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Effective and simple mapping tools

Heronblade 0 Points
edited January 2018 in GPS Discussions
Greetings, I have been doing research on mapping tools on behalf of another, without much success.

The map is for an endurance horse riding event, and in essence we need a multilayered map that does not require an internet connection to mess with or edit, as connectivity at the site is... lacking, but edits still need to be made on the fly. This has proven more difficult that it should be.

The GPS data for the trail itself is being collected via a Garmin Colorado 300, and a Garmin 310xt forerunner. We need to be able to create printable maps that show some or all parts of the trail over both google earth and simpler terrain maps, edit parts of the GPX files to display what's needed, and if possible, add freehand symbols and notations to the maps.

If anyone could point me in the right direction, it would be appreciated. The person who would be using this needs something simple and reliable, she's been trying out various tools, only to find out they're incapable of what she needs to do.


  • Boyd 2043 Points
    edited January 2018
    It's a little hard to recommend tools when you don't say what platform you're using. Windows? MacOS? iOS? Android? But here are a couple ideas. I use professional GIS software that would make this almost trivial. Have played around with the following packages and think they would do what you want, but have not used them extensively.

    CompeGPS Land -
    They have a 30 day free trial. Time it right and maybe you could do your whole event for free! ;) Runs on MacOS and Windows with lots of mapping functions. They will sell you maps, but you can create your own a variety of ways, such as capturing from websites. A little too much to go into here, but since it's free, why not give it a try?

    They also have iOS and Android apps that integrate with the computer software -

    Or maybe you could do everything on an iPad with Map Plus? -

    It's a little unusual but has lots of features for making maps and can also capture them from the web for use without a cell connection. It has a free trial period (5 days IIRC) but is very inexpensive to purchase afterwards.

    With either of these, you could prepare the basemaps with Mobile Atlas Creator, a free open source program that captures map tiles. There are a variety of sources for map tiles. Again, you haven't even told us where you are so it's hard to make any suggestions for that. Actually Google does not allow you to capture their maps for offline use with other software. Their license agreement specifically says you can only use their maps with Google's own user interface and software. It used to be easy to get around this, but they have made it harder now. The authors of Mobile Atlas Creator got some heat from Google and other sites and had to remove options to capture their map tiles in fact.

    But Mobile Atlas Creator can capture maps from many other sources. You would use the TwoNav RMAP format if you want to use them with CompeGPS. Use the Galileo Offline Maps format to use them with Map Plus. This also has the advantage of being compatible with Backcountry Navigator, a popular Android app and, of course, the Galileo app that is available on both Android and iOS.

    I use Mobile Atlas Creator as a platform for the maps I make myself, you can see how that works at I have written an illustrated step by step tutorial that you can look at there. It's focussed on using Mobile Atlas Creator with my maps, but the principles are all the same with maps from the internet. You could try using the OpenStreetMap 4UMaps source that is built into Mobile Atlas Creator for example.

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