Offline Maps with OffMaps

CroatiaOffMaps.jpgI’d be the first to admit that I have gotten spoiled with the amount of information available at my fingertips. And when I don’t have access to that information, it can be a challenge.

For example, I use my iPhone for a wide range of tasks, including navigating around using a map. But when I spend time in Europe, suddenly I lose access to all of the data I have grown to depend on. For example, I’m currently in Europe, working on a range of projects (including a series of new video training courses that I’ll be announcing soon). In theory, I could activate my iPhone to use while I’m here, but the cost for both phone calls and data is a bit silly, so I just go without.

What that has meant on some trips to Europe is that I need to buy a good old fashioned map book. This takes me back more than a few years to the time when a printed map was my primary means of navigation.

The problem is, when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language and you don’t know the roads, a printed map can be a little more challenging than it otherwise would be. And that’s where a GPS device is so handy.

For a variety of reasons, I was a little behind the curve for a segment of the trip that would find me in Croatia. That’s when I discovered a cool little application for my iPhone that enables me to have offline maps, eliminating the need for a data plan. The application is called OffMaps, and it enables you to download maps to your phone, and then utilize the GPS receiver in your phone to show your position on the map. Perfect!

This was particularly helpful when I was making my way to check out Plitvice National Park to see the lakes and waterfalls there. Along the way I found myself on a tiny little road in the woods. I wouldn’t have felt nearly as comfortable without OffMaps!

CroatiaTinyRoad.jpg

It also proved helpful when I was trying to navigate among some of the smaller roads along the coast of Croatia. And it was reassuring when I got stuck behind a lumbering truck in the way up a big hill away from the coast. All along the way I was able to track my progress, just as though I had a fully-eqipped GPS device or my normal data plan on my iPhone.

There are many ways to navigate, and many ways to gather the information you need when you’re traveling. But I’ve found the OffMaps application to be especially helpful while spending time in Croatia. It is incredible how much peace of mind you gain just by knowing where you are!

About Tim Grey

Tim Grey is in the business of making photographers smarter and happier. He is the author of more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, has written hundreds of magazine articles, and publishes the Ask Tim Grey e-mail newsletter as well as the Pixology digital magazine. He also speaks at a variety of events and leads photography workshops around the world.
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