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 1.0 released

It’s been a long wait but eventually I’m releasing the 1.0 version of Tiramisù. Nothing really changes from the latest RC, but I’m giving it a static URL rather than referring to blog posts. You can also download the Inkscape SVG files with all the icons and patterns.

This will be the last version for Mapsforge 0.3. The next Oruxmaps version will switch to 0.5 which changes quite a lot of, and I will focus on that.


Tiramisù cycle beta1

Eventually I did it… the cycle version of Tiramisù is here. Actually, it’s a very preliminary version, but it should mostly work ok.

The base theme

The cycle theme draws paths according to the MTB tags when available. The colour scheme is the same of the hiking version, I just added a darker brown for MTB 0 (SAC starts from 1). Untagged paths are shown in grey, at higher zoom levels the SAC scale is shown with bullets up to T3. T4 and above are a dotted thinner line, T5 and T6 have transversal red and black bars to show they aren’t suitable for bikes. I chose to differentiate T4 because (if you happen to be a vertrider…) it is sometimes rideable, and also because there is a number of mistagged paths that are actually in the T1-T3 range.

Tracks are rarely tagged for MTB, so I left the basic tracktype classification unchanged. When there is MTB tagging available it is shown in form of dashed core with rounded linecaps. Colours are the same used for paths. To help differentiating higher grades have shorter and more spaced dashes.

Uphill scale is shown in the form of a circle drawn on top of the path/track. Colours match the ones used for downhill. I stole this from Dsvilko’s Simply Hike theme.

The predictive “Oronzo” version

I don’t really know how this is going to end up, but I wanted to try to interpret the available data to guess MTB difficulty on paths where the MTB scale is absent. The idea is to automate the mental process I’m doing anyway when I look at a map without MTB indications.

Analysis on tag usage on tagwatch (just before it died) showed a certain correspondence between SAC and MTBscales, that sort of confirms experience on the terrain. For example amongst the trails with a T1 SAC classification 62% have a MTB 1, 26% are MTB 2. So, as a base I match the two scales, adding a bias in case of bad trail visibility (that usually means not so rolling terrain).

Codenamed “Oronzo” this isn’t a working theme at the moment, but a proof of concept for testing.  It only shows paths that have both SAC and MTB tagging and some basic land use for orientation. A line is drawn according to the real MTB scale. The colours are the same of the main theme, except MTB 0 which is green to stand out more. On the top of that two concentric circles are drawn: the inner one shows the SAC scale, the outer one the SAC+visibility bias. When the line colour coincides with the circles the system works, else you can check how much it screwed up.

Anybody with a lot of time to waste can pan around to check how well it works and share his opinion. :-)

What’s missing

Quite a few things. The final (distant) goal is to have a theme that is complete for cycling, both off and on road, showing everything relevant. At the moment network routes aren’t shown, nor are restricted accesses. Cycleways should be better highlighted, too.

I’m also not really happy with the rendering. There is simply too much stuff to show at once. It’s difficult to differentiate things enough to be easy to distinguish at a glance and at the same time avoid a total mess of colours and symbols… The great news is that Mapsforge 0.5 will have modular themes and much more control on line-symbols which will solve the problem (I hope). Until then I think this is more or less the best I have to offer, but I’m open to suggestions.


You can download the files here. It’s just the xml, drop it alongside the regular theme you can get here.

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