Google confirms Maps with local map downloads as iOS lags | Electronista

Downloading local maps is becoming an absolute necessity in this day and age of not so unlimited downloading. Especially if you suffer the fate worse than death known as Roaming Data Charges! Can you say $1,000.00 Cell Phone Bill?? So do yourself a favor and download some maps before traveling overseas with your smartphone, yo.

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A common message shown on TomTom OS when there...
Image via Wikipedia

Google Maps gets map downloads in Labs betaAfter a brief unofficial discovery, Google on Thursday confirmed that Google Maps 5.7 has the first experimental support for local maps downloads.

via Google confirms Maps with local map downloads as iOS lags | Electronista.

Google Maps for Android is starting to show a level of maturity only seen on dedicated GPS units. True, there still is no routing feature (you need access to Google’s servers for that functionality) But you at least a downloaded map that you can zoom out and in on to get a view without incurring heavy data charges. Yes, overseas you may rack up some big charges as you navigate live maps via the Google Maps app on Android. This is now solved partially by downloading in advance the immediate area you will be visiting (within a few miles radius). It’s an incremental improvement to be sure and makes Android phones a little more self sufficient without making you regret the data charges.

Apple on the other hand is behind. Hands down they are kind of letting the 3rd party gps development go to folks like Navigon and TomTom who both require somewhat hefty fees to license their downloaded content. Apple’s Maps doesn’t compare to Navigon, TomTom, much less Google for actual usefulness in a wide range of situations. And Apple isn’t currently using the downloadable vector based maps introduced with this revision of Google Maps for Android vers. 5.7. So it will struggle with large jpeg images as you pan and scan around the map to find your location.

KPBS to the Rescue

San Diego area affected by Fire Thanks KPBS for using Google MAps to it’s maximum possible good.
At a time when the federal authorities are desperately tied up with firefighting, information becomes all the more important. This was especially true for people in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and anyone in Manhattan during Sept. 11, 2001. I applaud this PBS station in its effort to get the information out there for EVERYONE to see. This mash-up on Google is by far the best use of a public Web 2.0 app that is more or less free. People need this info in one place, updated regularly until all the fires are contained. It gives the sense that somebody does know what’s going on, and that panic isn’t the only logical response to such a widespread emergency. My heart goes out to everyone who has been evacuated, who has lost property, who has lost a pet, who has lost a family member. Fire crews will contain these fires, there is hope, it will end.