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Loading maps to SD card on Android

Android's handling of SD cards is quite complex. Here we explain how to manage your map files on a secondary storage locations.

First of all, please understand that the best way to get maps onto the device is to use the bulk download tools in the app to download the maps directly from the Digital Map Store. If you have already downloaded the map to your PC, you may think it is easy to copy the map onto your device. However, that is the hard way, while bandwidth is cheap! We recommend doing a separate download to each device that you are using, using the bulk download tools provided in the app.

Secondly, we have to tell you that storage of maps on a removable SD card will result in less reliable operation of the app. If you can fit all your required maps into the built-in storage of your device, we recommend doing so, and not using the SD card for anything critical.  

OK... you still want to copy your map data locally and use an SD card! That's OK. We have many thousands of Memory-Map users who use SD cards, and they work fine for the vast majority. But in the event that you experience any difficulties, the first thing we suggest to try is to exclude any locally copied maps and removable SD cards.

We will break this down into two parts: setting up the SD card, and copying the maps. If you want to copy a map to the device's internal memory, you can skip the section about SD cards.

Setting up the SD card

If you are using Android version 6 or later, we recommend using Adoptable Storage, if your device supports it. This allows you to format the card as an "Internal" to device. When you do this the card is no longer removable, and you must keep it installed in the device. There are some disadvantages, but this does overcome most of the difficulties associated with using Memory-Map from an SD card. You can copy the maps to the card by plugging the device into a PC.

Always power-off the device or tell the device it to unmount (or eject) the card before you remove an SD Card. This is true for Windows as well as Android. Never just pop out a card without asking the operating system to flush any unsaved data to the card.

If you are using a removable SD card (not adopted as internal), be aware that the maximum file size supported by the card is most likely limited to 4GB. You may be able to format the card with a different file system, but this is not supported on many Android devices. The large seamless topo maps in Memory-Map are up to 30GB in size, and so clearly these are not going to work on a regular FAT32 format SD card. You can use the Memory-Map PC app's "Export Map Area" feature to export a number of regions, making sure the output is under 4GB.

Note that when incomplete QC3 map file is stored on SD card, the Memory-Map app is not able download more data to add to that map. So make sure you have the complete map or have downloaded the area of map you need on your PC before moving the map files to the SD card.

We recommend creating a folder called "Download" in the root folder of the card, and creating a folder called "Memory-Map" within the Download folder. On some devices Memory-Map app is able to automatically find maps stored in the /Download/Memory-Map folder. The folder names are case-sensitive.


Copying the Maps

First make sure you have the free Memory-Map app installed on your Android device (from Google Play Store),

Run the app to initialize the free basemap.

On a PC, maps are typically installed in the C:\Maps folder

The files you want to copy will have the *.qct, *.qc3 and *.mmi file extensions. The file type may be displayed on your PC as "Memory-Map QuickChart". *.qed files are not required.

The default location for all maps being downloaded from within the app is in the Memory-Map folder which is in the Downloads folder on the device default storage ( /Download/Memory-Map ). This location in the built-in storage is the best place for your maps. If there is enough space in the internal memory, copy the maps from the PC to this folder.

If there is not enough space in the internal memory, copy the maps from the PC to the /Download/Memory-Map folder on the SD card.

There are many ways to copy files from a PC to an Android device or SD card. You can use Windows File Explorer, or a remote access app on the phone...  Contact your device supplier if you have problems physically copying the files.

After copying the files, insert the SD card in the Android device (if you removed it), and reboot the device (press and hold the power button, and Restart)


Did Memory-Map automatically find the maps?

After rebooting, run the Memory-Map app on the Android device

Tap the Maps button on the toolbar at the top, or tap Menu, Maps

Tap Maps Everywhere.

Tap Map Types, and enable all the listed types.

If the maps now show up in the list, Yea! You have successfully copied the map!


Manually opening a copied map

If the map did not show up automatically in the Memory-Map app, there is a way to open it manually. This method allows you to open the maps no matter what folder they are placed in.

You will need a File Explorer or File Manager app installed on the device. Most devices have one pre-installed, and they are available for free from the Play store. We suggest using the app called ASTRO. In your chosen file manager app, browse to the folder containing the maps, and tap to open the QCT file. You should be prompted to open the file with Memory-Map.

Some apps will present a choice of MIME types for the file. In this case choose "x-application/binary". After that you should be able to choose Memory-Map

If your file manager app does not allow you to open the file with Memory-Map, try a different file manager app. Apps called ASTRO, FX,  ES File Explorer, SD File Manager, or Amaze have been known to work. Unfortunately file associations are hit-and-miss in Android!

Once you have opened a map file with Memory-Map, it remembers that file location, so when you add more files it will find them automatically.


Fallback method for advanced users

We have found that changes in the way Android opens files is now not working on some devices. There is, however, a fallback: You can create a text file call "map_folders.txt" in the internal Download/Memory-Map folder.   This file should contain a list of the additional paths that the app should search for maps. When you have created this file, restart the Memory-Map app.

Detailed instructions:

  • Close all apps (or press-and-hold power button and restart)
  • Install the FX File Explorer app from the Play store (free)
  • In FX file explorer, navigate to the folder containing your qct files on the SD card.
  • Go up one level and tap-and-hold on the folder containing your qct files.
  • Tap Copy at the top
  • Now, still in FX File Explorer, tap the Home button, Download, Memory-Map.
  • Tap the Menu (three dots), and Under NEW, tap File.
  • enter the file name "map_folders" and tap Text (the name changes to map_folders.txt) then Done
  • This opens the empty file. Tap the Edit icon (pen)
  • Tap-and-hold and Paste (this enters the full file system path to your qct folder)
  • Tap Menu, Save. Back to exit the editor. You now have a text file call "map_folders.txt" in the internal Download/Memory-Map folder, containing the paths that the app should search for maps.
  • Launch Memory-Map (it must have been previously stopped, not just put to sleep)
  • Tap Maps, Maps Everywhere, then Map Types, enable all types.