In this post, I’m going to teach you the steps to download and use my maps (or any) made with Google Maps. You’ll be able to check the maps without a data connection, and you’ll know your location anytime.
Previous Information and what you need
Some important concepts:
➽ KML format file: this file contains geographic information. They allow you to locate different places on a map.
➽ GPX format file: it’s similar to KML, but this one can be used in any GPS device.
➽ Offline Maps Application: these are smartphone applications that let you download offline maps and know your position, without connection to the Internet. There are many applications available; you only keep in mind that, in our case, the application should allow for GPX or KML format. Here are two possible apps:
– MAPS.ME: it has maps of almost all the world with many details. It’s compatible only with KML and KMZ format.
– OsmAnd: it has the same maps as the previous app but it’s more complex to use because it has more tools and functions. It allows only GPX format. In the free version, you can download up to seven maps/areas.
Therefore, if you want to use my maps during your trip, you need first to download an offline maps app and the area of the country which you’re going to visit. I use OsmAnd, although both are free.
Download the map
First, you should watch the map in extended mode (view larger map). For that, you have to click on the top right corner:
Now you can access the menu where the download option appears. It’s the button with three vertical points on the left panel ➜ (next to the magnifier). The option to download is: Download KML.
You can choose between downloading the full map or, if it’s the case, only some layers. Then you have to select: Export to a .KML file. When you accept, the file is downloaded.
Important: the downloaded file won’t keep the same appearance as you see on Google Maps. On the smartphone, icons and colours will be different.
As I’ve told you, the offline maps apps normally work either with GPX or KML format. If your app uses KML you can skip this step and go to the next.
If your app only accepts GPX you have to convert the KML file to this format. For that we’ll use a simple web site: GPS Visualizer – Convert a GPS file to plain text or GPX. On this web page there is this square area:
The only thing you have to do is:
|➧ Output format ➝ Select GPX
➧ Click on the Choose File. Choose the KML file that you have downloaded before.
The last step is to click on the Convert button. The page reloads and the message appears: ‘Your data has been converted to GPX’. A couple of lines below you’ll find the file ready to download, although it has now a weird name, something like 20163028075922-86078-data.gpx.
Using the Map
You already have the required file, GPX or KML. Now you only need to open it with the maps application. You can send the file to the smartphone through your e-mail (sending it by e-mail). When you open the email and download the file, the application will open automatically (sometimes you need to select it amongst several options). It’ll be the result:
Any contribution or question is welcome, please write a comment!