San Vicente map MapGazer – introduction


Download MapGazer

Getting started

Using marks:
   Mark properties

Using icons

Using transparency

General settings

Getting maps

Using map tools

Elevation data

Aspect ratio

Coordinate formats

GPX files

Keyboard shortcuts

Command line


MapGazer screenshot

MapGazer screenshot

MapGazer is a free program for viewing and saving maps and also viewing, editing, and saving GPX data (tracks, routes, waypoints, images, etc.). You can download mapGazer here.

MapGazer is especially useful when the device in use has an unreliable (or no) internet connection, because it uses ‘offline’ maps (maps stored on your computer or tablet). It is fast and simple to use, and allows uncluttered viewing of maps.

Please click on the ‘Using ...’ menu items on the left to see screenshots illustrating the main features; or click on ‘Getting started’ for an overview of the application.

MapGazer features:

  • MapGazer uses tiled maps which can be downloaded from many sources (see Getting maps). You can overlay another map (e.g., geological) with variable transparency (see this animation, and also Using transparency). You can also use downloaded elevation data to add altitude information to maps.

  • GPX files can be loaded to add tracks, routes, waypoints, images, and areas; all of these can be edited and then saved back to GPX files – see below for an example of a map with a track and some waypoints.

  • You can easily create images from maps (which can be much larger than screenshots), copy and compress maps, and create subsets of maps (for example, for a mobile phone).

  • The user interface is ‘modeless’; marks shown on maps (tracks, waypoints, etc.) can be created and edited directly (without first entering a “routing mode”, for example); in particular:
    • tracks can be trimmed to remove unwanted points at the start or end;
    • routes can be adjusted and detailed by dragging, have waypoints added with a click, and let you measure distances and bearings;
    • waypoints (points of interest) can moved by dragging, and be assigned names, links, icons, and colours;
    • images (including satellite or drone images, or graphics such as cave surveys) can also have their aspect ratio and scale adjusted;
    • areas, which are rectangular, can be adjusted by dragging the edges or corners, and can have a fixed aspect ratio to match paper or print proportions;
    • scales can be moved by dragging, and automatically adjust their width to suit the window size.

  • You can edit the main properties (name, colour, icon, link URL, etc.) of tracks, routes, waypoints, images, areas, and scales. Statistics (such as the length, time, elevations, and duration of a recorded track) can be viewed and easily copied to the clipboard.

  • A number of shortcut keys are provided for common actions. In particular, the Escape (Esc) key toggles between full-screen and window views, and the Space Bar toggles between showing status and hiding status.

  • Multiple views (windows) are supported – the map (and any overlay map) displayed in each view can be changed or zoomed (using mouse, keyboard, or touch screen) at will, which allows detailed inspection of different areas. Any GPX data (tracks etc.) will appear in all relevant views.
    You can also explicitly set the aspect ratio of any window (to compare map layouts, for example).

  • The visible map is maximized by the ‘retro’-style menu bar; further, the menu bar and/or title bar can be hidden, or maps can be viewed full-screen; you can also open a satellite view that matches a map view (if an internet connection is available).

Here is an example of a topological map showing a recorded track and associated waypoints (showing some icon colour possibilities – all icon colours can be adjusted as required):

Sample track and waypoints (start, water crossing, <i>etc.</i>)

Sample track and waypoints (start, water crossing, etc.)

MapGazer runs on a Windows personal computer (PC, laptop, or tablet, running Windows 7 or later); it also runs on Windows XP and Windows emulators on Mac OS and Linux, but is not fully tested in those environments.

Internally, MapGazer permits the use of any tiled map format; for storage it uses the MGMaps map format (as used by MyTrails and other applications – see Getting Maps).  I’m open to suggestions for other formats to support for storage; ideally one for which pre-packaged offline maps are available.

MapGazer has been written ‘from scratch’, but is inspired by – or uses libraries by – many people, acknowledged here.

MapGazer and these web pages were written by Mike Cowlishaw; Please send me any corrections, suggestions, etc.
All content Copyright © Mike Cowlishaw, 2014–2021, except where marked otherwise. All rights reserved. The pages here, and the MapGazer program, are for non-commercial use only. Privacy policy: the Speleotrove website records no personal information and sets no ‘cookies’. However, statistics, etc. might be recorded by the web hosting service.

This page was last updated on 2021-03-05 by mfc.