Find out which offline map apps to use for navigation, hiking or your next city trip.
Map and navigation apps are great. They have totally changed the way we travel these days. Map apps can give us turn-by-turn navigation, traffic updates, fastest routes and nearby hotels or restaurants.
The only downside to using map apps is that they use an internet connection in order to work. That costs mobile data and mobile data is not always easily available.
Maybe you have a (prepaid) plan with limited data. Or you want to use your map app in a place without a steady internet connection. In those cases, you should consider using an offline map app. There are many benefits to using offline maps for navigation, we discuss more of those here.
But what is the best offline navigation app around? Which offline GPS app should you use on your next hiking trip, or to cut down on your mobile data usage? Let’s find out!
How to choose the best offline maps app for you
Offline maps allow you to download the map on your phone. GPS doesn’t require an internet connection to work, so you can still use GPS navigation with an offline maps app.
With that in mind, how do you choose the best offline maps app for you? It all comes down to what you want to use it for. A different app will be better for you if you want to use it for your daily commute, or to navigate through traffic. But there are still some general tips to keep in mind.
Speed & Ease of use
Some apps work faster or have a better UI, than others. The best offline maps apps work intuitively for you, so you’ll be able to use them quickly and efficiently. This becomes more important with a GPS navigation app. A cluttered or unclear app might mean you miss your turn rather than going in the right direction.
Related to this is the speed with which the app works. If you have an older phone and it has to load a lot of information, it might take longer than you’d like. A more streamlined navigation app might work better for you in that case.
What do you want an app to show? What do you want to be able to do with a map? That differs from when you’re using a map to navigate, from using it for a city or hiking trip. Deciding what you want from the map, will lead you to which app you should choose.
Best offline maps app in 2022
All the apps below are great at what they do. But what is the best offline map app for you? That depends on what you want to use it for. That’s why we organised the guide below in specific use cases. If you know what you want to use it for, you’ll know immediately which app to choose.
Google Maps offline – best allrounder
Google Maps is probably the best known and most popular map app in the world. It comes preloaded on Android phones and is easily installed on an iPhone. Most people use Google Maps online, but it also offers easy to use offline maps.
You can select an area of Google Maps that you want to download onto your phone. It includes all the information that Google Maps usually has, except for live traffic updates. The offline maps you saved are automatically up to date, but you can turn that off if you want to.
Overall, Google Maps is a powerful allrounder. It’s useful in nearly every situation, but it’s not specialized in a single one. It’s also really easy to accidentally use online. If you want to be sure you’re not using any data, this might not be the best option for you.
Advantages – Map itself is fairly easy to use, available maps from all over the world
Disadvantages – Less customizable than other options, easy to accidentally use online.
Find out more about offline Google Maps here.
CoPilot GPS – Best for car navigation
CoPilot GPS is a GPS navigation app specially made to be used on the road. You can download a map of a region or country. The maps are very detailed and use turn-by-turn voice navigation.
Its built-in route planning feature is powerful and can take different vehicle types (car, truck, camper, etc) into account. It automatically manages your route with real-time traffic conditions without you having to do anything.
Advantages – Customizable routes for different vehicle types, premium version has audio navigation, traffic information and 3D maps.
Disadvantages – premium version fairly costly.
Find out more about CoPilot GPS here.
Gaia GPS – best for hikers
Gaia GPS is often considered the best offline navigation app for the great outdoors. Whether you’re hiking or cycling, the offline maps of Gaia GPS are perfect for you.
With it, you can look at various different maps, like USFS/USFS, National Geographic Trails maps, road maps and satellite views. You can see where you are and plan your route with on-the-ground waypoints. You can also link geologged photos to document your journey.
Advantages – Many different maps and features for hikers and outdoor cyclers.
Disadvantages – More complicated to use than other maps.
Find out more about Gaia GPS here.
Organic Maps – The open-source alternative
Organic Maps looks and feels a lot like Google Maps, but it’s a completely different service. Organic Maps is an open-source community-led service. It has no ads, won’t track you or collect your data.
The points on the maps you see are created by the Organic Maps community. So you’ll find the places people really enjoy and want to share. This means you’ll find places, hiking trails, cycling routes and walking paths with Organic Maps that you might not find with any other downloadable offline maps app.
Advantages – No data tracking, light on battery use, find places not on other maps
Disadvantages – reliant on community means it might be out of date
Find out more about Organic Maps here.
Even when you’re careful and use your prepaid data as little as possible, you might still run out at the worst possible moment. Maybe you’re in the middle of a hiking trip, or city trip or on your daily commute. Even if you have the best offline maps app out there, it’s always a good idea to keep your prepaid mobile data topped up.
Luckily it’s never been easier to get new prepaid call credit and data. You can top up mobile data right here on Recharge.com. It’s fast, safe and simple! Your tip-up code will arrive in 30 seconds in your inbox, ready for you to top up your prepaid plan!