Editor’s note: Jovan does not want to go to Florida during hurricane season ever again. And quite frankly, we do not blame him.
During a snowstorm, it is important to know where you are going, in case the data goes out.
The same, sadly, cannot be said of hurricanes because people will be stuck for months – or years like Floridians were post-Andrew – due to downed power lines and live wires, and the utter lack of water or other badly needed sanitation necessities.
So, for all the readers out there, snow bunnies or not, here’s how you can use Bing Maps – and OpenStreetMaps – should you have a loss of data (like the poor T-Mobile/MetroPCS folks in Pennsylvania experienced recently) on your Windows Phone.
First, download the Windows Maps app (if you do not have it already) or the Mapfactor GPS Navigation app from the Windows Store. If you do not know how to do that, links are in this post.
Secondly, open the Windows Map app. Then, tap on the ellipses at the far right. Then, tap on Settings.
From there, you will see the offline maps option. Tap on “Choose Maps”.
Once in the Offline Maps option, tap the plus sign in the box to begin downloading maps. You can also choose to change the storage location of the downloaded maps from your hard drive to an SD Card, if your phone has a micro SD Card slot available. (NOTE: the Lumia Icon does not have a micro SD Card slot. The HP Elite x3 has a micro SD Card slot, but if you insert a nano SIM card in that slot (known as slot 2), it will be inactive until you replace the SIM card with a micro SD card in Slot 2.)
If you have Data Stash (T-Mobile Simple Choice Prepaid 6 GB or 10 GB plan) or Rollover Data (AT&T Next/AT&T GoPhone), you can download the maps on a metered connection without worry. Just tap the switch from “off” to “on” under the Metered Connections section of the Offline Maps section. Screenshots of the section are below, from the Lumia 640.
How about Mapfactor, then? Well, in order to use the map app, you must download at least one offline map.
Open the app, and then choose Navigator Free. Or if you prefer, you can pay for the TomTom/OpenStreetMap Truck Maps combo by clicking on Navigator Pro. The US map costs $47.67. However, you will be able to get every other paid map for free once you purchase that map.
Unfortunately, though, both maps use up quite a bit of space, so you will need a micro SD card before downloading.
That’s it! Open the map, select the location(s) of your choice, and you can start using it without data.