Creating a New GPS Course in GPS Orienteering App

Important Safety Precautions: You are responsible for assessing risks and managing your safety. Ensure that you are properly trained and aware of the risks before embarking on any unsupervised orienteering activity. Always carry a whistle, a communication device, go with a "buddy", and obey all government and local regulations.

Note that maps may be out-of-date and may not have been recently field-checked. New hazards may exist that are not shown on the map. If you have any concerns about the safety of an area, please let us know and do not go out on the course or map.

Create courses with the paid version (~$6) (from our North Glenmore Intermediate)

What do I need to create a new GPS course?

To create new GPS courses, you need to:

  1. Optional but highly recommended to improve your GPS tracking accuracy and speed:
    i) Install and Open the free small Android app GPS Status & Toolbox by EclipSim from Google Play Store.
    ii) Accept the terms and conditions, and click "Allow" when asked to give permission to access this device's location.
    iii) If the GPS is working correctly, you should soon see numbered dots representing the GPS satellites.
    iv) You don't need to go into this app, it will run in the background and download a small file with satellite locations once per day, which will help your phone locate itself using GPS more quickly.

2. Install the paid GPS Orienteering app from HippsomApp.se (the full app costs ~$6/family and is currently only available for Android phones*).

3. Import a map image into the GPS Orienteering app, georeference the map, and create a course. We'll explain the easiest and most reliable ways we've found to do this below. General instructions and support for the app are available at HippsomApp.se

* iPhone or Android users could also create their own courses using a different app called MapRunF. Some other clubs use MapRunF, but we have no plans to create courses using MapRunF because we prefer the ease of course creation and other capabilities of the GPS Orienteering app (even though the iPhone version is not yet available). If you do create local courses with MapRunF, let us know and we will be happy to share the information but you can't run MapRunF courses using GPS Orienteering app or vice versa.

How do I import a map into GPS Orienteering app?

You can create a new GPS course using any of the georeferenced maps in the maps tab of the GPS Orienteering app. To create a georeferenced map, you let the app know the longitude and latitude of at least two points on a map file. There are several different ways to do this, but here are the easiest and most reliable ways we've found (easiest first):

Option 1: Download one of our GPS Orienteering maps that we've already georeferenced.

a. In the Maps tab in GPS Orienteering app, click the Plus button.

b. Select "Download protected map"

c. Enter the map code from the Foothills Orienteering members-only maps page on members.orienteeringcalgary.ca.

d. Once the map is downloaded, you may need to force close the GPS Orienteering app and restart it if the map doesn't display.

Option 2: Import a map that has already been georeferenced and has a world file (.jpw/.pnw) or .kml/.kmz file (skip this option if you don't know what this means or are unsuccessful)

a. Download the image and world/.kml/.kmz files (we prefer .jpg format with 300 dpi resolution because file size is smaller but resolution is still ok when zoomed in, but you can try other formats). Avoid files larger than about 2MB. Using basemaps rather than maps with courses already overprinted on them is preferred so that the map can be reused to create other courses.

b. Using a File Manager application on your Android, copy the .kmz or image and .kml/.jpw/world files to the gpsorienteering/maps folder on your Android device. Unless you are using a .kmz file, make sure the two files have the same file name but different extension (e.g. Testmap.kmz or Testmap.jpg and Testmap.jpw are ok).

c. Locate the map in the maps tab of GPS Orienteering app. If it does not appear, force close and restart the application. The map will be listed as "Not georeferenced".

d. Open the map and agree to georeference the file when prompted.

e. Select "Edit map info" from the menu in the upper right corner and enter the country, scale, year, and owner information and press the "Save" button.

f. Select ‘Exit edit mode’ to leave the map edit mode.

Option 3: Import a map that you will georeference using the free Custom Maps App (our preferred method - not as complicated as it sounds)

a. Install the excellent free Android app Custom Maps app by Marko Teitennen.

b. Download a map file to your Android device (we prefer .jpg format with 300 dpi resolution because file size is smaller but resolution is still ok when zoomed in, but you can try other formats). Avoid files larger than about 2MB. Using basemaps rather than maps with courses already overprinted on them is preferred so that the map can be reused to create other courses.

c. In Custom Maps app, select "Create app" from the menu in the upper right corner.

d. Select the map file to georeference (usually found in the Download folder)

e. Edit "Map Name" to be something appropriately descriptive if needed. Avoid confusing names like "290". Instead, use something like "Calgary Nose Hill Shaganappi 15000 2019".

f. Press the Plus (+) button and choose a point near one corner of the map that will be easily found on Google Maps Satellite view (e.g. a major path intersection, prominent rock, corner of a building or parking lot (without overhead trees), etc. and press "Select Point".

g. Locate the point in the satellite view by adjusting the transparency and pinching to zoom and dragging the map and click the "Accept" button once the point on the map matches the point on the satellite view. Tip: This becomes easier with practice. You don't actually need to rotate or match the scale on the maps as long as you are sure the selected point on the map matches the point on the satellite precisely. Take your time, because a georeferenced map that is off by 10m is very frustrating to use for GPS orienteering.

h. Repeat Step f and g for another point ideally in the diagonally opposite corner of the first point. Repeating this process for more than two points may help correct mistakes but should not be necessary if using a properly created orienteering map.

i. Press the "Preview" button and verify that the map is correctly lined up with the satellite view. If there are areas where the map does not look like it lines up correctly, the map will likely not be very good to use in GPS Orienteering. If all looks good, click the "Save" button.

j. Using a File Manager application on your Android, locate move or copy the .kmz file that you just created from the CustomMaps folder on your Android device to the gpsorienteering/maps folder. Tip: The file name will be the Name you created in Step e followed by .kmz (e.g. Calgary Nose Hill Shaganappi 15000 2019.kmz). The file modified date should be today.

k. Locate the map in the maps tab of GPS Orienteering app. If it does not appear, force close and restart the application. The map will be listed as "Not georeferenced".

l. Open the map and agree to georeference the file when prompted.

m. Select "Edit map info" from the menu in the upper right corner and enter the country, scale, year, and owner information and press the "Save" button.

n. Select ‘Exit edit mode’ to leave the map edit mode.

Option 4: Import a map and georeference it using the GPS Orienteering app (note GPS may not be accurate enough using this method).

a. Download a map file (we prefer .jpg format with 300 dpi resolution because file size is smaller but resolution is still ok when zoomed in, but you can try other formats). Avoid files larger than about 2MB.

b. Using a File Manager application on your Android, copy the file to the gpsorienteering/maps folder on your Android device.

c. Georeference the map by defining the coordinates for 2 fixpoints on the map. Choose points that can be exactly defined and that are as far apart as possible, ideally in two opposite corners of the map.

i. Open the map that you want to georeference and Select ‘Edit map’.

ii. Pinch to zoom in, select ‘Set fixpoint 1 on map’ and click on the point that shall be fixpoint 1. Do the same for fixpoint 2.

iii. Select ‘Set fixpoint coordinates’ and enter the coordinates for the two fixpoints. Save the coordinates by selecting ‘Save fixpoint coordinates’. You can either look up the longitude and latitude coordinates using Google Maps or something like http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html or by going to the physical location and setting the coordinates using GPS (this has not worked very well for us due to GPS satellite errors that can be up to 10m off).

iv. Enter the scale, owner, and country information under ‘Edit map info’.

v. Select ‘Exit edit mode’ to leave the map edit mode.


How do I create a course in GPS Orienteering app?

We haven't written up any specific instructions yet. It's pretty easy to figure out and there are general instructions on HippsomApp.se

How do I share a course I created with the Club?

We haven't written up any specific instructions yet. It's pretty easy to figure out and there are general instructions on HippsomApp.se

If you have created a Calgary-area GPS course, please email the course code to [email protected] orienteeringcalgary.ca