RogerBW's Blog

Osmand+ 19 May 2018

I've replaced the fairly basic Maps program I was using on my shinyphone with Osmand+.

It's shown as Osmand~ on the phone, presumably thanks to Significant Metacharacters. It works fairly well for navigation as well as for simply looking at maps, though it's not going to replace my Garmin navi any time soon (screen size alone would be a concern while driving); it's a bit more viable for navigation on foot. Route-finding is by internal calculation, or can call out to external services such as OSRM.

Sectional maps can be downloaded with a fair bit of choice in coverage: for example "all of the UK", "all of England", or "South-East England", in standard and roads-only versions. (Contour lines are also available, for bicycle route plotting.) All of England is just under a gigabyte; I expect to be able to take all relevant regions when I next travel on the Continent.

(And it can display in something like OpenStreetMap's Mapnik style.)

The Contacts app on LineageOS does not recognise or import the GEO (latitude/longitude) property of a vCard, so the locations values I already have for many of my friends' places aren't available here. That seems sloppy, but isn't this program's fault.

Postcode lookup is distinctly poor (missing for example E13 9JE, where I used to live) – which is odd, because the current OpenStreetMap data (off which this is running) definitely include all of the Codepoint Open public data set.

However, I had already written a GPX exporter for my Garmin navi, so I can easily pull address or other coordinate data from my master lists into a useful form. The required xmlns:xsi and xsi:schemaLocation tags for this software are different, though. (I'd have thought an XML parser ought to be able to ignore such things, but apparently not.) With a little light coding, my existing exporter can now produce GPX files that Osmand+ can import. My cargo-culted header, for anyone else having trouble:


Of course, clicking to download doesn't work; the built-in browser sniffs the content-type and assumes it's some sort of XML that it ought to parse and display. No, of course there's no "download this link" option. Yes, I'm looking into alternative browsers. But I have termux, so I can download with wget or scp.

Importing a GPX file puts all its content in a new category with Osmand+, with the filename as the (editable) category name. Since I tend to load just the locations I need for a particular event, rather than everywhere I know about, this is fairly convenient.

Overall, it's not perfect, but it's pretty good. Thanks to Ian Jackson for the recommendation.

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