FAQ

How do I turn off GPS Tracking?
Tracking begins when you tap the arrow button in the tool bar. The map is centered on your current GPS location but the app continues tracking when you scroll the map or even switch to another app.

Tracking can be stopped in three ways:
  1. Tap the arrow button in the toolbar once to start tracking, a second time to lock the center of the map to your GPS location and a third time to either Stop Recording Track or Unlock GPS Centering.
  2. Select the Tracks tab and tap on the name at the top of the list with the red record button and select Stop Recording Track.
  3. Put down your iOS device and turn off the screen. Tracking will stop after several minutes automatically. There is an Automatic Tracking option in the Settings menu you can turn off to disable this feature for long duration tracks. Tracking will then stop once the battery reaches the percent set with the Minimum Battery slider below or you stop using the Tracks tab.
GPS can't get location fix
Make sure your device has a GPS receiver built in. Only iOS devices with cellular radios. These are all iPhones and iPads with the cellular data option. All other iOS devices, such as the iPod Touch, get their location via WiFi hotspots. This may appear to work when you are at home but if you go on a drive or a hike your device will not provide an accurate location or not find a location at all. You can get an external Bluetooth GPS receiver which will work with your iOS device. I have some listed in the GPS Receivers section of this web site.

To start tracking your location, first tap the arrow button in the toolbar. It may take a few seconds for your iOS device to find your location but then the map should center itself on your current location and a blue dot will appear at the center of the screen. Sometimes it will get an initial location some distance away but then jump to your actual location when it gets a more accurate fix.

If you cannot get a GPS location fix, here are some things to try:
  • Turn on WiFi which can improve location accuracy and get an initial fix quicker.
  • Go outdoors with a clear view of the sky and wait a few minutes for an initial location fix.
  • Make sure you have Location Services turned on for the device and the app you are using in the Privacy section of the Settings app.
  • Check to see if other apps, such as Apple Maps, can get a location fix. If they can then double check the that Location Services are enabled for the version of Scenic Map or You Need a Map you are using.
  • Make sure your iOS device is running the latest update to iOS (check for updates in the Settings app).
  • Reset your device by holding the screen lock and home buttons at the same time until the Apple logo appears.
  • Backup your device and then restore it using either iTunes on your computer (preferred) or the Reset All Settings in the Reset section of the General section of the Settings app.
  • If all else fails, make an appointment to see a genius at an Apple Store or call Apple support. There may be a hardware or software problem with your iOS device.
I am having trouble downloading, updating or running Scenic Map or You Need A Map
This is a problem with your iOS device and not the app itself. Apple's App Store handles app downloads and updates. However these instructions have helped every user that has contacted me. Follow these steps until the problem is resolved:
  • Make sure you have at least 5 GB free on your iOS device before downloading or updating the app. 
  • It is best to download the app with iTunes on your computer and then sync it to your iOS device.
  • Try turning off your iOS device and turning it back on again before trying to update.
  • Delete the fully or partially downloaded app and then reset your iOS device: Hold down the power and home buttons until the Apple logo appears. Then try the update or download again.
  • Backup and then do a restore of your iOS device using iTunes or iCloud.
There is more detailed information in the How To Download section of this site.

What is the difference between the Scenic Map apps and You Need A Map?
In version 1.3 of Scenic Map, 3D mapping was introduced as a new feature. This feature is now available in You Need A Map as an in app purchase. In future versions some new features (such as track recording, import and export) will be added to You Need A Map for free while others (such as the Online Map) will be available via in app purchase.

Scenic Map has a much higher resolution terrain elevation map. The grid points are spaced about 10 meters apart in Scenic Map while they are spaced 90 meters in You Need A Map. This difference is most noticeable as you zoom in and in areas with more varied terrain. The roads, streams and other vector map elements are identical between all the apps. Because the terrain data is so much smaller in You Need A Map, I was able to fit two versions of the road maps. The US Census roads can be more accurate in some areas. Scenic Map also has Earth color maps that change each month of the year which You Need A Map does not (I could not fit both the color maps and the dual set of roads into the 2GB app size limit.)
The above image shows the difference in resolution between You Need A Map and Scenic Map. If you already have ScenicMap you should still get You Need A Map if you want to look at the US Census roads which can be more accurate than Open Street Map for local roads.

Which version of Scenic Map covers my area?
Please see the Coverage Maps page.

Why was the map split this way? Shouldn't Colorado be in Western USA?
The map was split this way due to the 2GB app size limit originally imposed by Apple (they now have a 4GB app size limit). The western side of the United States has more mountains so its terrain data is larger. The eastern side has more roads so its road data is larger. There are several degrees of overlap between each section. The new Scenic Map app combines all of the maps into a single small app that will downloads data from Apple's servers. You can also turn on the Online Map in all paid versions of Scenic Map or with an in-app purchase in the free apps.

Will there be a version of Scenic Map for Android?
I would love to make a version of Scenic Map for Android but as an individual developer I can’t afford the development time or costs to support the platform currently. To properly test on Android I would need many different phones and tablets since there is no common version of the hardware or operating system. On iOS I can test on just iOS 6 and 7 and a relatively small number of iOS devices which I already own. I would like to do an Android version some day but for now I am still working on adding essential features to the app.

What are those Preset buttons for?
The presets let you quickly switch the map between different rendering styles. This is handy to look at different features of the map. For example, Preset 1 displays all the roads, areas, city and road names. Preset 3 displays only the shaded terrain. You can change the rendering style of the selected preset by clicking the cog icon in the tool bar at the top of the screen.

Why don't the roads appear on the map?
The roads and other lines are displayed by default for Preset 1, 2 and 3. The other two presets do not display roads by default. You can show or hide roads and other lines by turning Roads and Linear Features on or off in the Settings. Click the cog icon in the toolbar to display the Settings and scroll down to the Roads and Linear Features setting.

The GPS stays on even when Scenic Map is in the background. Won't this drain my battery?
You are correct. However, when your iOS device is plugged in and charging, Scenic Map will continue to track your location if Automatic Tracking is turned On (or Background Tracking is turned Off in iOS 5.1) in the Settings panel. This will not drain your battery. In iOS 6.0, the Automatic Tracking feature replaces the previous Background Tracking. This automatically turns off the GPS and disables tracking when the device remains perfectly stationary for a short time. This prevents the battery from being run down if you forget to stop tracking after a drive or hike. It does mean you should tap the cross hair GPS Center button to begin GPS tracking and start a new track when you start moving again. You can turn off Automatic Tracking and the GPS will not turn off until the battery level you have set is reached.

What does the Sun icon do?
When you click the Sun icon, a white spot appears on the map to represent the location of the sun. Drag the sun around the map to change the lighting direction for the shaded terrain. By default the lighting comes from the top left corner. You can return to the default lighting by tapping the map with two fingers when the Sun icon is selected.

What does the Polygons slider do?
The polygons are the solid shaded areas on the map. These represent features such as parks, military bases and urban areas. You can drag the slider to make the polygon areas more transparent or more opaque on the map.

Why is there a control to set the Month?
If the Color mode is set to Natural, the ground color is set to the natural earth ground color at that location. This color was taken from NASA satellite photos. There are different colors for each month of the year. If you change the Month, you will see the seasons change in the map. The Month control has no effect if the Color mode is set to Altitude or White.

All I see is blue ocean in the map. How do I get back to dry land?
It is easy to scroll the map far into the ocean by accident. Perhaps you were trying to find Hawaii? To return to a point on dry land, use the City Search or Waypoints tab. Just select any city or waypoint and the map will instantly center on that location. Looking up Honolulu with City Search is a much easier way to find Hawaii.

There are missing or incorrect features on the map. Can you fix them?
All of the roads, trails and buildings on the map come from openstreetmap.org. This is a open community generated street map. You can add or modify features on the map yourself. When Scenic Map is updated, the latest mapping data from openstreetmap will be used. Any improvements that have made will be included in Scenic Map. In some areas the roads may be offset by over 100 meters. This is why they should be used for reference only and not for actual street navigation. There are several excellent apps available for the iPhone if that provide turn-by-turn navigation using more accurate commercial databases including Apple Maps.

Why doesn't Scenic Map use the same data as Google, Tom Tom, Navigon, etc.?
The map data used by GPS receivers and most online maps must be licensed from companies that produce them. The creation of a map is a very expensive and time consuming process. Several of these companies have been purchased by larger companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. Needless to say the commercial map data is quite expensive to license. This would require a much higher price for Scenic Map if we decide to license it. The OpenStreetMap roads can be more accurate in areas with less population and includes many dirt roads and tracks. Many cities have users actively updating the map and can have even more detail than commercial maps.

Can Scenic Map display scenic routes?
Scenic Map gets its street map data from openstreetmap.org (OSM). This is a publicly generated mapping database. OSM does not currently have tags for scenic routes but are considering adding them in the future. We realize that naming the apps "Scenic Map" may make you think that they can display scenic routes. Instead Scenic Map will show you the actual terrain which you can use to locate great roads to drive even if they are not actually designated as scenic routes.

Will Scenic Map work with the iPad's built in GPS?
Definitely yes!

Will Scenic Map work with a third party add on GPS?
All of the third party iOS compatible GPS receivers we have tested have worked perfectly with Scenic Map. We have not received any reports of a third party GPS failing to work with Scenic Map. On some occasions, a Bluetooth GPS has failed ever get a location. To fix this try turning off your iOS device and then turn it on again (holding down the power button until the red slider appears). This appears to be some kind of bug in iOS.

My Bluetooth GPS receiver is not updating my location. Why?
This is how I tested my Dual XGPS150 with my Retina iPad Mini (Cellular+WiFi) running iOS 9.0.1:

The iPad has GPS built in so for the test, I used Airplane Mode which disables it. When you enable Airplane Mode you must then enable Bluetooth. I left WiFi off so the device could not get a location from it. I used the Dual GPS Status Tool app to watch it to lock onto the satellites which it was able to do from my desk indoors in only a few minutes. I then launched Scenic Map and got a good GPS fix. I went outdoors and verified that if I left the Dual in one position and walked with the iPad the position remained fixed. I then did the walk again but carrying the Dual and my position moved correctly.


From those tests, I would say that my Dual is working well with my apps. Test your iPad and Dual GPS using the Dual GPS Status Tool app. This will make sure they are paired and the GPS has a good location fix. You could then try doing a test similar to the one I described above. Make sure you have WiFi off and be in Airplane Mode if you have a device with cellular data. This will eliminate all other location sources.

The same procedure should work for other Bluetooth GPS receivers although some of them do not have a status app which is one reason I prefer the Dual brand of GPS receivers. Test the location fix in other apps such as Apple Maps if it does not work in Scenic Map. Since all iOS apps use Apple's Location Services (except the manufacture status apps which talk directly to the GPS receivers) you should get the same results in any app you try.

Dual reported that there was a bug in iOS 6 that affected external Bluetooth GPS receivers. The problem was that they stop updating the location even if they had a good satellite fix. Dual put out a workaround for this problem here:

http://gps.dualav.com/wp-content/uploads/iOS6-work-around.pdf