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Can Users Download Maps ... Or Not?

Original Post
Rick Philips · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0


I have the Android app. I was reading through reviews on the Google Play store, and browsing through the forum here, and I am a bit confused about the ability to "download" park maps to use when there is no cell or WiFi service.

I found this response online from the developer dated May 31, 2017:

"Hey Justyn, Thanks for reaching out. If you download the park that you're hoping to visit while you're in range, you should have access to trail maps, trail descriptions, as well as visitor center information, area tidbits and gems even once you go offline. Many of our parks have poor service, and we kept that in mind when designing the app!"

What does that mean? How do I "download the park"? Is there a hidden download button somewhere? Or does it mean that I have to somehow use the application to get it stored into memory? If the latter, do I have to click on each and every tile that I may want to visit? And how it is stored in memory -- i.e., what causes it to disappear? (I read elsewhere that you can't "close" the app -- there's not a close button that I can find so does that mean you can't use any other apps on your phone or otherwise stray from the maps for the duration that you want them to be stored in memory? That sounds unrealistic....)

Thanks in advance for any clarity anyone can provide.

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 6,027

Hey Rick, 

Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like your questions could apply to either the National Park app as well as the Hiking Project app. While individual National Parks used to need to be downloaded, that's no longer the case. All parks should be available at your fingertips if you're using the National Parks app. 

For Hiking Project, once you download a state, you should have access to all of our data. I think that the confusion about offline vs. online mapping has to do with base tiles. Because we use Google Maps base tiles, we are bound by Google's terms and conditions, which prevents us from downloading the base tiles to our app. The tiles will absolutely work when you're connected to service/wifi, but it's not guaranteed offline. As a workaround, we recommend opening the trail that you'll be hiking while you have service, which will sometimes temporarily cache the maps. 

We are in the process of transitioning to a new base map provider, who will allow us to get the base tiles added to our maps in a more permanent way. 

Let me know if that helps to clear up some of your questions, and if there's anything else that I can do for you! 


Joel Ha · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

Hi, it has been almost two years since the earliest questions about this.  Just wondering if the maps were switched over by now?  The website and google play page both say that no cell signal is required.  The GPS is showing I'm 2-3 miles away from my actual location(home) when I turn off data.

Tom Robson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 11,851

Hey Joel,

The mobile app works without cell service, the website does not. As long as you've pre-downloaded an Area (State that you'll be hiking in), the app will show your location as well as all of the trails/hikes in that state.

As to why your location is not correct, I can't say without more information. Note that the app gets x,y from your phone. If your phone has an improper x,y, we won't have a proper x,y.

Finally, and what might be causing more confusion here is the term "maps." What exactly are you referring to? Is this the satellite or terrain tiles that show on the map when you're in service? If so, these can be cached (which allows them to be viewed later) by loading the tiles ahead of time, while you're in cell service.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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