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OS maps on my phone without a subscription

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 Hooo 22 Jun 2020

I finally decided to factory reset my phone today, as it was getting frustratingly slow. All went fine apart from Dropbox (another story) and OS Mapfinder, who have both deliberately broken their apps and made them unusable. I can't get Mapfinder working again, whenever I launch it it tries to download and then says there is no internet (which is a lie). Checking out the OS website I see they have deprecated Mapfinder and replaced it with a subscription service, so I have no chance of any help from them. I've spent about £30 on maps over the last 5 years or so, so I'm a bit pissed off that these are now useless. I don't use it enough to justify paying £24 for a subscription so as far as I'm concerned they can shove their new app.

TLDR; What apps will allow me to buy OS map tiles and keep them on my phone (and transfer to a new phone) without having to pay an ongoing subscription? 

1
 Deleted bagger 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

I've had Memory Map 1:50k for the whole of the UK for several years. I bought it and you can have it on 3 devices. Got it on my PC and phone and have recently moved it to a new phone. During lockdown I added the 1:25k UK version for £100. Good value I reckon. On the phone I can zoom in and out between 1:50k and 1:25k. Works well on airplane mode, accurate and doesn't drain the battery.

In reply to Hooo:

Viewranger pushes for buying separate map tiles or subscriptions, but you can still buy OS maps for regions. 

There's 6 regions in total for Scotland and they are £7.99 each. IMHO pretty good price since I've been using these maps for half a decade with offline use, between different iPhones and they never failed me. Actually, given how many times I have used, it's a terrific value. 

In reply to Hooo:

I use “OutDoors GB” and have carried my purchased maps across devices for maybe 7 years now.

 Hooo 22 Jun 2020
In reply to PPP:

I downloaded Viewranger as as I did buy a couple of tiles for it years ago. As far as I could tell the current version is subscription only and there is no sign of my purchased tiles. Did I just miss something?

 Hooo 22 Jun 2020

I'm going to check out Memory map and Outdoors GB. thanks both.

In reply to Hooo:

> I downloaded Viewranger as as I did buy a couple of tiles for it years ago. As far as I could tell the current version is subscription only and there is no sign of my purchased tiles. Did I just miss something?

I presume you are logged in? They're there for me. Go to settings -> Maps -> OS Explorer 1:25,000 Map Tiles.

For regions, go to settings -> Map Shop -> Great Britain -> OS - Landranger 1:50,000. 

Post edited at 19:55

 Hooo 23 Jun 2020
In reply to PPP:

You're right, I just hadn't found it. I can download individual tiles, it's just a bit hidden compared to the screens that try and persuade you to sign up to a subscription.

It looks like Viewranger is the way to go for me.

As for Memory Map and Outdoors GPS, neither let me download individual tiles, it's the whole UK or nothing. Although at £125 + tax for the UK in 1:25000, Memory Map is a much better deal than getting them from OS.

In reply to Hooo:

I think they did a very good job on hiding the tiles/maps.
It’s been years since I got these maps and they cost a fraction of what I would have paid for the subscription. 

 marsbar 23 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

I use streetmap.co.uk and just screenshot whatever bit I want.  It's free (presumably they pay for it by advertising)  

1
 whenry 23 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

Maverick isn't bad and is very cheap, if you have and Android phone.

 Hooo 23 Jun 2020
In reply to marsbar:

Wow, is that still going? I used to do that about 20 years ago. Move around the map taking screenshots and stitching them together in Paint. I can't be arsed any more though, I'd rather pay a few quid for the tile  I need and an app that shows me where I am on it. Also, IIRC it's the 1:50,000 maps? I want 1:25,000 anyway.

 Hooo 23 Jun 2020
In reply to whenry:

I don't think Maverick does OS maps though? 

In reply to Hooo:

> Move around the map taking screenshots and stitching them together in Paint.

I used to save each page, with 5x5 tiles, and stitch those together in Paint.

Then a colleague wrote a bit of code to suck down the tiles and automatically stitch them together. Then they changed their coding to obfuscate the tile sequencing...

Other sources of OS mapping can still be hoovered up...

 Hooo 23 Jun 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

You know what, now you mention it I'm pretty sure I wrote a bit of code to download the tiles. Not sure I got as far as automatically stitching them together though.

Can you get free 1:25,000 tiles anywhere?

In reply to Hooo:

Bing Maps has an OS mapping layer. It might be possible to get tiles from it, or they may have protected the API.

Many mapping tools use a database format to store tiles, such as sqlite. MOBAC is a good way of manipulating tile sets between different formats, and finding out what formats the different tools use.

Post edited at 23:30
 apwebber 24 Jun 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

MOBAC is also good for making smaller maps from the quadkey map tiles that Bing uses. So if for example you happened to have the entire country downloaded from Bing in quadkey tiles (about 40GB), you can use MOBAC to make maps for android apps such as orux maps, which unlike Maverick is still being actively developed. Mind you with the storage available on modern smartphones there's nothing really stopping you having the whole country on your phone.

Post edited at 01:03
 marsbar 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

They have 1:25 000

 Hooo 24 Jun 2020
In reply to marsbar:

I just checked out Streetmap and you're right, but what I find really impressive is that the site doesn't appear to have changed at all in 20 years! It's exactly as I remember it.

In reply to apwebber:

> Mind you with the storage available on modern smartphones there's nothing really stopping you having the whole country on your phone

My Android doesn't support EXFAT... So the large mapping set I created with MOBAC wouldn't fit on the FAT32 formatted 256GB uSD card...

 apwebber 24 Jun 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

That's interesting, what phone? I was under the impression most Android phones would be using EXT4.

Just checked and my Asus Zenfone 6 is using  F2FS which has a 3.94 TB file size limit according to wikipedia.

I just noticed you said on your SD card. Have you tried formatting it to a different file system?

Post edited at 12:17
In reply to Hooo:

I had a similar issue when changing phones a couple of years ago. I used an OS map app where you bought the tiles through Amazon. I had large areas mapped at 1:50000 and found the app very stable. The current OS app does more things but I found it quite unstable. They apologised last year two subscribers because some update make a total mess of the app. When I try to use the the old app, I think it might have been map finder, on a new phone it lost large numbers of my tiles. OS customer services were apologetic and said they didn't support the older app anymore but asked me to to collect screenshots of the tiles I had bought and they would credit me those areas in the new app, in the same way that if you purchase a paper map you now get a code to download the same area in the app. I have a subscription to OS now, so so I can access all the 1 to 50 and 1 to 25 mapping and download areas onto my phone if I don't think I will have web access, so going through my Amazon orders over 6 years or so trying to find the tiles I had bought just seemed like more hassle than it was worth.

but if you aren't going to take out a subscription it may be worth contacting them anyway and they might credit you for tiles you've bought in the past in the same way. Those areas then sit on your phone memory.

 whenry 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> I don't think Maverick does OS maps though? 


I used it last year, and it did then - might have changed though. I think it pulls the maps through from Bing's API.

 BStar 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

+1 for Memory Map, I've been using it for 15 years and have only recently updated my map set, so in terms of value the £150 platinum map pack (Whole UK 1:25k, 1:50k and 1:10k) I've done quite well.  A couple of things I like about memory map:

  • Licensed for 5 devices and easy to transfer or migrate license so you never lose the app or data when you get a new phone.  I have a license on my PC, my laptop for when I'm in the van, and my and the SO's phone. 
  • The PC or laptop app is really good for planning and viewing gps tracks.
  • It is possible to create your own maps, either by scanning and calibrating paper maps (helps if you have access to large format scanner), or by downloading digital pictures (print screens etc) and then calibrating them. 
  • All maps can be downloaded for offline use so no need for the internet in remote areas. 
  • No subscription, obviously you'll have to buy the initial maps and they will never update, but updates to mountainous areas don't change that much and you keep the maps for life, I managed 14 years on the same set of maps before buying the latest ones.

On the note of self scanned maps, I've got a selection of memory map self scanned maps that I have manually calibrated myself (Alps, Spain, historic Snowdonia, Lofoten, EBC, Bristol and Avon cycle routes), if anyone is interested I can share, ideally on a map for map swap if you've also got similar that you've done

Post edited at 13:23
In reply to apwebber:

> I just noticed you said on your SD card. Have you tried formatting it to a different file system?

Yes. Android 6.0 doesn't recognise anything other than FAT32. If you format in the phone, there's no option, and it formats to FAT32.

It's a Moto E2. I'm currently fighting with trying to free up 2.4G of missing memory, too, which seems to be an Android 6.0 problem...

 nniff 24 Jun 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I had this problem when they re-did the app.  No maps for ages, and any query after the initial few weeks was either ignored or got a terse response. OS went on my list to go up against a wall when the revolution comes because I didn't want a subscription for something that I had already bought.  However, it all sprang to life again a few months ago - no idea what changed and there was no notification.

PS - one app that is worth getting is Theodolite.  About £5.  Decent maps, outdoor maps with topo features and contours for pennies (but not OS), grid refs, lat/long, bearings etc.  And it will email a map, Grid ref and a photo too.  needs a data signal unless you've bought some maps.  Tiles (i have no idea how big a tile is) are 99p for 5,000 or £8.99 for 50,000

It will also track team members and mark their locations on the map.

Post edited at 14:48
 apwebber 24 Jun 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

Android 6! That takes me back!

 dread-i 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

Slightly off topic, but does anyone know where you can get 1:25k for gps?

OS sell 1:50k and do a bundle of 25k & 50k + gps for a low low price of £320. They don't seem to do a 25k card on its own.

I've got the talkytoaster map, which goes down to individual houses, in places. But it's not OS. I was also thinking, as mentioned above, of grabbing 25k tiles from the web and gluing them together. It would be a pain, but doable for a smallish area.

 apwebber 24 Jun 2020
In reply to dread-i:

By GPS do you mean your garmin?

You shouldn't need to glue them together by hand as long as you get the tiles in a format that MOBAC can display - quadkey or as /z/x/y/... directory structure for example. MOBAC is free and can export in a large variety of formats including garmin custom maps.

 dread-i 24 Jun 2020
In reply to apwebber:

Thanks for that.

Yes, it garmin format I need. I see that MOBAC, can create files that should be readable. I shallhave a play...

 Mick r 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> I've spent about £30 on maps over the last 5 years or so, so I'm a bit pissed off that these are now useless. 

If you have bought new OS maps, they have the code on the inside panel that allows you to download the full map on the OS map. 

In reply to Mick r:

He means he has spent money on tiles for the previous OS mapping app, that now cannot be used with the new OS mapping app. I don't blame him for being pissed off.

 Baz P 25 Jun 2020
In reply to dread-i:

As Bstar said above, MemoryMap will sell you the whole of UK at 25K for around £100.

I've used M/M since it started and have not found anything better yet. I subscribe to Viewranger, mainly for overseas maps, and a couple of cycling apps but M/M is my goto app for planning routes, saving as GPX files and following on my phone, which has been Microsoft OS, Android and now Apple.

Anquet did a similar app but not heard of them for a long while.

My only gripe with M/M is that you can't upgrade the maps and can only purchase new ones as the OS releases them, or stick with what you have. As I understand it this is a stipulation set by the OS and not M/M.

Post edited at 16:40
 marsbar 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> I just checked out Streetmap and you're right, but what I find really impressive is that the site doesn't appear to have changed at all in 20 years! It's exactly as I remember it.

That's what I like. I hate it when people change things that work perfectly well for no good reason.  

 red1200 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

Have you tried backcountry navigator, it's free (or was when I downloaded it) and you can view 1:50k or 1:25k maps and even download areas to your phone for free. I've got an android phone, don't know if it's on the apple site or not

 Hooo 26 Jun 2020
In reply to red1200:

I just gave this a go. How do you download areas for free? I tried it and it only worked live, and this was pretty awful even with a good 4G connection. It would be unusable with a poor data connection.

 Hooo 26 Jun 2020
In reply to marsbar:

Me too. Most of my Android apps are really old versions that I have backed up the apks for so that I can reinstall them when I upgrade my phone. It's very rare for an update to actually add something useful.

 red1200 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> I just gave this a go. How do you download areas for free? I tried it and it only worked live, and this was pretty awful even with a good 4G connection. It would be unusable with a poor data connection.

Click the menu top left, map package ( mine says OS maps from bing or something) then there's a selection for download option. Not really tried the download as I usually have 4g when im out on the bike and works ok with that in my area.  There are settings for tile cache as well so I assume it must store some temporary tiles anyway. I nearly always use it in South lakes, just checked it on my 4g and it was pretty much instant so maybe it caches most frequently used or most recent used area. I'm just guessing though...

Post edited at 15:36
 Hooo 26 Jun 2020
In reply to red1200:

I couldn't find any of those options, so I had another go. It turns out that for some reason they have released two versions, TOPO and XE. I had downloaded XE, which is a pile of crap. TOPO is pretty good. Like you say, can download or cache 1:25,000 tiles and is really quick on 4G. And it's free, unless this is a limited time demo. The only downside is that the map tiles are pulled from Bing, and they are noticeably fuzzy compared to the proper tiles in Viewranger. But hey, it's free!


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