Memory Map – A User Guide

Updated January 2021

I’ve been a Memory Map user for several years now and I’ve helped quite a few people get to grips with the idiosyncrasies of the program, because although it’s a Windows application, it doesn’t behave like one in several important ways. The help I’ve provided has spawned a parallel user guide to the one that’s provided by Memory Map – one that covers some of the issues that first time users come across and struggle to find answers for in the MM Help files and on-line manual.

I’ve decided to publish the guide on this blog, as a series of posts that, taken together, create a user guide for Memory Map. Click the section headings below to jump to that part of the guide, or click number 1 and walk through them logically.

32 thoughts on “Memory Map – A User Guide”

  1. Hi,
    I wonder if you can help me with a Memory-Map query. I’m using version 6.4.3 and Windows 11. Recently I created a route and I noticed that some of waypoints had directions attached to the instead of just WP10 for example. Something like turn left. This wasn’t something I had intentionally added and I haven’t been able to recreate the situation since.
    Can you tell me in what circumstances these turn directions appear and how to create them? Thank you, Mark

    1. Hi Mark

      I think what you’ve done here is to use the ‘optimize route’ function. v6 introduced the ability to right-click a route, select ‘Operations’ and then select ‘Optimize Route for’ – you then get the options for walk, cycle or drive. MM tries to plot your route along footpaths, although it doesn’t do a great job in my experience, so I don’t use it. Hope that helps, Stuart

  2. I have just updated to MM V6.4.3 Build 1278.
    When I make a rout visible, the direction arrows do still show, but waypoints do not show up, until I pick the rout line on the screen. The rout line then becomes a thick line, which almost hides the waypoints which have now decided to show themselves.
    Is there a way to get the waypoints to show, as they did on the previous version of MM, when the rout is made visible? (ie made visible by ticking the box of the rout in the overlay objects panel)
    Have MM made the change to get better loading times?
    Lastly thanks for your User Guide made simple, such a big help for an 80+ yo

    1. The v6.4.3 update added the feature you describe, the POIs (on a route with more than 50 POIs) only become visible when you select the route – this is to improve the number of POIs you can see on the screen at any one time. If you’re having difficulty separating the route from the POIs you could change the default colour of the route to red perhaps, the blue POIs will then be easier to identify. Hoe that helps and by all means come back to me if you need to. Cheers, Stuart

  3. Many thanks Stuart for an excellent resource. I recently switched to MM from the now semi-redundant Viewranger for use in the field, and bought the full set of OS Explorers which I’m also starting to use on PC where I don’t have Tracklogs maps. It feels a bit clunky on both platforms, but no doubt will become easier to use in time. Incidentally thanks for the tip on using the phone in flight mode.

    1. HI Stan, I also wanted to replicate Viewranger many features before it closed. I’ve found a mix of Memory Map for UK OS and Locus map Pro for outside UK and the (even better than Viewranger) way it displays all my tracks simultaneously, and with different colour lines for bike, walk, ski etc.

  4. I really appreciate your emailed tales and particularly the information on MemoryMap.

    I too bought a TX4 some years ago and have used it regularly ever since. However, the waterproof covering over the On/Off button has fallen off and the device is now becoming somewhat unreliable (it frequently switches itself off for no reason). As a result I have recently installed MemoryMap on my SmartPhone and am learning how to use that.

    One infuriating thing that I have noticed is the wide variation between my SmartPhone and my TX4 in the reported distance covered. I also have access to a Garmin GPSmap 64s with a card for the Lake District – that doesn’t agree with either of the other two devices – except that the altitude and ascent/descent seems pretty much spot-on.

    Incidentally, I have done all the Wainwrights once and still have 20 to do on my 2nd round. Some mountains in the Lakes I have done MANY times over the years.

    Thanks for all the effort you put into reporting your walking exploits.

  5. Hi Stuart,
    I purchased MM as package with a TX4 defender toughphone 6 years ago but after installing updated maps it ran so slowly it was vitutally unusable. I decided to but a modern toughphone, requiring me ti install a new system. Not being an IT expert I approached this some trepidation, was I glad to find your User Guidance, I managed to carry out the process without looking at the official MM website. Your tips and advice were invaluable, particulary regarding doowloding the the 1:25000 UK maps and the length of time it takes.
    Many thankks David Wyatt

  6. Hi Stuart,
    I can’t begin to tell you how helpful this website (which has obviously taken/takes a great deal of work) has been. I’d like to add my name to the many who thank you for bringing order and sense to the sometimes obtuse world of Memory Map!
    I’ve moved to it from ViewRanger whilst that app’s new owners get their act together. Who knows, I might be a MM convert – tomorrow I set out on the Cotswold Way and will test MM ‘in anger’ for the first time.
    Thanks again for your time and patience in helping us non-techies to enjoy and more fully explore what MM can do. They should pay you for your service :-).

    1. Pleased to hear you found it useful Robert. I’m still clinging on to VR while I can, but not for much longer and I’ve refused to link it to the Outdoor Active thing after reading some pretty poor feedback from other users. Hope the Cotswold Way goes well – I enjoyed doing that in sections a few years ago.

  7. David Lofthouse

    Hi Stuart,

    I have previously purchased the 2019 OS 50,000 and 25,000 Maps from MM Online store and am contemplating upgrading. However I have separetly purchased a years subscription with Ordinance Survey Online Maps. What I’m not clar on is the Licensing conditons of MM use of the OS Maps. Would I be able to include my Ordinance survey Online Map subscription to be used on a MM Map upgrade at all ?

  8. Hi Stuart – I have just reinstalled Memory-Map v6 following a HDD replacement. E
    When I re-imported my overlay, all of my text boxes are missing. Any ideas?
    Steve C

    1. Hi Steve – have you tried getting support from Memory Map? They are getting more responsive to technical issues, so maybe worth giving them another chance. I would also need more information to try and troubleshoot your problem – what do you mean by ‘text box’? – are they just hidden or actually missing from the overlay? – are they the only elements missing? – were they all in a their own category? By all means come back if MM can’t help.
      Cheers, Stuart

      1. Hi Stuart – I used text boxes (notes) to label my routes on the map (overlay) with dates and initials of those walking. They were nice reminders of the walk. When I replaced my HDD I had to reinstall MMv6 and my maps OS50HD (2014). When I retrieved my overlay from back-up, all my routes were fine. but the text boxes (notes) are missing. I wondered whether I could try to retrieve them from my old HDD but don’t really know where to look.

        Steve C

        1. Steve
          If you were using MM v5 then look in your ‘/default Windows Documents folder/Map Overlays‘ folder for two files, one called ‘userdata-Memory-Map-OS-5.mmo’ and one called ‘backup.mmo’. The first one is whatever was open in MM when it was last closed. The backup file will probably be the same, but it holds a backup of the first file.
          If you were using MM v6 then the first file will be called ‘userdata-Memory-Map-6.mmo’ and the other one is still called ‘backup.mmo’.
          If you can restore either of these files, you may find all your Notes!

  9. This is a great reference document and far more user friendly than the Memory-Map official guides. Do you have a downloadable verion in something like PDF format as I find it easier to read a guide with Memory-Map open in front of me rather than skipiing between screen. Either way it’s a great piece of work.

    1. Mark, this is something I’ve been considering since I released the guide, but never quite got around to producing. Now you’ve reminded me, I may well buck my ideas up and get this done. I will let you know if and when it’s ready. Cheers, Stuart

      1. Hi Stuart – just wondering if you ever progressed the PDF idea? I completely echo other comments about what a fantastically useful resource this guide is – many thanks!

        1. Hi Mike, keep considering it and then rejecting it. I’m trying to keep the pages regularly updated with new versions and new things I discover, which would mean constantly updating a new PDF. So although it feels like a good idea, it’s going to be a lot of extra work.

  10. Hi there

    I totally agree with your comments on MM, having used it since 2004 I would have hoped it got better by now but the Android version and it’s user interface is dire. I have been forced into Android because Windows mobile is no more and it has been a fight all the way. Now using a Ublox GPS receiver and bluetooth transmitter in a homemade enclosure to overcome all the errors and poor performance of the phones GPS but my choice of an app to replace MM is hard. The issue is that MM and Locus can both use the phones Bluetooth as the data source with location services turned off and battery life is good. Os maps is a good product but uses location services and this really impacts battery life. There are some apps that take the bluetooth input and give it to location services as a mock location so the navigation app uses this data via location services as a so called get around but what a messy way of handling data. Why not just use the bluetooth input directly, it is a question I have yet failed to get a sound answer, do you have any thoughts or further explanation. I believe Viewranger uses this odd long winded approach, can you confirm?

    Thanks Roy

    1. Roy, I can’t really comment on using an external GPS device and connecting to it over Bluetooth – not used that approach for many years, back when I was using an HP iPaq handheld device. My feeling is that the Bluetooth connection is likely just as much a drain on the battery as using the GPS on the phone itself, but have nothing to back that up. I’ve been using ViewRanger for a few years now, on a number of different mobile handsets and it’s always worked flawlessly. If I’m out for a long day, or multi-day walk I switch the phone into flight mode and then switch GPS back on. On average VR uses about 15-20% battery even when it’s recording a track all day. For £25 a year you get all the UK OS maps at both 1:25k and 1:50k scale on up to 4 devices. The web version is not a patch on MM however and I still use MM on my desktop computer. When I need a route on my phone I export a GPX file from MM, send it to my phone over Google Drive and import it into VR. When I’m in the hills I use two phones, one in my backpack recording the route on VR and one in my pocket, also with VR but not recording. That allows for one device to fail and the other is a backup. To date, never had a device fail me, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!
      Hope some of that helps!
      Cheers, Stuart

      1. thanks for the reply, and at this moment in time I am still using an Hp Ipaq as it has never let me down and the Sirf lll Gps in it is fantastic plus the MM software is ok. I have tried taking the ipaq and this ruggex phone on a short walk not far from me at Crummock and the old Ipaq is just so much more accurate and fast at initial lock, this aspect of it I understand hence why the external GPS. I will experiment with Viewranger and see how I get on, it is incredable how the price of maps has fallen to just £25 a year, you can also probably remember having to spend a fair sum just to get a given area like the lakes. I am seeking someone now who is involved in the Android OS to give more info, Android is all new to me and the last OS I was actively involved in supporting was NT4, gives my age away!

        thanks Roy

        1. Good luck Roy, hope you manage to get this sorted. I’m a veteran of IBM OS/2 and Windows NT too – fond memories! The beauty of Android is that it’s pretty much a black box and all you need to worry about is configuring the app. I’ve found VR picks up a sat fix pretty quickly and once you start to record the track, it rarely drops out – sometimes I find accuracy can be a bit sketcky in trees, but it’s still accurate enough to navigate with. There is a free 7-day trial available I think, so maybe give that a go. Cheers, Stuart

  11. Hi Stuart, Many thanks for your excellent MM user guide. I wish I’d come across it sooner – the air might have been less blue as I struggled to get on with it. I’ve managed to womble my way through most of the functions I’ve needed, but found myself over and over wishing for a ‘print preview’ option. This is what I was searching for when I came across your guide. I am one of those people who choose to print a selected area onto a single sheet of paper (because my 7 – 9 mile circular walks usually fit nicely onto an A4 page) but want to see what I’m going to get before hitting the print button. I’ve wasted lots of paper and ink as my selected area mustn’t have fit the space available and my walk has been unhelpfully cropped by MM. I don’t think there is a print preview option is there?

    Thanks again for your guide, I’m planning to work my way through it for other nuggets to help me make the best of MM.

    1. Cathy – if you right click your route and select “Operations > Print Route” from the pop-up menu you will get the Print dialog box, where you can select your print options (map scale, relief shading, etc) – click the [Continue] button on this dialog and you now get to move the green box around the screen to select the area to print. At this point, in the toolbar you should get the Printer icon and beside it is the Print Preview icon. You can choose to print the preview, or drop out and start the print process again. I’ll update the guide to include this!
      Let me know how you get on.

      1. Thanks Stuart, have got it now. Ye-hey! I was being a dipstick and not recognising the Print Preview icon; saw the magnifying glass in the icon and thought ‘search’. That’s been a great help and will reduce my frustration levels enormously.

        Best wishes, Cathy

  12. Hi Chris & Stuart,
    This is because the “Eastings” that are drawn on an OS map (I assume you are using Ordnance Survey) are not actually lines of constant Latitude. If this seems a little surprising at first, then get out a paper map (assuming that you’ve still got some around) and have a look at the borders of the map – these mark both the latitude and longitude against the OS grid. For example, one sheet of OL 2 (Yorkshire Dales) has Lat 54 deg 18 min at Northing 4896 at the top left, and at Northing 4894 at the top right. You can see that there’s a Northing difference of 0002.

    So why is this? It’s because of the map projection used by the Ordnance Survey, which is Transverse Mercator. The distortion Chris noted increases the further east or west of the “true origin” of the projection, which is at 2 deg West. This true origin is the same across the whole of the OS grid and minimises the average distortion by being approximately midway between the east and west-most parts of the area mapped by the OS.

    None of this matters particularly to walkers because the track legs we use are relatively short and our compasses (and sometimes our skill sets) are not overly accurate. Aviators and mariners use much longer legs and use maps with different projections as a result (mariners use Mercator, and I guess aviators do also).

  13. Hi Stuart Could I ask a quick Memory Map V5 question? When using the track feature to do a bearing,when you draw a track along an Easting it reads 088 instead of 090 and 178 instead of 180 when running it down a Northing. This is with mode/ units/ magnetic variation set to zero. What am I doing wrong! Many thanks Chris Power

    1. Chris, bloody good question! I’ve never noticed it – mine is slightly different. Shows 89 for easting and 179 for northing, also with MV set to 0.
      If I set MV to 1.0 W I get 90 and 180
      If I set MV to 2.0 W (which is about what we should be at the moment I think) I get 91 and 181
      Don’t think that helps you very much, but interesting nonetheless 🙂

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