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This GPS app now covers the entire planet except for a few volcanic islands and Antarctica

This GPS app now covers the entire planet except for a few volcanic islands and Antarctica


Offline maps for off-the-grid traveling

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Sygic, a GPS app that stores maps on your smartphone for offline use, announced today that it has added 88 new maps to its portfolio, allowing the developer to now brag that it's app "is now available to users in every United Nations recognized state." That means Sygic's user friendly maps cover practically every inch of the globe... with a few exceptions.

There are a handful of uninhabited areas not covered by Sygic's maps, said Daniela Zelinova, a spokesperson for the Slovakia-based company. The non-mapped regions include: the Aland Islands off the coast of Finland; Antarctica; Heard Island and the McDonald Islands, a group of barren Antarctic islands near Australia; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and Svalbard and Jan Mayen, a pair of islands near Norway.

In Sygic's defense, it was too busy adding China and Japan to its system to worry too much about those unpopulated spits of land. But in a crowded market dominated by Google and Apple, why would users spend $25 for a map of Australia or $45 for a map of Iran, which is what Sygic charges for those respective maps? Zelinova says her company's biggest advantage is the ability to download larger maps for less memory.

"I know that Google introduced its offline maps, but users are still not able to drive from LA to San Francisco with that," she said via email. When downloading a map of California, for example, Google only allows a maximum of 7,500 square miles, or a little more than one-quarter of the entire state, she said. That will take up 1.5 GB of storage, or roughly the same amount of memory as 345 songs or 800 photos. Sygic users can download the whole state of California for 330 MB. "This 330 MB includes complete street coverage, all the data necessary for turn-by-turn navigation, information about points of interest, as well as landmarks and 3D terrain for easy orientation," she said.

Sygic says it has 125 million users, 20 million of which are in the US. With its relatively steep prices, the app could find it difficult to outpace its no-cost rivals. However if it's goal is to appeal to those seeking adventure off-the-grid, or in foreign lands where data plans tend not to work, Sygic could be just the thing. As long as you're not traveling to Antarctica.