Preparedness Map Icons

There isn’t much of a good selection of mapping icons on the internet today, particularly preparedness related ones. So lately I’ve been spending a bit of time creating a matching set of my own so I can use them for marking important features on maps.

They are all 512x512px so are great quality and are a simple enough design to be understood even when they are displayed at a tiny size. The most comprehensive set I could find on the internet for free was on “https://mapicons.mapsmarker.com/” which I was using prior to creating my own. The problem with this set is that the full download of icons skips some of the icons that can be found if you download the packs individually. Download the full pack and then the food icons and check one-by-one to see if all the food icons are in the full pack and you’ll see what I mean – unless they fixed this of course. Also you can’t customise the entire set of icons if you download them all at once so you’ll be stuck with whatever colours they have. I also found that they were far too detailed for being displayed on small maps on high PPI devices like my Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Not to hate on the producer because they’re doing great work especially considering they are free, but far fewer lines can convey the same message of the icon and make it simpler to understand. Below are a few examples of their icons and the ones I compiled. Take particular notice to the sushi icon where it’s hard enough to tell what it is at 100x100px and not 30×30 which is what it would generally be displayed as on a map. I also say “compiled” earlier because I didn’t draw the icons, simply added a background, rescaled them to fit better and sometimes combined two icons to better describe what I was going for such as my “Stealth Camping” icon. That’s why when you look at the full quality version there are diagonal lines over the icon. I’m not using them for commercial purposes and I only need 1/20th of the original quality so I figured why not use them as the lines can’t be rendered when they are displayed that small anyway. So this is why I can’t unfortunately upload a RAR of all 1,011 icons.

IconIconIconIconIconIcon

I’m not a fan of the arrow point at the bottom of the images as well since Alpine Quest centres the icons in the middle and can’t be set at the bottom. Even if I could I’d prefer to have the icon on the spot it’s found at, but I’m sure most people would like the arrow due to being able to see exactly the location it’s at.

Here’s a few more of the icons I created sorted into the categories I like to have which make it easier to find what I want:


Attractions
Anything that provides entertainment from a theatre to camping.
IconIconIcon

Events
Events that can affect a location such as wars and car crashes.
IconIconIcon

Food
Any types of locations you can purchase food or drink.
IconIconIcon

Information
Informational queues about a location or anything that doesn’t come under another category.
IconIconIcon

Nature
Any natural elements such as mountains or animals.
IconIconIcon

Places
Any modern places you can visit such as buildings or parks that don’t come under attractions.
IconIconIcon

Routes
Preparedness planning such as bug out routes and cache locations.
IconIconIcon

Shops
Any modern shops excluding food shops.
IconIconIcon

Sport
All types of sports and sports grounds.
IconIconIcon

Transport
Transportation of all types from aircraft to ferries.
IconIconIcon

Utilities
Utilities that are common in today’s age such as government centres, hospitals or police stations.
IconIconIcon


MOBAC .bsh Map Files

Lately I’ve been downloading maps of my region for bug-out planning and redundancies if the internet goes down. It’s been extremely helpful so far especially when camping in areas without internet access as well as marking points of interest on Alpine Quest for future reference.

However it wasn’t easy to find usable maps to download, especially when I have to “code” the .bsh files myself to make the maps downloadable via MOBAC.

I have uploaded some map files usable with any MOBAC version that can read the .bsh files which is typically version 2.0.0 onwards. This lets you view and download any portion of the map. All you have to do is place them in the “mapsource” folder of MOBAC and restart the program (if it’s open already).

Note: Don’t download more than you need or these services may block all connections from MOBAC and then nobody can download any maps. MOBAC has a built in limit of 500,000 tiles as it is and that already seems a bit too large for people’s needs.

The “z__” number in the file name is the maximum zoom level of that map. So Google Terrain only goes down to zoom level 15, where Google Maps goes to z20.


The map files are as follows and have an example image from Sydney showing what that map looks like:

Google Maps
• Max Zoom: Zoom 20
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Detail Map
Download Google Maps Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig1. – Google Maps. (Detail Map)

Google Terrain
• Max Zoom: Zoom 15
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Topographic Map
Download Google Terrain Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig2. – Google Terrain. (Topographic Map)

Google Hybrid
• Max Zoom: Zoom 20
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Hybrid Map
Download Google Hybrid Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig3. – Google Satellite Hybrid. (Satellite w/Place Names)

Google Satellite
• Max Zoom: Zoom 20
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Satellite Map
Download Google Satellite Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig4. – Google Satellite. (Satellite wo/place names)

Open Street Map – Transport
• Max Zoom: Zoom 18
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Transport Map
Download Open Street Map – Transport Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig5. – Open Street Map – Transport. (Transport Map)

Open Street Map – Humanitarian
• Max Zoom: Zoom 18
• Map Extent: Worldwide
• Map Type: Specialist Map
Download Open Street Map – Humanitarian Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig6. – Open Street Map – Humanitarian. (Specialist Map)

Queensland Topo
• Max Zoom: Zoom 15
• Map Extent: Australia – Queensland
• Map Type: Topographic Map
Download QTopo Bash File

MOBAC bsh Files
Fig7. – Queensland Topo Map. (Topographic Map)

If you’d like me to make a .bsh of a mapping service found on the internet let me know the site and I’ll give it a go depending on how busy I am.

Bug Out Maps

It’s essential for preppers to have a good map they can rely on while bugging out, whether that’s the good old paper maps or something more modern and digital like apps where you can make changes on the go and takes up less space and weight. A digital topographical map is your best bet when venturing into unfamiliar grounds during bugging out as it provides endless features you just can’t get on a paper map, however the most important factor in a digital map is that it must be available offline. Lately I’ve been downloading quite a lot of local maps in a few different mapping styles, such as Google Street Maps, Google Topographic Maps and Microsoft Earth Maps. Each has their own benefits when bugging out which I discuss in more detail below.

Preparedness Categories
Fig1. – Google Maps Region of Brisbane.

Google Street Maps
These maps are generally used for road navigation and turn by turn direction, the Zoom Level of 19 lets you go much deeper than the topographic map to provide a great view of individual house numbering and what sorts of facilities are nearby. These maps are obviously most useful in the cities and pretty useless in the country or other remote locations. They display some great locations such as power and water plants as well as things to avoid such as prisons and detention centers. They could also assist in helping you loot locations in SHTF by knowing where the water treatment plants, police stations and hospitals are that may be tucked away.

Preparedness Categories
Fig2. – Google Topo Region of Brisbane.

Google Topographic Maps
These maps are perfect for hiking as they display the terrain height and how much of an ascent or descent it will be from point to point as well as helping you find local landmarks to assist in the navigation process. The zoom level isn’t as high as the Street Map at Zoom Level 15 but it’s still excellent for hiking with.

Preparedness Categories
Fig3. – Microsoft Earth Region of Brisbane.

Microsoft Earth Maps
The most unique map showing satellite pictures of the landscape from space. This is amazing to find features not shown on the other maps such as small ponds, undiscovered buildings, and even telling what types of trees are in an area! The zoom level is very high and boasts the same level as the Street Maps coming in at Zoom 19. However all this comes at a cost of a greater filesize when downloading areas, I would say that these photo maps are about 6 times the size of the other two.

If you don’t know how the zoom levels work they start at zoom level 1 which is a shot of the entire globe as 9 tiles, then zoom level 2 you have the whole globe at 25 tiles, then level 3 at 81 tiles, level 4 = 289 tiles, level 8 = 66,049 tiles, level 13 = 67,125,249 tiles and level 19 having a whopping 274,878,955,521 tiles! There must be some massive servers out there somewhere to hold that many tiles. This is also why you select a region to download, it would be impossible to download the whole world at level 19! Not to mention you would only use the tiniest percentage of that area and downloading the entire earth would include the majority of ocean and Antarctica which are both useless. Although the struggle as being preppers we need to think of every possibility and this often requires us to download a large amount of area for bugging out and finding new routes if the internet no longer works. Personally I’ve downloaded the entirety of Australia using the Google Topographic Map, but to do this I had to use a rather low zoom level to fit it all in.

My application of choice for downloading tiles is Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8. This version lets me utilize the Google and Microsoft Maps which have been removed from the newer version of the program due to complaints of excessive server usage – which I can definitely see why. I used to have Backcountry Navigator as my go to mapping app which I loved, but it’s more expensive and I couldn’t get any good maps for it, even though it has my favourite map type – QTOPO which is Queensland Topo and the state I live in. QTOPO is even a lot more accurate than Google Topo but alas it wasn’t included in the MOBAC map source list.

Preparedness Categories
Fig4. – The differences between the three map types.

There’s a hard download limit of 500,000 tiles in MOBAC as well (in all versions), so if you want a large area you either have to go up a few zoom levels or do multiple separate downloads. You can however select a few areas (less than 500K tiles) to download in one go which helps a little, but this is eventually blocked by another limit if you go over 5 Million tiles or something like that. (I’ve never checked the actual tile limit for that so it could be anywhere from 2 Mil to 10 Mil tiles)

So putting these maps back into Alpine Quest I combine these different layers to create a flexible map which can change based on my location which is very useful. If i’m in a city I pop on the Google Street view for higher detail and when i’m in the country I use the Topo and Earth shots to see what’s around me and the terrain features. The best features I adore about Alpine Quest is the ability to leave waypoints anywhere I desire, mark areas, draw routes, measure distances, measure slope angle, attach pictures to waypoints and even get alerts when you’re in range of a waypoint. Give it a try if you’re looking for a great mapping tool, and try out Backcountry Navigator as well to compare the differences between them and see which one has the features you need.