The Locus Map application was created as purely “android” software for smartphones. However, our users have always wanted to use it on a desktop or laptop computer – the idea of browsing their favorite maps or planning a trip on a big screen is naturally appealing. Until recently, it was only possible to run Locus on a PC using the Android emulator, but now more options are available. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
Locus Map on the web
About two years ago we launched our new website www.locusmap.app, which includes a route planner with a route library. Although it is still labeled “Beta”, as it is still under development, it can already do a lot:
- it displays summer and winter LoMap and satellite maps of the whole world including descriptions
- it can display your approximate location on the map
- it can search for places on the map, view, plan, import, export, and share routes
- you can browse your database of routes and points of interest on it
- it synchronizes with the Locus app on your phone or tablet
Now let’s take a look at how to use it:
How to use the map?
Just like on other mapping sites, e.g. Google Maps, i.e. use the mouse wheel to zoom and the cursor to scroll. In addition, there are zoom buttons on the top right. Below them are the map selection button and the map legend:
The centering button below the map selection puts your position in the center of the screen (but you have to enable this action in the browser). The last button triggers the import of a GPX file.
The map also includes LoPoints – places of interest, accompanied by information and photos. Their descriptions and photos are taken from Wikipedia, and some photos are supplied by Locus users themselves, as we wrote about here >>.
How to plan a route?
Route planning is a major benefit of the big screen, providing ample space and context. It works similarly to the app – you choose an activity or mode of transport in the panel on the left, then click into the map on the places through which you want to take the route. The route is plotted along roads, paths, and footpaths according to the activity you’ve chosen.
You can, of course, include LoPoints in your route as well as custom points of interest that you have previously activated on the map.
As already mentioned, the route is plotted between waypoints based on the activity or means of transport selected. You can change this freely, both when adding waypoints and subsequently when editing individual route segments. If you need to route off-road, you can choose to draw the route manually.
To check the elevation progression, a graph of the elevation and slope of the route is displayed at the bottom.
When you’re done, you can export the route as a GPX file or share a link to it. GPX can be opened by any map service or application, and the URL will display the route on the Locus website in all known browsers.
If you have purchased or subscribed to Premium Gold, you can save the route to your library and sync it with the Locus Map app on your smartphone or tablet.
On the map, you can also view routes from elsewhere, from other sites or apps – just import them in GPX format. And not just routes, the imported file can also contain waypoints, such as caches you’re going to hunt for during your trip.
Library of routes and points
If you have activated the Premium Gold package, you can see in the web library all your routes and points that you have created, recorded, or imported. All your devices that use Locus Map under the same account are synchronized with the library.
In the web planner, you can browse the library in the panel on the left. Route and point categories are placed on top of each other and show the same group and folder structure as in the app. Routes are sorted in the folders by creation date, however, we’ll introduce more sorting options shortly. You can view the routes individually on the map. Each route is provided with length, time, elevation gain, and other statistics, a map preview, and an elevation graph.
The points are alphabetized in the folders and you can display the entire folders on the map. Each point detail contains basic information about the location, elevation, and date created. In addition, cachers will enjoy the basic attributes of geocaches – size, difficulty, terrain, etc.
The web planner can search for interesting places on the map, both by category and full text in the names. As soon as you enter the first few letters in the search box, the categories and nearest points pop up according to the selected map area.
Click on a category to highlight all the places on the map that fall within it:
Clicking on a specific point or location will open the details panel and center the object on the map.
“Full” Locus Map on your computer
Although the “web Locus” can do a lot, it only provides a fraction of what the full Locus Map app is able to do. So if you want more on PC, you need to wade into the waters of emulated Android environments or use screen sharing or remote management systems.
Try it with an emulator
From our user feedback, we know that Locus Map can run on the latest Windows 11 directly using their virtual subsystem. However, this is fully accessible in some countries only. The app also works without a problem on Google’s Chromebook, but again, it can’t be compared to a PC in terms of versatility.
On other PCs and laptops, you have to use a third-party Android emulator. With this software, you can embed an Android-operated window in a Windows environment. There are a variety of emulators, from variants for experts and developers to game fans.
As an example, we choose the NOX emulator with which we currently have the most personal experience. It has several advantages:
- easy installation
- it includes Google services including Google Play, where Locus Map can be downloaded and installed
- Locus Map can also be installed using an .APK file
- it runs quite well even on an average computer
- it supports the ADB plug-in for Total Commander, which makes it easy to get to the Locus working directory where you can copy maps and other files
Samsung DeX – a solution for some
If you have one of Samsung’s higher-end smartphone or tablet models (S or Z series), the manufacturer offers the DeX desktop interface. You connect your phone to a PC or smart TV via a USB cable or wifi and the communication is taken care of by the DeX client application. It also comes with a special DeX base that offers a wide variety of connectors, HDMI, USB, etc. for connecting to other peripherals.
The Samsung DeX interface can then be used to run Locus Map stretched across a large screen and it has to be said that it works very briskly. Everything is easily operated with the mouse and keyboard (you can even “swipe” from the PC screen to the mobile display with the mouse). Perhaps the only downside is that you are still using “only” Locus on your mobile, and not a separate application on the PC.
If you make do with planning routes for your trips on your PC, the web-based planner at web.locusmap.app will serve you well. The Android emulator solution will run the full app, but it requires the installation of ancillary software that will cut into your PC’s performance. DeX is again only for those who have a better Samsung in their pocket. So take your pick, it’s up to you. Anyway, Locus Map is primarily an outdoor app, so turn off your computer and head out :).android emulatornoxvirtual machineweb libraryweb planner