Offline Navigation Not Google’s Business Model?

Since the start several years ago, Nokia Maps, called Ovi Maps these days had offline navigation capabilities, i.e. maps data can be stored on the mobile so there's no data cost for navigation except for the few kilobytes of data required to get the A-GPS ephemeris almanac when the program is started to give the GPS chip a hint where the satellites can be found. This is not only beneficial to keep the delay down when scrolling through a map but is a bare essential requirement for me due to the high roaming charges for data as I often use navigation abroad. I guess I am not the only person with the problem which is why I find it even more surprising that Google still doesn't have an offline mode for Google maps. But perhaps its not so surprising because Google is a company that has its services in the cloud. So an offline mapping application doesn't make much sense for their product portfolio. So maybe that's the explanation!?

4 thoughts on “Offline Navigation Not Google’s Business Model?”

  1. The reason it isn’t offline is because they’re constantly updating the maps and of course they need to feed sponsored results on top of the location search results.

    As Lori said, with Maps 5.0 they begin caching and say that because of vectors they only need to transmit a small percentage of what they used to when they did tiles.

    Search is king, and no matter how good Ovi Maps gets, if I’m looking for a certain place … chances are Google knows where it is.

  2. Access to Google Maps when out of coverage was a significant problem for me last summer when I was in the Indian Himalayas (although GPRS coverage was actually surprisingly good even in what I thought were remote areas – it was enough to update my blog daily using a trusty blackberry until I entered even more remote valleys). I tried but failed to find a method to cache the Google maps as these provided the best detail and especially the satellite views were helpful. In the end I gave up and used alternative maps (eg Yahoo though MGMaps) but it was not very satifactory. I’m encouraged to hear that caching is being enabled to some degree as even in the developed world there are holes in network coverage!

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