JOSM, Merkaartor and OSM maps

I downloaded Merkaator and JOSM from Ubuntu Software Centre - I’m the noobiest of the noobs in both Linux and GPS, so if you can direct me to some books, like “linux and gps for dummies”…

Plus, I downloaded quebec.osm.bz2 which was decompressed to a 4GB .osm file, that I have no idea what to do with.

First of all, I’m trying out Viewranger, that was given by the nokia store and from what I understand, its file format is .gpx, open and not proprietary. So I thought great! I’m not going to have any trouble finding a map for Quebec to work with this app. How wrong was I! Looks like I’m going to be stuck with Nokia Maps 3 for a while… Not too bad of a software but it’s missing whole lakes like Stukely and I don’t think users can contribute to improve their maps.

Actually, I did try to open the 4GB osm Quebec map with JOSM and Merkaator and both failed. JOSM just hangs saying it’s opening it and M. parses the file but during the next step, it hangs.

I then tried converting the osm file to gpx through the web site GPS Visualizer with GPS Babel and it didn’t work either. I then found out the site converter is limited to 3 MB files.

If 4 GB osm map file is too big for desktop computers, how can I expect it’ll work with my itty bitty lil’ Nokia N95 cell phone?!

Please direct me to a web site that supplies GPX maps - I’m especially interested in Canada and Brazil for now. If you know a better navigation software that works with open source maps and Nokia phones, the planet and I will be very grateful, since I won’t go out and purchase YAGD :sunglasses:

I’ve not used Viewranger or a Symbian phone, but I’ll try and answer some of this:
Firstly, GPX is a format for GPS waypoints, routes and tracks, not for maps. You could convert an osm file to GPX, but it would just be a load of lines and points etc, so not very useful. And not much software will be able to cope with a 4GB GPX file.

I’m not sure what sort of maps Viewranger can use, it looks like it is just be their own proprietary format? And it seems it uses bitmap tiles, not vector maps. An .osm file is vector data, it can’t be directly converted to bitmap (without some rendering software).
I found this guide for OSM maps on ViewRanger: Though it is just map tiles, and it doesn’t have anyway to bulk download a map for a large area.

You could try some other software for Symbian. See the list here
Probably best to look for something that is listed as using vector maps and has an option for off-line maps. There doesn’t seem to be much, maybe try WhereAmI:
Or try GpsMid (actually a Java app, but should work on Symbian): See this guide for how to convert an .osm file to GpsMid format:

Thank you for your prompt answer. I did try both WhereAmI and GpsMid before, but cannot remember what didn’t work, that led me to uninstall them.

I might try them again, especially GpsMid since I can convert from osm.

for general first steps, have also a look at


You cannot load a raw 4GB osm file into any editor like JOSM or Merkartor, it is to bog for direct editing.

But there are some apps for certain mobile devices that have own converter programs to produce map files in a special format to use offline with your device.

Start investigating in the OSM wiki at the page “software” and go deeper there!

Please tell me what is the purpose of the quebec.osm.bz2 file or its extracted 4 GB osm file. What application is it supposed to be used with?

I’m now reading the wiki pages of Monav - it’s both Linux and Symbian compatible, but does not seem to be mobile intuitive. Has anyone tried it with a cell phone?

I have tried out most gps apps for Symbian, commercial trials or freeware, and everyone of them work with online maps but offline maps, you’re pretty much on your own. You have to scramble to understand some map editor to download and convert to the appropriate file format. With Viewranger it’s no different - you can download osm maps as you go or ‘on the fly’ but if you want an offline vector based map, you’re on your own.

I didn’t realize how simplified Nokia maps was made for the nokia user. You do need the Nokia suite (or Ovi or PC suite) to download maps you’re interested in and to update the nokia map itself, but these steps are very simple, compared to other gps navigation apps out there. Plus, I like the nokia online route planning that lets you type address and all contact info possible to your favorite places from your desktop keyboard - it would be very difficult to do that with the nokia small keypad - and all this can be synched online with the phone. Don’t know any other that offers this. Google Maps I think is doing it know for Android phones. Tomtom has an online map, but it’s also missing entire lakes like Stukely lake in south shore of Montreal - bizarre since they specialize in GPS products. Dunno if Garmin offers this but maybe that’s for another support forum?