Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Custom Maps for Android Devices - Steep Learing Curve


At some point Saint Clair Mapping wants to supply some select custom fishing maps for Garmin and other compatible GPS devices (likely for free) of the Smokies and possibly other area fishing streams in Tennnesee. But to better see the results of my iterations, I would need to buy a handheld GPS. Not in the budget as of now.

But first, I would like to see what capabilities exist for creating custom topo GPS maps for Android phones and tablets to help me up the learning curve. In have Droid Razr and Samsung Tab2 7. It appears Verizon's VZ Navigator is not capable of importing custom maps of any type.

After many goes at it in Google, here is an app I found that I though had promise:
BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS (backcountrynavigator.com).
Developer: CritterMap Software (crittermap.com)
Description: "Use your phone or tablet as an offroad topo mapping GPS with the bestselling outdoor navigation app for Android! Explore beyond cell coverage for hiking, and trekking. Download topo maps for the US and some other countries in advance, so you won't need cell coverage when navigating.

This (app) uses many publicly available map sources as free downloads. It also has some additional content available as an in app purchase..." (including Accuterra Topo Map Source).

Have downloaded the free BackCountry Navigator Pro Demo version on my Android tablet and phone. (The actual product is $9.95). Looks to be a good app... and as of recently can import KML or GPX files. I haven't mastered that yet, however. User guide is somewhat lacking in this regard. The product description goes on to state "You can create your own maps with Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC) (mobac.sourceforge.net)"

I want to believe I won't need MOBAC, preferring to create the custom KMZ/KML maps using JPEG as Ground Overalys in Google Earth, which I have. I haven't figured out how to inport these into BackCountry Navigator, possibly since it is more geared to import of track data. I just don't know to be perfectly frank.

I had a go at creating a custom map directly on my tablet using what appears to be very good free app, but even on a 10 inch tablet, it would be extremely difficult to line up points on the overlay with the Smokies terrain. This fact may be at the heart of why there are no graphics rich detailed stream GPS custom maps for the park.

More to follow in future posts, but not real soon. I have bill paying type other projects in my stack. Your comments are most welcome.

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