copilot gpsA glass of water destroyed Joy’s smart phone. It happened during lunch. We don’t care if we miss calls, it’s the turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps that we miss. So while we’re without a smart phone, we’re using “CoPilot GPS.” It brings turn-by-turn directions even when you can’t connect to the Internet.

On our iPad Mini, we connected to Wi-Fi and downloaded all of North America for free. Well, the roads and roadside attractions anyway. Restaurants too, of course, and if you tap on anything CoPilot automatically displays the way there. It’s all there, even when we’re offline.

The app seems especially useful for those who have a limited data plan, which means they pay extra for getting on the Internet when they’re out of range of Wi-Fi and have exceeded their monthly limit. Our water-logged phone had unlimited data but only a mermaid can read it now. When we get a new phone, we might choose limited data and save a few dollars. We’re considering the “Virgin Mobile Custom” phones we wrote about a few weeks ago.

The free version of CoPilot doesn’t call out directions as you move along; that’s in the pro version, which is $10. But if you don’t need the voice to guide you, the directions on the screen are easy to read. If you don’t know an address, which is common — who knows the address of a supermarket? — tap “points of interest.” It quickly found the store we were looking for. When we’re in Florida visiting a friend this Christmas, we’ll be able to search for all kinds of tourist attractions without having to be online. (Bob doesn’t think Florida has any attractions.)

Downloading the maps, directions and all that takes 2.14 gigabytes for the whole United States; regions take up less than half of that.

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