Announcement: iPhone: realtime OSM maps

We have just released a new iPhone/iPod Touch app called PocketEarth Maps &
Guides which does on/offline, realtime (vector) map rendering using openGL and OSM data!

Also includes saveable online routing, and offline travel guides (using content), multiple stylesheets (including a reproduction of the
OSM slippy map), and is available in english, french, and german languages.

So being the OSM Dev forum, I want to invite you first to have a look at it.
We are eager to get feedback, and are already working on new features for the
next version. So we hope you will check out our website for more details and
try the app!

Twitter news:
US AppStore:
FR AppStore:
DE AppStore:

That’s a great implementation of vector data! It’s good to see something like this and I hope it will allow the data to be updated in a reasonable time frame. (Other ‘tile based’ apps only update when they think enough data has changed in an area. If 24 restaurants out of 500 change in a year, that is significant to me, but is only 0.001% of the data for the area, and not enough to trigger a tile update).

Some items of note:
‘path’ type bridge is not shown (highway=path, foot=designated, bicycle=designated,bridge=yes,layer=1)
The tutorial video on your web site may clear things up, but it’s not clear how to create ‘my’ items - route, POI, destination. Also when searching, what is being searched; is it street, POI, only ‘my’ items, etc?

One more item - with the cyclemap style, in addition to highlighting signed bicycle routes, also emphasize roads having cycle lanes (cycleway = lane, cycleway:left/right=lane), or sharrows (sharrow=yes/bicycle=designated; tagging is still fuzzy).

Hi Mike, thanks for the response!

Currently we are doing a full OSM planet (and wikitravel) re-process and update every 3 weeks, but we can increase the frequency if there is demand for it. We are planning to support each dataset for 6 months, after which the user, in order to download any new maps, will be required to update via the settings screen if they haven’t already.

Thanks for the pointer on bridges/bike paths, we will check it out and get it in our next release.

Under Settings > Help and also on our website, you will find a detailed usage guide for the app, but yes, the video should help clarify things a lot. Basically, you can click on any POI, or City/Region/Country (when zoomed out enough for it to be about finger sized) to get info, and can then click the Star icon to add them to your favorites lists… maybe we can add a note to the favorites lists when they are empty to explain this. For the place you are looking at on the map, you can also click the ‘i’ button at top to get the same info panel and star button…

Search is currently only of favorites on the tab you are viewing, or of any city/region/country in the world on the Destinations tab. We will be adding a full POI/road search in the near future, as well as address lookup for creating pins and routes…


Please elaborate.

Feel free to add this App to our wiki using the Template:Software2 :slight_smile:

By “realtime” we mean that our app doesn’t just simply download and display pre-baked OSM map tile images. Instead it downloads raw OSM vector data from our own server which has been specially processed and packaged into a very small and efficient format, and then it draws/renders the map directly on the device using an openGL ES based map rendering engine which we have built. This has many advantages, such as minimizing data downloads, much faster maps, various stylesheets, clickable POIs, etc… and the main feature of the app, to allow the user to pick as many cities, regions, or even whole countries as you want for download, and then be able to view these maps Offline.

I have added a short entry in wiki:
More detailed information is available on our website:

One can put vector data for maps on the phone being online.

And offline your programm generates maps from that vector data.

So it’s an offline vector map generator.

More programs like Osmand, Navfree and VGPS on Android use offline vector data to generate their maps.

I suppose that about how they do it is like PocketEarth does it.

If you speak about an offline vector map generator I know where you are talking about. If you speak about realtime you confuse me.

Realtime OSM maps would be as actual as those on

For the rest: this looks like a great App.

PocketEarth v1.0.2 is now available on the AppStore and has more than 20 enhancements based on the great feedback from our users, including:

  • Individually cancel downloads
  • Color coordinated Favorite stars to indicate place download status:
    Green: You have all the maps downloaded for Offline use
    Yellow: The maps are currently downloading
    Red: The maps won’t be downloaded for Offline use
  • Remove Favorites, Pins, and Routes directly from the lists via Edit mode and swipe to delete
  • Rename Pins directly from the Pins list by clicking Edit, then tapping on the item
  • Added POI type category to the POI list
  • Improved PlaceBrowser search: bugfixes, faster, better support for accented letters, search My Listing/Pins by typing city or type (cafe, bar)
  • Shows highlighted route segment and turn point for the currently displaying navigation step
  • Various bugfixes and usability improvements, especially for iOS 5
  • Fixed missing bridges on walking/bike paths (thanks MikeN for pointing this out!)
  • And for new users: We have simplified the one time Setup to under 30 seconds!

And we are already working on the next version, which will add:

  • Route Recording (GPS track) with mid track location marking
  • Rename routes and route destinations
  • Drag and drop route points, route will automatically recalculate on server
  • Onscreen compass and distance meter

Other feature requests are welcome, we’ll see what we can do!


We have just released a big update to our app, and are doing a 50% off promotion for the next few days! We will also have a free demo version of our app (restricted to Ireland) in the next week or so. Or if you just want to see some screenshots of the app, you can find some on our Facebook page.

We are excited to bring you PocketEarth v1.2 a major upgrade that offers the following enhancements and new features:
• Improved iPad experience and full support for the new iPad Retina screen
• Search Enhancements:
★ Online street address look-up for creating routes, pins, or just browsing the map
★ Offline local search area can be extended up to a radius of 64km
• Routing Enhancements:
★ Transportation mode: 3 different modes to choose for a route - Car, Bicycle, Foot
★ New option to directly create a route point using the pin button
★ Use current location directly as start point for routing when in GPS mode
• GPS Enhancements:
★ Map rotation modes: rotate the map to compass north or rotate to heading (course)
★ Info bar with speed, altitude, and heading
★ Recenter button resumes movement tracking after panning away
★ GPX export for recorded GPS tracks, listings, pins, and routes
• New BETA Feature:
★ More than 100,000 Wikipedia articles in each of 4 supported languages
• And Much More:
★ Automatic map and guides update checking
★ Smaller map downloads
★ Pins automatically show nearest street address
★ Spanish language support
★ Visual improvements on the maps:
☆ Country and region names on low zoom maps
☆ House numbers on high zoom maps
☆ Improved text layout, shields (road numbers), and added missing lakes and parks
☆ Improved Cycle maps
★ Reorganized settings screen and help, added a contact section and a more detailed Data Cache section
★ Re-engineered data management and update system
★ New country flags, continent, and POI category graphics
★ Fixed bug which prevented downloads in certain rare cases
★ Other bug fixes

PocketEarth v1.1 includes the following enhancements and new features:
• Visual highlighting of Favorite POIs on the map
• Local area POI/street browser with search
• GPS track recording
• Onscreen compass and scale bar
• Routes and route destinations can be renamed
• Drag and drop route destination points, route will automatically recalculate on server
• Transliteration into latin alphabet
• Even better rendering performance (40-60% faster)
• Fixed missing polygons, building POI icons, better OSM multi-poly relation support
• Various bug fixes and greater stability