Mobile device users can now use topographic map data from United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) The National Map on their phones. Using the digital map information, with the phone’s built in GPS allows for precise location and navigation. Activities like hiking, biking or hunting, that depend on accurate navigation will benefit from this service.
The Geological Survey is the authoritative source of topographic map data in the country, with its National Map program. The National Map provides the public with free access to base geospatial data on the entire United States and its territories. Topographic maps and other geospatial information like hydrography data can be downloaded by the public.
Currently, the map data is available for devices that use the Android or iOS operating systems. Two applications are geared to the Android system, OruxMaps and AlpineQuest. Thess apps include the USGS in their lists of available online map information.
Maps can be created and stored for use of iOS and Android devices in areas without cellular phone service. The Mobile Atlas Creator is an open source program that creates a small atlas, which can then be stored aboard the phone. Map data can come from the USGS and other sources like OpenStreetMap.
Use of this map technology is seen by the USGS as a great way to increase awareness and use of the agency’s products and services. The following directions come from the USGS to help with adding this ability to your Phone:
To use TNM data on your Android device:
• Install either OruxMaps or AlpineQuest via Google Play App Store.
• USGS TNM data is available through these two applications as a dynamic, online layer.
• Switch map sources to view either TNM Topo or Satellite data through the application.
• OruxMaps manual available online in PDF format.
• More information on Alpine Quest is available online.
To use TNM data on your iOS device:
• Install Galileo on your iPhone or iPad via iTunes App Store.
• Build offline map file(s) on MOBAC (instructions below).
• Move files to iPad or iPhone.
To build map files that will allow an Android or iPhone to use USGS TNM data when data connectivity is not available:
• Download the MOBAC desktop application (Mobile Atlas Builder).
• Unzip the downloaded file, and activate the “Mobile Atlas Creator.exe” file.
• Users can then indicate the mobile application they are using (Galileo, AlpineQuest, etc) , and highlight an area of interest to build an offline map file.
• Select the appropriate scales.
• Select “Create Atlas”, and move resulting folder (and map data) to the appropriate folder on the mobile phone.
• More information on using MOBAC is available through the “Quick Start Manual”.