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iOS 6 Maps alllows for wider range in offline navigation

updated 11:44 am EDT, Fri October 5, 2012

Switch to vector tech leaves more data in memory

The iOS 6 version of Maps is more useful than its predecessor in terms of offline navigation, AppleInsider observes. Because the new app uses vector data instead of bitmaps, it consumes roughly 80 percent less space, and a greater area appears to be stored in memory when in Airplane Mode or outside of cellular or Wi-Fi service. iOS 5 Maps, based on Google content, would typically only save map tiles within a 10-mile radius at a couple of zoom levels.

iOS 6 is said to allow browsing state outlines for an entire continent, or in a more practical example, highway-level details for most of California and to a lesser extent the rest of the western US. In some cases this may include comprehensive street-level maps, such as for Salt Lake City. Zooming out to the globe retains basic satellite images and the names of major cities; using the hybrid roads/satellite view should still work for areas measuring over 100 miles. Hybrid views didn't work at all when offline in iOS 5.

More importantly the iOS 6 maps will still pair up with GPS data, allowing a person to figure out where they are as long as the right maps are still in cache. iOS does, however, lack a dedicated offline mode, something available to users of the Google Maps app for Android. Saved Android maps are limited to a radius of 50 miles, and cut out hybrid or satellite views, but otherwise include complete details.

Apple could conceivably introduce offline maps in a later version of iOS 6. The company is still working on problems with existing content though, since people have complained about inaccuracies and poor rendering, as well as features that were in iOS 5 but have been stripped out.

by MacNN Staff




  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-01-04

    Cool We don't have to be online to get wrong data!

    just kidding. I have only used the new map feature locally and it's generally been pretty good where I am. I did find a local BJs was misplaced by a few blocks though and submitted a correction through the map program. Checked today (about a week later) and it's still wrong. Not sure how much time they need to verify inaccuracies before they correct. would love to see corrections getting in quicker. I think Apple will fix this and it will be a nice map app.

    But for GPS driving, it's hard to beat Motion X. For $10/year you get the latest maps, lane guidance, great integration with ipod controls etc. Very nice app. Doesn't give you the pretty flyovers but it gets you to the right place and works great on my 3GS and original iPad too.

  1. marcstreeter

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-16-10

    I guess I am glad I live in Texas for once. That doesn't happen too often. I have had a great experience with the iOS maps service. I had previously been using [slow] Motion X and I must say the difference is night and day with how I use to view traveling with the iPad. Before I had to wait and wait and wait for Motion X to load its maps (which take up 2 gigs of space on my iPad) after picking where I wanted to go on its confusing interface. I have owned the app for the longest time and each time I need it to help me get where I am going I have an issue with the spaghetti interface it has. It is hard to get simple features to work properly. Even when it does get the map I am lost by how it presents where I am. Oddly enough before apple made their own maps service I would actually use the maps app provided before the upgrade and just hope that the cache would hold for the location i am going. I will say though that I keep the Motion X app installed on my iPad though just to wait for the updates in hopes that they too try to use their own app now and again and find it as annoying as I do.

    Until they get there act together I am really enjoying Apple's map service. I especially love the voice guidance provided as you drive. MotionX wants to charge a yearly or monthly fee on top of the price of the app to access that service after your free month is up.

    That's not to say that I believe that apple's offering is superior to google's. The one feature that I hope apple goes after, which google has already been actively pursuing is indoor maps.

    I guess I am naively happy or , at least, waiting for the map bliss that is iOS6 maps to crumble beneath me because of what other people have said on the forums. Then again they could just be planted there by google..... nah, I'm not that paranoid.

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