off-line maps/gps

I'm really confused about maps that can be used off-line for getting around European cities (ie, those that use GPS to show me where I am). In case I'm using the wrong terms, by 'offline' I mean using no data. I have an iPhone 5, with the largest amount of memory (don't remember how much). What apps could I load to be able to locate myself in a city and find my way around? I'm mostly interested in Italy and France. I loaded maps for my last trip, which were helpful, but GPS didn't seem to be part of it (or I couldn't figure that part out). Can anyone help me understand this? Thanks

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

The GPS chip in the iPhone will work everywhere. But if you use it without special apps, it will be downloading map data ALL THE TIME, which will run into hundreds or thousands of dollars very quickly. If you buy a GPS app (like those from Magellan or TomTom or Garvin), then the maps are stored on the phone. Your phone will then work like a stand-alone GPS, and so you can turn off data and it will still work. Do a search on this Helpline to find out more about these apps (it's good that you have a large memory capacity, as these apps are large). And yes, these apps are not free, or even close to it (the figure I remember was $70 or $80).

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

One free app that I use on my iPhone 4S is NavFree. It is excellent, fast, reliable and has plenty of POIs. The memory is good to have because the downloads are big but once you have it there is no more data useage. And it is, as the name implies, completely FREE. Once you have it you can add additional countries for a fee but the better way is just to get the complete version for the next country which is then free. I, for example, keep the UK/Ireland one all the time and when I went to Italy I just got the Italy version which I now keep as well. Its very fast, and in side-by-side tests with my top level Garmin stand-alone it had the same amount or more data on screen and chose the same routes. Finding an address by post code or just by town is slightly fiddly because it requires an actual street before it will locate. In the UK I always put in Church street because almost everywhere has one. It works very well walking as well as driving. Try it in the US and see if you like it. You can always erase it. >>Do be aware that using GPS continuously will drain your battery more quickly than not using it.