Offline map storage

Just testing the offline storage of maps, I selected the greater Boston area, and abandoned the effort after 30 mins and only downloading about 10% of the maps (on high speed wifi). Seems that the multiple layers added up to many tens of thousands of tiles!

I found that I can also just browse the areas and zoom levels I need and BCN saves them automatically for offline use. Much easier, really, though not mentioned in the guide.

It’s worth looking at Navdroyd map management, it offers countries and regions, and data compression must be pretty good because files are not too huge. And it’s got a crude but usable navigation system. If you could incorporate that into BCN, this would be the best product out there!


Downloading GPX /KML files from google maps

In the past I’ve used Takitwithme.com to create GPX files from maps.google ‘My places’ that I’ve created. That still works (on internet explorer, not Firefox anymore, it seems), but now I was trying to get extract a KML – clicking on “view in google earth” on My Maps offers an option to save a KML file, but the file I get is empty, with no waypoints. Any clues?


street names in Mapnik Open source maps

I’ve been playing around with BCN, and enjoy the ability to import/export GPX files, and store map data offline, but I’m mostly looking for road maps for travel without data roaming on my Samsung Galaxy S. The street names are almost illegible on Mapnik OSM maps till you get to zoom level 18 or 19. In the desktop version, main streets have larger text, and in Navdroyd (also based on OSM), the street names are larger at every zoom level. So I imagine something can be done.


Importing .tpo files

I’m planning a 25+ mile trip and would like to import the .tpo file located at:


Does this need to be converted to a .gpx file first? If so, can you point me in the direction of an app that will do it? I tried GPSBabel, but couldn’t make it work since it is more of a device-to-device converter.

Thanks for any hand-holding you’re able to provide.


Load Multiple Trips but only Edit One at a Time

Currently the only option I know of is to load one map at a time and any way points or tracks that get added are added to the loaded map.

I generally create a map of the trail I think I’ll be going on (via Google KML), then I’ll add some way points to it, then I’ll import it into BCNV. What I’d like to be able to do is load this map as a trip and start another trip to record new way points and tracks and have both trips viable.

Maybe you could create some radio buttons on the load existing trip menu that would allow you to load multiple trips and select which one you want to record to.

I love the program and I’m using more and more. Maybe this feature is already available and if it is let me know.

Thanks again Nathan!


Australia, sydney to the red centre and back

Just had a great trip recently on my KTM, Was heading for alice springs but didn’t make it, Inland Australia was in flood and what a sight to see.
I had all my route maps pre-downloaded and a track laid out from google earth. But when I could no longer continue as the cooper creek was 5.2M above the causeway it was good to be able to find some more trails and know I wasn’t on a wild goose chase.
I did 3325km and used BCN for 95% of the time as I’m always concerned about running out of fuel, counting km to go.A great holiday and my first adventure without my garmin.


BC Navigator Demo

I’ve just downloaded the Demo version and am unable to work out how to choose a map section (tile ?) which (I think) I’ve downloaded to SD card. The guidance suggests I should use the Maps menu item but I can’t find this. Is it unavaiable on the Demo version of the app?
Thanks for reading this


Android GPS App Selection

An Android GPS App allows you to use your Android phone as a GPS device. Considering your activity, you can choose a GPS app based on map types, map access, and style of navigation.

Types of Maps for Android
There are several different kinds of maps that can be used by an Android GPS App. They differ in how they look and the type of information that they show.

  • Street maps: Street maps show details of the streets in the area and may include names and other helpful information. They are typically used for road navigation.  
  • Topographic(topo) maps: Topo maps show the terrain of the area you are in. The slope of the terrain is typically shown by the use of contour lines, which connect points of equal elevation. They indicate vegetative cover and bodies of water through the use of color. They may include trails or roads. These are typically used for outdoor activities, such as hiking, backpacking, or canoeing, which take place away from major roads. These are the maps used most by BackCountry Navigator.  
  • Aerial Photography: Aerial photography shows a color or black and white image of land as seen from the sky. In recent times, the photos may actually be taken from a satellite and still have the level of detail that an aerial photograph used. These are useful both for urban and wilderness navigation. In the US at least, these maps are more recent than most topo maps.

Access to Maps 
Another thing to consider for your Android GPS app is when you will have access to maps. If you are always going to be using your Android phone in places with cell coverage, it is sufficient to use online maps. If you plan on using the app away from urban areas, typical in outdoor navigation, you want to use offline maps

  • Online Maps: These are the kind of maps that Android users are most familiar with. The most well known example is Google Maps. Google Maps gets map data from the internet on a continuous basis while connected. If you do not have an activate data connection, either because you haven't paid for one, or you are outside of coverage, you typically won't see any maps. 
  • Offline Maps: While they might be created with a desktop tool, the source for offline maps is usually the internet as well. BackCountry Navigator will allow you to specify a region, and then download map data for offline use. Offline maps are then available when you are outside internet service. While there is some preparation involved, offline maps are more typically used in outdoor recreation.

Style of Navigation
There are several styles of navigation you may see in an Android GPS App.

  • Turn by Turn Directions: This is the navigation style typically used for road map apps. This will give you a set of instructions including what road to follow and where to turn.  
  • Waypoints: For outdoor navigation, it is common to find your way by knowing your distance and bearing to known locations. 
  • Following a track: A track may be a trail, or simply a route that someone  has recorded in the past. These can be represented as a jagged, colored line on a map, and one can see their position relative to the line. For outdoor navigation, this can substitute for following a road.

An Android GPS App can be chosen for your favorite activity by keeping these things in mind. Have fun with your Android GPS and be safe.  



Android Maps and Aerial Photography

Android mobile devices need an Android map to be able to navigate with the help of GPS. Maps are downloaded and stored in a GPS device. These maps can be viewed online or offline depending on your choice of a GPS app. Backcountry Navigator Android GPS app is capable of these.

Topographic Maps
Topographic mapping is created by US Geological Survey in the United States. Every inch of the US is covered by 54,000 map sheets or quadrangles. The primary scale they use for topo mapping is 1:24,000 which means that one inch on the map equals 24,000 inches on the ground or 2,000 feet. These map sheets demonstrates an area of that is 7.5 minutes of longitude wide by 7.5 minutes of latitude high and measures just about 29 inches high and 22 inches wide.

A topographic map shows the shapes and terrain of the land and uses signs to symbolize the topography of the area.

A handy alternative for a map sheet is an Android gps map. It function like map sheets in an Android GPS device. With the use of Backcountry Navigator GPS app, it can also be used for planning, preparation and navigation.

There are seven colors on a topo map representing the type of terrain features. An exception is the Northern areas of Canada, which are mapped in monochrome (or black and white).
•    Black defines features such as buildings, train lines, power transmission poles, toponymy, exact elevations, border and neighboring information.
•    Red represents concrete roads, highway numbers, crossing points and major transportation routes. A red hue signifies an ongoing urban development.
•    Orange means undeveloped roads, unidentified roads and streets.
•    Brown indicates outlines of elevations, eskers and contour lines.
•    Blue represents water features, names of bodies of water and watercourses. Universal Transverse Mercator matrix is also shown in blue.
•    Green colors in topo maps means wooded areas and plantations.
•    Grey is used for uncategorized signs, glossary of terms and abbreviations found at the back of the map.
•    Purple indicates updates added to the original map detail.
One of the most important information to look for on a topographic map is the latest date of revision printed on the left side of the scale. Even though mountains take hundreds of years to change, small-scale features change quickly. A watercourse may change because of flooding and landslides and alter the topography considerably. Some trails may have been added or some may have become unusable. These small changes are still very important to ensure accuracy and safety.

Aerial Photography
Since aviation began more than a century ago, aerial photographs served as the source of information about the Earth's surface. The success of cartography came from precise aerial photos.
An aerial photograph gives a specific view of the ground that no other map can. During emergencies when information cannot be accessed through maps, aerial photography is the best alternative. An aerial image gives a permanent and exact record of a monitored area on a daily basis.

Aerial photographs cannot be compared to a topographic map as both have different characteristics. Ground features in aerial photos are hard to interpret without symbols and the scales are only approximate. The lack of contrasting colors and hue makes it difficult to use in the dark. However, nothing can surpass the benefits of an aerial map in times of disasters where information is most important for safety and prevention.

Android maps, aerial photograph and Backcountry Navigator in your Android GPS device can give you information about your exact location and Earth’s geographical status anytime.