4. Usage

  • Using the Map: After the directories are correctly configured, c:geo will start showing all the offline map files that are available in the map selection menu on the Live Map and also in the c:geo app (Menu > Settings > Map). c:geo app will continuously use the map file to display your map after being selected.
  • Using Themes: After selecting the map file, you can also assign the desired theme, which shall be used. This can be done from the menu of the map. You need to tap on the menu option “Select map theme.” Make sure that you select the correct theme.

The tutorial ends here – the steps mentioned above are all you have to do to access the offline maps.

Alternatives

navigation-google-maps-location

Other than using offline maps with c:geo, you can also use Offline Google maps. Offline Google Maps can be used in both iOS and Android. Simply download the offline maps in your Google Maps app, and you are free to use them without the internet.

1. Downloading Offline Google Maps for iOS

The process of downloading the offline maps on iOS is relatively easy, especially if you are familiar with Google Maps. Let’s get to the step by step guide to download offline maps:

  • Open the Google Maps app.
  • Ensure that you are signed in to your Google account and you have a proper internet connection.
  • Input the name of the location you want to download the map of. For example, type Chicago and click the search button.
  • After you hit the search button, the map will automatically scroll, and the location you searched will show up on the screen. At the bottom of your screen, a tab will emerge, the address of your search is repeated there along with some other options. Now, click on the address and the name of the searched place.
  • You will see “three dots” or the “More” button at the very top of your screen – tap it.
  • From the “More” list, click on the “Download offline map,” and then click on “Download.”
  • After the download is completed, you are free to use the offline map without any internet connection.

2. Downloading the Offline Google Maps on an Android Device

  • Open the Google Maps app on your device (mobile or tablet). Make sure you are logged into your Google account.
  • Input the location name in the search bar, whose offline map you want to download. Tap the search button.
  • After the location you searched pops up on the screen, tap on the “Directions” button. This button is located at the bottom left corner of the screen. The app will automatically use your device’s current location, as long as it has permission.
  • Now, swipe from the left side of your screen, or simply tap the “three lines” located in the upper left corner of the screen to open the menu.

Select “offline maps” from the menu.

  • Now, click on the “Select your own map” option. You can also open the “offline map settings” from the same screen, where you will find options for automatic updating and downloading offline maps. You can also change the download preferences to “Wi-Fi-only” to keep the app from using data.
  • Lastly, click on the “Download” button.
  • You can also capture specific sections of the route by zooming in or out. This can be useful if there are any unfamiliar places or spots present that you might need to refer back to when there is no internet connection available.
  • Just like iOS, you are free to use offline maps on your android device after the download is completed, whenever and wherever you want.

Conclusion

Whether you use c:geo offline maps or the alternatives, it is always a good option to keep offline maps downloaded on your phone. Offline maps can be a lifesaver, especially when you love traveling because you never know when your internet connection betrays you.

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