Never again will you get lost in the big city with the latest update to Google Maps for mobile, which brings offline mode functionality to the app, in addition to a new 3-D view of the maps you pull up.
Google Maps 5.0 for Android will now dynamically draw images by using vectors — as opposed to loading a series of individual, small images that were stitched together in the past — which uses 100 times less data to acquire maps.
This allows Google Maps to easily cache large chunks of maps on your phone based on where you use the app the most. Each time the device is plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi, the application will automatically start caching maps of your most frequently visited areas. So, lose your connection or go underground on the train, and the app still has the map of the surrounding area that you need on your phone.
With the offline maps comes an equally useful feature: the ability to perform offline re-routing when using Google Maps Navigation, the turn-by-turn GPS navigation feature. Though an Internet connection is still required to start a route, the connection can drop out part of the way through and the application will still put users on the right track if any wrong turns are made.
New 3D Mode
The new 3D view of your maps also utilizes the dynamic drawing feature, which allows users to interact with the images in new ways. When handling the maps, there are special touch controls for tilting, rotating, and zooming in on the images.
There is also a new compass mode, where users can center the map on their location and then orient the 3D map to match their perspective.
Google Maps for mobile 5.0 is available in the Android market for all devices running on Android 1.6 and up, but the offline mode and 3D maps require Android 2.0 or higher.