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Offline maps for your tablet or smartphone

Using a smartphone or tablet to pull up a map and easily find your way is one of the best things about our technology today. But if you are not careflu, data charges can add up.

But  some apps make it so that you don’t even need to be connected to the Internet or have mobile service when using a map app. And that is good news for frequent map users. Here are three of them:

Maps.Me is among the best when it comes to offline map offerings. Its developers claim you could download maps to just about the entire world if you want to. Maps.Me, which used to be called Maps With Me, has a nice clean interface and easy to use. It has clear, easy-to-read maps (including street numbers) with the details you need. Maps.Me is free for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

OsmAnd is the offline map for those who want as many details as possible. OsmAnd is rich in details, offers turn-by-turn voice guidance and re-routing and search options using information obtained from the popular navigation service called OpenStreetMap. The free version of OsmAnd gives you up to 10 maps and you have to pay if you want more. The app is available for iOS and Android. It’s also available for Kindle, but costs $6.49.

Sygic is a GPS app with almost global coverage – useful for whether going to Japan and China or a two-hour trip away from home. Sygic has a simple user interface and gets information from the popular and reputable GPS service called TomTom. Sygic developers say one of the biggest benefits is the way the app stores a ton of info and uses less memory on your device. The app is free for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Kindle with premium services available for purchase.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.