View Full Version : PDF maps by Avenza

03-14-2014, 13:47
This might be old news on this site, but I LOVE this app.

It is very popular with crews fighting wildfires out west. It is PDF Maps by Avenza, and it is free.

After you download the app, you can shop for maps, many of which are free. (usgs topo are usually free in 7.5 scale.)

So what makes this app cool is it functions like a gps. You can open the map, and it will place a blue dot to represent you.

You can also drop pins at different points, and if you click on the pin, it can open a page that you can attach photos to.

I used it last year on a huge wildfire in Oregon. I would find a cool scenic overlook to use as a lookout. Place a pin and label it. attach photos of the view from that spot. I used it as a road map, fire map, and gps.

A lot of state parks and other big lands are making downloadable pdf maps of their trails. So you can scan a barcode at the gate, and get a copy of all the trails you are going to hike. Then you can open it with PDF MAPS, and see yourself hiking along.

03-14-2014, 13:48
Oh, and if you do anything with ArcView, you can make your own maps too!

Hikes in Rain
03-14-2014, 14:11
I hadn't heard of it. Very cool! Thanks, myakka!

04-02-2014, 11:44
Loaded it on my Samsung, says "Swipe to explore features of PDF Maps".
And ...
Nothing until I swiped to the 4th or 5th page

04-02-2014, 13:09
Big +1 on Avenza PDF maps. Be forewarned, many useful maps are free, but most are not. They are pretty reasonably priced though and there are enough free maps to play with to see if the Avenza app will meet your needs. My current favorite paid maps are from the NY NJ Trail Conference.

Avenza also has a lot of useful features such as import and export in a number of useful formats. On iOS, import and export is done through Dropbox. I'm not sure how its handled on Android. I use it on my iPhone and iPad predominantly for route planning. Given the power drain that navigation has on my phone, I use it in the field only if I need to quickly verify a location.

As far as stability, it came out for iOS a while ago and I think only recently for Android. The Android version may not yet be quite as polished and stable as the iOS version. They seem to do a good job fixing issues, so I would still give it a shot on Android.

04-04-2014, 18:41
I'm trying the Android version. Pdf maps has quit on me several times. No obvious reason why.
You can get USGS Topos as Pdfs direct from the USGS website. So I got 4 adjacent topos for a specific area where I planning a 2 day. I put them together and saved the whole thing as a Pdf into the Pdf Maps folder. The app will open that pdf plus it looks like it will open several pdfs at one time.
I sent Avenza email support a query and the reply was use another format. Apparently there is a special GS format that Avensa likes better than Pdf.

Sent from my Samsung Note 3 using Tapatalk.

04-04-2014, 18:46
Sorry for the issues Chuck. Avenza was really helpful when I had questions. They even let me in the beta group for android. I thought they were really great. Wish they had helped you more.

04-04-2014, 22:26
Actually they did help. I didn't want to be too wordy.
Solution suggested was a photo shop plug in that will 'gen-up a special tiff with GIS metadata built in I'll have to try that.
In all I've found GIS/GPS is far from prime time. Maybe I'm too old school - unfold a map, find my location, figure out a route and go. That's navgation. GPS and Sat Nav that's black magic.

Sent from my Samsung Note 3 using Tapatalk.

04-04-2014, 22:35
I just had a similar discussion with someone on a different forum. They were saying that they only use maps because electronics can fail. I sorta think that is like only walking to work because a car can break down. I know maps. I have taught land nav, topo map and compass, (dead reckoning, ranger beads, real old school stuff)
But I don't "default" to it. I like my gadgets, but if they break, then I go to my backups. Besides, some of the stuff I do at work has me working with GIS, and some of the cutting edge stuff is very cool. Have you seen wind ninja and some of the weather prediction over topography stuff?

04-09-2014, 05:57
Weather. Well when you are on the trail weather is what get like it or not. I suppose if I had a usable weather app with me I might bail due to what _might_ come my way. On the other hand I spent the night in the first shelter north bound out of Fontana in an ice storm that followed me up out of the NOC. Had a fabulous time got lots of pics of ice on trees. With a warning app prompting me I'd have missed that. PS I survived.
A good weather app would aid in panning but most of the commercial weather in Florida is meant to protect the Disney World type folks. The government weather is too much of a nanny - "the sky is falling, the sky is falling".
Gotta be a better way.

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