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Turn Your Android Into A True Handheld GPS With OruxMaps – Part IV: Creating Custom Offline Mapsets From Online Map Services

Previous posts in this series: One, two, three.

As mentioned in Part Three, OruxMaps will automatically cache data from online map services, up to a user-specified limit. However, it can also use mapsets generated automatically from online map data in several different ways. This has the advantage of letting you specify the geographic area and zoom levels you want included, and letting the program handle the download chores; for cached data, you have to manually scroll to the desired area, and zoom in/out to cover all desired map zoom levels. If at all possible, you should only do this when you have a good WiFi connection, as these mapsets can easily run to 10s, if not 100s, of megabytes in size.


Figure 1: The first method for generating such mapsets is to use OruxMaps built-in mapset generator. From the main intro screen, choose Online Maps, select the online map source you want to use, and zoom/scroll to the desired map location and area coverage. Then go to Menu => Tools => Map Creator


Figure 2: Here, you can modify the latitude/longitude limits of the map, and select the zoom levels you want included. This is a bit inconvenient – other map programs let you manually select the desired area graphically rather than requiring lat/long values.


Figure 3: Higher zoom levels are greater detail, but will require more storage space; OruxMaps will tell you how much storage space will be needed, and how many tiles will be downloaded. For example, checking “17” and “18” here would increase the mapset size to 697 MB; checking “19” would exceed the maximum allowable size of 2000 MB, 2 GB. You’ll also need to specify a name for the mapset at the bottom. Once done, click on download, and you’ll get a progress bar; for a large dataset, be prepared to wait a while, even with a fast connection.


Figure 4: Once complete, the new mapset should show up in the list of offline maps that pops up when you choose Browse maps from the startup screen, or Offline maps from any map selection screen …


Figure 5: … and the selected mapset should load in. Zoom in to a level for which you have no data, and either you’ll get a blank screen, or a different mapset for which data for that zoom level exists will load in.

This works, but it isn’t the easiest system, and you’re limited to just those online mapsets available in OruxMaps. The app author himself doesn’t really recommend this approach, but it’s there if you need it. A better option may be to use the free Mobile Atlas Creator application. I’ve covered how to use this app in previous posts, so I won’t repeat the basic operations. But for creating a mapset for OruxMaps, the app-specific details seem to be:

  • Select OruxMaps or OruxMaps Sqliteas the atlas format (latter requires the SQLiteJDBC library file in the same directory).
  • You can add multiple mapset types to the atlas, but be sure to give each a unique name.
  • Create the atlas, and when complete, open the atlas folder.
  • Open the folder for the newly-created atlas, and copy the folders with the same names as the mapsets into the oruxmaps/mapfiles folder on your Android unit.
  • Start up OruxMaps, and you should get a message stating that the map database is being updated. If you don’t get that, you can do this manually from the startup screen with Menu => Update maps DB. Your mapset “should” show up in the Browse maps option.

Notice how I said that these “seem to be” the details? That’s because I couldn’t get this process to work on my Android, no matter how hard I tried. Others have reported success, so it must be something that I’m doing wrong, or some quirk with my phone.  If anyone else gets this to work, please post in the comments section, along with any special tricks you might have used. I’d really like to get this to work on my phone!

Tomorrow: Creating OruxMaps mapsets from scanned/downloaded mapfiles.

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2 Responses to “Turn Your Android Into A True Handheld GPS With OruxMaps – Part IV: Creating Custom Offline Mapsets From Online Map Services”

  1. 1 Nrashi

    Thousands of maps for Oruxmaps have been created with Mobile Atlas Creator. If you are having problems, contact the Oruxmaps user forum at

    … they will know how to help. The process is really not that difficult.

  2. 2 leszekp

    I will give the forums a try.