How to get directions from Google Maps into Gaia Maps for iOS so you can use them offline

I wanted a way to download directions from Google Maps onto an offline mapping program on the iPad so that I could use the iPad for navigation even when I don't have my cellular service.  I have an iPad with 3G, but because I am a tightwad I only turn the 3G service on when I am on long trips. Also, we go plenty of places with little or no cell service out here in the west, so even if I wasn't a cheapskate I would want this capability.

It turns out that it is not that hard transfer directions from Google Maps into Gaia GPS as a route (not turn-by-turn directions, sorry) that you can view as a colored line on the map.  These days my favorite iOS offline maps app is Gaia GPS.  It can do offline street maps (Mapquest using Open Street Maps), satellite view, and topo maps.

  • Sign in to Google on your computer browser, since you will need to work with the "My Maps" feature in Google Maps.
  • Go to Google Maps and get directions to the place you want to go.
  • At the bottom of the list of directions click the "Save to My Maps" link
  • Select "Save to a new map" from the drop down that asks which map you want to save to.
  • You will be taken to your new map in My Maps.
  • Find a link called KML on the left sidebar, just under the title of your map, and click it.
  • This will open a save file dialog for a KML file. Save it to your desktop.
  • Now transfer the KML file from your computer to your iPad.
  • One way to transfer the KML file to Gaia GPS is via email.
    • Email the KML file to yourself.
    • Open the Email on your iPad and open the attachment using Gaia GPS.
  • Another way to transfer the file is via iTunes
    • Plug your iPad into your computer
    • Go to the tab for your iPad in iTunes and click the Apps button to get to a list of your apps
    • Find Gaia GPS in the list of File Sharing apps
    • Click the Add button at the bottom of the file list for Gaia GPS. This will open a dialog where you can select your KML file.
    • After you have selected your KML file in iTunes, open Gaia GPS on your iPad. It should pop up a dialog saying there is a KML file waiting to be imported and asking you if you want to import it now. Do so.
  • Once you have imported the KML into Gaia GPS it won't automatically show up on the map.  You have to first tell Gaia GPS to display the route on the map.
    • Go the the Saved screen in Gaia GPS
    • On the Saved screen click the button on the top left for saved routes (it looks like two amoebas with stringy appendages)
    • Your KML file should be listed at the top of the list of routes with an on/off switch next to it. Turn it on.
    • Go back to the Map screen in Gaia GPS and your route will show up as a colored line. 

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