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Discussion: Tablet Mapping - Android Recommendations

in: Orienteering; General

Jul 15, 2020 11:12 PM # 
I'm considering an Android tablet to do map updates in the field using OOM. Anyone have experience using a Galaxy Tab A 8" for mapping or do you have other recommendations? I'd like to keep the cost down (of course) but need to ensure it will connect to an external gps via Bluetooth and work with a fine stylus..
Jul 15, 2020 11:15 PM # 
Jim, send me an email.
Jul 15, 2020 11:34 PM # 
Jim, I've been quite happy with the Galaxy Tab Active 2 (wifi only) - pairs easily with Garmin GLO2 and the stylus has fine tip - also works with my other Wacom styli since the digitizer in these models is a Wacom digitizer. Also tried OOM on the larger Tab Active Pro which we had where I worked pre-retirement - worked fine there too, but I decided the 8" tablet was more comfortable for field use. Only been using it a couple months, but so far so good.
Jul 17, 2020 2:58 PM # 
Thanks for all the ideas. : for the record, here are what some others are also using. Jim

1) I use a Samsung Tab S, but there are now newer models. The Tab S has been great for OOM mapping. - Brian E.

2) I use this and highly recommend it all.  I would re-purchase it over again.  Even though there is an S6 out, the S4 still works well:
Tablet Galaxy Tab S4 with S Pen:

Case With Handstrap and place for Pen:

Open Mapper .93 for android (ARM64 -v8a):  


3) I use a Cedar CT7G tablet. It is field rugged and waterproof, although I seldom if ever map in the rain as I find the touch screen does not work well when wet. There is lots of info at  For GPS I use a Qstarz bluetooth receiver, attached to my headgear.  For drawing I use an Adonit mini stylus.  If using this, get a supply of the replaceable tips as they deteriorate after about half a dozen mapping sessions. Also, attach a layard of some kind to the stylus otherwise it will go AWOL.  I find this gear works well running OOM, I draft in the field and tidy up afterwards on my laptop.  Perhaps the main challenge is the small size of the gps location on the map when using OOM, it can be hard to see sometimes.  Hyper-precise gps location is not needed if you start with a good basemap.  Rob ONB

4) I use a Samsung Tab A for field work.

The pen I used is this one:

I used a Garmin Glo-2 for the GPS receiver, which I mount to my hat: x_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1. - Brent W.

5) A Half-way House to a tablet?
Being old, IT-naive and disinclined to lug more stuff around the forest, I add a grid to the base map to record in real time points on the ground shown by a running watch.

In the pic the thicker magenta lines are in units of 0.1', the thinner in 0.01'. 
If anyone's interested I can add more info on the calculations and accuracy of this approach.

6) ’m using a fairly inexpensive Fusion 5 tablet -  I made a Velcro hand strap that I looped through a silicone protective case so it’s easy to hold..
Running OCAD 2020 on it, using a Garmin GLO that I tuck up in my hat – blue tooth connection to the tablet.
I tried a stylus, but was frustrated by the imprecision.. Now using a Bluetooth mouse – took an old map board, drilled holes in 2 upper corners and sling it over my shoulder so it hangs by my right hip – mousepad for on-the-go.
Might give a stylus another try, some good suggestions here.
Jim A
Jul 18, 2020 4:11 PM # 
I have used a Kindle Fire HD Tablet. I wouldn't recommend it as a serious tool. But it is good for getting a feel for using OOM on a tablet.
Jul 18, 2020 10:25 PM # 
I just researched this very quickly a couple days ago and bought myself a tablet for mapping and taking notes in school. The trick is to get one with an active pen / stylus.

I found this to be the best option:

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8'' with an S pen is big enough to have a good area to draw on, and it has a really good pen that I can write notes with / be super precise with. Its small enough that i find it easy to carry.

I also grabbed this case, which isnt for the right model, but it fits and I can charge it / turn it on (the tablet is slightly smaller). I couldn't find a case with a strap on the back and a sling like this for mapping outside made for the SM-P200, so im just sticking with this.

Im going to do some fieldchecking with it with the inbuilt gps (if it has one, which i think it does) and then see if I want to attach an external one to it.

But from what I could see that was the cheapest option with a really good pen.

For $350 CAD = $ 257 USD

Next option would be the S6 Lite or something for 400 - 450. But using this for the past couple days it seems great so far.

Also its important to try getting it with an S pen if you want that accuracy, otherwise you can get a cheap tablet for 100-200$ CAD and just use a passive pen, which isn't as good in my opinion.


The only thing is that in CANADA and US we don't get a warranty for this one I think, but no problems for me so far, and its just a risk you have to take.

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