World travelers just got hooked up with a nifty new tool by Google today: the ability to download map areas to your mobile device.
The experimental feature, which was created and designed by Google Labs, is called “Download Map Area,” and it lets you download an area of your Google map to your device’s internal hard drive for later use. The best part is that the downloaded map area will work even if you don’t have any data signal.
Here’s what the Official Blog post said:
“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.”
In announcing the service, the Google blog post used the example of Bordeaux, France. If you don’t have WI-Fi or data service while in France, and you pulled up maps, the image would look like the one on the left.
With the download-map-area service, before you went on your trip, or while you were sitting in a Wi-Fi cafe, you could open up the Places Page, click “More,” and download Google’s maps for a 10 mile radius. It will show the base map, which includes street names and landmarks. It looks like the following.