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How much data does Google Maps Use?

It doesn't use a lot of data!

· 3 min read

Whether you are using it to navigate and get around, using it to plot your itinerary, or simply using it to help you discover nearby attractions and restaurants, Google Maps is an integral part of many of our travels today. As you try to decide on a data plan for your trip, perhaps you might be wondering how much data you will need, and how much data Google Maps uses.


How Google Maps Works

Before delving into data usage, it's essential to understand how Google Maps operates. Google Maps primarily relies on two types of data: map data and user data.

  1. Map Data: Google Maps retrieves map data from its servers, which includes information such as roads, landmarks, points of interest, and real-time traffic updates. This data is preloaded and constantly updated by Google to ensure accuracy and reliability.
  2. User Data: When you use Google Maps for navigation, it utilizes your device's GPS to pinpoint your location and provide turn-by-turn directions. Additionally, Google Maps may also collect data about your usage patterns, such as favorite locations and frequently visited places, to personalize your experience and offer relevant suggestions.

Data Usage Breakdown

The amount of data Google Maps consumes can vary depending on your usage habits. For an average user, the data consumption typically falls between the 5-10MB per hour range, but this amount could increase depending on what you do on the app.

Let's take a look at some actions taken on Google Maps that can result in higher data consumption:

  1. Map Downloads: When you first open Google Maps or view a new area, data is required to obtain the map data from Google's server and download it to your app.
  2. Zooming In and Out: When you zoom in on a certain area of the map, Google Maps will need to load more details; and when you zoom out, it will need to load a larger area. Hence, frequently zooming in and out on Google Maps will result in a higher data consumption.
  3. Navigation: Using Google Maps for navigation consumes data primarily for real-time traffic updates, route calculation, and re-routing. The amount of data used during navigation depends on factors such as the length of your trip, the frequency of updates, and whether you're using additional features like satellite view or offline maps.
  4. Discovering Places: If you are using Google Maps to discover restaurants and attractions around you, you will likely be consuming data. Data is needed for the app to download relevant information of the place, such as opening hours, ratings, reviews, and any associated images.
  5. Satellite View: Enabling satellite view in Google Maps allows you to see high-resolution imagery of locations around the world. While visually appealing, satellite view consumes more data than standard map view due to the larger file sizes of satellite imagery.
  6. Downloading Maps: Google Maps offers the ability to download maps for offline use, which can be particularly useful when traveling in areas with limited or no internet connectivity. If you are accessing an offline map, you wouldn't be consuming data - but, the act of downloading a map actually results in data usage.

Tips for Minimizing Data Usage on Google Maps

If you're concerned about data usage while using Google Maps, here are some tips to help minimize consumption:

  1. Download Maps Offline: Pre-download maps for areas you plan to visit. Instead of downloading them while you are on data, you can download them when you are connected to WiFi. You can use the downloaded maps without using mobile data, and it will be very handy in places where you might not have good network coverage.
  2. Disable Satellite View: Use satellite view sparingly, especially when you're on a limited data plan, as it consumes more data than standard map view. You can disable satellite view from your settings page of your Google Maps app.
  3. Reduce Update Frequency: Adjust the frequency of real-time updates and refresh intervals in the app settings to conserve data.
  4. Monitor Usage: Keep track of your data usage through your device's settings or your mobile carrier's app to stay within your data limits.

Avoid roaming costs with a Nomad eSIM on your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.

And, if you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.

Nomad also has a 24-hour customer support team. So, in the event where you face difficulties while using your eSIM, rest assured there will be someone available to help you resolve your issues!