After centuries burdened by stacks of static, environmentally unfriendly paper maps, navigation technology took a giant leap into the modern age with the advent of the electronically stored map. Now, not only can you plot the best routes from your home to every Wi-Fi enabled hot spot in the country, but Google Maps allows you to virtually hover over a satellite image of the entire earth, rather than keeping you confined to the borders of a square sheet of folded paper.
Yet, the question of how to apply that technology to the road--armed with only a laptop, sans Internet connection--has long plagued the Garmin-less masses.
Fortunately, the solution requires only a bit of preparation and foresight before leaving the comfort of your Wi-Fi cloud.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Internet browser
Charge your laptop. Nothing will kill your plans for Internet-free navigation faster than a loudly beeping laptop, protesting as you drain the last 10 per cent of its battery power. Consider taking an extra battery if you have one.
Load the map you want to access while away from the Internet on maps.google.com. This might involve searching the address of that tough-to-find locale or plotting your route using Google Maps' directions feature. Use several Web browser windows or tabs if you need more than one map.
Focus Google Maps on the area you need to see while away from Internet. Google Maps will store some of the surrounding area in your computer's memory, but not everything.
Zoom in close so the more detailed map loads if you need to see side streets, rather than just the wide-angle view of major highways.
Scroll Google Maps to the area with which you're less familiar, if using the program for long or complicated directions. Instead, use the listed directions to the left of the map to remind you of major intersections or highway exits in the areas you can navigate without much prompting.
Keep your browser windows open. Put your laptop on standby or hibernate if you need to save battery power before using Google Maps.
Avoid accidentally clicking a link for an ad on the page or pressing the back button after the Internet connection is gone. If your Internet browser tries to load something else without an active connection, you might not be able to get back to the Google map you were referencing.
Scroll back to the area you had loaded, if the map accidentally goes flying toward the Arctic Ocean. If you can get back to it, the details of that area should stay saved in your computer's memory.
Reference the listed directions, if you're using Google Maps on the road, even if the map for your entire route isn't saved.
Tips and warnings
- This also will work on your Google-maps enabled, broadband-less phone. Unlike the program on a computer, however, the phone application will keep informing you that you've lost the Internet connection. Just keep closing the dialogue box without closing the application.
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