In the old days I bought maps everywhere I came. Then I used them there. Then I saved them in a box. I have boxes full of old maps.
But now times are changing. There are easy devices with GPS. Since about one year I have a tablet-with-GPS. And I love it. My tablet only has WiFi connection, so whenever I am away from WiFi there is no downloading of maps. And maps are mostly needed when away from WiFi.
The solution is of course very simple: offline maps. It needs a couple of GigaBytes but then turning the GPS on opens a zoomable map. I am especially fond of MapsWithMe. Maybe simply because it was the first that made me satisfied, maybe there are other or even better apps available.The lite version is free and the maps are free. Actually I liked it so much that I bought the pro version – the first and so far the only app I paid for. For a lot less money than I used to spend on paper maps each year.
Besides the tablet mentioned above, recently some new Android devices have entered my household. Luckily it is possible to share apps that are bought. I bought MapsWithMePro on what I would call my family-account. I created a Google account with the only purpose of sharing stuff in my family. Sharing family-wide events, contacts and also apps. And because Android devices support multiple Google accounts, each family member can also have an individual account with individual stuff. The good thing is that an app bought with the family-account can be installed on each device with that account.
So, it is time to throw away the boxes with old maps. It will save some space.
But. The boxes are replaced with GigaBytes of maps. Maps are freely available from Open Street Map. Great project. Many apps use it. And there is also a bit of a problem. I now have three different apps using Open Street Map for its own purpose. And each uses its own collection of maps. That means that in stead of 3 GB of maps I have to store 9 GB. And maybe more, if I want to have more parts of the world in my apps.
Apart from MapsWithMe, I also use OsmAnd (a navigation app) and ObsMapp (for recording nature observations, see for example this blog entry). And each has its own Open Street Map format and requires me to download the those maps.
It would be so much easier if only a single set of maps was required. It would save space on my SD-card and it would save download and updates. Maybe it is too much to ask.