HomeiOS usersGetting StartedGetting started guide

3.4. Getting started guide

ViewRanger runs on both the iPhone and the iPad running iOS 8 or above.
To obtain a position fix, Assisted GPS location service is required.
Where we refer to the iPhone in our documentation, the same applies to the iPad.

Software versions

There are two versions of the app; Open and Premium. All versions of the software are exactly the same. Premium comes bundled with initial premium map credit.

Map screen explained

Map screen

The green tab bar lets you quickly navigate around the main parts of ViewRanger.
The 5 tabs are - from left to right:

Tab bar
  1. Discovery - this is where you can find routes - inspirational adventures.
  2. Map - the main map screen.
  3. My adventures / Profile - the list of the tracks you have recorded, the routes you have downloaded or plotted, and your profile.
  4. Search - search for place names, routes, people or coordinates.
  5. Menu - lists of Maps, POIs and Settings.

Just below the Tab bar is the Location bar showing coordinates, altitude and distance from centre of screen.

Location bar

Below the Location bar, use the Map Options button to save a map for offline use or get premium maps.

Map options button

At the foot of the map screen you will find the scale bar, three buttons and the plus and minus zoom.

Buttons and scale bar

The buttons are; Skyline, combined GPS/Compass and green(+) access menu button.

The Skyline feature is explained in separate documentation.
Press the GPS/Compass button to connect to GPS and centre the screen on your location.
Press the green(+)button to access the action menu.

Action menu

Display preferences

Menu tab (in green bar), Display preferences gathers control of how the map appears such as Night vision, to hide the scale bar, and many others.

Map Interaction

To pan around the map drag it with your finger. You can zoom in and out of the map by pinching or using the zoom buttons (+ -).
You can also zoom in by double tapping, and zoom out by doing a single two finger tap.
As you zoom in and out ViewRanger will change the scale of map displayed to best match the current zoom.
Map view includes fixed visible cross-hair at the centre of the screen, together with numeric coordinate on display and an on-screen map scale bar.

Coordinate Entry

To enter coordinates manually, select the Search tab (in green bar) then tap and select Enter coordinates to the left of the field.  
When creating a POI or a Route Waypoint, you can use Enter coordinates button option to specify the coordinates manually.
To modify the location of existing POI(s) and Waypoint(s), use the Edit, Manual location view and the Set position option.

Action bar

Action bar (route selected)

When you select a route, point of interest (POI), waypoint or track, a 'action bar' appears at the top of the map screen.
This contains the name of the item, and a few other details such as the name of a route (if the item is a waypoint), the length of the route or track, or the coordinates if it is a POI.
It also contains a number of buttons, which access actions like edit and details. These replace the previous menu button or press and hold. Tap 'More' to see further buttons.
To hide the action bar deselect the item by tapping the map in space, or drag the grey handle up the screen.


The Maps section, under the tab menu, lists all your maps, grouped by country.
If you select a map you can see a summary of its details. Press View to see the map in the map view.
Use this list to change country.

Initial overview map

When you first start ViewRanger it will start in free online OpenMaps. You can swap to premium mapping and download a free overview map via the tab menu, Map shop. Just tap on a country and download a free overview map.

Downloading more maps

The Map Shop section, of the tab menu, is where you can download additional maps and other content. Some of the content, such as the overview maps, are free.
To download a map go to tab menu, Map shop. When the category list appears go into your chosen country. Tap on a map to see a preview, then press Download if you wish to purchase. Click OK to confirm. The maps will download automatically and you'll see a progress panel. Once the map has downloaded press View to see the map. Additional map purchases are charged to your google account.

Premium map tile download

If you want to download small areas of premium mapping – rather than an entire country, region, park or subscription then you can download some map tiles.
You need a basic overview map before you can download map tiles. You can download a free one via menu tab, Map shop.
Quick tile download buttons are displayed on the map but for finer control of tile download, from the map view press Map Options button  and choose Get more tiles, then select a scale.
You'll be transferred to the map view with the download grid shown. Red tiles have not been downloaded to the phone, green tiles have. Use the zoom + if you cannot see the grid.
To download a tile tap a square so its border is bold red, then press Download. Once the tile is downloaded its square will go green - zoom in + to see the map.
To download all the map tiles currently on screen with a solid border press Tile and choose Area then Download. If too many tiles are on screen the server may tell you the area is too large – in that case zoom in to download fewer tiles.

Select tile to download Zoom in on downloaded tile


Online mapping

ViewRanger can display free online mapping using ViewRanger Landscape Map and Open Cycle Map. This mapping is downloaded to your phone as it is needed. The maps are then cached on the phone. If the mobile network is not available, or if you choose to work offline, then ViewRanger will display as much of the map as it can using the cached tiles.
Automatically pre-download and manage areas of Online maps using the option Save for Offline Use.
Tap the map options button in the top right corner of the map, choose one of the maps which will return you to the map screen with the chosen map displayed.
Again tap the map options button, then select the option Save for Offline Use.

Download map

Premium Online Maps and Subscriptions

Online topographic mapping is available to purchase for Great Britain, USA, Canada, France or Belgium.
Select the Menu tab(3 dots), Maps and scroll down to the relevant map in the list and select Open.
To use the maps simply pan and zoom, map tiles will be cached when viewing but for guaranteed optimal offline use Save for Offline Use in the same way as is explained for the free maps above.


GPS icon

First of all, outside of ViewRanger check that the Location Services is set to On for ViewRanger in the app list of the iOS device Settings. You only need to do this once.
Then in the ViewRanger app select the map tab and tap the locate me GPS button at the bottom middle of the screen to start using the GPS. The map will jump to be centred on the current GPS location. A circle and cross are shown to indicate the GPS location, which is red when the GPS is giving an accurate position, and grey when the GPS position is not accurate.
The map will move with the GPS location, keeping the GPS indicator central. If you pan the map by dragging it, the GPS lock will be disengaged. The GPS position will still be shown and recorded. To reengage the GPS lock press the GPS button again.
Should you wish to display a compass within the GPS locate me button this can be toggled on and off by selecting the menu tab(3 dots), display preferences, show compass.


Track record

Track shown as black line

A track is recording of your activity, comprised of a list of points and times.
The track is drawn as a black line (red when selected) with regular arrow markings. The arrows are spaced every 5 minutes.
If it has been less than 60 minutes since the last track was being recorded, ViewRanger will ask if you wish to create a new track or extend current track.
If it has been more than 60 minutes since the last track was being recorded, ViewRanger will hide that previous track and start a new one.
The values mentioned above can be controlled from the Menu tab(3 dots), Settings, Track, Track split time.

Track control

Track Control

The track control can be found under Trip Vrstatus.png icon of the map screen.
Here you can start, stop or pause track record. You may want to pause track record while you take a break.
You can also set track category before uploading to the community site, and display a list of previously recorded tracks.
You can access the trip screens from here by swiping the screen.

Trip View

Trip View

Accessed from the Trip Vrstatus.png icon. Swipe the screen to enter the Trip' page. The Trip view, which can be configured to show a range of settings, including speed, distance, time and navigation. The trip view contains multiple pages and rolling graphs.


A route

A route is a list of waypoints, which mark out a planned trip. A route can then be followed on the device. Routes can be searched for and downloaded from our server, created from scratch on the device or our website, or created from GPX files shared from other places.

Plot routes

To create a route press New button then Plot.
As you tap the screen a waypoint is added to the route, which you can drag to where it is needed. If you tap on the last placed waypoint you can move it, otherwise the next tap adds another waypoint.
Press the handle icon Movehandleimage.png to select and position waypoints.
To delete the last waypoint press the delete button . You can use this repeatedly.
When the route is complete press done.
If you need to pan the map without dropping a point, press the Pan map button Ic btn arrows.png.
You can then move the map as normal. To return to creating waypoints press the add waypoint buttonIc btn add point.png.

While a route is selected its name and length is shown at the top of the screen. If a waypoint is selected its name is shown too.
Use handle icon Movehandleimage.png to position objects.
The handle icon is offset from the route to allow you to position waypoints without obscuring the route with the tip of your finger.
You can alternatively plan routes on the big screen of you computer at My.ViewRanger.com then use tab Menu, Synchronize which will wirelessly download the route to the device. You can add text and pictures to make rich content for others to download, either free or paid for, your choice!

Use handle to position objects


Search for routes via Discover tab

Discovery tab

You search for for routes using the Discovery tab in the tab bar. Routes that are found nearby are shown on the map. The start point of each route is marked with an icon.

Search for routes via Search tab

From the Search tab, select Route category from where you can look for routes stored on theViewRanger server.
You can enter some text to search for routes that include that text. Or can search for routes around the current map location.
You'll see a list of routes. Tap on one to see its description. Some routes are free, others have a price.
If you'd like to download a route press the Download button at the top right of the Details screen, or at the bottom.
You can also search for routes using the map view's Search button, and see the results on the map.
In the map view press Search button and choose Search for routes nearby. A number of icons will appear showing route start points.
Select one by tapping on it. Its name appears at the top of the screen. To see its details select Details.
Once downloaded you see all the waypoints. For most routes each waypoint has a description and photo too. Select a waypoint and choose Details to see the description.
To clear the search results use the X button.

Route search Route details


If your device contains an electronic compass, you can see the compass displayed in two ways.
The compass is off by default.  It can be turned in in Settings, Map, Show Compass.
If the compass arrow goes grey it means the compass reading is not accurate. Move away from any metal or electrical equipment.

Compass showing north

The compass shows which direction is north using an arrow on the GPS button.

To switch on this type of compass go to Menu tab, Settings, Map settings. Switch on Show compass and keep "Switch compass position" switched off.

The arrow points to north, so you can use it like a clip on compass to orient yourself and the map. When the compass arrow is pointing straight up, the map is aligned with the real world.

Compass showing facing direction

Compass showing facing direction

Compass showing the direction you are facing.
The compass can show on the map the direction you are facing. It does this by drawing an arrow on the outside of the GPS location circle. If the arrow points east, it means the phone is pointing east.

To switch on this type of compass go to Menu tab, Settings, Map settings and switch on both "show compass" and "Switch compass position"

Auto Rotate Map and Compass

If the map is set to Auto rotate map in Menu tab, Settings, Map settings, then as long as one or other compass is switched on the map will rotate to match the compass direction.

Point of Interest – POI

A point of interest, POI, is a single point Movehandleimage.png marked on the map.
To create a POI press the New button and choose Add POI. Then drag to place the POI with the offset handle Movehandleimage.png or press the numeric coordinate entry and enter the location co-ordinates (very handy for Geo-caching!). When happy with its position press the Done button.

Place name search

Place name search

You can search for place names and post / zip codes.
Tap Search tab and select the Places category (folded map icon as shown in the screen grab).
Enter some text to search for, or choose one of your recent searches from the list shown. If you are searching the local gazetteer you only need to enter the first few letters - so "cam" will find "camden" and "cambridge".
When ready press the Search button. A list of results will appear. Tap on one to see it on the map.
ViewRanger gazetteer files have the extension .VRG. Copy them into the ViewRanger folder, and they will be searched. The UK, USA and New Zealand gazetteers should download automatically and are also available to download for free from our web site. (The gazetteers for other countries are provided when you purchase maps.)
ViewRanger will also search online using a search service. Post and zip code search is only available through the online service.
To clear the search results use the X button on the results screen.
Only the first 250 results are shown. If you don't see the result you want, repeat the search with a longer search text.


ViewRanger will help you navigate to a point or follow a route.
To follow a route or navigate towards a specific point of interest or waypoint, either:
Go to My adventures tab, Routes, find the item and tap on it. Choose Follow route or Navigate to, or
Select the item on the map and choose Follow route or Navigate to.

Map Display While Navigating

Navigation off course!

While navigating an arrow is shown in the top left. The arrow indicates the direction you should travel relative to your current direction of travel. Aim to keep it pointing straight upwards.
Tap the arrow to see a menu of commands that control navigation.

Circles are drawn around the target which are the alarm trigger points. The circle size showing represents the alarm trigger distances.
An visual and audio alarm is triggered when you reach your target point or the next waypoint or go off track.


Vertical red line indicates progress

Altitude, distance, speed and GPS altitude graphs are available for your tracks and routes.
To see a graph, select a route or track from the list and go into its Details. The graphs can be accessed using the buttons at the bottom of the details view.


BuddyBeacon web page

The buddy beacon allows you to share your location with other people.
They can see your position by entering your user name and your PIN number on a web page.
You are asked to create a PIN when your first send your location using Options button, BuddyBeacon, Send beacon now
The buddy beacon also allows you to watch/track other people on your device. You can see their last reported position by entering the user name and PIN number. You can also watch multiple beacons simultaneously.
To use the buddy beacon you need to have registered and entered your account details. Do this using Menu tab, Settings, Account.

Control the buddy beacon by going to Options, then BuddyBeacon.
Beacon repeat on – The switch at the top switches the buddy beacon on and off. When it is on the beacon reports your position regularly, as long as the GPS has a position fix. The frequency controls how often the beacon is sent.
Watch / track – watching mode, where ViewRanger will regularly poll for the server for the latest position of the selected buddy(s). Use Add buddy or tracker to enter the name and PIN of a buddy to watch.
Send beacon now – this sends a single immediate beacon report, using either the centre of the map, or the GPS position, as the beacon location.
You can combine Twitter with your BuddyBeacon but you must register with my.viewranger.com and set your My ViewRanger account > Plug ins option.

Get social

Set and edit your profile from the My adventures tab.

Edit profile

Swipe left to display your profile page, then tap on the 3 dots in the background image above the word profile to make the changes shown in the below image. See how many people are following you.

My profile Profile edit


Find friends

From the Search tab, find friends and click the blue circular button to follow them. See their adventures, routes and tracks.

Find friends See their adventures



Our community web site my.viewranger.com is our web based customer zone designed to work alongside our mobile app, to allow you to use the convenience of your computer to:

Synchronize (upload/download Routes & Tracks with My.ViewRanger)

The addition of synchronization feature with the new my.ViewRanger.com web site. This allows you to send your tracks to the site, and share your routes between the site and ViewRanger on your mobile devices.
You need to have registered your account at my.ViewRanger.com before you Synchronize.
To synchronize go to Menu tab and use the Synchronize button. New and changed tracks are uploaded. New and changed routes are downloaded from the server. The license key list is updated.


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