This Google Maps Update Has Made Road Tripping Way Easier

New feature lets you use navigation and search areas without data

We’ve all been there before: you’re driving up north with a couple buddies on the weekend and the car needs gas. You pull out your phone’s GPS to look up a close gas station but your phone has no service. Welcome to shit’s creek folks.

A new update that Google is rolling out for their Maps service has answered your data prayers, with downloadable areas. Since data can be spotty in areas that aren’t highly populated, Google has added a new feature that lets Google Maps users download information for an entire area ahead of time. That way, when you get to where your going, you’ll have the lay-of-the-land with or without data.

This means you will continue to get turn-by-turn directions, search specifics (like stores and businesses) and information like business hours and contact numbers, — no data needed.

Users have the choice to download areas by entire country, province/county or city; it all depends on how much storage your phone can handle. Areas can be downloaded by searching that area and selecting “Download” or going to “Offline Mode”. Google will automatically turn the feature on once it detects a limited or spotty connection, and automatically switch back once it finds a data connection, allowing you to use GPS-based services like up to the minute traffic updates. To preserve your limited data plan (because you’re not a millionaire) Google only downloads when connected to Wi-Fi, So plan ahead!

Happy travels friends.

Main image courtesy Viktor Hanacek via Picjumbo