Openstreetmap can be used offline, without an internet connection, in a number of ways. In fact because the OpenStreetMap is more free (as in freedom), some offline offerings can be vastly superior to those of other map data providers, since they often deliberately use technical barriers to limit offline storage/distribution of their data.
Working offline is helpful for all sorts of reasons. Local storage is often faster than making requests to the internet. If you are travelling abroad, and want to save on roaming fees. For working in countryside locations where 3G connections are unreliable, or underground (ever wanted to browse a map while on the metro?). OpenStreetMap can be used in the developing world, and in disaster zones where internet is not available.
Since Openstreetmap data has so many uses, and a lively ecosystem of developers creating different tools, there are many options. See the list of available software or other possibilities of using OpenStreetMap. Some experimentation may be necessary to find the tool or tools which are right for the job. Obviously you should do this experimentation while you're still able to download software and instructions!
View the map offline
You can download images from the web site, there are tools for this e.g. Export tab from the web map, Tangogps (Linux). You can also you applications that will use the Openstreetmap data in useful ways like Gosmore or Navit, see more in next section.
Rendering data yourself
The web map is rendered by Mapnik or Osmarender, these can be installed on your system to allow you to render maps your way. Osmarender can be used directly in a browser which will be slow, installing mapnik is very possible even with little knowledge about the tools you need to install. There are a few more rendering solutions that can work offline, see Rendering.
Using the data offline
You can use Openstreetmap for lots of things, but Routing is the most important one. There is two tools for this Navit and Gosmore. You can download Openstreetmap maps packs for navit which were prepared by CloudMade.
For caching tiles on your computer and then be able to browse the map offline, you can also use:
Also have a look at
While you have an internet connection...
- Download an area of the map (can be one or several bounding boxes)
- Save the data as a OSM XML file on your local disk.
While you're offline without an internet connection...
- Open the file
- Maybe open GPS traces and overlay them on the data (This can also work fine offline)
- Make changes e.g. add local information you have captured while out surveying
- Save changes back to file. The file includes information about all your changes including moving and deleting data.
When you're back to an internet connection...
- Open the file from your disk into JOSM
- Do "File" menu > "Update Data" to re-download the areas you worked on. Resolve any conflicts (see JOSM/Advanced editing#Resolving conflicts)
- Click upload to save the changes to the OpenStreetMap server.