How To Download Google Maps To Your Android Phone

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by Bryan McDonald on July 7, 2011

Google Maps on Android phones are far superior to the iPhone app and they just got better. You can now download Google Maps to your Android phone.

Remember the days of driving around with a paper map while trying to find an address? Most , if not all, tech savvy agents and appraisers now use a dedicated GPA device or a smartphone with GPS.

Smartphones work well and there are several good apps including MapQuest that can help you find your way. But what if you are traveling to a rural property and don’t have a cell phone signal?

Google Maps can now be downloaded directly to your Android phone so you can view the map even if you don’t have a cell signal.

How To Download A Map On Your Android Phone

First, you will need to download the latest version of Google Maps. Google Maps 5.7 for Android Link

Then you will need to activate the feature. To access Labs on your phone, press your phone’s menu button once in Google Maps, choose “More” and select Labs. On a tablet, click the menu button in the upper-right corner of Maps.

To download a map, press the “More” button while viewing a map and select the option to locally store a map of the surrounding area.

Google will download a copy of the map tiles within a 10 mile radius. You can view, pan, and zoom in on the map even if you don’t have a data connection.

All your downloaded map areas can be managed in your Google Maps cache settings so you can delete maps you no longer need or if you want to free up storage. After 30 days, all downloaded map areas will be removed from your cache; they can be re-downloaded any time.

The update to Google Maps also includes two other features, a Scale Bar and a Measure tool.

The scale bar shows the current map scale. Sometimes it’s unclear what zoom level you are looking at if you zoom in and out of a map. The scale bar should help you understand what zoom level you are viewing.

The measure tool will calculate the straight line distance between two points on the map. Once you enabled the feature, click the tape measure icon. You’ll be prompted to tap two points on the map and Google Maps will calculate the straight distance between those points (this direct distance is “as the crow flies”).

The Bottom Line

It can be frustrating to try and view a map on your smartphone if you have a poor or no cell signal. Being able to download Google Maps directly to your Android phone is a great way to make sure you always have the map you need.

Download Google Maps for free in the Android Market; Android Market Link

{ 6 comments }

Tom Horn July 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Bryan,
Is this same feature available for the iPhone and iPad?

Avatar of Bryan McDonald Bryan McDonald July 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Unfortunately not. Google Maps on Android is much better than on the iPhone. That is why I use the free MapQuest iPhone app. But MapQuest doesn’t allow you to download maps either.

Ryan Lundquist July 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

Maybe I’m tired this morning, but I never saw an option to locally store the map. This sounds like a great feature though. I love Google Maps and I do use it every day when I’m on the road. One thing I find really helpful too is to go to my desktop and type in an address for the subject property. Once I do this (with my Gmail account open already), Google Maps automatically syncs with my phone. So I can go to type in an address and I only need to type the first one or two numbers of the address in my phone for directions and the whole thing will come up right there. Quick and easy and safe. I love it.

Avatar of Bryan McDonald Bryan McDonald July 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hey Ryan. Let me know if you find the option to download the map. I copied the directions from the Google blog post. Being able to sync the desktop and smartphone map is an awesome feature! I didn’t know it would do that. I’ll have to try it on my iPhone.

Eivind July 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I guess this option can be very useful, but I can’t help wonder when google is so awesome and helpful why they just can’t let us download big maps? Especially now that they use vector-techn0logy which take up a lot less space than maps did previously….

I just know that for several of my previous Nokia-phones dating back 4-5 years always gave me the useful option of downloading maps; I always downloaded 4-5 of the biggest countries in Europe which I deemed most useful….. :-)

Honestly, I was not aware of this until I bought my first Android-phone a couple of days’ ago…

Avatar of Bryan McDonald Bryan McDonald July 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

Thanks for the comment. That is interesting. I use to have a Samsung smartphone that I had downloaded maps to. It really came in handy. I don’t why Google only allows smaller maps to be downloaded.

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