Tiramisù 3.0 beta 1 is out

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.

Map styles

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.


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.

“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.

Tiramisù 2.0 Beta 1

And here we are, as anticipated there is a new beta. Changes are big enough to justify a jump in version numbering, especially since some will let out of the door some apps… sorry.

What’s new

First and foremost this release is based on Mapsforge 0.4 rather than 0.3 (more on this below).

Then there is some fine tuning on the colours, the bigger ones on primary roads (now red rather than yellow), motorways and trunks; other colours and line widths have been refined to help distinguish the different ways, especially in outdoor conditions.

I also pushed further the idea of progressive rendering. Lower zoom levels have been hugely simplified to speed up rendering and improve legibility.

Oruxmaps BETA

We are in a quagmire. Orux switched to Mapsforge 0.4 but with a custom implementation that makes things particular.

In Mapsforge 0.3 the tile size is fixed to 256x256px regardless of pixel density, while in Mapsforge 0.4 tile size is increased proportionally as display density increases. This is a big and very welcome change, since it means that any given zoom level will have (roughly) the same magnification on any device. In theory this permits to make a single theme that renders fine on every device. In practice, that’s not Oruxmaps’ case.

In fact the new implementation still uses a fixed tile size, it just changed from 256 to 512. This fits my device better, but didn’t really solve the problem of having different themes for different devices. The behaviour is now very odd, since text will be scaled, and so are line widths, but at the same time tile size (in millimeters) will vary, so the results on any device different from the one the theme is developed on are rather unpredictable. I really hope this will eventually get solved in some way.

At the moment this theme only really works well with Oruxmaps 5.5.23 (from beta 11) on 320 dpi devices. There are however some additional settings that help minimize the issue.


I also tested in Cruiser that is probably the only Mapsforge 0.4 compliant app out there. At ~300dpi everything is fine, except circles that are bigger than in Oruxmaps, and don’t ask me why. In Cruiser Beta (that uses the latest “dev” version of Mapsforge) I also see that dy is bigger than expected. Again, don’t ask me why.

For other display densities icons will get too big or too small. Since Cruiser doesn’t offer an option to scale symbols you have to live with it, or change the symbols with the ones of the regular HR or LR versions. With the final release I’ll probably make three versions as usual. Or maybe Emux will add an icon scaling option ;-)

Old apps

What about old apps based on Mapsforge 0.3, including the current Play Store version of Oruxmaps? The new theme is technically compatible, however unless you are using a 160dpi device everything will be too small, and even in that case a lot of captions will not show at all, obscured by their symbol that in turn will be too big. Try it if you want, but you are probably wasting time.

Download and install

Download from here and install as usual.

This version is deprecated. You should get the newer one instead.

Then go into “Settings>Maps>Mapsforge settings” and tweak the parameters to your liking. As a starting point I suggest:

  • for 300-320 dpi set everything to 1
  • for 450-480 dpi set the text multiplier to 1 and the others to 1.5. The map will be smaller than intended, but things should be kept in proportion
  • for 200-233 dpi set the text multiplier to 1 and the others to 0.75. The map will be bigger than intended, but things should be kept in proportion

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