NZ TOPO50 guide - Android version

Page Contents

1.     Basic navigation (pan and zoom, map grids, built in locations)

2.     Using GPS positioning (enabling, accuracy, compass)

3.     Waypoints (setting, editing, show/hide, exporting)

4.     Recording tracks

5.     Waypoint and track management

6.     Settings


1.    Basic Navigation

Drag on the screen to pan around the map, use a two finger pinch to zoom in and out.



Tap anywhere on the map to toggle full-screen mode on and off.



You have full control of when GPS positioning is used. Activate GPS any time you need to use it. Leave it switched off to save battery power when you are just using the map.




When follow mode is activated, the map focus point will move to your current GPS location and continue to follow your location on the map as your location changes. GPS must first be switched on. Manually panning the map will disengage follow mode.


2.    Using GPS positioning

A green icon indicates the GPS sensor is active and your position will show as a blue dot on the map. A red icon indicates that GPS is not currently available. There are many possible causes. In some cases this may be temporary. If your position is indicated with a grey dot then this indicates that the position data is old and may be inaccurate. It will turn blue when new position data becomes available.


GPS accuracy depends on many factors, including any obstruction of a clear view of the sky. It may also take some time after the GPS is first activated for your device to obtain an accurate lock. If enabled, your device will initially use less accurate data from cellular or wifi signals until the GPS position is available.


The wedge projecting from the central location dot gives an approximate field of view based on the direction your phone is facing. This uses the magnetic compass bearing sensor in your phone. This is easily influenced by other magnetic fields. See further detail below.


When you enable follow mode your altitude, altitude uncertainty, and current speed will be displayed in the top information bar. When follow mode is disabled, the top information bar will display the distance and bearing from your current position to the focus point on the map.


3.    Waypoints


Select the flag icon to create a new waypoint (or to start recording a track, see below).


Choose ‘Create Waypoity’ and a waypoint will be created at the focal point of the map (in the crosshairs). You can adjust the position of the crosshairs before creating the waypoint if you need to adjust the position.


Tapping the waypoint flag will display further information about the waypoint.





Hiding the waypoint will remove the flag from the map. It can be shown again from the search menu, see below.


Deleting the waypoint will permanently delete the waypoint.



Waypoints are exported using the kml format. These files can be imported and converted to other formats using a range of other available software.


Importing waypoints (and tracks) can be achieved by choosing the import option from the settings menu and selecting the file to import.


4.    Recording Tracks

Select the waypoint/track icon to start and stop track recording.


Select ‘Record Track’ to start recording. Recording will start once an accurate GPS lock has been received and you will see a track start marker appear on the map. If you switch on the GPS to get a position lock before starting recording then your track will start recording immediately.


You can choose a name for your track before recording, or can change it later.



The waypoint button will show a recording indicator. Tap to bring up options for ending recording, or to create additional waypoints.


You can manually deselect the GPS during track recording. This will save battery life and pause track recording until it is reactivated.


If you switch to another app or put your phone in standby then the track will continue recording only if you have enabled Background Recording in the settings menu (see below).


Tap the track recording icon again to bring up the waypoint/track menu and choose End Recording to stop recording a track.


Further details on the track can be seen by selecting the disclosure arrow on the map screen, or by finding your track in the search list.



The track info screen shows track statistics and a graph of speed and altitude. Tap on the x-axis to toggle between time and distance.



The track name can be edited from this screen or the track can be exported.


Choose Hide to remove the track display from the map screen. You can still find it, and show it again, from your list of waypoints and tracks in the search screen (see below).


Choose Delete to delete the track permanently.


5.    Waypoint and track management


Select the search icon to find built in placenames on the map and to manage your user waypoints and tracks.



Built in placenames are included for features that are labelled on the map. Tap a placename and the map will scroll to the location of the feature.


Some features, such as rivers, are labelled in multiple places on the map. In these cases, multiple listings of the feature will show in the list.



Type a search term to find places, including your own waypoints and tracks, that contain the search term in the name. Searches are not case sensitive.

Type the ‘X’ to clear the search text.

User waypoints and tracks are also displayed in this list. They can be identified by the icon to the left. Built in placenames have no icon.


Tap the icon to toggle whether the waypoint or track is visible on the map screen. Selecting the track or waypoint will also turn on visibility and scroll to its location on the map.



Tapping the edit icon will bring up the track/waypoint edit box where you can change details, hide, export, or delete it.



Use the tabs at the top to sort the list alphabetically (A-Z) by distance (Near-Far) from your current focus point on the map, or to show only user waypoints and tracks. Tapping the A-Z or Near-Far tabs will alternate being forwards and backwards listing.


6.    Settings


Tap the settings icon to bring up the settings options.


 “Show hunting permit overlay” displays the Department of Conservation (DOC) open hunting permit boundaries on the map. These are provided by DOC and subject to change and/or errors. It is your own responsibility to ensure you are using accurate information regarding boundaries. Conditions apply to hunting in these areas. Contact DOC for information.


“Keep screen on” will keep the screen active while the app is in use. Switch on to prevent the screen from going to sleep. Switch off to revert to your normal power saving settings.


“Show compass bar” will display an analog and digital indicator of your current bearing at the top of the map screen. GPS must be switched on for the compass to display.


The true north bearing in degrees is displayed in digital form below the analog bar. The bearing to the map focal point as well as the currently selected waypoint (if there is one) are shown on the analog bar. Orient yourself so that the crosshairs or waypoint indicator is aligned with the arrow in the centre of the compass bar and you will be oriented towards that feature on the map.


Remember to activate Android’s internal compass calibration periodically to improve the reliability of the reading. This is achieved by rotating the phone through a figure-of-eight motion, as if mixing a bowl of biscuit dough.


“Record in background” determines whether a track will continue to record your position when you switch to another app or put the phone into sleep mode. If it is switched off then track recording will pause while the app is in the background and continue when you switch back to the NZ Topo50 app.


Track recording settings:



“Accuracy filter” determines which GPS positions reported by your device will be recorded as a track. If you set this to a low value then track points will only be recorded when accurate positioning data is available. Increase this value if accurate position data is not available but you would still like to record it.


“Update distance” is the minimum distance that needs to be travelled before new position data is added to the track. Using a low value will give you more data points and better resolution of small deviations in your route. Higher values will be less susceptible to fluctuations due to GPS signal variations.


“Update time” is the minimum time step before new position data is added to the track. Smaller values will record more data and consume more memory. Larger values will give better long term average velocity calculation.


“Export All” will give you the option to export all of your user tracks and waypoints. Built in placenames are not included (although if you want them for some reason then they are available free from LINZ)


“Import tracks” will allow you to select from internal or cloud storage sources and import tracks. Only Google’s kml file format is currently supported. Free tools, such as Google Earth or others, will enable you to convert from other formats if needed.


“Rate this App” will open the App listing in the Play Store where you can add a review or rating if you wish. The app will not otherwise prompt you to do this.


The settings page also includes further information and conditions of use, as well as a legend for the map.