Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26
  1. #1
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default instructions to setup free offline topo maps for your android phone

    Thought I would share my recent experiences as a sorta GPS newbie who successfully got nice topo maps and AT waypoints with shelters onto his Android 2.2 smartphone for free! (HTC EVO phone) This may help other noobs. It took a few hours of time and about 2 gigs of space to get 500 miles of trail downloaded to my phone. This means I don't need to be wifi or celltower connected to use the maps, phone can be in airplane mode, thus saving batteries and not relying on connectivity for usage, and GPS can be used regardless. My method might be exhaustive for someone doing the entire trail, perhaps better for section hiking, but below I will discuss some options for thru-hikers... I just start rambling this out!

    I tried a bunch of apps. The best functionality seemed to be OruxMaps:
    http://www.oruxmaps.com/index_en.html
    It is free, but I'm sure donations are accepted!
    On the Manual page you will find a link for a pdf "how to make maps from scratch":
    http://www.oruxmaps.com/manual_en.html
    http://www.oruxmaps.com/oruxmapsdesktop_quick.pdf
    In the instructions you will find you will need to install Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/trek...8.zip/download
    You don't need to "install" it just unzip it and put it somewhere on your computer. Windows only I assume.
    I mostly just followed the PDF instructions...
    For map source I used "TerraServer USA" it has nice topos.
    Each map I created was about 200 miles of AT trail, you could go larger with each map but each download operation will take longer, and the square that create gets unnecessarily large, the smaller the map, the smaller the rectangle - the AT obviously moves diagonally across the US usually so you end up with these unneeded areas in the map rectangle, but I guess those areas tell you about the towns available for emergencies. To select the map, I used "google maps" as the source because its easier to see the towns. After selecting the rectangle I switched to TerraServer.
    Very important - when setting up the map, I chose a maximum zoom of 15. If you choose 16 its too many tiles and too much memory! So choose 15, as well as 13, 12, and perhaps 11 and 10 etc. The smaller the zoom the less it matters whether you choose because the smaller zooms take up much less tiles. You can see the tile count change as you select them. Once you get over 20,000 tiles in a map it starts to take a long time. If you were hiking the entire AT you save yourself alot of time and memory and get a maximum of zoom level 14. Select 14,13,12,11,10 and you could probably get the entire train onto your phone's SD memory card in a couple Gigabytes.
    Name the map something useful like "springer-erwin" and create atlas.
    Once the download completes, and after you've installed OruxMaps on your Android, plug phone into your computer and copy the entire directory "springer-erwin" to your phone, I think the directory was something like "/oruxmaps/mapfiles". You will see "world" directory map already there.

    Other stuff...
    This site can help with planning all kinds of things, including the map rectangles you are creating:
    http://sophiaknows.com/atdb/atplanning.html

    Shelters and waypoints:
    This site has AT trail and shelter data from I believe 2003 or so:
    http://guymott.com/atgps.html
    You can download the .GPX files and import into your OruxMaps Android app so you can see the trail and shelters on top of the topos you just downloaded. You can experiment with various GPX files that are available. The .GPX files (not the zip files, unzip them first) go into a folder on your phone called something like "/oruxmaps/trackfiles". Keep in mind OruxMaps can't access files on your phone until you take it out of "disk mount" mode or whatever its called because the SD card won't be available to apps, so to test after copying files you must put it into "recharge battery" mode or just unconnect it. After you copy the GPX files there, you can goto "tracks" from the menu and then "import track", select the file. Once it finishes (large tracks may take a while be patient) loading you have to select it and load it for it to show up on the map. I found you can load the shelter file as a "route" after its imported, because you can only have 1 track file loaded at the same time. So if you load the shelters as a route and the trail as a track, you can view them both at the same time on top of the map!
    I downloaded the track files of the trail the were filtered at 50 feet, seemed about the best size. I also found that performance was much slower if you downloaded that one all at once. He also offers the 50ft file as a zip of 40 or 50 different files. You can import each of those independently and when you have them on the map one at a time it seems much better performance. Perhaps the 200 ft filtered track would be easier to get the entire thing loaded at once at still have good phone performance. Perhaps I will try that myself also.
    Of course once you are out on the trail you can use the maps like a normal GPS device. This is incredible today for an Android phone to be used much like a Garmin, and all the maps and the app is FREE.

    I hope this isn't confusing, if it sounds very very confusing then perhaps this is not the thing for you. If you are an Apple user with an iPhone there is probably another way to go entirely. I am a GPS newbie and so if you are not then this is probably not that useful for you either. Good luck!

    QWERTY
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  2. #2

    Default

    Thanks! I'll give this a try.

    Pringles

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for sharing.
    Backpacking light, feels so right.

  4. #4
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Sure your welcome, I was surprised how little detail was out here about maps on Android, since its a newer platform than iPhone. Of course its also a way better platform than the iPhone. BWAAHAHA!

    Some of the other Android apps I found let you do the map selection and offline download right from the phone. However their topos looked like ass, and using a small phone as an interface to deal with map downloading was not fun at all. The method I posted allows for nicer map creation tools and you get much better quality topos. Being able to overlay trail and shelter tracks is also sweet!

    BTW ... I tried using the track files that had shelter data and trail data combined, but I couldn't get Orux to load those on my phone, was getting an error - something to do with the data format. But when I imported the shelter gpx files and the trail gpx files (the ones without shelter waypoints in them) separately then it worked. Like I said above, once you get the maps onto your phone, you can experiment with the various track files available on that page with ease.

    Have fun geeking out...
    q.w.e.r.t.y.
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  5. #5
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Oh BTW... one annoying thing with OruxMaps application was that when you are navigating around your downloaded maps, and when you hit the edge of the map it will pop out of that map onto the world map (or onto the next adjacent downloaded map) and when it does this you will lose the area you were just looking at. Luckily, the OruxMaps offers lots of settings, and one of those settings is under "Application" called "Auto Load Maps". Just set that to NEVER and then it won't pop you out of your map when you are on the edge. Also, the "world" map they install by default is pretty bad. You can make a better one with the Mobile Atlas Creator tool I mentioned above, there are lots of cool map sources to choose from too.
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-12-2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Age
    31
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thanks, I also have an Evo so I'll have to give this a try.

  7. #7
    Registered User Graywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-29-2009
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Age
    48
    Posts
    1,250

    Default

    Thanks. I just purchased an Android so I am very much a newbie on this. I have been looking for some maps. I did find MyTracks.com which is free afor Androids and is in the Market. Havnt tried it yet as Im still seacrhing, but I will look at your recommendations as well..

    Graywolf
    "So what if theres a mountain, get over it!!!" - Graywolf, 2010

  8. #8
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Yah sure! I'm not sure if mytracks was one of the ones I had tried before oruxmaps. I would be curious to hear back if other android junkies find another method or app that has good looking maps that are easy to download offline and use with AT waypoint files.
    qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-21-2010
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    126
    Images
    1

    Default

    Thanks qwerty, I have the galaxy S and will try to load it tonight.

  10. #10
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-29-2007
    Location
    High up in an old tree
    Posts
    14,414
    Journal Entries
    19
    Images
    16

    Default

    Great post, there were some curves, I don't have the equipment you mention, but I am sure some will appreciate the effort.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  11. #11
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    I'd like to think of them as switchbacks, not curves Can't wait to get on the trail so I can play with my Android. I downloaded a toilet paper app so I can wipe my ass with it too.
    qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  12. #12
    AT 2012 1azarus's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-11-2006
    Location
    Wallingford, CT
    Age
    66
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    i figure in a few months you'll have it figured out... then you can make installing AT info in droids a cottage industry. i'll send you my phone first. probably beats sewing.
    Lazarus

  13. #13
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Hi. I thought I should report back that this method worked splendidly in the field! I did a 250 mile section during April in southern VA. I brought an HTC EVO 4G android phone. I swapped the battery out for a Seidio 3500 mAmp-hours and here is what I found. If you follow the directions I posted above, you can keep the phone in airplane mode throughout the day but with your GPS turned on. The map always worked correctly, never led me astray, was 99% up to date, and hardly drew any batteries using this method. I did one 5 nights stretch between towns and the battery just barely lasted but it did last! It lasted 3 to 4 nights easily which is the common length between towns. So I kept it turned on all day in airplane mode, every couple hours or so I would turn on the antenna for a few minutes and check for signals when I was up on the mountain ridges, would send a few text messages daily in this way. I brought my headphones and listened to about 1 album of music per day. In the evenings I would use my Kindle app to read books at night. I even had a few movie clips saved on the phone that I would occasionally watch in the evening. I used the GPS map about every 20-30 minutes to check my position. I had a weather radar app I would often use, or I would hit weather websites with the browser when I had really strong signals. Doing all this the battery lasted, but you must replace the factory battery with one that is 3500 mAmpH, and don't buy a cheap one but Seidio!

    QWERTY
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  14. #14
    Section hiker 2tall's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-27-2011
    Location
    Bonn, Germany
    Age
    46
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Hi,
    you can make the gpx-tracks show up in Mobile Atlas Creator, it's easier then to select rectangles for your maps: In the left column of the program, scroll down, hit "Load Gpx", point to your file, click open. That's it.
    Thanks qwerty for your useful post!
    Regards
    2tall

  15. #15
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Helllllllllllllllllo. Trying to get back on the trail in 2013 for another section hike. Tried using Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC) again since it worked so well last time on my Android phone with the OruxMaps app. But now all the good map sources in mobac are all gone! Legal issues from what I understand. The TerraServer map source in particular has been yanked, which was the source I used in the above instructions which I posted. MyTopos source is also gone.

    But.... tonight I found a workaround hack! And its a perfectly legal hack using OpenStreetMap as source. So you can still use mobac and orux to get the all the topos with trail track and shelter points. Is anyone still interested in doing this for 2013? These new instructions are a bit more complex and technical than before. I could make a new thread of instructions if people still want this for their hike.

    Last section hike I was so impressed with how well the maps performed, you can keep your phone in airplane mode all day (for 4-6 days on one battery charge) keeping just the gps turned on, and the trail/shelter data was very accurate and the app never once crashed or let me down!

    Qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  16. #16
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    I have decided I will soon make all the AT topo maps in the OruxMaps format. These maps will have topo lines, colored elevation relief, and standard features such as roads, towns, rivers, etc. The new method to create these maps with topo lines and other map features/contours all layered into one map is just too complex to explain here as it involves so many steps included software code. So I will make them available for free downloadable zip files. If you want to use my maps, but don't want to use the OruxMaps app (which is Android only) then you should be able to easily convert the map format into something else like for iPhone or whatever. OruxMaps seems the best choice for Android, and its free (donations only). The other offline topo apps I have researched all seem to be hot air... battery hogs, expensive, etc. I have tested similar maps I have created for OruxMaps in the field during a 1 month section hike and everything worked flawlessly.

    When the maps are done and ready for download I will post them in this forum!

    Qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  17. #17
    Registered User kythruhiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-10-2002
    Location
    Beattyville, Kentucky, United States
    Age
    45
    Posts
    187
    Images
    6

    Default

    So the original instructions won't work? I was getting ready to give that a shot on the phone, but I'll wait until you post something updated. Thanks for all the effort on this!

  18. #18
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Yeah, instructions given at the start of thread won't work anymore because TerraServer and other mapsources which provided the important topographic line data have been yanked. Had a setback, am still trying to workout getting the data from OpenStreetMaps, because their servers have just blocked my computer so right now I can no longer get the needed map tiles. Maybe the block will go away in 24 hours. I am moving on to plan b... trying to get those OpenStreetMaps elsewhere since they share the data to take the load off their servers. Will report back here as soon
    Qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  19. #19
    Registered User qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-11-2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Great news, got all the AT topo maps downloaded from an alternative tile source. I have them in OruxMaps format. Will post those files soon. If you need maps in a different format for a different app, then I will try and also post new instructions for how to create your own maps, because I don't think one can easily convert from OruxMaps to another format.
    Qwerty
    Man who stare at mountain too long step in sh**

  20. #20
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-10-2011
    Location
    Niskayuna, New York
    Age
    61
    Posts
    3,665
    Journal Entries
    10

    Lightbulb I have the same problem: people are gradually doing something about it.

    Qwerty - We might need to work together on this. I've been working off and on together with Lars, the guy who does TopOSM. (Note that in the East, the only state where TopOSM really works is Lars's current home state of Massachusetts.)

    I've been trying to get similar stuff going where I hike so that I'll personally have the data on my phone. Rather than OruxMaps, I use BackCountry Navigator, it's got similar features and similar battery performance - at least if you run the phone in airplane mode and make sure you have a good GPS fix before you start. Both are essential with any phone mapping application if you're going to be out of cell range.

    I've been making my own map tiles for New York State using a whole stack of software, with PostGIS and Mapnik as the foundation. I'm integrating a whole pile of data sources:


    • Worldwide:
      • OpenStreetMap
      • NaturalEarth

    • US:
      • US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory
      • National Elevation Dataset
      • National Hydrography Dataset

    • New York:
      • New York State Public Land Boundaries
      • New York State DEC Land Boundaries
      • New York State DEC Roads and Trails
      • New York State DEC Facilities Inventory
      • New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation trails



    Like you, I'm using MOBAC to do the final packaging.

    I have a previewer for the resulting map up, so you can see what it winds up looking like. Please don't go downloading bulk data from it, my machine won't take the load. http://kbk.is-a-geek.net/catskills/t...261&lo=-74.128 will jump you to the Harriman section. Here's a screenshot:
    harriman-scrrenshot.jpg

    Note that this preview is of a tile set that was intended to cover the Catskill Park. I didn't include the ATC data set for the Trail, so the Trail disappears when it leaves park lands. That's why the Mombasha Lake section is missing. I also didn't include any data for stuff outside New York State, so don't believe anything you see in NJ or elsewhere. This sort of problem is fixable.

    I've been doing this project simply because I have had no other way to get a decent tile set for the Catskills. Nobody is producing one, for free or for sale, as far as I can tell.

    Actually making this available to a broader audience would involve some negotiation over legalities. Some of the agencies that provide the data think they can own the facts.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •