Using iTunes File Sharing to Add Custom Maps

10 August 2012 by Patrick Wilson

One of the powerful features of Fulcrum is the ability to go completely offline and still be able to collect data. To augment this capability, we wanted to be able to access offline tile basemaps to use as reference when collecting data in the field. Using the MBTiles map format for Fulcrum offline maps lets users create their own custom base layers to use as a backdrop, and the format is portable, fast, and gaining traction as an industry standard. MBTiles maps can be generated using TileMill, a free map design studio app created by our friends at Mapbox. They provide excellent documentation on how to build gorgeous maps.

With any Fulcrum account you can upload your MBTiles offline maps to your account using the map uploader. Adding maps this way stores the file in your account for you to download from inside the Fulcrum mobile app. This is especially essential for Fulcrum Pro accounts with that need the ability to deploy offline maps to numerous field users for collaboration on projects.

Optionally, you can bypass uploading your maps to your Fulcrum web account and directly import MBTiles maps from iTunes. The new release of Fulcrum 1.4 supports iOS file sharing. File Sharing allows you to copy supported files, such as a MBTiles, from your computer onto Fulcrum using iTunes simply by dragging the file from your local computer into the Fulcrum Documents library. Syncing your iTunes with your iOS device will then add your offline map to your Fulcrum app. Just follow these few steps:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer, and select it from the sidebar in iTunes.
  2. Select the “Apps” tab across the top, and scroll down to the “File Sharing” section.
  3. Select Fulcrum from the list of apps, then to the right, click “Add” to browse for your MBTiles map on your computer. It will upload to your device right away.

About the author

Patrick is a GIS analyst that works with Fulcrum everyday to deploy mobile mapping projects for our users.

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