Mapping applications for the N900

Fern near Blumenstein Castle

Fern near Blumenstein Castle

The N810 is a great device and the perfect mapper’s companion, but the N900 is even better and a joy to use. Here are some applications I use on a regular basis:

  • Mapper (formerly known as Maemo Mapper) is a very cool piece of software. It supports almost arbitrary map tile sources, including those of openstreetmap.org. It provides tons of features, though some of them are buggy, do not work as expected or drop data¹.
  • Mæp is much more basic than Mapper. I thought it would consume less battery power, but appearently it doesn’t. Actually, the CPU indicator often is up while Mæp is running. Like Mapper, it contains some bugs², and as Mapper, it will even drop the recorded track under cetain circumstances I didn’t figure out yet. I like it anyway, as it is very simple to use. Just start it, import the track containing your planned trip, enable track logging and that’s it. Nevertheless it would be great if it would be more reliable when it comes to data savety.
  • osm2go, written by the author of Mæp, is an excellent mobile editor for openstreetmap data. I use it all the time when I go hiking. It automatically saves both the edited data and the tracklog quite reliably, and its usability is excellent on the N900. If you are in desperate need of a mobile mapping editor, I know of no other which can cope with osm2go.
  • I use Waypointcatcher when I just want to set a point for later mapping (»Postbox on the right hand side.«). Due to the excellent weather these days, I haven’t managed to make it an easy to install package yet. If you are interested in the code, just drop me a line.

All in all there’s still no way to record tracklogs reliably on the N900, so I still use an independent WBT-201 logger. Mapper and Mæp both consume energy and will drop the tracklog under certain circumstances. osm2go seems to be more reliable than the other two candidates, but it consumes some extra battery power. There’s a GPS desktop applet which is capable of creating tracklogs, but the last time I tried it it triggered some nasty side effects, so I removed it.

I’m thus considering to add track logging capabilities to Waypointcatcher one rainy day.

¹ Mapper Bug Tracker
² Mapper Bug Tracker