It’s been a while since the last Tiramisù release, and a lot has changed in the Mapsforge world. With this release I’m trying to catch-up with the new features. After the interlocutory 0.4 release, the new rendering engine is a real step forward with a lot of new features to explore: I think we all owe a big thank-you to the MapsForge team for the hard work they put in the last year. While still not used in the stable release of Oruxmaps it’s already implemented in the current public beta and, of course, in Cruiser and Atlas. Don’t use this theme in other apps or older releases, it will not work at all.
The first exciting news is that we now have map styles to play with. Think about variants inside a single themes. You can now access a dialogue box that controls theme variants choosing “Tweak Mapsforge theme” from the maps menu. For the moment being I have implemented three variants.
Hiking style, basic terrain detail
MTB style, with full terrain detail
Velo style, basic terrain detail
That’s basically the old theme with just a few tweaks.
This is the long awaited mountain biking version. Compared to the hiking one it is a bit less faithful to the original OSM tagging; I know some will not be happy with this but sometimes less is more.
Speaking of paths the colour scheme is the same of the hiking version with a dark brown added for the mtb:scale=0 grade. For downhill grades from 0 to 3 I’m showing also the uphill grade using dash strokes. A continuous line is 0 or 1, a short space between dashes is 2, a larger space is 3, a dotted line is 4 or 5. Trail visibility is ignored. When the uphill scale is absent it is guessed from the downhill one (I’ve done some stats…).
Untagged paths are painted in grey with a dash dot pattern.
Speaking of tracks the colour scheme is the same I used for tracktype, but it is applied to the uphill scale. The downhill scale is ignored.
One particularity of the MTB variant is that it can show MTB networks, as well as hiking and cycling ones, if you choose to (more about that below). This is thanks to the new Mapsforge feature that allows to offset lines. Hiking (red) and cycling (blue) highlights are shown on one side, MTB (purple) on the other to avoid conflicts.
This one will possibly be a full featured road cycling variant in a (distant) future. For the moment being, the main feature is that it hides tracks and paths in order to reduce clutter. Easy tracks (grade 0 or 1) can optionally be activated via overlays.
The other nifty feature of the new rendering engine is the ability to selectively turn on or off the display of certain elements. I tried to find a balance between ease of use and control when designing the overlays but this is one feature that need a lot of testing, will probably be changed and will probably never suit everyone needs. Still, we are miles beyond where we were just one year ago. If you aren’t interested in hotels and bus stops you can get rid of them with just a couple of taps.
I suppose the names are self explaining, but some need a special mention. The most interesting are “Terrain” and “Contour lines”. Oruxmaps’ current beta has introduced the offline multimaps feature that allows to overlay maps from different sources. Turning off “Terrain (basic)” when using a multimap will make the background transparent; this useful if you want to use an old map background with up to date OSM highways. I suggest also turning off “Contour lines, “Contour lines (low zoom)” and “Terrain (detailed)” to have a clean background.
Mapsforge foreground on top of a raster map
“Contour lines (low zoom)” shows contour lines earlier, useful on flattish terrain like Iceland but not pleasing at all in alpine areas. Well, just try and see.
New symbol and label layer
The third big change in MF 0.5 is the new separate layer for icons and captions, with the added bonus of a priority system. Without going into too much technical detail, incomplete names or insignificant symbols killing more important ones should be gone. The only downside is that occasionally contour’s elevations may appear on top of other graphics, but it’s a minor problem, well worth the massive gain of reliability in all the other cases.
This beta has been released as a regular version, you can get it from the dedicated page.