Maps for bushwalking (in Australia)

The introduction of satellite positioning systems and smartphone mapping apps combined with government-sourced topographic maps that are distributed without fee in many states has changed the way that many people prepare for, and navigate during, off-track bushwalks. This site describes some options that I have found practical, and some of the limitations that users need to consider.

You are welcome to download any of these files. Please feel free to use the material however it helps. Just reference the source article if you wish to reproduce any part of the content.

Android Phone GPS Start-up for Oruxmaps (OM v 7.4.28)

Summary: Oruxmaps is a mapping app for Android smartphones. It is donation-ware, available in several versions. Because it is designed to serve users with many different purposes, the learning curve for any one purpose can be steep, and the app uses icons that some find non-intuitive, but it is worth the effort. There are instruction manuals for the app, but they are fairly minimal and most users need to explore the app to find the capabilities they use most. This article sets out the steps I take to open the app and prepare it for navigation and tracking before each walk.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) Android Phone GPS Start-up for Oruxmaps (OM v 7.4.28).

Route Planning for Oruxmaps

Summary: This article explains how to prepare off-track routes for Oruxmaps using an off-line computer mapping program like Basecamp (free from Garmin). It also describes use of Oruxmaps to help navigate these routes, and save the track actually taken. It describes export of these tracks in GPX or KML format for use in other programs. In passing, it also mentions some of the limitations of Oruxmaps.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) Route Planning for Oruxmaps.

Map Datums

Summary: In the days of navigation only from paper maps, most of us knew (and needed to know) little about datums. But with the advent of GPS receivers and mapping apps on smartphones we need to know more about datums to avoid going astray.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) Map Datums.

Geospatial PDF Files

Summary: Geospatial PDF is intended as a compact format for distribution of finished maps to end users, not a format for advanced extraction or manipulation of GIS data. Nevertheless, users sometimes need to explore and understand Geospatial PDF file structure and content.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) Geospatial PDF Files.

QLD and NSW WMTS topo maps in MOBAC

Summary: For those who need to create topographic maps for off-line use in Oruxmaps, starting from the WMTS map servers provided by our state governments: here is a method.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) QLD and NSW WMTS topo maps in MOBAC.

Waypoints and POIs in Oruxmaps

Summary: Although written for an earlier version of Oruxmaps, this guide may help those who would like to use in Oruxmaps the (custom) waypoint symbols, waypoints, POIs etc that they set up in another mapping program like Garmin Basecamp.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2021) Waypoints and POIs in Oruxmaps.

Survive the Adventure

Summary: Smartphones and GPS receivers are wonderful navigation aids, but electronics can fail. Here are a few tips to enjoy and survive the adventure.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) Survive the Adventure.

UTM Overlays for Garmin Basecamp

Summary: The UTM grid provided by Garmin when printing from Basecamp is hard to see, and it changes the grid interval in strange ways depending on map zoom. If you have ever wished for a predictable, standard UTM grid that would display when you want it in Basecamp map view, and when printing (and if you have ever wondered why this is so hard to achieve) this article should help.

Reference & Link: Birch RG (2024) UTM Overlays for Garmin Basecamp.

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