OsmAnd Online maps are an extensive addition to already comprehensive base of OpenStreetMap the application uses. With this plugin, you can add layers to your map, from those with general information from a different source, like satellite view, hiking routes view to quite specific data like fire hydrants' locations. You can also change the main source of the map from vector tiles.
- To save traffic or disk space if offline map is not available, usually for small areas online tiles are more compact
- Display time is significantly faster, because maps are not rendered on the device
- It is possible to cache online maps with MapCreator
- It is reasonable to use only for small areas, the size of online tiles for country could be more than several GB
- No switch between different styles of the map
- No additional layers available like transport or POI on the map
- It is not possible to rotate map with readable text (text will be rotated with the map itself, thus will not be easily readable).
How to use
To select an online map as your basic map, please go to Configure map - Map source and select the one you prefer fromt he list. If you do not see the desired map on the list, select Install more to view the entire list of install available. Not only can you use one map, you can add up to two of them to the basic layer: choose an underlay and an overlay maps to combine three of them on one screen. For instance, you can open a basic OsmAnd map, then add a satellite view, then put cycling routes map underneath.
But how to view all thee maps without getting lost in the details? Simply adjust which information from the map you need and set the transparency of the layer. For example, combining Microsotf Earth map with the basic OsmAnd map can be very helpful .You can hide all the excessive data from the map and simply overlay roads over the satellite images. To set the features you would like to hide from the current map, just go to Configure map - Hide and select buildings, polygons, boundaries or all of them together.
Online Search (Nominatim)
One of the main advantages of Online maps is an online search or so-called Nominatim search. It provides you with a wider search often giving more results than the regular offline one. Just go to Search - POI - enter the name of the location you're looking for and choose Online Nominatim - Places or Online Nominatim - Address depending on what you're looking for: a location's name or its address. You'll need an internet connection for online search.
How to prepare raster maps
Despite the plugin being called 'Online Maps', you can use the maps without the internet, as well. You just have to save the parts of maps (often called tiles) to use them later. To do that, download a specific Map Creator tool developed by OsmAnd.
Select the area you need to download, click Preload area, then set the smallest and the largest zoom levels you want to have and download tiles. Copy them to your phone's osmand/tiles/*tile type* folder. You'll also need to go to Configure map - Overlay map and choose OsmAnd online tiles.
Online tiles can be helpful when you need just a small section of map or when you need a specific type of map to use in the limited area, but don't want to download the whole region. They can come in handy in endless situations.
Mobile Atlas Creator
You can also create your own tile map using Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC) software. It is a free open-source map creating tool you can use to make offline tile maps from different sources. Just download the program, then run it. In the format choosing dialogue pick OsmAnd SQ lite or OsmAnd tile storage. SQ lite is a single file with the area you selected while tiles are separate pieces of the map gathered on your device. SQ Lite often happens to be more convenient as it is stored in one place and occupies less space in memory. Select an area, then choose an 'atlas', press Add selection and then click Load. Your tiles will be saved. You can also pick map source, zoom levels and other features before loading.