Welcome to the PocketEarth user manual! Basic usage of PocketEarth is very simple and similar to other familiar map apps. The main map gestures are:
- Touch & Drag to move the map around.
- Pinch to zoom in and out.
- Double Tap to zoom in.
- Two Finger Single Tap to zoom out.
- Tap on Pins or POIs (Points of Interest e.g. restaurants, train stations,â€¦) to get available information via the Info Panel.
- Tap on any map area (from a zoomed out view) for more information via the Info Panel. For cities, a magnifier icon will appear over the map to provide a quick zoom-in option.
- Press & Hold on the map for about 1 second to mark a location. Use it to save a Pin, create a Route, or Share a location!
- Press & Hold with Two Fingers on the map for about 1 second to measure distances on the map.
The Info Panel shows basic info about the currently selected object. Tap anywhere on the panel to access more info and options.
The main sidebar button lets you download maps, see the current map location, access travel guides and favorites, start routes & tracks, and search nearby POI (points of interest), addresses and more.
The settings sidebar button lets you adjust numerous app settings, share the current map location, export or import favorites data, and includes other helpful resources.
If you have enabled the Zoom Buttons setting, the these zoom buttons will appear on screen . This is mainly useful for one hand use of your iPhone.
Geolocation uses the device’s GPS, cellular and/or WiFi connection to determine your current position and display it on the map. When this mode is enabled , your location is tracked continuously until you tap the button again to disable it. If you move the map, the GPS will continue to update your current location without having the map following your movements. To have the map follow your movements again, tap the Recenter button. If the Geolocation button appears orange , it means your device has not locked onto the GPS satilites yet and is unable to provide an accurate, up to date location fix.
Please note that Airplane mode prevents the GPS from functioning. To avoid data roaming charges, we recommend disabling cellular data rather than using Airplane mode. This can be found in the device settings app under General > Network > Disable Cellular. When cellular data and WiFi are disabled, it may take longer to get the first location fix. This can sometimes be up to 2 minutes though it is usually much less. The Geolocation button will appear orange during this time. It is possible that your device may not be able to find the GPS signal at all in some situations (usually due to a blocked line of sight) and the Geolocation button will remain orange as long as the situation persists.
The GPS hardware can be a real drain on the battery thus we recommend turning off the GPS whenever it is not needed. The Geolocation button appears black when it is off.
When any kind of data is being downloaded in PocketEarth, the Download Panel will appear at the top of the screen (bottom on iPad). On the Download Panel there is a Cancel button to cancel the currently displayed download.
In PocketEarth map data is downloaded automatically for any location you try to view (unless the network mode is set to prevent it). This data is saved and can be viewed later when offline. However, for a big city, or a larger region, it is recommended to download the desired area by tapping the Favorite button on the Info Panel. Doing this guarantees complete offline availability of the place at all zoom levels and views. The Favorites screen lists all of your downloaded places.
On the Info Panel and other places in the app, the download status will be shown with colored star icons:
|indicates all the maps for this place have been downloaded and are available offline.|
|indicates the maps for this place are currently being downloaded.|
|indicates that the maps for this place may not be available offline because you have chosen to not download them.|
If the maps for a place has not been downloaded (shows a red star), you can download it from its Info screen. Alternatively, the download can be started by tapping the star symbol twice (to un-star it, then re-star it – thus prompting you if it should be downloaded).
Tap the main side bar button and scroll to the Search section. This section offers 4 search modes:
- Nearby allows offline search of POI (points of interest) and streets in the area currently shown on the map. You can browse by category and/or search for something specific. Different sorting options let you browse by name, type, or distance. If Wikipedia is installed, articles are also accessible through the Wikipedia category. Tap the Radius button at top right to change the search radius. You can select a radius of up to 128km from the map center or use the Current Map option to control the search area by panning and zooming the map. For best results, you should download the map data of interest in advance (by saving the city, region, or country). If the GPS is enabled and set for center tracking, your search results will update automatically as you move.
- Address allows you to find specific street addresses when you are online. Please note that this is a world wide search, so be sure to include the city or zip/postal code in your search! Once the address has been located you can use it in a route or save a Pin so you can easily access it offline in the future. The online request uses very little data.
- Contacts allows you to view the list of contacts in your Address Book, and view their location on the map. This uses the contacts listed street address, and thus requires you to be online to make the small address search request to the server.
- Coordinates allows you to find specific map coordinates offline using DMS wheels or freeform text entry. Text entry mode supports the following formats: DMS, DM, DD, MGRS, UTM/UPS and OSGB. For DMS and DM entry you can type the letter ‘d’ instead of the degree symbol. Alternatively, colons can be used to separate each of the components. See the Coordinates section for more details.
- Recents lists your recent address, contact and coordinate searchs. Swipe to remove specific items from the list.
Additionally, the Maps, Travel Guides and Favorites screens have their own search functions.
You can press & hold on any result in the list to view it directly on the map.
We are currently working to bring you offline street address search in a coming app update!
Favorites lets you keep track of all your favorite map locations and can be accessed from the main sidebar :
- My POI shows all of your favorite POI (points of interest).
- My Pins shows all the pins that you have created. Pins can be customized with different icons and colors.
- My Routes shows all of your saved routes.
- My Tracks shows all of your saved GPS track recordings.
- My Groups shows all of your groups or lists of items.
You can press & hold on any item in the favorites lists to view it directly on the map. Viewing a Group on the map will temporally hide all favorites and other POI which are not in the group.
To save Routes, Pins and POI, just tap the Favorite button on the Info Panel for any item. Items can be removed by unstaring the item, swipe to delete, via Edit mode, or from the Info screen for the item.
You can create Pins to mark custom locations on the map. Press and hold on the map for about 1 second to mark the location. Then tap the Star button to save it to your Favorites list. Reposition the Pin by selecting it first, and then pressing on the Pin for about 1 second, and dragging it to the desired location on the map (the map will automatically scroll if you drag it near the edge of the screen). In online mode Pins will automatically fetch the closest street address and display it in the Info Panel and on the Info screen. The Info Screen shows you all information about the Pin in one place, and lets you edit the name, add notes, set the icon and color, and assign it to groups. The notes field may include phone numbers and website URLs.
In PocketEarth, you can create multi-stop itineraries with turn-by-turn directions when online, and save them for use offline. (Hint: Use this great feature to plan walking or cycling tours during your trip). Create routes by going to the main sidebar an choosing the New Route option. Then choose Add Destination to add your start and stop locations. You can also create routes by selecting any POI or Pin on the map (or pressing on the map to mark a new location), tapping on the Info Panel, and then tapping the Route button.
The route will be automatically calculated on the server (online) each time you add a new Destination Point. Once the route info is downloaded, you can save it to the My Routes list by tapping the star. From the Info screen tap View at top right to view it on the map. Tap the play button to begin route navigation.
You can control which streets a route will take by making Control Points. To do this just press and hold for about 1 second on the map anywhere on the route line and a yellow dot will appear. You can drag this Control Point to a different location and the route with be recalculated to pass through it. You can convert this control point into a midway Destination by tapping the Route button on its Info Panel.
You must be connected to the internet to create a route. To use a route offline, tap the Favorite button after creating your route to be sure it’s saved and accessible later. You will be given the option to download all the maps along the route, however, you may still wish to save and download the maps for each of your destination cities.
Though PocketEarth doesn’t yet support voice navigation, it does offer a hands-free driving mode. Create a route, or select a saved one in My Routes, enable the GPS, and tap the Play button to enter GPS Route Navigation mode. Driving directions, distance to next turn, and distance to next Destination will be displayed in the Info Panel. If you drive off the route, PocketEarth will detect this and offer to recalculate the route using your current location. However this requires making a small networked request to the routing server and thus you must be online. Alternately, you can also drive back to your route and Pocket Earth will resume its normal navigation mode.
PocketEarth offers a simple, but effective way to record GPS tracks. Record and view your bicycle routes, hikes, and road trips with any GPS enabled Apple device (or using an external GPS device with your WiFi only Apple device). PocketEarth allows recording of multiple sessions on one Track object and supports export/sahring of your tracks. You can also close the app while recording and PocketEarth will record in the background (be careful not to leave recording on when you don’t want it as GPS usage can significantly reduce battery life).
To get started, open the main sidebar menu and choose the New Track option.
- Basic Operation: To begin the recording, tap the Record button on either the Info Panel or Info Sceen. When you are finished recording, tap the Record button again to stop the recording.
- Saving: The track will be automatically saved to the My Tracks list once the recording starts.
- Waypoints: You can create Waypoints before or during your session to help you to find your way to a destination. When a Waypoint is selected in the Info Panel, a straight line is drawn to it from you current location, along with information such as the distance and azimuth (compass bearing). To create a Waypoint, just select any POI or Pin or press and hold anywhere on the map for 1 second, and then tap the Flag button. Alternately, from the Track Info screen, choose the Add Waypoint option.
- Editing and getting details: You can rename the track, as well as individual recording sessions and Waypoints by tapping on the names in the Info screen. On the Info screen you can also add notes, see additional info such as speed and altitude charts and export your track in GPX format for use in other software and online services.
If Wikivoyage Guides are installed, a section for them will appear in the main sidebar. The Guide Viewer features back/forward navigation buttons, text size controls, a Table of Contents button to quickly navigate through the specific guide, in-page text search, and a fullscreen mode on iPad.
If Wikipedia is installed, ‘W’ icons will appear on the map. The articles can be accessed by tapping anywhere on the Info Panel and then tapping on the article preview. Articles are also accessible through the Nearby Search.
To enable or disable this content tap on the settings sidebar button, select “Manage Data” and switch these items on or off. To just hide the Wikipedia POI icons on the map, you can switch off its Map Layer.
PocketEarth supports background downloading so the app can be closed anytime, even during longer downloads. However, if the download takes more than eight minutes, you will be asked to reopen the app in order to allow the download to continue. Once you have reopened the app, you may close it again and the download will continue again in the background. If you do not reopen the app, the system will cancel the download, however it will resume automatically the next time you open PocketEarth.
PocketEarth supports both import and export functionality in the following formats:
- CSV: Works for pins only. This option is most useful for bulk import of pins that have been prepared in Excel.
- GPX: Works for pins, listings, tracks and routes. This option is most useful for importing GPX files that have been downloaded from the internet or exported from other software. It is also useful for exporting GPX to be used in other iPhone/iPad apps, on your computer, or uploaded to the OSM project for map editing. Please note that PocketEarth stores richer data than can be exported in GPX format, thus re-importing data into PocketEarth that was previously exported as GPX will loose some information. If you want to backup or transfer your data between PocketEarth running on multiple Apple devices, please use the PocketEarth Archive format.
- PocketEarth Archive: Exports a complete backup of all your favorites data including routes, tracks, pins, favorite listings, and your destinations list. Can be used for doing a backup/restore, and for transfering or “syncing” your PocketEarth data between multiple devices. Note, that it does not include the actual map data, as it can be easily downloaded again from our servers.
Import/Export functionality may be accessed from the right sidebar. You can also export individual tracks from a track’s Info Screen via the Share button. For GPX Import, you will be given the option to import all data in the GPX file as a Single Track object, or seperately as multiple (possibly thousands, depending on the GPX file) pins and routes into a new Group. Import also gives you merging options that determine how data will be imported when it is detected that a version of an object already exists in the app. The default behavior for this is to use the most recent version.
To share a specific Pin or POI, tap the Share button on the Info Screen for that item. Content shared via email can be opened on our website maps or in the app (if the person has PocketEarth installed). Two SMS options are also now available:
- PocketEarth Link: The recipient of the SMS must have PocketEarth installed. Works when recipient is offline.
- Web Link: Sends a link of our web maps. Recipient must be online to view, but does not require them to have PocketEarth installed.
- Network Mode: Controls how and if maps and other data can be downloaded.
- Online will allow the app to download maps and other files from the internet using any connection (including cellular network).
- WiFi Only will only allow the app to use the WiFi connection.
- Offline will prevent all in-app network activity including map downloads.
We highly recommend disabling Cellular Data when travelling in a foreign country to prevent high data usage fees.
- Auto Waypoints: When this setting is enabled, just select any POI or Pin on the map to see a geodesic line with distance and azimuth shown. Useful for hiking and outdoor navigation.
- Map Layers: Controls which information is displayed on the map. This includes some speciality data which is disabled by default (such as hiking and cycling info).
- Manage Data: Manages the data saved by PocketEarth. This screen allows you to check for updates or configure automatic updates. You can also delete the saved map data, and enable or disable optional content (e.g. Wikipedia, Wikivoyage). Enabling optional content will cause it to download automatically for all saved maps, and disabling will delete it. There is a seperate section in the main settings menu for changing the language of optional datasets and map labels.
- GPS & Compass: For devices which have a built-in GPS or are used with an external GPS device, this section offers many settings specific to GPS, Compass and Track Recording.
- Map Rotation: Orient the map North up (default), Course up (direction of movement; based on GPS readings), or Heading up (direction facing; based on Compass readings).
- GPS Arrow: Lets you choose between a dot and an arrow indicator for the GPS location on the map. The arrow may be configured to use either Course or Heading (compass) info. This can be very helpful for orientation, especially when on foot or bike in an unknown area. When using the Heading option, be sure to check the accuracy of the compass reading and re-calibrate it if needed.
- GPS Position: Choose weather your current location is shown in the center of the map or offset based on the GPS Arrow setting (shows more of whats ahead).
- GPS Info Display: Choose large heads-up style GPS info display, small text (default), or hide it completely. This setting is iPhone only, iPad always shows a large info display.
- GPS Accuracy: Controls the accuracy of the GPS hardware. Note that higher settings may result in increased battery usage.
- GPS Track Recording:
- Required Accuracy: Minimum accuracy of a GPS reading to consider it for inclusion in track recording. We recommend a smaller distance for more accurate result.
- Minimum Distance Moved: The minimum distance required since the last recorded location sample in order to consider it for inclusion in track recording.
- Minimum Time Elapsed: The minimum time required to have passed since the last recorded location sample. Note that external GPS devices often report at a very high frequency such as 10 times per second. We recommend using the 1s option for such devices and against using the 0s option unless you really need this high precision recording.
- Compass: Disables and hides the onscreen Compass (only for devices with compass hardware).
- Compass Calibration: Prevents iPhone/iPad from displaying the automatic compass calibration message. Note that an uncalibrated compass can yield very inaccurate readings. It is highly recommended that you calibrate the device every time you use the compass. This setting does not need to be on in order to calibrate the device, just rotate the device in a figure 8 motion until the compass reading appears correctly.
- GPS Accuracy Circle: Displays a blue circle around the GPS location dot to indicate the accuracy of the current GPS reading.
- Languages: Controls the language settings for map content, Wikivoyage travel guides and Wikipedia articles (if enabled in Manage Data) as well Latin and Cyrillic Transliteration functions allowing you to read phonetically the names on the map without knowing the native language script.
- More Settings: Offers additional settings, including preferred units and behaviors.
- Map Style: Controls the map styling/theme.
- Text Size: Lets you increase the size of text labels appearing on the map.
- Units: Controls the preferred measurement of distances (kilometers or miles)
- Coordinates: Sets the preferred coordinate system for display of map locations. Available options are: DD, DM, DMS, MGRS, UTM/UPS. You can also Disable the display of location coordinates.
- Screen Dimming: Lets you disable the normal screen dimming.
- Zoom Buttons: Lets you disable or set the position of the on-map zoom buttons, which can be very helpful when using the app with only one hand.
- Reset Hints: This option will reset the hint messages so that you can view them again.
- Show Place Download Areas: Displays yellow highlights on the map when you select any Destination (city, region, or country) that indicates the area which will be downloaded if you choose to download it. Everything in the yellow area will be fully downloaded at all zoom levels. You may notice that this area is generally larger than the Destination itself. This is to ensure all useful data will be downloaded and to allow for more efficient map storage. Even though the larger area means more data will be downloaded for a place, in nearly all cases it is just 30-40% of the size it would be in other offline mapping apps.
- Kinetic Panning: Disables/enables the deceleration effect when moving the map.
- Tap Zoom Animation: Disables/enables the zooming animation effect when zooming in/out on the map.
- Share Map: Allows sharing of the current map view via email, SMS, or by copy & pasting the map coordinates.
- Export: Allows export of all saved Routes, GPS Tracks, Pins, and Fav Listings to a GPX formatted file, all Pins to a CSV formatted file, or make a complete backup of all your favorites data as a PocketEarth Archive. You can also email or SMS a link of the current map view. Exported files can be transferred to your computer through iTunes or can be sent by email and then used in some other third party software and devices. PocketEarth Archives can be used to backup/restore your data, or to transfer your data to our app running on another device (manual sync). You can also export individual routes, tracks, and groups from their respective Info screens. See the Import/Export section for more details.
- Import: Allows you to import GPX and CSV formatted files, as well as PocketEarth Archives. Files can be transferred from your computer through iTunes or opened directly on your device from an email attachment or other app that supports standard “Open In…” functionality. See the Import/Export section for more details.
The following coordinate formats are supported for text entry on the Coordinates Search screen:
DD (Decimal Degrees)
- 48.20944N 16.36944E
- 48d12.5667’N 16d22.1667″E
- 48:12.5667N 16:22.1667E
- 48d12’34″N 16d22’10″E
- 48:12:34N 16:22:10E
MGRS (Military Grid Reference System)
OSGB (Ordnance Survey National Grid) [Great Britain]
- NN 166 712
UTM/UPS (Universal Transverse Mercator / Universal Polar Stereographic)
- 33N 601739 5340486
- 601739 5340486 33N