Galileo Offline Maps

miqrogroove
2012-11-21T18:46:33+00:00
Galileo Offline Maps logo screen shot

It’s free on iOS devices.

Galileo is my favorite GPS moving map for driving unfamiliar roads.  It’s installed on my iPad, which is much easier to carry and charge in the car than a laptop GPS system.

Here are a few pros and cons to this application, as well as a comparison to ForeFlight and Apple Maps.  Why these three choices?  Among the many mapping applications I’ve looked at and tried out, these are the only three  I still have on my iPad.

Pros:

  • Quick start up.
  • Fast and smooth panning and zooming.
  • Intuitive map caching.
  • Try before you buy.  All except a few features work in the free version.
  • Uses the best maps, and you can edit them if they need changes.

Cons:

  • It’s not a full-featured GPS, so no offline searches or driving directions.
  • It is missing a much-needed speedometer and compass display.
  • There’s no way to refresh specific parts of the map, except to delete the whole thing.

I was asked my opinion about this application as a pilot, so I also took a quick look at its aviation capabilities.  Galileo is by no means an EFB provider, but I suppose it is a reasonable choice if someone just needs a free moving map.  There is a steep trade-off of money for time, though.  To get the U.S. aviation charts loaded, I had to run an extra program on my desktop called MOBAC and then select a set of files to download from ChartBundle.com.  This MOBAC thing is awkward, time consuming, and extremely error prone.

There are two advantages I can see where Galileo outperforms ForeFlight:

  • Galileo has far better panning and zooming.
  • Galileo offers GPS track recording.

Just to note a shortcut I found for the Galileo map import procedure; it is not necessary to use iTunes.  I am not an iTunes user and I was happy to avoid it.  When importing custom maps, the files can be copied through SuperFiles, Safari, OPlayer, or any other application that can transfer files into Galileo.

Feature Galileo ForeFlight Apple
OpenStreetMap (Standard) Yes No No
OpenStreetMap (Foreflight) No Yes No
OpenStreetMap (Cycle Map) Yes No No
OpenStreetMap (MapQuest) Yes No No
Apple Map No No Yes
Satellite Map No No Yes
User Can Update Street Maps Yes Stale No
Offline Street Maps Yes Yes Yes
Cache Erase Yes No No
Cache Selective Refresh No No No
Maximum Zoom 18 16 19
Pan & Zoom Fast Delayed Fast
Map Import Yes ($) No No
GPS Tracking Yes Yes Yes
External GPS Support Yes Yes Yes
GPS Recording Yes ($) No No
Speed Display No Yes No
Altitude Display No Yes No
Distance Measuring No Yes No
Pushpins Yes ($) Yes Yes
Route Planning No Yes Yes
Driving Directions No No Yes
Spoken Directions No No Yes
Construction Information No No Yes
Traffic Information No No No
Online Business Search Yes No Yes
Offline Business Search No No No
Find Nearby No Yes Yes
U.S.A. Aviation Features
Sectional Charts Import Yes ($) No
IFR Charts Import Yes ($) No
d-TPP No Yes ($) No
d-A/FD No Yes No
Weather No Yes No
NOTAMs No Yes No
Automatic Chart Updates No Yes ($) No
Expired Charts Warning No Yes No
Online Airport Search Yes Yes No
Offline Airport Search No Yes No
Screen shot of a default map style in Galileo.

Galileo Offline Maps

A screen shot of the map style used in ForeFlight.

ForeFlight

A screen shot of the map style used in Apple Maps.

Apple Maps

Galileo also offers some clear advantages aesthetically.  As you can see in the screen shots, Apple has an appalling orange-on-yellow style for freeways.  ForeFlight is even worse with its white-on-yellow color scheme.  At certain zoom levels, the roads are nearly invisible.  These are not the only faults with the maps.  More problems become apparent at closer zoom levels.

ForeFlight seems to have an independent tile server set up to comply with the OpenStreetMap license, which includes the map data but not the map images.  The street map data being used are at least several weeks old by my estimation, and there is no indication of that in the application.  This is a bit of a surprise because ForeFlight goes to great lengths to display currency dates on all of the aviation charts.

Apple’s maps are horrendously incomplete compared to the OpenStreetMap data being used by Galileo and ForeFlight.  In my city, Apple Maps shows nothing where roads should be, roads and railroads where there are none, and just a handful of random features.

Galileo is the clear winner for driving.  Find it and try it out at Galileo-App.com.

20 Nov 2012

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