Apps that Map

Often you may find yourself in search of a route or places of interest and realize all of a sudden that you are without a reliable Internet connection. A lot of good a Google map will do you if you can’t get online, which is why some travel apps are quick to promote their offline capabilities.

ForeverMap 2 screenshot

One recent release is ForeverMap 2, which with its new iOS update features a free, global in-app travel guide. The app can be used with or without an Internet connection. By downloading the articles you choose before you leave on your trip, you will have complete data access regardless of where you are or network coverage. You will even avoid expensive roaming charges while you are away. The new version of ForeverMap 2 is powered by Wikitravel, a travel guide created by reviews from nearly 100,000 travelers. The app delivers offline mapping access, with full search capabilities for various attractions and point of interest information. Created by Berlin-based skobbler, the app is available at Apple’s iTunes App Store for $2.99.

A mobile app called i-Mobb takes a different approach to keep travelers connected without roaming costs. Just download the app (iOS, Android, or Blackberry) select a simple plan, and then use it to complete unlimited phones calls using VoIP services without incurring expensive roaming fees. When the app was first launched, it offered its free roaming services to eight countries, including the United States, the U.K., France, Germany and Italy. As of last month, the app now offers its services to residents of 30 additional countries, bringing the total to 38. Other new additions include a list of 60 countries to which outbound calls can be made for free. It has also added a Push-to-Talk function to iOS and Android versions, allowing travelers to receive and give calls while using other applications.

And finally, while it might not exactly be new, my last app is new to me—and I’m anxious to give it a try. I recently came across an app called Maplets, which offers users offline access to numerous specialty maps based on the type of activity, whether it’s state and national parks, a subway map, or a bike trail. You name it. Simply search for what you may be looking for in the app and download what you need. Like other apps with offline functionality, you will have full access to functions whether you are connected to the Internet or not. Some of the maps are even GPS tagged, which will allow you to locate your position on the map offline in a foreign company as long as your phone’s GPS works without data. What makes this application most interesting are the number of maps that are available directly from various government and corporate providers, right within the application. For instance a recent search shows that Maplet users can access a map of the Minnesota State Fair. The full version Maplets is available for download in Apple’s App Store for $2.99. The full version offers access to all Maplet content, but users can also download specialty apps as well, such as bike maps, California State Parks, or Metro Maps.

If you’ve got a favorite app that points you in the right direction, I’d love to hear about it. Of course when you are in Minnesota, a favorite app to find various regional activities is Explore Minnesota’s Active, or our own mobile website, TourMSP. Safe travels.