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I will have to look into pre-loading maps. I'm not aware of that feature (maybe not available in Android, or in the version I have??).

It's available in some Android models.

While I have no experience in "pre-loading" maps, it seems that with vector maps it should be pretty unnecessary.

Here, for instance, is an example of a guy using both Google's bit-mapped maps and Apple's vector maps (I note that Google now uses vector maps too, for devices which support them.)

A Google map loaded a radius of about 35 miles, with several levels of resolution. A vector map was over 300 miles:

After loading San Francisco and going offline, one can browse over 300 miles (480 km) south (nearly to Los Angeles), 335 miles (540 km) north to the Oregon border, and 300 miles east to the middle of Nevada, down to the primary city street level (in sharp detail but with few road labels).

Attempting the same task on an existing iPad, Google's bitmapped maps run out of steam just 35 miles (56 km) away in Palo Alto (below), and on the edge of its cached area, images degrade poorly when zooming, with blurry text and jagged road lines.

(This is an old-ish post - 4 months, and the Google experience has improved; the point is that pre-loading maps would seem to be pretty unnecessary, unless you are going to venture more than 300 miles from the place where you can make your last data connection.)

But don't blame me if you are hiking in the woods and suddenly your map goes blank. I don't know any of this from personal experience; it's all just theory based on what I read.
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