Sunday, January 19, 2014

Using the Offline Map Capability in Camino Pilgrim

Update, Version 1.3.1 :  May 30, 2014


Version 1.3.1: Improved layouts, fixes to offline maps 

Version 1.3.0:  German translations, Hiker icon to show location

Version 1.20: Added offline maps capability, option to share itinerary, MapQuest tiles for OpenStreetMaps online option, tablet layouts support

To access all features, please update to the latest version -- Version 1.3.1.

When downloading Offline Maps, the download will be done as a background process. This means that you can continue working on the app even while the maps are downloading.

Note that the use of OpenStreetMaps online in the previous version may have been problematic. I have changed to a new server source, MapquestOSM. Please try it out. Also, Offline map handling is now provided using Mapsforge and is used as described below.


Currently, there are 3 Map Types provided in the Settings of Camino Pilgrim:

  • Google Maps - Online
  • OpenStreetMaps -  Online
  • Mapsforge - Offline

If you are using Wifi and/or have no limitations in mobile data, then using the online maps, i.e. Google Maps - Online and OpenStreetMaps - Online -- is not a problem. You may notice, though, that OpenStreetMaps (OSM) online maps may load a bit slower than those of  Google Maps, so please just be patient.  The OSM tiles are provided by the Mapquest.  You may also notice that if you use the online options, if you have browsed through certain areas online, these areas will also be visible even if there is no data connection.  This is because the map tiles you have browsed are sometimes cached.

If you are walking on the Camino and do not have Wifi or do not want to use Mobile Data, then you would need to have an offline capability to view the maps.  In the latest version, version 1.20, Camino Pilgrim now allows you the option to view the Camino offline.

To use the offline maps option, go to the Settings screen as shown below. The Settings Screen is accessed by pressing the 3 dots on your action bar and choosing Settings.  Set your Map Type to the Mapsforge -- Offline option. Under Manage Offline Maps, press Download Offline Maps and you will be prompted to download maps.  The maps (Spain and France Aquitaine) are downloaded from the Mapsforge servers and total about 300 MB, so use the offline option only if you have enough space.  The downloading is done in the background, and you will notice this in your notifications.  You may continue using the app while the offline maps are being downloaded.

If you do not want to use the offline maps option or need the space, just press Delete Offline Maps. Once in a while, the maps are updated on the server, so just press Update Offline Maps if you would like to get the latest offline map versions. Make sure you have a stable and fast internet connection when downloading offline maps.  As of Version 1.3.1 (May 30, 2014), an option to Cancel Download of Offline Maps has been added.  This means that if you decide to abort your download, you may just click on this option.

Once the Mapsforge - Offline option is set, you can use the maps even without an internet connection, as long as you set your GPS on in your phone.

Here is a map of Logroño (great tapas here!!!) using the Mapsforge - Offline maps. (Screenshot from a 7" tablet)

To see your current location, press the Show Location icon -->  

Notice also that there is a red line drawn on top of the map -- this is actually a simplified version of the Camino route.  It gives a general direction of where you should go, but please do not depend on it completely. When in doubt, ask your fellow pilgrims, or even better, pay attention and follow the yellow arrows that will lead you to Santiago de Compostela.

So that's it! Hope you enjoy the maps and Buen Camino!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tutorial on Camino Pilgrim App

(Note: This blog entry has been updated to reflect Ver 1.3.1 revisions as of May 30, 2014.  Please update to latest version to access all features.)


I finally finished my Android app!!! It's called Camino Pilgrim, it's free, and it is now available in the Google Play Store here Camino Pilgrim App on Google Play Store.

I decided to make an app after my own trip on the Camino de Santiago.  While planning for the trip, I had a hard time fixing and finalizing a schedule.  During the trip, I was worrying about places to stay and facilities available. I was also always wondering what town I was in and how far to the next town.

Hopefully, this app will answer those issues.

I have provided some sample itineraries for the Camino Frances in the app of 31, 32, 34 and 35 days (from my own trip to the Camino, adding the Muxia leg, as this was my original plan, except I did not have the extra day that time).  In addition, there are 2 sample itineraries for the Camino Finisterre of 3 days and 4 days (including a day in Muxia).

You can design your own schedule based on any of these itineraries -- add a rest day, combine 2 days, insert an in-between day, add an extra day.  Using the base itineraries or your own itinerary, you can look at the localities or towns that you will pass by and approximate distances to there. You can check out the lodgings at a town, together with information such as costs, beds, opening times and seasons, and even see it in a map in relation to where you are.

Here are some screenshots, but the best thing is to try it out yourself, and let me know how it goes.

Browsing Itineraries

Here is the main page, showing a sample itinerary:

Selecting an Itinerary

Here are the itineraries you can choose from, by clicking on the spinner:

Creating your own Itinerary and Schedule (with Dates)

Here is how you create your own itinerary based on one of the system-provided itineraries. You need to click on the Hiker with the + sign.  This icon -- >

You may also specify your start date, a start place and end place (choosing from the options that will be shown to you in a dropdown spinner) and an itinerary and schedule will automatically be created for you:

Editing your created Itinerary/Schedule

Here is how you edit the itinerary. You can just long-click on each of the items, in this case, the itinerary stages (for example, Long-click list item line 1 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port  - Orreaga/Roncesvalles), and the following options will appear.

For example, to add a rest day in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, just Long click on Day 1 Saint-Jean-Pied-de Port to Orreaga/Roncesvalles, then click Ok when you are prompted if you want to stay a day in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Easy!

Then if you want to stop somewhere between Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, as it is too long and steep a walk, then choose "Insert in Between Day", then you are prompted with the places you can stop.  These options are shown in the following screenshot:

For example, you can choose "Huntto", and your schedule will be revised accordingly.

If you feel a walking day is too short, then you can combine two days. For example, in the Pinay Pilgrim Itinerary, you can combine Los Arcos - Viana nd Viana - Logroño. First, Long click on the Los Arcos - Viana stage, then you are shown the following prompt:

If you click Ok, then the final walking day in your revised schedule, as shown in the prompt will be Los Arcos - Logroño which is 27.8 kms.

If you want to stay an extra day in Santiago de Compostela, then you only need to Long-click on the itinerary stage O Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela, and choosing "Add Extra Day".  You will be prompted with "Add an extra day at Santiago de Compostela?" and if you click ok, then the next day will be scheduled there.

In this way, by long-clicking on the stages and deciding what to do, you will come up with your own schedule with the dates of your trip!

Please note that Generate Itinerary will create both a schedule (with dates) and itinerary (without dates). You will see this on the dropdown spinner on the top part of the screen (in the screenshot below: S: Pinay Pilgrim-Schedule - "S" means Schedule and "I" means Itinerary).

Viewing your Itinerary/Schedule

Here is a sample Schedule generated using the app (with my actual Pinay Pilgrim trip), together with the dates:

Sharing your Schedule or Itinerary

To share your schedule or itinerary with your family and friends, just click on the share icon.

You will be prompted with a grid layout of possible sharing options (like Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook -- depending on the Apps you have in your phone/tablet). Just choose the particular option, and a copy of your itinerary will be generated.

Viewing Locality Stops for the day

If you need to know more about the locality stops of your Itinerary/Schedule day, the next screen shows that.  The icons refer to the facilities available in the locality. This will make it easier for you to decide whether to stop there for the night, have something to eat, take the bus, and so on.  The bed icons with the M, R, P refers to the following: M - Municipal Albergue, R - Albergue Parroquial/Religious Albergue, and P - Private Hostel.  You can check what the other icons mean by clicking on the I (Icon Legend) on the action bar, but they are quite self-explanatory too.  The altitude, distance to the next stop and distance to Santiago (found to the right of the locality name) is also shown in this screen.

Showing Locality Stops on the Map

Clicking on the Map icon (the globe icon) shows you the locality stops in the stage. The orange-colored icons are the start and end localities.  The red line is a simplified version of the Camino Trail route overlaid on the map.  Clicking on the Show my location icon-- this one -->     
will show you where you are if you have the GPS enabled (even if you are not yet on the Camino :-) ).

Viewing Lodgings in a Locality

Clicking on a locality will show you the next screen which contains the lodgings available in that locality, including their address, a phone contact (click on the link to call them directly), a website (click on the link to go the website directly) and an email (click on the link to email them directly).  Opening and closing seasons and times are shown, as well as the type of lodging (M - Municipal Albergue, R - Albergue Parroquial/Religious albergue, P - Private Hostel), the cost for a bunk bed and whether it includes breakfast or a meal, the available facilities, i.e. pilgrim passport, kitchen, washing, drying, wifi, internet, vending machines, bike space  (click on the information icon i to see the icon legend).

Showing Lodgings on the Map

Clicking on the Map (the globe icon) or clicking on one of the Lodging names (i.e. Refuge Municipal) will display a map with the available lodgings in the locality.  If you clicked on the lodging name, it will be shown in orange as in the screenshot below. Clicking on the Route shows the camino route and the Show my Location shows where you are.

Changing App Settings

I tried to make the app as intuitive as I could. You can also change the settings such as the default itinerary name (defaulted to "Camino Pilgrim"),  the default Measurement units (defaulted to "metric") and the default map (defaulted to "Google Maps Online"). You do this by clicking on Settings (click the 3 dots on the lower right hand side).  The Settings may be another button in different phones. The User Name becomes the default name for your itinerary or schedule, with a number added on.  The measurement units are used for the kilometer totals.  The Map type is one of 3 types:

  • Google Maps - Online
  • OpenStreetMaps - Online
  • Mapsforge - Offline

You may choose which one you prefer.

Please note that the online maps requires wifi or  a data connection/mobile data enabled in your mobile phone. If you are using your phone, it may use up your bandwidth.  Warning! Please remember to turn OFF mobile data on your phone if you do not want to use it! Maps take up a lot of data. This can be done in Android by choosing your phone or device Settings, choosing Data Usage, then going to Mobile tag, then setting Mobile data OFF.

When using the online option, you may notice that when you have browsed over an area of the map, even if you are offline, you are still able to see the sections of the map you had browsed. This is because these areas are cached.  What I suggest is that while you are in a place with Wifi, browse over the map sections you will need to use. This caches the particular map data on your phone and will show the map sections even if you are offline (note that even if you choose this option but you have mobile data on, the online maps will be downloaded, so again, please remember to turn OFF mobile data on your phone!)

The Offline Map option allows you to browse maps even without wifi or a data connection.  For more on offline map usage, please see the next section.

Using Offline Maps

See my next blog for more detailed instructions for using the Offline Maps capability.

Using Offline Maps with Camino Pilgrim

All set and Buen Camino!

Ok then, I think this is enough to get you started.  Try out making a schedule with my app, and just email me or ask here in the blog if you have questions, and I will be very happy to answer them!

Have fun and Buen Camino!

Here is a link to my blog which I used as the basis for the 35 day itinerary listed here. Check it out at  Pinay Pilgrim Blog