Google has announced today that it will be taking Maps offline, right down to street level detail. An update to Maps for Android will go live in 100 countries over the next few weeks to provide users with offline access to Google Maps data for selected locations. This will give you access to essential navigation and mapping features without needing to be connected to a data network, perfect for areas with weak coverage.
It’s unclear exactly how Google will be implementing this feature, though a Maps for Android Labs option has been available for quite a while now. Under this feature, users could long-press on the screen select an area they’d like to download a map for, and Maps would initiate a download for offline access. We expect this feature will simply shed the beta tag and land on the updated maps application, hopefully with some bugfixes and feature enhancements.
Regardless, the time for rejoicing is nigh, as Google Offline Maps is coming soon to your Android device.