Welcome to GPSFileDepot!

Main Menu

Android tablets

Started by BobT, December 02, 2014, 10:07:14 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


I know this is a Garmin map source forum so I am not sure if it is proper to post this here, if not a moderator can delete it.
First off I do make Garmin ATV/SxS maps for Moab, Paiute, Taylor Park, and WV that are hosted on this site.  That being said I and most everyone I ride with who has a SxS have switched to Android Tablets, I still have my Montana.  You can get refurbished ones pretty cheap.  The other advantage is that you have a nice tablet to do other stuff with.  We do not activate them with a service provider, they work fine with no data service on the trail.  They are full fledged GPS units and will do anything a Garmin GPS will do.

There are two good apps, Backcountry Navigator and Oruxmaps.
BCN ($10) only accepts gpx tracks, I have converted my maps to BCN format.
Orux reads Garmin .img map files and is free.
They both cache off line maps for use on the trail.

Link to my files and instructions on using OruxMaps

Link to my files and instructions on using BCN

There are very large threads on using Tablets in a RZR on the Polaris RZR forum


Thanks for all the help it is greatly appreciated.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


Quote from: BobT on December 02, 2014, 10:07:14 AMmost everyone I ride with who has a SxS have switched to Android Tablets, I still have my Montana.  You can get refurbished ones pretty cheap.

Bob, after reading some of your posts about Android I decided to take the plunge and got an 8" tablet yesterday. I have waited for years for Garmin to come up with a large screen automotive device with advanced capabilities and come to the conclusion that it's never going to happen. And even if it did, I probably wouldn't be able to afford it. ;)

Best Buy had the Dell Venue 8 on sale for $108 so I pulled the trigger. It doesn't have an internal GPS but I already had a Garmin GLO bluetooth receiver. I have installed OruxMaps and so far am very impressed. I especially like the customization features that allow me to devote the whole screen to the map without a bunch of "stuff" cluttering the view.

I am only using raster maps at this point, I converted two of my maps to the .rmap format and they work great. Will dig into the vector capabilities in the coming days. Actually, the thing that started me in this direction is a program called CompeGPS Land that runs of both Macs and Windows. They also have Android and iOS apps. I installed the iOS app on my iPhone and can also use my maps there. My plan was to use their android app as well, but it isn't compatible with 4.4. I like Orux better anyway, so no loss.

I will start a thread in the mapmaking forum on these things soon. I don't think there could be any objection to this on the site, the Mapmaking forum says it's for discussiong of  the "creation of custom maps and non-Garmin maps."

CompeGPS is a very powerful program on the desktop, and kind of a novelty since there's so little Mac software for making maps. I used it to convert my GeoTIFF source maps to the .rmap format. You can download for free and use all the advanced features for a month at no charge. It also works with a variety of vector formats like shapefiles and .mp files.

I still like my Garmin Nuvis and handhelds, but this may be the beginning of my transition away from them. Between the Android tablet in the car and the iPhone in my pocket, I can cover a lot of bases. I think it would be good to start some discussion of this in the forums.


I'm looking forward to that thread, Boyd.  If I understand you correctly you can use compeGPS to import MP files that will work on iOS? Will they be routable?


It's a very powerful package, I'm still a little overwhelmed. Documentation is OK, but the author is not a native Engish speaker. Sorry, I have only concentrated on the raster capabilities so far. You can actually create/edit vector maps right in the program. The manual is here:

The Windows and Mac programs are identical and they are well integrated with the iOS app. You can mount the iOS app filesystem in the data bar and drag files back and forth. A clever feature of the iOS app is that it contains its own FTP server. This makes it easy to transfer maps using an FTP client over wifi on either Windows or MacOS X.

I also had the Mac version talking to my Garmin GLO bluetooth GPS and tracking in real time. Not something I really need, but the novelty value was great since this kind of program really hasn't been available on the Mac before.

Here's the iOS app (TwoNav) running on my iPhone 5s

And here's the same map in the OruxMaps app on the Dell Venue Android tablet.

Indrid Cold

Split this off from the What Garmin GPS should I buy thread as it has nothing to do with the subject



Have only scratched the surface here, but I was surprised at how well oruxmaps rendered the NJ topo map I'm currently working on. I simply took the file from the GPS (ie: gmapsupp.img) and copied it to the maps directory in Oruxmaps. It even used my custom .typ file.  The main thing that makes it hard to read is that the road labels do not follow the lines, they are all horizontal.

It is rather slow to render, much slower than .rmap raster imagery. I gather that it is first rasterized, then displayed. On the orux site, they say this library is being used to parse the .img file:

Note that orux only runs on Android and not iOS. I still haven't looked at the CompeGPS/TwoNav vector capabilities.

Here's my map in Mapsource on Windows

And here it is in oruxmaps on Android


Tried using an .img file of my topo in orux maps today. It works, but not all that well. The map rendering looks pretty good although it's slow to update the screen. But the program's inability to rotate text is a real problem, horizontal labels on vertical roads are a mess.

The software just renders a raster image, then rotates it in track up mode. So labels can be upside down, sideways, etc. This kind of defeats the biggest advantage of vector based maps.  ???

So I probably won't be using orux with my Garmin maps. Now I need to explore what other vector formats it can use, and also have a look at how TwoNav handles vector data.


I tried but found Orux does not work with most IMG maps and when it does, the presentation is poor.  You can run other map styles, but a lot of place I go, I need the custom Garmin maps.

Would love to see a good Garmin map program on Android.


Garmin actually has an Android version of StreetPilot that is available in certain countries but not North America. I gather there are ways to install, but not anything we can discuss here.  ;)

Garmin still makes an iOS version of StreetPilot, and I have the Western EU version. I have not been able to figure out how to install another map however. I can copy files to the app using a program called FileBrowser, but they are not recognized. Haven't revisited this recently, but from what I read last year, there was a way to install your own maps on older versions of the StreetPilot app, but not the newer versions.


Just looking into this some more, see the following CompeGPS Land FAQ:

QuoteHow can I open IMG maps (Garmin MAPSOURCE) with CompeGPS?

Posté par: Lucas Aguilar activé 11 February 2008 03:35 PM

CompeGPS cannot open MAPSOURCE directly. However, It can open maps in DBX format of the program MAPDEKODE.

1. Install MAPDEKODE - ExecuteMapdekode - Select option "File > Open *.IMG"

2. Select IMG file you want to convert.

3. Select option "Database > Create DB from .img"

4. Mapdekode will save the map in DBX format.

5. CompeGPS open directly DBX maps simply selecting "Mapas > Abrir Mapa".

Nowadays, we don't know a sistem that let you convert all IMG maps to DBX in one time.

You will need to install CompeGPS Land - see the link I posted earlier. If you can get the map working in this program then it can be transferred to their iOS and Android app (TwoNav).

I searched for awhile, but could not find a working link to download the MAPDEKODE program however. Then I remembered the Wayback machine at and was able to find an archived site from 2007 where the files are still available. Read the installation instructions and download the files here:

I did a really quick test, opening one tile from one of my own Garmin topos, then exporting as a DBX file. CompeGPS was able to open it, but it was all messed up. Only seemed to show one object at a time and would change as I clicked on it.

CompeGPS can also import .mp files, so I gave that a quick try. The results were the same kind of messed up map that I got with MAPDEKODE.

Did not do any further testing because MAPDEKODE looks like a complicated program that could take some time to understand. But maybe someone else can play around with this and report. Converting .img files isn't much of a priority for me. For my own maps, I would just as soon work with my globalmapper source files, then export to some other vector format that an app can open.


I have Orux on my Android phone, but I like more 2 other programs: Locus and OsmAnd. Locus functionality is similar to Orux, it can display nicely raster and vector map. OsmAnd works mainly with vector maps and supports functions like search and routing.

For both programs exist free tools for creating vector maps. Source format for tools is OSM xml. I think any mp source can be relatively easily converted to xml and then to a vector map. I haven't tried to do it, but I have created maps from native OSM data.


Thanks Popej! Just downloaded Locus and installed one of my .rmap files. Looks good, lots of customization options. Will have to check this out in more depth.  :)


Quote from: popej on April 03, 2015, 03:48:46 PMFor both programs exist free tools for creating vector maps.

Can you point me in the right direction here? I am not very interested in OSM, I just want to get my own vector map data from Globalmapper into a format that will work in one of these apps. Have not found any straightforward way to do this yet. I would just like some kind of tool to convert a standard vector format (like shapefiles) to the OSM XML, and also allow me to customize the style of the map (line color and width, polygon fill, font sizes, etc).

I tried exporting to KML and that worked, but was really slow to render in Orux. I don't think it would be practical for a large map.