Google Maps offline Navigation

According to Allaboutphones the Google Maps team plans another new feature within their Maps application for Android: Google Maps offline Navigation. With this feature Google Maps will compete with traditional navigation companies such as TomTom or Gamin. It is not exactly known how this new possibility in Google Maps will work. But it can be assumed that your Route has been planned in advance and related map information is downloaded on the phone as long there is connection to the web. After downloading the route, you can start your trip and go to "offline mode".

The offline navigation feature will rise some technical questions:
  • How will the navigation software react, if you drive the wrong way. Will it detour you?
    • Possible Answer: The caching of map material will include a buffer around the route. This will cover most of the detours and allows rerouting within a certain area. Of course there are some limitations because the street network is tricky and the buffer has to be calculated according to network properties.
  • What is about Live traffic information and congestion warnings?
    • Possible Answer: The Navigation software will not be able to retrieve live traffic information over the air. Therefor is information cannot be used. In order to make routing better statistical or experienced traffic data can be preloaded to different times and applied to the route. As alternative an forecast about estimated travel times has to be calculated based on current and historical data.

All in all this will be an very interesting possibility for Google Maps and competitors have to worry about. Some rumors speak about an possible release date before Summer 2011.