Mobile atlas creator

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I found that there was a real learning curve to getting Trekbuddy installed and working with maps for my local area. Let me explain the process I use to get local maps with a good zoom level onto my mobile device.


Get the software

The software you're going to need is called Mobile Atlas Creator. You can get it here If, for some reason, this website dies, just try googleing "mobile atlas creator."

Find your local area


The wonky controls for navigating this: left-click-drag selects an area with a pink box. Right-click-drag lets you move the map around. You can zoom in on an area using your mouse wheel, or using the slider in the top left.

3.gif Here I've found my city that I'm interested in.

Select zoom level

There are a few boxes there in the top left labeled "Zoom Level." Although this process is also relatively simple, this is where I really got lost. Trekbuddy uses these preloaded maps. Once you select a zoom level, you're stuck at that level until you can get back to your computer and go through all these steps again. Think about what you're going to be doing with these maps. For me, I like to bring my phone along when I go on bike rides. I wanted a zoom level that is large scale, but only includes major streets. I don't care about the name of alley's or side streets.

So find your city, for me this will be Berkeley, and start zooming in until you're happy with the level of detail.


I'm pretty happy with level 15. I could go 16 for more detail, but I can read plenty of street names at level 15, so I'm going to go with that one. Check the box labeled 15 from the "Zoom Levels" section on the left.

Total size of map

Now that you've selected your zoom level, this is how much of the map you're going to be able to look at at one time. Imagine the screen of your phone as a clear glass, and placing it over the screen of your computer. This is what you're going to be looking at while on the go. To stick with my analogy here, you can move your phone over a map the size of your computer screen, or it can be huge, like the size of your kitchen floor.

How big of a map do you want to take with you? Zoom out until you can see the entire area you think you're going to need covered by Trekbuddy.


I've circled a few items here that are of interest. From the left to the right:

  • "500 tiles" As you drag your pink rectangle (square whatever) larger or smaller, this is like the number of little chunks that will be included at the zoom level you selected.
  • check box 15 This is the zoom level we selected in the previous step
  • zoom slider 11 - This is the zoom level we're looking at right now. This is NOT the zoom level that we're going to be capturing and storing into our phone. We've zoomed out so that we can draw a square that's as big as our kitchen floor but still manage the size on our computer screen

Create you map

Finally it's time to create your map.


I've numbered a few more items here. I thought it worked so well above...

Here's where you should be at at this point: zoom level checked, pink rectangle over the area you want covered.

  • 1. Give this hot map a name, and click "Add selection."
  • 2. This will put a little +/- next to your Atlas Content. When you hit the + you'll see the map you named, and the zoom level you selected. I did "berkeley 15"
  • 3. The default setting should be "TrekBuddy tared atlas," if it ain't, make it so.
  • 4. Click "Create atlas" and Bob's your uncle. That' it!

Find the map files

As soon as your download finishes, your map file(s) will be created automatically.


This is the window that pops up when the map download has been completed. You can see the "Total download size" is 5.45MB. Click the "Open Atlas Folder" and you'll be presented with the map folder in Windows explorer.


I was curious how accurate that 5.45MB was, so I did a right click properties on the folder, and sure enough it was pretty much spot on. As it was so small, this means I could've zoomed in more, and included the entire East Bay if I wanted and it would've fit fine on my phone!

Last step I promise. Right click that map folder, and paste it into your mobile device. This means you'll have to plug it into your computer with USB, find the little folder where TrekBuddy installed, and there should be some sub-folder called "maps" or "atlases" or something. Paste that map folder you created in there, and badda bing. You're good to go.

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