Program Grmapa

Version: 1.01

author: Grzegorz Zlotowicz

License: freeware.

What is Grmapa?

Grmapa is a computer software ,making possible nonvisual browsing of geographic maps with text and sound, instead of graphic. Program works under Windows operating system. It requires a sound card, and screen-reading software for blind users. Currently Grmapa communicates with NVDA, Jaws for Windows, Window-eyes, or - if none of above is running - texts are spoken via default SAPI5 synthesizer.

After program installation, maps of interesting areas are needed. Maps can be imported from OpenStreetMap project, or - in Polish language version - downloaded using "Download map..." Grmapa function.

Grmapa map file contains 3 categories of geographical informations: points, lines and areas. Points are most frequently roads intersections, and so called points of interest: shops, banks, restaurants, etc. Lines are paths, roads, rivers, boundaries of regions etc. Areas are e.g. forests, lakes, larger rivers, parkings, factories etc.

Virtual space of loaded terrain can be compared to giant chessboard. Each of its' box is a square which side is 10 meters long. User's direction is north. Using arrow keys moves one square in choosen direction: Up arrow - to the north, Left arrow - to the west, Right arrow - to the east, and Down arrow - to the south.

Few squares around user are illustrated by sounds, so it's important to have speakers or headphones properly positioned. Objects placed to the left of user, are heard in left speaker, object to the right of user - in right speaker. Quieter sounds mean further objects. Objects behind user, are played a bit lower than other, which introduces a new dimension in space presentation, but perceiving it may require a bit of practice in using program.

Name of object on current square is automatically announced by used screen reader. If it's not enough information, using Space key , we can hear more, e.g. object type, city, region etc.

If we're located at line, for example road, direction of this line is automatically spoken. Direction of line can be repeated at any time using slash (/) key.

Initial user direction is north. It can be changed at any time using "Navigation" menu, or keyboard shortcuts: Left and right arrows pressed with Control key, are turning user by 90 degrees to the left or right. Left and right arrows pressed with shift key, are turning user by 15 degrees.

Initial one square size set to 10 meters, can be changed in range from 2 meters (maximum accuracy) to 10 kilometers (viewing huge areas). Using arrows to move around the map is not only method of navigation. Second one is navigation using mouse or touchpad.

Program announces the name of current object, and sounds ilustrate few squares around the user. If we want to know more about further area, it is possible using commands from "Area" menu, or shortcut keys: p - points, k - intersections, i - addresses, l - lines, o - polygons, or j - everything, function combining results of all previous.

Area is relative, and depends on the current single square size. If the square size is small, it will be box measuring few hundrets meters in each direction; if the square size is big - it'll measure hundrets of kilometers.

Bookmarks are user-defined orientational points, having geographical coordinates and name. Can be useful during map exploration, for defining some places we want easily return to, or for marking stages of planned route. Bookmarks can be saved to disk in Loadstone-gps file format. Such file can be copied to phone and used in real navigation. Some programs can import Loadstone-gps database text file, and not checkpoints file. It's possible to switch bookmark save format in the settings menu.

Since version 0.95 Grmapa lets play GPS log, saved in NMEA format. Such log can be generated e.g. in Loadstone-GPS software, using "Start logging" function.

Connection of Grmapa and GPS device works similar to log playback, but in real time. It's possible after pairing bluetooth GPS receiver and the computer using system tools.

Known problems and missed features

English language translation is initial, so please report all language errors.

Grmapa installation directory must be writable for program (please, don't install this version in program files folder).

Map rendering on 180 meridianand on poles, needs to be improved.

Addresses (category of points) are not recognized during import from OpenStreetmap.org.

Height levels in Openstreetmap imports need improvement.

Most wanted feature: line explorer: a possibility of exploring lines in more intuitive manner.

Detailed description of all Grmapa functions and more can be found in User manual, available in program's Help menu, or after pressing F1 shortcut key.

Version 1.01 released on 2016-08-06

Import from OpenStreetMap: corrected error occurring during import process.

Fixed program freeze in searching start point dialog, when used map contained small amount of points.

OpenStreetMap import: after import from file, user is positioned at calculated center of map.

Bookmarks loading: utf-8 BOM header in files is now processed properly.

Bookmarks loading from Loadstone database text file: headers, empty lines and lines with comment are better handled.

Go to coordinates: corrected error when more than 6 digits were given after a dot in coordinate.

Documentation: explained difference between stable and beta version.

Start point selection list: type of result (area or line) is now translatable.

Version 1.0 released on 2016-03-03

First multi-lingual version.

Grmapa initially translated to English.

Added Serbian translation by Gradimir Kragić and Dragan Miljojčić.

New function: go to QTH location (shortcut key ctrl+q). Can be used to view users' current location in Maidenhead system coordinates, or move to specified position given as QTH. Grmapa accepts locators of size from 4 to 8 characters. Displayed QTH locators are always 8 characters long. After accepting entered QTH locator, user will be positioned at the center of specified square.

Week days are now correctly displayed in weather forecasts.

Corrected bookmarks loading and saving functions.

During program startup, maps directory is created if not exists.

After importing from OSM and confirming opening of imported map, user is positioned at the import start point.

Files to download

Antivirus software and false positives

Each version of Grmapa is checked on virustotal.com website, which checks program using over 50 antivirus software. Single ones report false positives.

Current version:
Portable archive is not reported.
Installer is not reported.

Download installer

After downloading installer, please run exe file contained in zip archive and follow installation instructions.
Grmapa installation directory must be writable for program (please, don't install this version in program files folder).
Download Grmapa version 1.01 (installer, 11309 KB).

Download portable version

After downloading portable version, unpack it preserving directory structure, and start program by running grmapa.exe.

Download Grmapa version 1.01 (portable, 12604 KB).

Grmapa versions

Grmapa is released in two versions: stable and beta. One or more beta versions appear before stable version.

Users of beta version can early report found bugs, which will be fixed in the next stable version.

Last beta version is functionally identical to next stable, e.g. 1.0 beta4 is identical to 1.0.

If you are using a beta version, there is no need of upgrading to next stable. Also, such upgrade would cause that only next stable versions will be announced in update checking function. To have possibility of checking updates of beta version, use last beta.

Beta versions will appear more frequently, but can contain new and unstable features, so are rather dedicated for more experienced users.

You are on the stable version page.

Go to beta version page.

Contact

Questions, comments, bug reports, and improvement suggestions regarding Grmapa can be send via e-mail to grzezlo (at) wp.pl.