Go OFF-Grid with BRMB Navigator Offline Maps
“What happens if I don’t have cell reception?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Backroad Mapbooks regarding the BRMB Navigator app. After all, what’s the point of a navigation tool for outdoor recreation if you can’t get off the grid with confidence? Fear not, because the BRMB Navigator was created by outdoor adventure lovers, for outdoor adventure lovers. With our Offline Maps feature, you can access detailed maps even when you are deep in the backcountry, where cell reception is nothing but a distant memory. This feature utilizes the built in GPS function of all smartphones to help you track where you are even when out exploring the Canadian wilderness.
How does it work?
Discovering new tools and features in an app as comprehensive as the BRMB Navigator is definitely very exciting! To help guide you every step of the way and to ensure you get the most out your Offline Maps features, we have put together a step by step and easy to follow guide below. Although the illustration below feature an iPhone, the steps are the same on Android mobile devices.
If you don’t have the latest version of the BRMB Navigator App on your mobile device, download your free 30 day trial version from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Then follow the steps below and create your first offline map! Make sure you have wifi connection to download your offline maps for off-the-grid use. Warning, this tool may become very addictive.
STEP 1 – SELECT APPROXIMATE AREA
Once you have logged in to your BRMB Navigator app, choose either the Search feature or the Maps button to locate the approximate region you’d like to create the off-line map for.
STEP 2 – SELECT YOUR ADVENTURE LAYERS
With BRMB Navigator app version 1.2, you are now able to save any of the adventure layers that you may need, right along with your offline map.
- From Maps view select the “Layers” icon
- Once on the “Layers” screen, Swipe the button next to adventure layer to the right in order to activate the adventure layer. An Adventure layer is enabled when the green of the button is visible. (Note: you must have purchased an adventure layer in order to activate it).
- Once you have activated your layer(s) of choice, click the back button to go back and display the Maps screen again.
STEP 3 – GO TO THE OFFLINE MAP FEATURE
Now it’s time to create your offline map! The Offline Map button is located on the right side of the Maps screen. Selecting this button will display the intro pop-up shown below.
- Click “Continue” to load the Offline Maps Feature screen
- Clicking “Cancel” will close the intro pop-up screen and will display the main Maps screen again.
STEP 4 – SELECT THE AREA YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACCESS OFFLINE
Once the Offline Maps Feature screen loads, you will see the highlighted area from which your offline map will be created.
- To highlight the exact area you want to cover in your offline maps you can zoom in or zoom out of the map or move the map up, down, left or right within the highlighted area.
- When you’re happy with the selected highlighted area, click “Next” on the top-right corner of the screen
STEP 5 – SELECT THE LEVEL OF DETAIL FOR YOUR OFFLINE MAP
Next, you need to adjust the Maximum Zoom Level bar in order to determine the level of detail you want to see when you are off-the-grid. In other words, how far you want to zoom into the area you selected to download, as your offline map in STEP 4. You will find the Zoom Level bar and the File Size display at the bottom of this screen.
- Sliding the button to the right on the Zoom Level bar, will increase the level of details your Offline Map will entail and will allow you to zoom further into the Offline Map you created when you are off-the-grid. Note that the zoom level you choose applies to the whole area you selected for offline use in step 4.
- Pay attention to the number displayed for the File Size. This number, displayed in Megabytes, changes as your change the zoom level and is the approximate file size of your downloadable offline maps. Although you may be tempted to save the highest level of details available, it’s best to choose a zoom setting that displays satisfactory level of details for your trip, without creating an offline map with a file size that is too large. Note that larger file sizes also take much longer to download and take up more space on your smartphone.
- Once you are satisfied with the level of details and file size of your Offline Map, click next on the top right hand corner of the screen to continue on to naming your Offline Map.
STEP 6 – NAME YOUR OFFLINE MAP
Name your offline map in the provided field on the pop-up screen shown below. Remember to choose a descriptive name that will allow you easily find and recognize your selected offline region in the event you want to manage your offline maps in at a later date and time.
- Click “Done”, when you are satisfied with the name you have chosen for the offline map. This action will prompt the download process. If you have a change of heart about your naming convention, there’s no need to panic as you can rename your downloaded Offline Maps as part of the Offline Maps Management (as shown further along this tutorial).
- Clicking “Cancel” at any point of this step will close the pop-up screen and return to Maximum Zoom Level screen.
STEP 7 – DOWNLOAD YOUR OFFLINE MAP(S)
Once the download process has started, you will see the following icons and information at the top of the screen:
- The Progress bar is a visual representation of your download status.
- Next to the progress bar you will see Downloading, which is a summary of your download status, displaying how many Megabytes of the final file size have been downloaded.
- Clicking the Extended Info Icon, on the top right hand corner, prompts Download Status pop-up screen with more details about your download, such as Map Name, download Status, Connection, final file size and how many Megabytes have currently been downloaded, final number of map tiles your Offline Map contains and how many of these have currently been downloaded, as well as which adventures you’re downloading with your Offline Map
- To close the pop-up click on “OK“.
Important: If you want to DELETE the download currently in progress, click on “Cancel”.
NOTE FOR iPHONE USERS
In some iPhone models the download may time out if the phone goes into sleep more. In the event this happens during your Offline Map download, you will see a BRMB icon displayed with you’re the message that your “Download is paused”. To resume download, unlock your screen, and select “YES” to continue with your Offline Map download.
You will know your Offline Map has completed downloading when the pop-up displays the “Download successfully completed” message on your screen. Select “OK” to close the pop-up. Congratulations! Now you’re ready to use your offline map.
STEP 8 – ACCESSING & MANAGING YOUR OFFLINE MAPS
ACTIVATING & VIEWING YOUR OFFLINE MAP(S)
In order to use the Offline Maps you have created off-the-grid, you need to make sure that they are actually activated.
To find and activate your Offline Maps of choice:
- Click on the “Layers” icon from the Maps screen.
- Scroll down to Offline Maps (displayed after the Map Source options). This section will display all of the Offline Maps you have created.
- To activate an Offline Map, swipe the button next to its name, to the right. The green Display indicates an active Offline Map. Please note only one Offline Map can be active at any given time. Turning on new Offline Map will deactivate the previous one. Also note that activating an Offline Map will automatically deactivate any of the main Map Source(s) in use.
To view the Offline Map you have created:
- Once you have activated your Offline Maps of choice, click the back button to return to the main Maps Scree. You will notice that activating an Offline Map will automatically centre the Maps screen over the Offline Maps tiles.
- Once off-the-grid, where connection is NOT available, zooming into the area will display the Offline Map tiles you have saved. Surrounding tiles will display empty with “NO TILE DATA”. Please note the zoom level & details of this area will depend on your chosen Maximum Zoom Level while creating the Offline Map.
DEACTIVATING YOUR OFFLINE MAP(S)
When you return from your off-the-grid adventures, you most likely want to deactivate your Offline Maps and return to using either your BRMB provincial Topographic Basemaps or one of the other listed Map Sources made available via the BRMB Navigator app.
To deactivate your Offline Maps:
- Click on the “Layers” icon from the Maps screen.
- Choose and activate a Map Source by swiping the button next to its name, to the right. The green Display indicates an active Map Source. Activating a Map Source automatically deactivate offline maps.
- TIP: Your mobile device sometimes caches a zoomed out overview of the provincial basemaps, which may make you think at first glance your mobile connection is working. However, if zooming in to an area displays blurry and out of focus map tiles, chances are connection is NOT available on your mobile device. The last 2 screen shots below illustrate the same zoom level and area with and without data connection.
MANAGING YOUR OFFLINE MAPS
Managing your Offline Maps is also accessible through the Layers screen. You can Rename or delete any of the Offline Maps you have created.
- Scroll down to “Offline Maps” on the “Layers” screen
- Click the orange “Manage” link at the top right hand corner of this section to activate renaming and deleting editing options.
- To Delete an Offline Map, click the Grey [X] button to the left of its name. A pop-up screen will be promoted asking you to confirm your decision to delete the selected Offline Map. Click “YES” to proceed with the deletion of the Offline Map or Click “No” to cancel.
- To change the name of an Offline Map, click on “Rename” link on the right of its name. This will change the name of the Offline Map into an editable state. Click “Save” when you are satisfied with your new Offline Map name.
- To close Manage mode, click on “Done” link at top right hand corner of this section.
Using offline maps is one of the many highlights that make the BRMB Navigator stand out as the most comprehensive navigation app ever created. The ability to define the area and map size, add adventure layers and manage the maps really adds to the user experience.
The Offline Maps feature is a fantastic companion to go along with your print Backroad Mapbooks or Waterproof Recreation Maps. Whether print, digital or GPS, we have you covered for your navigation needs. Let the BRMB Navigator help you get to the backcountry and beyond, and back home safely. Download the app on the App Store or in Google Play.