While I always use a Garmin navigation device on my journeys, I need a backup just in case it breaks. With the mobile app Organic.Maps I found a great solution. Organic.Maps is a fork of Maps.me that was formed when Maps.me started offering paid services.

Characteristics of Organic Maps

Organic.Maps is available for iOS and Android, uses Openstreetmap Data and is free.

  • Tracks can be displayed in colour and in different line widths. This allows routes with alternatives to be shown crisp. See example in the colours magenta / cyan where magenta represents the main route and cyan the alternative that you can follow if you like.
  • Waypoints can be displayed in colour – but without icons. A distinction of meaning can therefore only be made by colour coding (see Izmir area: blue pin = transportation, red = sights and orange = accommodation).
  • Organic.Maps can’t handle GPX. To make full use of Organic.Maps’ capabilities, all data must be transferred in a proprietary KML format. I have written a program that converts the Basecamp GPX data to Organic.Maps KML (see below).
  • The KML data must be stored in a “bookmarks” folder at Organic.Maps (not Maps.me!). While Andoid users simply copy the data, for iOS this is done using iTunes via “File Sharing” (drag & drop):
Drag and drop “bookmarks” folder via iTunes / File Sharing

Route planning

The planning of the routes (tracks & waypoints) is done as usual in Basecamp.

Screenshot from Basecamp. Planning data for a trip through west of of Turkey. See mainroutes in magenta, alternatives in cyan or green.

From Basecamp, the planning data is exported as GPX and converted into KML using my program GPX_2_KML.exe. Exporting directly from Basecamp to KML will not fully suit colors etc!
In the end it looks something like this:

Screenshot from my mobile showing the planning for a trip through the west of Turkey. See the different colors for the tracks as well as for the pins!

Best Practice

To increase readability, it is a good idea to divide a longer tour into individual routes (e.g. by day). This gives you the possibility to switch on/off the individual routes (days) in Organic.Maps. In addition, you can see immediately where the day’s stage starts and ends.

The Program

To convert the GPX data into KML for Organic Maps I wrote this program. Just download it and unload the zip file. You will find 4 files:

  • GPX_2_KML.exe (The program. No installation necessary – just use it.)
  • GPX_2_KML.json (A control file that you can customise – but you can also leave it as it is).
  • readme (A readme in PDF format and in Markdown syntax. Read it before using the program! )

If you need the Python source code, send my a personal message.

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