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OffMaps 2: Travel The World With out Internet

When i travel in my house country of Canada I enjoy the comfort of with the ability to access local maps and point-of-curiosity info utilizing a 3G connection mixed with the inventory Maps app and a variety of more specialized choices such as Urbanspoon and Yelp. When travelling outdoors of my residence and native land, 3G service is commonly available, however is exhorbantly expensive, leaving me to seek out WiFi connections so as to search out my bearings and find local hotspots.

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Earlier than my wife and that i left on our latest international adventure, which took us to the Netherlands, Kenya and Tanzania, I scoured the App Retailer for apps that permit entry to map and point-of-interest data within the absence of an Web connection. I stumbled throughout OffMaps 2 which, at first look, appeared to suit the invoice perfectly. Read on to learn extra about this app’s options and for a report on how well it carried out on the street.

Your Offline Map Library
Once you open up OffMaps 2, you’re greeted with a collection of maps that have already been downloaded to your device. By default, the maps are proven in icon view, with most maps represented by a characteristic photo from the world they cowl. When list mode is selected, maps are grouped by country and every entry consists of an information button that permits you to view the area covered by the map and obtain Wikipedia articles, if accessible. More on Wikipedia later.

The principle display screen of OffMaps 2 permits you to access the entire maps that you’ve downloaded.
The Map Retailer

Clicking the shop button in the higher right-hand nook of the primary display reveals OffMaps 2’s integrated map retailer. You possibly can locate maps both by typing a location into the search box or by shopping by the map catalogue. Maps with a 3-star score comprise an intensive level-of-curiosity database, which incorporates restaurants, inns, museums and landmarks. Conversely, those with a one-star rating have a extra restricted database.

OffMaps 2’s $0.99 purchase value includes 2 free maps. For an extra $0.Ninety nine you can purchase a credit score for three more maps, and paying $5.Ninety nine will get you limitless entry to maps. Maps are stored in a vector formatting, making them comparatively small and permitting for prime quality display on the iPhone 4’s Retina Show, and updates are supplied free of cost. For those who travel frequently, it’s most likely value springing for limitless entry, which you’ll share between your iPhone and iPad. Having spent $70 on GPS software program up to now, spending $5.99 for maps and level-of-interest knowledge for thousands of destinations worldwide appears very cheap.

The integrated map store incorporates hundreds of international locations.
OpenStreetMaps: The Wikipedia of Maps

OffMaps 2 will get its map data from OpenStreetMaps (OSM), which is usually referred to as the “Wikipedia of Street Maps”. OSM is a collaborative venture with the goal of creating a free, editable map of the world. Map information comes from a variety of sources including portable GPS units, aerial photography and numerous free sources.

The accuracy and depth of the information that is available via OSM varies from place-to-place. Some cities, similar to Amsterdam, comprise intensive info, together with transit routes and street numbers. Knowledge is extra limited for creating countries equivalent to Kenya and Tanzania. The database for my residence city of Vancouver is fairly rich, with some exceptions. For instance, only a few streets include addresses – which means it’s straightforward to locate a specific street, however typically tough to pinpoint a selected tackle.

Discovering Your Approach
After deciding on a map out of your library, OffMaps 2 will show your current place utilizing a well-known blue dot, assuming you’re within the realm encompassed by the chosen map. Click on the blue dot and a circular menu of common point-of-interest categories pops up – a nice contact. Viewing objects in these categories on the map is as simple as clicking on their icon. For example, clicking on the knife and fork icon drops pins for restaurants in the world. Utilizing the circular menu it’s also possible to bookmark your current location and share your coordinates by e-mail. The e-mail characteristic is mostly solely useful when you happen to find a WiFi connection shut by, although it might be used to record the situation of a favourite restaurant or museum that you just got here throughout in your travels.

Clicking the button within the upper proper-hand nook lets you entry the Guide, a set of factors-of-curiosity divided into classes, as well as saved bookmarks and previously downloaded Wikipedia articles. The Guide accommodates all of the classes you would count on and the principle classes are further divided into sections – for example, eating places are grouped primarily based on the kind of cuisine. The Streets icon, represented by an indication-publish with an arrow, lets you browse or search by means of all of the streets in the realm. Some maps comprise an extensive library of particular avenue addresses, whereas others will solely inform you the place the street is positioned – useful for brief streets, however of restricted value for longer ones.

As is the case with Maps, OffMaps 2 could make use of the constructed-in compass to indicate which direction you’re heading. Surprisingly useful when a jet-lagged traveller in a unfamiliar territory.

An revolutionary circular menu means that you can locate common point-of-curiosity categories with out leaving the map view.

Wikipedia To Go
For a lot of destinations, OffMaps 2 offers you the option of downloading geotagged Wikipedia articles. For instance, I left for Amsterdam with 118 articles and 519 photos saved on my iPhone. Having this wealth of data at my fingertips added another dimension to the locations we visited. Wikipedia entries could be sorted by both Identify or Distance and can even be shown as pins on the map. Moreover, you possibly can search by the listing of Wikipedia articles to find the information you’re looking for.

Optionally download Wikipedia articles, full with photographs, to take with you in your travels.
Restaurant Suggestions

The newest version of Offmaps 2 includes toptable restaurant suggestions. The quantity of data provided for restaurants might be extensive, together with issues equivalent to signature dishes, hours of operation and even a whole menu. At present the database consists of thousands of restaurants in the UK, as well as listings for Paris, Dublin, Barcelona and New York City. toptable was lately acquired by OpenTable and I’m hoping it will mean that the database of available restaurants will increase over time.

Restaurant menus and locations are available across the UK, in NYC and for choose cities in Western Europe.

OffMaps 2 On Safari
My spouse and i put OffMaps 2 by means of its paces in several cities within the Netherlands, Kenya and Tanzania. We found the database to be in depth in Amsterdam and OffMaps 2 proved to very helpful for locating our lodge and a variety of museums and different attractions we visited while we had been in city. Whereas most of our exploration was on foot, the built-in tram maps had been handy when the weather turned chilly.

The database was less in depth in Kenya and Tanzania, however OffMaps 2 nonetheless served as a useful travel companion in these exotic destinations. We used the app to find a world-famous elephant orphanage near Nairobi, to get instructions to the airport in Arusha and to search out a place to eat in Stone City on the island of Zanzibar. We additionally found it helpful to be able to drop a bookmark after we went out for a stroll to ensure that we’d be capable of finding our means back to the lodge.

OffMaps 2 helped us find an elephant orphanage close to Nairobi, Kenya and the airport in Arusha, Tanzania.

Beware of Service Charges
You’ll have to take your iPhone out of Airplane Mode so as to make use of the integrated GPS. Unfortunately this also means that individuals will be capable stone island junior turquoise patch logo sweatshirt to name you, which may trigger you to rack up important worldwide roaming charges. Some carriers, together with Rogers right here in Canada, will cost your account whereas somebody leaves you a voicemail – so you may get dinged even in the event you don’t reply the decision.

I recommend that you test together with your provider earlier than leaving to keep away from surprises once you return home. Different strategies embody removing your SIM card when you’re travelling (ensuring to maintain it helpful in case that you must make an emergency call) and only turning Airplane Mode off when you’re utilizing the GPS.

What’s Lacking
On the surface, OffMaps 2 appears very very like Maps. It’s necessary to note that every one of OffMaps 2’s data is stored on the system itself whereas Maps has access to a huge amount of data on the internet, together with extensive map data from business sources. So, in many ways it’s not a fair comparison.

The quality of the map and point-of-curiosity data finally determines OffMaps 2’s usefulness. As noted earlier, the accuracy and completeness of this database varies from place to put. Before you set off on your travels I recommend that you simply take a look at the map information for the destinations you’ll be visiting to ensure the breadth of data is in step with what you need. In some cases, OffMaps 2 is extra appropriate as a complement to a conventional guide guide or specialized travel app moderately than a alternative.

It would also be useful if OffMaps 2 had some type of navigation – even something just like the record of instructions provided in Maps. I was in contact with OffMaps 2 developer, Felix Lamouroux, and he is presently wanting into the potential of integrating offline routing right into a future launch of the product. Pedestrian and car routes are additionally a chance.

The underside Line
I used to be very grateful to have OffMaps 2 throughout my travels and it earned a place in my stone island junior turquoise patch logo sweatshirt eight Crucial iPhone Apps for Touring With out Web roundup. Even being able to see my place on a map when travelling in a international land introduced a sense of safety.

Whereas the map information is missing in some areas, it’s actively enhancing as extra folks contribute to the OpenStreetMap database. The addition of an intensive level-of-interest database and the ability to download Wikipedia articles makes OffMaps 2 effectively worth the worth of admission.

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