Article by: RobRed
Applicable Models: All Series Land Cruiser or Lexus LX / Any Overland Vehicle / iOS
This isn’t a review of Motion X GPS HD. This is a quick look the a new Motion X feature, Custom Maps. If you are new to iPad based navigation please read the iPad Navigation FAQ located here.
When Motion X GPS launched it came with a hand full of open source maps which could be cached or downloaded for offline (non-network) use. In other words you could navigate and see maps with no cellular or WiFi coverage. A great feature to be sure and something needed for an overland traveller using an iOS device. As Motion X GPS and GPS HD (later) evolved additional map types and features came along. Though the Motion X Terrain Maps were pretty good (and offline cacheable) folks yearned for their trusty USGS Topo Maps. In version 16 Motion X added offline Bing maps (Road, Satellite, Hybrid and Terrain) which seemed to appease folks somewhat but there have always been grumbling about the lack of those old school pesky USGS gems.
In version 20 of Motion X GPS, FullPower, the makers of Motion X, actually removed Google (online maps) replacing them with the Apple native maps and removed the Bing maps. People were very upset and I actually recommended people don’t upgrade beyond version 19. I spoke with my contact at FullPower and was told that the loss of the maps would be temporary as they worked out licensing with the Bing and Google. One of the issues is that Apple and Google were in a fight when iOS 6 came out and Apple had there own “Apple” maps in the system. Motion X uses/used iOS MapKit for the Google Maps so when Apple rolled their own maps Motion X rendered them. The Loss of Bing had to do with the offline caching permissions from Microsoft.
In this Latest version of Motion X GPS HD (v21), FullPower has done it up right. Alongside Motion X Maps and Apple Maps brings back Bing and Google. What’s not changed here is that only Motion X Maps are downloadable for offline use. Neither Bing nor Google are offline cacheable as the licensing* doesn’t permit it. How is that any good you ask? Motion X GPS now supports Custom Maps. Custom Maps allow the user to specify a MapServer source URL and bring as many map sources into Motion X as the user wants. Moreover each of the sources can be set to allow offline caching if the provider allows it via their license… wink-wink. USGS Topo Maps here we come! Now all this comes at a price, $4.99 in-app purchase to be exact. Add this to the $1.99 app purchase price and for 7 bucks you have one of the most powerful handheld GPS Navigators available.
Motion X includes a couple of sample Custom Map sources in the tutorial in the app, but they are limited. In my opinion they have done this purposefully to avoid any liability around licensing sources. It’s up to the end user to understand the map sources license and abide by it – wink wink. I’m going to walk you through how to set up a Custom Map source in Motion X GPS HD and I’ll provide some additional source URLs (including those USGS maps you love). Let’s do it.
First lets look at the beauty of the updated Motion X interface…. ahhh feels good doesn’t it?
From the Main screen:
Select the switch Download map for offline use to ON if the license of the map source allows it – wink wink. Tap OK.
I’ll be adding more Custom Map server links as I find them – http://forum.tlcfaq.com//viewtopic.php?f=6&t=234
* Some other apps have been allowing offline caching of the Bing and Google Maps. FullPower is honoring the license terms Google and Microsoft put forth. Other apps/developers have skated the licensing allowing offline downloads.