Offline Use

I am very new to open street maps. I have used in other applications but am looking for a very basic setup. I need to use a portion of the map like a digital wall map. I need to be able to place a “pin” on it and label the pin. I need to do this fairly simply and quickly. The purpose of this is to have a visual indication of people and assets on the ground that do not have trackers but are using radio to call in the location of themselves, other assets and spotted severe weather. The maps need to be used offline in the case that we have lost internet and are running during an emergency. I am the coordinator for a local Ham radio group that volunteers during severe weather and other emergencies. Any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated. If I have posted this in the wrong area please point me in the right direction.

I am a member of a backcountry first responder team in an area with spotty mobile coverage and so limited access to the Internet. As such, we have to deal with some of the same issues you are worried about.

I don’t know if this will help much as it involved a bunch of custom scripting, and it has a fairly long background story: When creating new paper maps for our backcountry patrol area I used Mapnik, a bunch of custom scripts, OSM data and SRTM elevation data to create JPEG image files for printing on paper. As a side effect of this, we have JPEG and properly scaled PDF OSM based map files for our area of interest. Knowing the lat/lon and pixel scale information for the map, the scripts also generates an appropriate “world file”. See:

We import these image files into Mac GPS Pro (I suspect other commercial topographical map software can also import raster images using the world file to properly georef them but Mac GPS Pro is a program I’ve been using for many years so we went with it). When we are doing a SAR operation we can use the imported OSM maps and easily plot the locations called in by the teams and when they return to base we can load the GPX data from their handheld GPS units and overlay it to verify the areas each team covered.

In our case, we can put up a large screen for the computer monitor so everyone in the incident command center can see the situation map. But if you don’t have the luxury, you may need a different setup where you can share the map and points of interest with everyone who needs to see it over an ad hoc network.

Here are some suggestions: