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OffMaps 2: Journey The World Without Web

When i journey in my home nation of Canada I enjoy the comfort of with the ability to entry native maps and level-of-curiosity data using a 3G connection mixed with the inventory Maps app and a spread of more specialized choices corresponding to Urbanspoon and Yelp. When travelling exterior of my residence and native land, 3G service is often available, but is exhorbantly costly, leaving me to hunt down WiFi connections so as to search out my bearings and locate native hotspots.

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Earlier than my spouse and that i left on stone island logo compass hat 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-curiosity data in the absence of an Internet connection. I stumbled throughout OffMaps 2 which, at first glance, appeared to fit the bill perfectly. Read on to be taught extra about this app’s options and for a report on how well it performed on the road.

Your Offline Map Library
When you open up OffMaps 2, you’re greeted with a choice 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 photograph from the realm they cover. When list mode is selected, maps are grouped by nation and each entry consists of an info button that permits you to view the area covered by the map and obtain Wikipedia articles, if accessible. More on Wikipedia later.

The primary display of OffMaps 2 allows you to access all the maps that you have downloaded.
The Map Store

Clicking the store button in the upper right-hand nook of the primary display reveals OffMaps 2’s integrated map retailer. You can locate maps both by typing a location into the search field or by searching via the map catalogue. Maps with a 3-star rating include an in depth level-of-curiosity database, which includes restaurants, lodges, museums and landmarks. Conversely, those with a one-star score have a extra restricted database.

OffMaps 2’s $0.Ninety nine purchase price includes 2 free maps. For a further $zero.99 you possibly can buy a credit for three more maps, and paying $5.Ninety nine will get you limitless access to maps. Maps are saved in a vector formatting, making them relatively small and allowing for high quality display on the iPhone 4’s Retina Show, and updates are provided free of cost. In case you travel ceaselessly, it’s in all probability price springing for unlimited access, which you can share between your iPhone and iPad. Having spent $70 on GPS software program in the past, spending $5.Ninety nine for maps and level-of-curiosity information for hundreds of destinations worldwide appears very reasonable.

The built-in map retailer comprises thousands of worldwide destinations.
OpenStreetMaps: The Wikipedia of Maps

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

The accuracy and depth of the information that is obtainable by OSM varies from place-to-place. Some cities, reminiscent of Amsterdam, comprise intensive info, including transit routes and avenue numbers. Data is extra limited for growing international locations reminiscent of Kenya and Tanzania. The database for my house metropolis of Vancouver is fairly wealthy, with some exceptions. For instance, very few streets contain addresses – which means it’s easy to find a selected street, but often tough to pinpoint a selected address.

Discovering Your Way
After choosing a map from your library, OffMaps 2 will present your present position using a well-known blue dot, assuming you’re within the realm encompassed by the chosen map. Click the blue dot and a circular menu of in style point-of-curiosity classes pops up – a nice contact. Viewing items in these classes on the map is as simple as clicking on their icon. For example, clicking on the knife and fork icon drops pins for eating places in the realm. Utilizing the circular menu you too can bookmark your present location and share your coordinates by e-mail. The e-mail function is mostly only useful if you happen to happen to discover a WiFi connection shut by, though it could possibly be used to document the situation of a favorite restaurant or museum that you got here across in your travels.

Clicking the button in the higher proper-hand corner lets you access the Guide, a group of points-of-interest divided into categories, in addition to saved bookmarks and beforehand downloaded Wikipedia articles. The Information accommodates all the classes you would count on and the primary categories are additional divided into sections – for example, restaurants are grouped primarily based on the kind of cuisine. The Streets icon, represented by an indication-publish with an arrow, allows you to browse or search via all the streets in the realm. Some maps include an in depth library of particular road addresses, while others will only inform you where the road is situated – helpful for brief streets, however of limited worth for longer ones.

As is the case with Maps, OffMaps 2 can make use of the constructed-in compass to point stone island logo compass hat which course you’re heading. Surprisingly useful when a jet-lagged traveller in a unfamiliar territory.

An modern circular menu lets you locate widespread level-of-interest classes with out leaving the map view.

Wikipedia To Go
For many locations, OffMaps 2 offers you the option of downloading geotagged Wikipedia articles. For instance, I left for Amsterdam with 118 articles and 519 pictures stored on my iPhone. Having this wealth of information at my fingertips added another dimension to the locations we visited. Wikipedia entries may be sorted by either Title or Distance and can even be proven as pins on the map. Additionally, you’ll be able to search by the record of Wikipedia articles to find the knowledge you’re looking for.

Optionally download Wikipedia articles, complete with images, to take with you on your travels.
Restaurant Recommendations

The latest model of Offmaps 2 includes toptable restaurant suggestions. The amount of data supplied for restaurants may be intensive, together with things similar to signature dishes, hours of operation and even a whole menu. At present the database contains hundreds of eating places within the UK, as well as listings for Paris, Dublin, Barcelona and New York City. toptable was just lately acquired by OpenTable and I’m hoping this may mean that the database of out there restaurants will enhance over time.

Restaurant menus and locations can be found throughout the UK, in NYC and for choose cities in Western Europe.

OffMaps 2 On Safari
My wife and i put OffMaps 2 via its paces in several cities in the Netherlands, Kenya and Tanzania. We discovered the database to be in depth in Amsterdam and OffMaps 2 proved to very helpful for finding our resort and quite a lot of museums and other points of interest we visited while we had been in city. While most of our exploration was on foot, the integrated tram maps have been helpful when the weather turned chilly.

The database was much less in depth in Kenya and Tanzania, however OffMaps 2 still served as a useful journey companion in these exotic locations. We used the app to find a world-well-known elephant orphanage close to Nairobi, to get instructions to the airport in Arusha and to seek out a place to eat in Stone City on the island of Zanzibar. We also found it helpful to be able to drop a bookmark when we went out for a stroll to make sure that we’d be capable of finding our manner back to the lodge.

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

Beware of Carrier Expenses
You’ll have to take your iPhone out of Airplane Mode in order to use the integrated GPS. Sadly this also means that people will have the ability to name you, which may trigger you to rack up significant worldwide roaming fees. Some carriers, together with Rogers right here in Canada, will cost your account while somebody leaves you a voicemail – so you could possibly get dinged even if you don’t answer the call.

I recommend that you simply examine along with your carrier earlier than leaving to keep away from surprises when you return home. Other methods embrace eradicating your SIM card when you’re travelling (ensuring to maintain it handy in case you’ll want to make an emergency call) and solely turning Airplane Mode off when you’re utilizing the GPS.

What’s Lacking
On the surface, OffMaps 2 seems very very like Maps. It’s important to note that every one of OffMaps 2’s information is stored on the device itself whereas Maps has entry to a huge quantity of information on the internet, including intensive map data from industrial sources. So, in many ways it’s not a fair comparison.

The standard of the map and level-of-interest knowledge finally determines OffMaps 2’s usefulness. As noted earlier, the accuracy and completeness of this database varies from place to position. Before you set off in your travels I like to recommend that you have a look on the map knowledge for the destinations you’ll be visiting to make sure the breadth of data is in line with what you need. In some cases, OffMaps 2 is more suitable as a complement to a traditional information ebook or specialized travel app somewhat than a substitute.

It would even be handy if OffMaps 2 had some form of navigation – even something much like the listing of instructions provided in Maps. I used to be in contact with OffMaps 2 developer, Felix Lamouroux, and he’s at present looking into the potential for integrating offline routing right into a future launch of the product. Pedestrian and automotive routes are additionally a possibility.

The underside Line
I used to be very grateful to have OffMaps 2 throughout my travels and it earned a place in my eight Crucial iPhone Apps for Traveling With out Internet roundup. Even with the ability to see my place on a map when travelling in a overseas land brought a sense of security.

Whereas the map data is lacking in some areas, it is actively enhancing as extra folks contribute to the OpenStreetMap database. The addition of an in depth point-of-interest database and the power to obtain Wikipedia articles makes OffMaps 2 well price the price of admission.