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Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode

Bengaluru, India
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74 posts
8 reviews
8 helpful votes
Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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Hi all,

I should not be asking this question as there are many youtube videos and forum posts. Just that my last experience wasn't good. So in 2019 I visited Nepal three times between Sep and Nov. As I was alone and this was my first time in Nepal, I wanted to make sure I didnt go off the path and I downloaded offline maps for both Maps.me and Google maps and when I went out of the mobile data range - I felt that both of these weren't really that helpful as they refused to work. That time it didnt matter since I did ABC, AC and EBC where trails are well laid out with hundreds of people walking so that I could just ask people around. This time around I will be attempting Khopra and Bhimthang and with very limited tourists - just want to make sure I take the optimal route without any excess walking.

So my question is - for offline use - is it as simple as downloading offline maps? also is it possible to preload the trails? This time I am taking my kids, there's the virus, limited folks on the route...etc and hence makes me a bit edgy.

Edited: April 09, 2021, 10:36 pm
20 replies to this topic
British Columbia...
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4,267 posts
121 reviews
61 helpful votes
1. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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I like Maps.me and use it for driving (and maps are easy to pre-download so that internet/cell data is NOT needed while travelling). However, I would not consider it for Nepal trekking, as it isn't that accurate for trails.

A better app would be one that either:

MINIMUM(free) : used downloadable free OpenCycleMap, which is much better for trails. Also, should have access to topography. There are several apps that do this. I use Viewranger.

BETTER (at cost) : an app that has access to better trekking (paid) maps. I do not have a recommendation

In both cases, however, I would NOT expect the app to be accurate for every trail and especially trail intersections. Just not like that in Nepal. You have to ask locals as you trek.

Edited: April 09, 2021, 10:52 pm
Oslo, Norway
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944 posts
2. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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Plenty of good info and suggestions in this thread:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k12006578-o20-Maps_me_and_other_offline_maps-Nepal.html

Oslo, Norway
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944 posts
3. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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For download of trails perhaps AllTrails is okay.

https://www.alltrails.com/nepal

I've tested it for maps, but prefer other apps.

Here's a nice example how a trek can be shared:

Hiking 25 Miles on the Mardi Himal, 14:50 minutes.

https://youtu.be/iMvgjOhdAl8

The 'how to'.

https://youtu.be/t5rTGYj33G0

Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
944 posts
4. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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Here is another good example, using GPX files that most apps can import.

http://world-wild-camp.com/3-cols-nepal

Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
74 posts
8 reviews
8 helpful votes
5. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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ok. thanks everyone..will try all of them out. good night!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
322 posts
6. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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I us maps.me for off-line when travelling. It worked as prescribed in Nepal. I use it for cities, towns, roads etc and simple hikes. I use google maps as complement when on-line, because of it other great resources. For more advanced hikes, in the mountains or if I want to record tracks, I use ViewRanger with OpenCycleMap pre-loaded. It worked well in Nepal as well, except for some paid features, a problem I never investigated further. The mapped trails are the same in both apps, as far as I can tell, based on many trails where I used them. On Phaplu-Gokyo loop, I actually tested accuracy at many points and had no problem with locking GPS location. These are very well established trails and I had to make GPS-based adjustments only a couple of times. I do not know how good the OpenCycleMap trails are for really remote infrequently used trails in Nepal. Yes, you can upload trails (routes) to both apps. That is how I do it on longer hikes to make sure I do not waste too much time starring at phone screen. I also mark other points of interest before going out, for the same reason, and add more on the go when I find something interesting, photos work the same way of course. You can also follow predetermined trail using the app, but for me it is unnecessary distraction. With kids it could be a different story. Not all tiles of OpenCycleMaps are used off-line, so you do not get full resolution of the map. It does not affect usability.

Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
13,195 posts
464 reviews
472 helpful votes
7. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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I have used maps.me for hiking and trekking, in Nepal and other countries. But also in conjunction with paper maps.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
135 posts
11 reviews
1 helpful vote
8. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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maps.me saved me a couple of times where I took a wrong path and wandered up a river instead of down a river looking for a crossing (without looking at the map) while on AC.

it definitely works but you need to keep your eye on it at almost every suspecting fork.

however it sometimes lag (or maybe it is the GPS) and there was one occasion me and my fellow trekker were in the bushes for some 20 minutes before we found our way back on track because the app just keep pointing us the wrong way.

I learnt that we need to stop and let the GPS settle in (especially in very remote places) before making the call which path to take, and not just trust the arrow immediately.

Edited: April 10, 2021, 9:07 am
Paris, France
Level Contributor
548 posts
9. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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For perfect GPS positionning, your app needs to "see" 3 GPS satellites. That means receiving simultaneously the signal from 3 GPS satellites.

When your are hiking (or driving) in a mountaneous environment, your app may see only 2 of the available satellites, the third one staying behind a mountain. Precision of the positionning is lower in that case.

If you are hiking in the lower part of a deep valley (especially a canyon), the app may see only 1 satellite, if any. In that case, your app will wait for another satellite signal, and in the end may provide its best possible positionning. Could be quite far from the real position.

I could see this effect by reviewing GPS tracks between Himalaya Bridge (on ABC trail) and Forest Camp (on Mardi Himal BC trail). The lowest part of the GPS tracks had the right shape but was more than 100m southern that the real path you could see clearly on satellite views.

Fabrice

Espoo
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3,886 posts
10. Re: Tips on using maps.me and google maps in offline mode
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More apps, more worries... How come I have never been lost in 11 months of trekking with just a paper map?

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