We use the OsmAnd app to prepare, organise and execute our e-Walks and hikes. But that app is only one of the many hiking / navigation apps you could install on your smartphone / tablet. You can also work with apps such as Viewranger, Locus Map or GPX Viewer (we tested those).
In this article we give you a number of tips to get the most out of your OsmAnd app during your e-Walk.
- Installing your e-Walk in OsmAnd
- Start and walking direction
- Which direction to go?
- Length of an e-Walk and altitude profile
- Distance covered and remaining altitude profile
- Opening the points of interest (POI's)
- Taking audio notes, video notes and photos
- Public transport
(last updated on oct. 6, 2022)
There are two ways to install (import) an e-Walk in OsmAnd.
1. Automatic installation in the OsmAnd app
See to it that your e-Walk gpx file is present in the Downloads map, or some other map on your smartphone / tablet.
- In the OsmAnd app, open the menu Configure map (button on top left of the screen).
- Activate the option Point Labels (POI, Favorites). This will display on the map the names of the POI's that are part of the e-Walk track.
- Open the option Tracks. A list of the gpx files you already installed will be displayed. At the bottom of the list you'll notice OK, CANCEL and ADD MORE...
- Tap on ADD MORE and an overview of the Downloads map on your device will open. Select the e-Walk you wish to install. The file will be imported in the OsmAnd app, and will be shown on the map.
- If the e-Walk file isn't in the Downloads map, then you can navigate from the Downloads map to the other maps on your smartphone to locate it.
2. Manual installation in the correct Osmand map
With method 1 you sometimes get an error message from Osmand, saying the file can't be opened. Then try this:
- Place the e-Walk file yourself in the correct OsmAnd map on your device. You do this with a My Files app.
This is the map: toestel / Android / data / net.osmand / files / tracks.
- Open the Osmand app.
- In the menu Configure map - Tracks you now should see your e-Walk file amongst the other gpx files you already installed in the app.
- Select your e-Walk file and tap on OK.
- You should now see the e-Walk on the map.
If that still doesn't work, then check if the OsmAnd app has all the necessary permissions to function on your device.
- Close the OsmAnd app.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap on Apps. A list of all the apps appears. Tap on OsmAnd.
- Then tap on Permissions. Make sure that the necessary permissions, and especially the Files and media permission, have been approved.
The place where an e-Walk starts is indicated with a POI Start. Almost always the e-Walk will start at a train-, tram- or busstop. The text in the POI will tell you in which direction you have to start walking from there on.
Later on, during the e-Walk, you won't get any more direction instructions. We assume you know how to follow a track with the gps position on a map on your smartphone.
An e-Walk (be it a loop hike or an A to B walk) is always made in one direction. The POI's take into account that direction by - for instance - referring to a panoramic view on your left side.
However, if you wish to do that, Osmand provides instructions to completely reverse the direction of a track. In that case, just keep in mind that certain indications in the POI's won't be correct anymore (left becomes right, etc...).
- You're not sure about the direction of the e-Walk? Press the Navigation button (bottom left on the screen, button with arrow).
- Tap on Options.
- Tap on Follow track. A list of gpx tracks appears. Select the one you want to follow. Then tap Close.
- On the map you will now see that the direction of your e-Walk's gpx track is indicated with arrows. Zoom in on your position and you can clearly see in which direction you have to go.
- Tap again on the Navigation button and then on Close to end the navigation mode.
Just imagine you arrive at a complicated paths crossing, and you don't know which path to follow. You might try to orientate on the map. Given your position, and seeing the e-Walk track on the map, it shouldn't be too difficult to find out which path corresponds to the gpx track.
You still can't find out with the map? Then zoom in on your position and start to walk. After a few seconds you will see your position moving, telling you if you're still on track, or deviating.
- Press the Navigation button (bottom left on the screen, button with arrow).
- Tap on Options.
- Tap on Follow track.
- A list of gpx tracks appears. Check off the e-Walk file you're following.
- Tap on Close.
- You'll now see the total distance figure of your e-Walk.
- You'll also see an altitude profile of the e-Walk. Tap on Details and you'll get more info: average altitude, altitude range, uphill, downhill.
Tap on Analyse on map and you'll see the e-Walk on the map, with the altitude profile. Move your finger along the altitude profile and you'll see a small blue ball moving along the track of the e-Walk. It shows you the link between a place on the altitude profile, and a place on the map.
- Leave the navigation mode by pressing the navigation button on the map screen (when actif, the button is blue) and then tap on Close.
There's no need to have installed the Contour lines plugin to see the altitude profile of an e-Walk. The altitude information is included in your e-Walk.
However, the Contour lines plugin is an interesting feature, because it shows the contour lines on the map.
- After step 6 in the previous paragraph, you can use the From and To instructions to indicate which part of the track you want to navigate.
- Tap on From. You're offered a number of options. Choose for example My Position.
- Tap on To. Normally the finish of your e-Walk is indicated here. If that's not what you want, then choose Select on map. Zoom in on the map and tap on a spot along the track for which you want to know the distance.
- You will now see the distance you still have to walk, and you'll also see the altitude profile between the From and To places you indicated.
The points of interest (POI's) that are included with the e-Walk are shown on the map with a star symbol. Zoom in on the map, because when POI's are too close to one another, you won't be able to distinguish them separately on the map. And in addition to that, POI's are not always located exactly on the track, sometimes they are situated some distance off the track.
- Tap on a POI on the map.
The name of the POI appears beneath the map. Sometimes the names of several POI's appear. You recognise the POI of the e-Walk by the subtitle: Waypoint, name of the e-Walk. The e-Walk POI is also indentified by the star symbol.
- Tap on the name. The Description of the POI appears. If it's a short description, then it might be completely readable, but if the text is longer, then you simply tap again on the Description, and it will appear on the full screen (with scroll bars if needed).
- Tap once more on the Back arrow above the Description to go back to the map screen. Tap again on the map to make the POI description dissapear.
Sometimes you'll notice links in the POI descriptions. You can only open them if you're online (Wifi or 3G/4G). The links can point to a website that tells you more about the POI, or they can point to photos. They may be interesting to look at when you're at home preparing and organising your e-Walk. Photos and websites can give you a better idea of what to expect from the e-Walk. But once you're really walking, you won't need the pictures anymore, and the POI description will give you all the information you need.
Within the OsmAnd app it's possible to register photos, video and audio notes. A handy widget on the map screen allows you to do that.
Of course, you can also register photos and videos outside the OsmAnd app. Just close OsmAnd and open the Photo / Camera app on your device. Take a picture, and then open OsmAnd again.
An advantage of saving pictures / videos within OsmAnd is that they can be shown on the map, exactly where you took them. Later on you can also look and listen to them together with your e-Walk.
Personally, we always take our pictures outside the OsmAnd app. Our Camera app also registers the coordinates where the picture was taken. It's a setting you can switch on or off in the Camera app. So, we don't see the need to use OsmAnd for our pictures.
However, when it comes to Audio notes, we prefer registering those in the OsmAnd app. The reason being that a voice recorder app normally doesn't register where you took the audio notes.
1. Placing the widget on the map screen
- Open the main menu in Osmand (bottom left, the button with 3 horizontal lines).
- Tap on Configure screen. Tap on Right panel and then On request Audio-/videonotes.
- Return to the map screen, and at the top, on the right side, you should see the widget (Start button with a camera icon).
- If you want to see on the map where you registered photos, videos and/or audio notes, tap on the Configure map button (left, at the top of the screen) and activate Recording layer.
2. Using the widget
- Tap on the widget Start (right, at the top of the map screen).
- You're offered the choice: Take an audio note, Take a video note, or Take a photo.
- Tap on Take a photo. The Photo or Camera app is launched. Take the photo. The photo will show on the screen. Tap on OK if you want to save the photo, or on Retry if you want to take an other picture. When tapping OK, you'll see an icon on the map screen, representing a camera. When you tap on that icon, the photo is shown.
- The same procedure applies when you want to Take a video note.
- Tap on Take an audio note. The widget will now change to Stop (with red button), indicating that you're recording. Speak your message, and then stop recording by tapping on the Stop widget. On the map you'll see a microphone icon, on the spot where you registered the message. Tap on the icon and you can listen to your message.
3. Sharing and deleting
You can do lots of things with the Audio / Video / Photo notes. One possibility is to Share them via e-mail or apps like WhatsApp. In order to do that, you have to be online.
- Tap on the icon of an Audio / Video / Photo note.
- Tap on Share.
Audio / Video / Photo notes can also be Deleted from the OsmAnd app.
- Tap on the icon of an Audio / Video / Photo note.
- Tap on Delete.
You can also manage your Audio / Video / Photo notes via the main menu (button with 3 horizontal lines, at the bottom left of the screen).
- In the Main menu select My Places.
- At the top of the screen select A/V NOTES.
- A list with all the A/V Notes is shown.
- Tap on one of them and you'll be able to Share, Rename, Delete, Show on the map, Listen, etc...
4. The Map with the Audio / Video / Photo notes
The notes you registered in OsmAnd are saved in a map avnotes.
The path to the map: device / Android / data / net.osmand.plus / files / avnotes.
Knowing where you can find the map on your device, allows you to move or to copy the contents to other maps outside of OsmAnd.
You can also upload each note individually from OsmAnd to for example Google Photos or Google Drive. Just use the Share feature.
Our e-Walks always start and end at a public transport stop / station.
But also during the hike you might pass by other public transportation stops that are indicated on the map. Those may come in handy if for some reason you wish to stop your e-Walk.
Tap on the icon of the public transport stop. A list of the busses / trams that serve this halt is displayed.
But the bus numbers don't tell you where they go, nor the itinerary they follow.
- Tap on the Configure map button (left, at the top of the screen) and activate Transport.
- On the list that appears you can indicate which bus, tram, train, subway lines you want to see. Then return to the map screen.
- Red lines show the itineraries of the lines.