View Full Version : Google Maps on Android

2nd July 2012, 11:19 AM
Hi all,

I've a question regarding the use of Google Maps on Android devices. But first, a little about what it is I'd like to do...
I've set up my Magellan eXplorist XL with custom (detail) maps based mostly on OSM data. For motorcycle touring, I would primarily generate all of my required routes and waypoints prior to setting out, but wouldn't it be great to be able to add more along the way? (For instance, staying someplace, you discover there's a motorcycle show in a nearby town for the weekend). Now I know, it can be done on-screen (and the XL has one of the largest available at 3.5"), but honestly that method is not comparable with a device having a larger screen.

I went to O**********, with a view to checking out netbooks (I purchased one on behalf of a friend last year for $250), and happened across the Android tablets (wireless + bluetooth). 7" tablets start at about the same cost as bottom-of-the-range netbooks, but take up much less space - of course, space is a premium when motorcycle touring!

So here's what I was thinking:

Use Google Maps to "Get Directions"

Provide a start and destination

Modify the route by dragging points

Export to .kml

Use GPSVisualizer.com to convert to Magellan format

Make final edits in .csv format route/waypoint file (I know I'll probably need to purchase an app)

I have bluetooth/wireless, along with a data allowance on my phone, so comms is not issue.

BUT, here's the catch. It seems you cannot drag a "route" in Google Maps on the Android devices. :violin:

I've tested this on the Toshiba AT1S0 (Android 3.2 Honeycomb) and a similarly configured Samsung. I even connected a bluetooth mouse (in case it was "fat-finger" syndrome) without success. Does anyone know whether there's any way to achieve this with Maps on the Android? Anyone with a tablet prepared to spend a little time testing? (Greg "The Explorer", I know you're a bit of an Android fan, are you not?).

Alternatively, I'm open to suggestions should anyone feel they've a better workflow than the tablet/netbook approach. (Of course, I can simply get the Netbook and know that it will work, along with VantagePoint and Mapsend as well). The smaller profile of a tablet, though, is really appealing for use when travelling on the motorcycle, plus I already have a "high-end" notebook for more serious applications.

Looking forward to hearing any suggestions and input.


27th July 2012, 12:39 PM
Hi everyone,

I conducted a substantial amount of testing, but having found a number of internet resources for route generation, was disappointed with most when used on the tablet. It seems the issue is that a right-click is simply not available on Android devices. Particularly disappointing was the fact that Google Maps did not offer the same functionality on an Android as was available on PC - and it's their OS! But similarly, tools like Harley-Davidson's Route Planner (their U.S. website) requires right-click functionality for control/insertion of intermediate waypoints. Oh well.


I did find an Android app (free) which allows for insertion of waypoints into a route:
4623ViewRanger "Turns your smartphone into an outdoors GPS"

Here are links to the website (www.viewranger.com) and app store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.augmentra.viewranger.android&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsImNvbS5hdWdt ZW50cmEudmlld3Jhbmdlci5hbmRyb2lkIl0.).

It uses OSM maps via the internet (as well as paid options), and it's also possible to cache content for offline use. AND, there's a free version which does everything I need!

I'll put some more detail on this in the Forum : Gps Australia : Program Register for anyone interested.

So now, for route creation on-the-road, my workflow is as follows:

Create route
At this stage I only add the start-point and destination
I've found it simpler to then edit the route for additional waypoints

Hold on an existing waypoint
Insert before or Insert after
Move and accept

Export item to GPX
I then use the conversion page on GPSVisualizer.com (http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/)

Convert Routes [R]
Input format GPX XML [W][T][R]
Output format Magellan SD files (as for eXplorist) [W][T][R]
Upload the .gpx file created in ViewRanger
GPSVisualiser creates the route file and displays a link for it to be downloaded from their server

Rename and copy to the microSD card for use in the GPSr

NOTE: GPSVisualiser converts all Magellan SD output to .upt (waypoints/POIs), but the file content is correct and thus simply needs to have the file extension renamed to .rte.

I'm still looking into the issue of editing .csv files on the Android, but this workflow is sufficient to get a workable route onto my eXplorist XL GPSr. Of course, the same workflow could be adapted for any GPSr (GPSVisualiser output is generated using the GPSBabel engine, so virtually all formats are available). With large touch-screen mobile phones almost commonplace, I believe this might prove to be most useful when access to a PC is unavailable.

Of course, on those occasions when one is without their GPSr, this app would also offer a practical alternative.

So now, I have the ability to generate route files on-the-road, without resorting to use of the GPSr and its 3.5 screen & joystick for input. And additionally, internet access by way of the tablet (in lieu of a 320x320 display on my WinMobile). All up, a great result!


27th July 2012, 12:49 PM
And here's a nifty little gadget so that half the tablet doesn't disappear everytime the keyboard is used:

Kaiser Baas bluetooth keyboard (http://www.kaiserbaas.com/bluetooth/bt-130-keyboard)
:violin: Unfortunately, even with such a device (thats a two-button roller mouse on the RHS), right-click functionality remains unavailable on the Android tablet.


27th July 2012, 04:26 PM
Unfortunately, even with such a device (thats a two-button roller mouse on the RHS), right-click functionality remains unavailable on the Android tablet.Are you referring to a particular app?
On my acer tablet a right click on my USB connected mouse generally exits an app or acts as an "Esc" key - even in Google Earth. :thumbsup

27th July 2012, 05:57 PM
TwoNav allows you to view and cache google imagery on an Android/Apple/WinCE/PC device

27th July 2012, 07:23 PM

Why don't you just get a windows tablet ?

27th July 2012, 09:49 PM
Are you referring to a particular app?
On my acer tablet a right click on my USB connected mouse generally exits an app or acts as an "Esc" key - even in Google Earth. :thumbsup

Hey Nev,

Thanks for your input.

I must confess to being new with the Android OS, but still consider myself computer savvy. Anyway, I could not get it to work at all - here's just a couple of examples:
Google Maps - on PC, left-click on a route (directions) to drag to another location (effectively adding a waypoint). No luck on Android.
Harley-Davidson Ride Planner - on PC, right-click at new location to add waypoint (one option from context menu). Again no luck.

By the way, I'm using a Toshiba AT1S0/16GB. Android v3.2 "Honeycomb". But I also tested in-store on another Android tablet (Samsung?).

Anyway, all good now. If you're interested, take a look at the thread I started this afternoon on ViewRanger GPS app (Android/iPhone/Symbian) - catering for route creation and editing which I'm after, as well as standard GPS navigational functions. I have to say, the 7" tablet is a perfect solution for my needs, taking up so much less space (which is at a premium on a motorcycle) than even a netbook. Plus, I'm learning heaps about Android, which of course I had no experience with previously.


27th July 2012, 09:56 PM
Thanks Nicko,

Re: TwoNav

I'll check out their free app. I had a feeling you needed either the premium version or paid PC software (or both) for the route creation & ediing. But no harm in taking another look in any case.


27th July 2012, 10:02 PM

Why don't you just get a windows tablet ?

Hi Felix,

To be honest, serious budget constraints at the moment. The Toshiba was the only one at the same pricepoint - anything else would have seen me opt for the netbook solely on cost. But I'm incredibly happy with the tablet as a solution, and the ViewRanger app as well. In fact, as part of my testing, I've generated a couple of real routes, and even without a mouse, it works well (offset locator so fingers don't obstruct sight of the waypoint).

Remember, this is only for ease of planning/editing whilst on a road trip - I've already got a notebook with all the tools and software I think I need, but it's too big for inclusion on an extended bike trip.