Creating Offline Maps for Android

As of version 3.6.5, you can now create offline maps for Android using Mobile Atlas Creator. This is an Open Source Desktop tool that uses a variety of map sources.

Though BackCountry Navigator has several sources of maps built in, users may desire to use this tool to get access to other map sources or to get more control over their download. Note that there are map sources in MOBAC that BackCountry Navigator may not have permission to use directly. As the end user, you are responsible for complying with the terms of use of whatever map source you use.

Feel free to try this out. You can download Mobile Atlas Creator using this link. (this is slightly more recent than what is on the Mobile Atlas Creator website as of Nov 5, 2010).

Download Desktop tool for Online Maps for Android

Right now, many of you probably know as much about Mobile Atlas Creator as I do. You can find out more at Mobile Atlas Creator website. Please go there for help. You can also find the source there if you want to make it better.

Here are a few tips for those who are adventuresome enough to try this:

  • You may have to enable Mobile Atlas from the settings. This signifies that you have courage to try something new.
  • If you are already using Mobile Atlas Creator and you don’t see a format for BackCountry Navigator on your version, I’ll give you a little secret: You can probably use Andnav format and have it work just fine.
  • It is best to mount your storage card and set the atlas output directory to a path on the storage card. Then you won’t have to recopy everything.

Settings of the output directory:
Creating offline maps for your storage card for Android.
Known limitations:

  • If you abort an atlas creation in the middle, BackCountry Navigator may have trouble computing the zoom levels.
  • When you first load an atlas BackCountry Navigator will try to “auto-center” somewhere where the map has data. You can adjust the center point through a place search or other means.

Extra bravery points for those who create a YouTube video using screencastomatic of themselves creating a map for BackCountry Navigator.

Have fun!

10 thoughts on “Creating Offline Maps for Android

  1. Nice to have more sources for maps. I was hoping to see the ability to add custom calibrated maps in, that might be on the todo list still, but this addition got me what I was really needing; some trail maps for a nearby spot I used to do a lot of bike trail riding but haven’t been in a few years.

    The Mobile Atlas Creator tool itself is a little quirky, but I didn’t read any guides, just jumped in. Once I figured out you select the zoom levels, highlight the area, map type, add a name, then the Download it works. I originally had problems, I think I added the zoom levels last, apparently the selection has to be done after the zoom. Probably all documented, but it worked. :)

    Pretty nice stuff, especially I imagine for the folks in the UK being able to add in Ordinance Survey maps. Wish we had something nearly as nice here in the US, but this makes it pretty easy to add in more maps, thanks!

    Only minor quirk I saw with the process was that it prompts for the map source upon launching when a Mobile Atlas Layer is in use, but works fine from there.

  2. I noticed this page after surfing around earlier and finding the file “Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8″, however the link you gave is “Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8bcnav”. What’s the difference between those 2 files, if any?

  3. It is about three days newer than the official 18. release and has an output format called "BackCountry Navigator". Nothing else. If you need more detail, you can go to SourceForge and see the source.

  4. my youtube video screencast would surely be flagged for the multiple expletives after hours of trying. I have 10 dollars burning a hole in my pocket as my 10 day hunting trip starts tomorrow…and I can’t spend it here or on the other close front runner merely because I can’t get the maps created by MAC to work. I’d detail how I’ve used them painstakingly to the inth degree and even tried other logical things after exhaustive tinkering. If I could get Google Terrain and Terraserver maps to work I’d buy in a heartbeat. Actually I’m at a point that I’d spend twice as much for anything that would work even with an less than desirable UI. It finds the foler I’ve named in the ‘atlases’ folder but that is all. I’ve tried toying with the hierarchy to no avail. On the bright side, I assume that most of my frustrations will be overcome by this time next year. So I’m looking forward to that power user that succeeds between now and then.

  5. Sorry that it has been so frustrating. 

    I've had a few people write in that they succeeded. 

    When I've done it according to the instructions here, it creates directories such as Unnamed Atlas_2010-10-14_134514\OSM Cycle Map. 

    These can then be chosen as a layer in the hierarchy.

    Choose an atlas for offline maps for Android

  6. Created a large (17 GB) mobile atlas. Copied it to the SD card.

    BCN can find it, when I go to Layers > Mobile Atlas Layer…

    it shows


    and when I click Find Mobile Atlas Layers, it shows

    v (found button with a down-arrow) Cent-

    If I click on the button, it changes to show a right-arrow but nothing else happens.

    It doesn’t seem to be finding the atlas layers, when in Airplane mode, all I can find is my previously-saved MyTopo layer (which is much smaller).

  7. When I use Astro to view, yes there are many subdirectories. When I turn the triangle in BackCountry Navigator, it sees none of them.

    Thank you.

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