By Martin Nordesjö
|Helags, according to Google|
If you hike in Northern Europe there are no free topo maps (as far as I know), and from what I heard the expensive maps you can buy for Europe can only be used with apps that are miles behind "real" GPS software.
There are also apps that let you import your own map graphics and then use your five year surveyor education to calibrate them to use with your phone's GPS. So none of those really worked for me.
|Helags, the way it should look.|
But after a bit of Googling and trying and throwing coins at the App Store I've found one app that I actually can use! It lets you import any map image and align it with Google maps with a minimum of fidgeting. You can see your position and you can even draw on top your map. And it works offline. It's called Map Overlay Tracer and costs around 2 Euro. Sadly, it's only for IOS at the moment.
This is how it works
- Zoom into the desired area in the background map (it uses Google Maps).
- Get hold of an image of a topo map (download, screen dump, scan, snap a photo of a map) and load it into the app.
- Match the map by pointing out two points in the map and then the same two points in the image (you can also stretch and zoom the image until it fits, but that's a bit tedious in a small screen)
- Done! When you have saved your calibrated map image you no longer need the Google Maps background, so there is no need to be online any more.
|Map Overlay Tracer comes|
in apple flavour only.
There is of course one big problem with smartphones left to sort out: batteries. Even though most of our trips are not two week treks through Lapland, it would be nice to have batteries that lasted longer than they did 15 years ago. Not shorter. But we will write more about batteries in later articles.
What's your top topo map app?
Are there gems out there that we don't know about? Is there a similar app for Android or Windows Phone? Please leave a comment!