Well you see, things aren't exactly what they seem with Two-a-day. I mean he actually does that kind of shit you've known him to, hustles hot software to the caspers in Barrytown, but his main shot, I mean the man's real ambitions, you understand, lie elsewhere... 'Count Zero' - William Gibson

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Google Play. Google Maps. Here maps. Offline maps for Android phones. Full screen maps.

Here's a nice bit of news.
Google Maps update of August 17, 2015 finally introduces a 'tap to go full screen' mode on Google Maps. At last !
This is the one feature that has been really missing for a long time. Google Maps is once again useful and usable.

I had completely written off Google Maps for a long time and gone to Nokia's Here map app which has a lovely interface, and still does. It also boasts extremely useful OFFLINE maps that can be saved to an SD card. This feature is still unequaled on any other map app.

Anyway, for all of you who had given up on Google ever producing a decent interface for Google Maps, give it another try, it's quite good now.

Here's a screenshot from my Huawei Mate 7.
Google Maps with that intrusive 'Search bar' and 'Around here bar' blocking your screen.

One tap on the screen and those bars are now gone and you have a full screen map. It's much better.

If you want offline maps saved to your phone when you are going overseas, definitely go for Nokia's Here map app.

Here's a screenshot from my Huawei Mate 7. 
Nokia's Here map app. This is showing an offline map of Australia saved to my SD card - not a real time data download like Google Maps uses.

'Use app offline' when traveling overseas, or just all the time, to save your precious data.

It's very important that you go straight into the settings and select 'Storage Memory' as 'sdcard1'.
The app will then always store downloaded maps here, and you can take your maps to your new phone by also taking your SD card.

Buy a 32 GB SD card and download the world ! You will always have it offline.

For those of you who are familiar with you phone's file systems and want to rig up multiple back up phones for travel, you can copy and paste the Here maps data to a new SD card.

Fire up you computer and first plug in your phone that DOES have the Here maps app and all the downloaded maps on an SD card. Make sure you use a good USB cable that is a data cable, not just a recharge cable.
Next plug in your travel/back up phone that DOES NOT yet have Here maps installed. If it does, uninstall it for now.

Copy and past the "com.here.app.maps" folder. 
When I plug my phone in,the address is...

You must do this BEFORE you install Here maps on your new phone, otherwise the copy and paste will be blocked. You will be trying to overwrite a protected file created by the new installation of the the Here maps app.
If you strike this problem, just uninstall Here maps, copy and paste the file, then re-install.

This process is easier and quicker than downloading the offline maps via the Here map app to yet another phone. It will take quite a while to transfer those files, so be patient and go and make a cuppa.