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I know that I can download and cache parts of the maps in Google Maps. When offline (e.g., in flight mode, but with GPS enabled) I can explore these parts of the maps.

But when I try to use the Navigation to get directions, it seems it doesn't work offline (even when navigating inside the cache map areas).

So, does the navigation feature always need a connection (either WiFi or 3G)?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, yes. For now, that is how Google has created the Maps application; you cannot use Maps (or Navigation) without internet access.

There are other apps that exist, though, that allow you to download maps for use offline. Sygic and Navfree, for example, both allow you to store maps on your device and then only require a GPS fix to give you turn-by-turn directions. Note you still need internet (WiFi or data network) to download the maps the first time, but after that, you're free to shut data off.

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You can use Maps without Internet access if you have pre-cached the area. –  roxan Jun 23 '12 at 13:18
    
@roxan: yes you can use the cached maps (as I have written), but you cannot use navigation (i.e. calculate a route) when offline. –  M4N Jul 19 '12 at 12:44
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Since the OP's question was dated back in mid-summer of 2012, things have changed a bit with Maps and has been updated since.

In agreement with other answerer's who have pointed out you can download the maps for offline usage, no calculation is needed, if using Maps, what I found actually surprised me, the GPS navigation still works even if off-line and not using any 3G/Wifi either!

With the maps, hit menu, tap on Make available offline, then you can pan and zoom in on the location of the map, to increase the size of the map for offline usage, it may be required to zoom out if you want a big area of maps coverage.

Then the download will happen (WiFi needed preferably as depending on the size of the offline map, it will take a while - not your conventional nippy download speed)

Furthermore, if browsing on desktop pc, hit up on maps on the google site, and select your starting point and ending point as destination, if planning a journey, and save that as "My Places". With the maps app, it can sync up with "My Places" and pull it down and be used with the off-line map! That surprised me

The GPS navigation will actually show where you are and the route to take.

Caveat Emptor: Be sure to have plenty of battery juice as the GPS is working 100% on it

Simply enable GPS, all data switched off, and as its oft said - Let's hit the road Jack and... profit! \o/

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Internet access is needed for the routing calculation at the beginning. Navigation using a precached area will work offline.

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