Saturday, 9 July 2011

Offline mapping for fieldwork? - Google Maps for Android

For many years now I have been using and advocating offline mapping software for fieldwork in technology enhance learning applications. This is software that does not rely on any internet connection and allows the user to add their own maps in GPS based applications. Why? Well there are many occasions that using a map in a remote location becomes an issue because there is no data connection. The reality is that if anything is going to hinder students learning, it's waiting for a map to load...

So I was very very pleased to find that 'Google Maps for Android' are now allowing several square mile sections of maps (as explained in this article) to be saved on your mobile device. At the moment I have no idea how well this will work, as its only just been released. But this is how it works for those interested in trying:
  • Update your Google Map to the latest version.
  • Open 'Maps' on your android device > press Menu > More > Labs (Labs are test area for applications Google are experimenting with) > Download map area
  • Once active simply click and hold in a central point of your chosen location
  • Open the icon that appears and select the bottom option 'Download map area'
  • It will show it is downloading and then a black square border will appear showing the area that is saved to your device. It should still show your map with both data and Wifi turned off!
Sadly it only downloads basic road maps, so no satellite maps available (but its a fantastic start!) Lets hope this trend moves onto the other mapping services such as the excellent educational sources provided by Edina. This could really help education for many science and technology based fieldwork locations here at Plymouth University!

Google if you're listening, the ability to download satellite maps or even to use my maps (my spaces) with way-points etc included would be fantastic!

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