Bill Pollock shares this mapping application from the LA Times. This new Google map could help hikers and bicyclists.

Google map app to work offline
A map app is only as good as your access to the Internet. Now drivers who have ever been frustrated by losing navigation can use Google Maps offline and still have access to directions. The latest version of Google’s map app enables users to download city maps so that streets and businesses will be stored on their mobile devices. The app automatically goes into offline mode when it detects little or no signal.

The offline version still provides information such as a business’ hours of operations, contact information and ratings. But it can’t offer real-time traffic patterns to help determine driving routes. “When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route,” Google Product Manager Amanda Bishop wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “By default, we’ll only download areas to your device when you are on a Wi-Fi connection to prevent large data fees.” Google first previewed the new features during its developers conference Google I/O in May. The company said more offline features were in the works.

The update is only available for Android users, but will come to Apple iOS soon. Google Maps is the No. 1 downloaded map app. The Mountain View, Calif., company also owns Waze, another popular map app that Google bought in 2013 for about $1 billion. Apple also features a navigation app called Maps, but it has long been dismissed as inferior to Waze and Google Maps.  Twitter: @dhpierson

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