Thanks to advances in modern technology, it’s easier than ever to get where you’re going. Nearly everyone has access to a mobile device like a phone or a tablet; as long as you’ve got a wireless or data signal, there’s just no such thing as “getting lost” anymore.
But what if you’re out of signal range on all your mobile devices? Are you finally and completely lost? Don’t bet on it — thanks to the numerous mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices, you can navigate like a pro no matter where you are. Here are 15 of the very best GPS map apps you can use while offline to get you where you need to go.
1. Google Maps
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Pre-loaded onto Android handsets and available for download on iOS devices, Google Maps is the premier GPS app. It offers map download for offline search as well as turn-by-turn navigation with voice commands as well. Pretty much the gold standard for offline GPS map apps.
2. Garmin StreetPilot Onboard
Standalone GPS manufacturer Garmin has embraced the new mobile device environment by moving into GPS app design. Its StreetPilot Onboard app for iOS devices can turn any iPhone or iPad into a full-featured GPS that works without being in range of a cell tower, as it can download all the route and map data you need beforehand, including points of interest along the way.
Looking for a free, open-source offline GPS map app for your Android device? MapFactor is a perfect choice, especially if you do a lot of international traveling. This app has offline map data for more than 200 different countries, and its voice directions can be configured to speak in a number of different languages. Route options for pedestrian walkways, bike paths, and public transportation round MapFactor out nicely.
4. TomTom GO Mobile
Another iOS only GPS app, TomTom GO Mobile works on a “freemium” basis. Free to download and offering its full suite of online and offline GPS capabilities for 50 miles’ worth of trip planning every month, this app offers what a standalone TomTom GPS unit would, and all without having to shell out your hard-earned cash for it. Think it’s worth it? In-app purchases allow you to unlock unlimited navigation options as well.
5. Sygic GPS Navigation
Speaking of TomTom, this next app relies on that company’s map data to provide high levels of accuracy. The difference, though, is that Sygic GPS Navigation is available on both iOS an Android devices, and that the app’s basic capabilities are completely free. You can upgrade later for all the bells and whistles if you find them helpful, of course.
Looking for an off-the-grid approach to a nice walk in the woods? TrailLink is the perfect iOS app for you. Specifically filled with offline-accessible data concerning biking and hiking trails, TrailLink is made by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project. You can purchase map data per trail or simply pay $29.99 for 12 months of unlimited use so you can enjoy the wilderness on your own terms.
Built specifically for the driver in mind, the CoPilot GPS app is in many ways the opposite of TrailLink. This Android app stores map data on your device, making it perfect for trips through dead zones, and offers detailed turn-by-turn directions for those willing to shell out for premium access. Otherwise, all its basic functions are free to use for however long you like.
This GPS and offline map iOS app offers a bevy of additional features as well. While the offline navigation is valuable, Scout is even more feature-rich when you are in range of a cell tower — this “social navigation app” lets you share trip updates like ETA and route information with friends, family, and even other drivers. It’s not just for road conditions, either; you can share reviews of roadside attractions as well.
9. OsmAnd Maps & Navigation
A solid GPS app with a very silly name, OsmAnd is another one for Android devices that provides access to free, high-quality open source mapping data available for download to your device. It’s not just roads, either — OsmAnd provides walking, hiking, and city tour data, cycling routes, nautical maps, and even ski slope information with the right free plugin.
If you’re looking for one of the best vacation travel companion apps for iOS, CityMaps2Go is an excellent choice. The rare offline-access GPS app that provides color photos for points of interest as well as route information, CityMaps2Go is a great companion for vacationers thanks to its ability to create trip lists and color-code different pinned destinations. You can even sync between devices so everyone in your family has the same map information on their next trip to the big city.
11. BackCountry Navigator
Custom-built for Android users who enjoy hiking the wilderness and really getting offroad, BackCountry Navigator lets you download topographical GPS map data so that you can go backpacking to your heart’s content. This offline outdoor navigator lets you get away from it all without worrying about being lost in the wilderness. ATV, equestrian, and whitewater routes are all compatible with BackCountry Navigator.
12: Pocket Earth
Not to be outdone by their open source competition, iOS has a backcountry option as well. Pocket Earth does double duty as a traditional offline GPS app while also offering the ability to purchase topographical maps as well. Other perks include integration with Wikipedia and Wikivoyage Travel Guides while in online mode as well.
13: HERE WeGo
The ultimate in offline routing options for big city living, HERE WeGo is a solid, free-to-access Android GPS app that works like a charm in offline mode. Even more noteworthy is its ability to provide you public transportation information like bus schedules and taxi fares in real time. Support for biking and walking modes rounds out this solid offline GPS map app.
Stealing a page from Android’s playbook, the iOS GPS app MAPS.ME relies on open source map data as well. This makes MAPS.ME easy on the bank account thanks to how it provides you free access to these maps. Offline accessibility complete with turn-by-turn direction options, navigation for walking, cycling, and driving, and point-of-interest callouts make this lightweight GPS app a solid contender.
Previously known as Navfree, the new and improved Navmii relies on crowdsourced data for traffic and road conditions while you’re connected, but acts as a fully-featured GPS-only app when you venture into regions where you’ve got no cell service. With available upgrades like heads-up-display modes, Navmii is a good choice for anyone who spends a lot of time traversing through dead zones while driving from A to B.