Nokia maploader – filesize of maps on disks

September 26, 2009

Why maps use more storage space than their actual file size

There’s a lot of confusion on the filesize of maps around. A lot of the map-files (cdt) are smaller than the usual “Allocation unit size” in a file system. With FAT16 that’s usually 32kbyte, with FAT32 and NTFS 4kbyte. So fitting a 500byte-file in the filesystem wastes lots of space, 3.5kb on FAT32 and 31.5kb on FAT16, because a file always takes at least one allocation unit of space.

Therefore the maps of some countries use up to 3 times as much space on the disk than the actual file size indicated by the Nokia maploader. That’s why you’re offered less free space for downloading than you actually have on your SD-card. Nokia assumes that the maps use about 1.4x as much space on your disk compared to their filesize. That’s certainly just an average, but this multiple depends not only on the maps you’re downloading, but also on the way you format your storage card.

Saving space by reformating your micro-SD card

The Nokia N95 supports FAT32 and different allocation unit sizes; so formatting your micro-SD card with FAT32 and 512 bytes unit size saves you a lot of storage; the additional space used for the FAT (File Allocation Table, where the contents of a storage device are listed) , about 1 Meg, doesn’t really matter compared to the space you can save with the maps. With this format, you can save about 50% of space required for maps. But – transfer times from and to the storage card are about doubled. So depending on the maps you want to download, you might also have good results with 2 or 4 kb of allocation unit size. The rule is: “empty” parts of the map covering rural areas produce small map files, small map files waste storage, when using only parts of a full allocation unit; that’s why Algeria uses about 3x as much space on the disk compared to the actual filesize, while dense areas such as Singapore, Hongkong and Northrhein-Westphalia (Germany) barely need any additional space on the storage card.

Formating an SD-card is possible only with a card reader (I think; if I’m wrong, let me know); no need to say, that you make a backup of your card before formating it..

Optimizing transfer-times from hard-disk to the SD-card

One more hint: USE A CARD READER! Transferring maps to the card with a cardreader is about 3-10x faster to a card reader than to your mobile connected via USB. Card readers are really cheap these days and are definitely worth it.


The Mutawa – Religous police in Saudi Arabia

May 1, 2007

It’s always fun to see that. Today, again, the Mutawa (or Mutawaeen) strived through the food-court during prayer time and sent everybody to the prayer room. One official cop, one Arab with fat beard and dishdash and the main player, red-white headscarf (Kufiya), white dishdash and a brown cape with golden border.

About 50 people were sitting in the food court at this time, lunchtime-prayer at noon. About 10 of them left their table right away, when they saw the Mutawa. 15 expatriates could stay anyway, cause their not asked to go and pray. All others were dissed by the religious police for sitting and chatting instead of honouring Allah in the mosque and left the foodcourt heading for the prayer room. So in the end, if you couldn’t get a seat in the crowded foodcourt during busy lunchtime, there you are. The Mutawa is your friend. 😀

Good news for women as well; I’m always wondering, why women can walk fully uncovered through the Kingdom mall (except for the mandatory abaya), though I thought, this is not acceptable. A few days ago I indicated to a caucasian (I guess british) woman, that the Mutawa was around and whether she might not get problems not being covered as it is suggested; guess what: the Mutawa is legally not allowed to approach her, while she’s not with her husband, since a conversation between men and women who are not relatives, is not acceptable. 😀

This country is just too strange for me.. Flying home tonight, I’ll have at least ten days without this paranoia…

Google’s translation English-to-German

April 29, 2007

lol, today somebody used google to translate my article on backing up countries with the Nokia Maploader to German language. If you’re German, read the German translation and enjoy the result of google’s effort to translate my original article. I am German AND I wrote the article myself, but I still can’t really get the meaning of google’s translation. 😀

Google translates the title “Nokia N95 and GPS Maploader – backup of countries” to

Nokia N95 und GPS Maploader – Unterstützung der Länder

on their translation tool ; translated back to English, that yields

Nokia N95 and government inspection department Maploader – support of the countries“. Great tool, isn’t it? 😀

You better sell your google-stocks, if you still have any. 😉

Videos on your Symbian mobile – conversion to 3gp

April 27, 2007

Choosing a format

I’d really like to analyse formats in terms of quality and output, but in this case, it’s just one option that really worked for me. To view videos on your mobile, there are basically two formats you might choose from, divx and 3gp. Since most of my (and probably your) movies are in divx, I tried that option first and installed the symbian divx-player from; you have to register with the free movie-portal first to get access to the installer file for the divx-player, but that doesn’t take too long. Anyway, after installing it, I tried three of my movies and only one worked properly; the other two didn’t show anything in the player. So to me, the divx-player is just to beta yet to be worth a try.

3gp-files are by default supported by the real-player in the Nokia N95, so I went for that one. And this finally worked…

Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Winemaking equipment fotos ;-)

April 24, 2007

Here’re the promised fotos of the selfmade closeup you’ll need to make your wine.

Winemaking - Whitewine - full bottle Winemaking closeup - selfmade outlet to keep oxygen outside the bottle

The full howto for making your own wine is here.

Making wine in a nutshell

April 24, 2007

My white wine was finally done yesterday!

When you live in Saudi, you probably know, that making your own wine is one of the rare possibilities to get something to drink.  The good thing about Saudi on the opposite side is: Large supermarkets such as Carrefour and Panda are equipped in a way, that getting your stuff together for your wine is simple as 123. I think they know, why funnels and grape juice are among their best selling products. 😉 Read the rest of this entry »

Nokia Maps and Google Earth – POIXpress or Sportstracker?

April 22, 2007

I’m still playing with my phone. 😉 So today I tried the two (?) available programs able to export landmarks from Nokia’s Maps in a format readible by GoogleEarth. Nobody wants to keep his landmarks just on his mobile, right? Nokia uses the KLM format for it’s landmarks, so that’s the format we want to export to.

There’re Pros and Cons for both applets; Sportstracker comes free from Nokia’s website, that’s the Pro. What I don’t like about it is, that you can only export routes to *.klm-files,     so you always have to act as if you’re doing sports while you’re standing at a landmark you want to export to Google Earth. So you have to start a workout, wait for the sportstracker to find GPS-Satellites, stop the workout and save the route (even if you didn’t move). That route you can easily export, but the entire procedure takes at least about 30 seconds.

POIXpress is solely written for exporting (and importing) landmarks to and from other formats. So using this applet is way more straightforward. You start it, choose the category of landmarks you want to export (Picture 1) and choose the format KLM to export to Google Earth. Save it to your memory-card and transfer it to your computer. In Google-Earth you’ll finally get the landmarks with “File –> Import”.

PoiXpress - Exporting Nokia Maps landmarks             PoiXpress - Choose KLM-format to export to Google Earth 

Picture1                          Picture 2

Yes, there’s something else… POIXpress is way more convenient to use than Sportstracker, but after the 7-days trial (long enough to export all landmarks you already have) activating the tools costs you 5 USD. Not a lot in my mind considering the time saved with PoiXpress instead of faking Workouts with Sportstracker. The trial-version is available here. Depending on your willingness to pay, the time saved with POIXpress’s convenience might be worth the 5 USD. I still have 4 days trial to think about it. 😉

Abu Dhabi Corniche

April 21, 2007

The weekend in Abu Dhabi was really great. I wish I could trade Abu Dhabi for Saudi, but keep the same salary. 😉

Abu Dhabi Corniche - View from Hilton Residence Abu Dhabi - Hilton Beachclub Sunset

Nokia N95 and GPS Maploader – backup of countries

April 17, 2007

To download complete maps for the GPS navigation in the N95, the first choice is Nokia’s Maploader, easily downloaded and installed. With maps of almost all countries available, you’ll probably get very short on space on your micro-SD card. One way around this is downloading and backing up countries you will not need every day.

File storage directory for GPS maps

But managing the maps for GPS and backing up maps of single countries is not done by point and click.. The GPS maps are stored in single squares covering the area of 50 to 1,000 sqkm (depending on the street-density etc.) with hex-filenames, that don’t make sense to me yet. What I do know is, that there’s no folder like “Germany” or “England” you can simply backup on your harddrive. The Maploader stores the files in a directory-tree with names “0” to “9” and “a” to “f”, the signs available in hex. In each of these directories there are similar directories named “0” to “f”, therefore you have 256 directories in the folder X:\Private\20001f63\diskcache\ on your micro-SD card that hold the data for all countries that you download. Each country provides uniquely named square-files except for areas at the border between two countries that are included in both country’s maps.

Howto backup countries from maploader

So the clue for downloading and storing your maps in an easily accessible backup is downloading and backing up only one country at a time; just do this:

1. Delete all directories in “X:\Private\20001f63\diskcache\” except the 4 files in the directory.

2. Download a country with maploader.

3. Backup the directory “X:\Private\20001f63\diskcache\” to a directory, that you name with the country you just downloaded.

4. Start over with step 1.

I didn’t get any difference between the files in die diskcache yet, Cachedatheader.cdt, config.cfg, ffffffff.cdt and qt. You can back them up or just use the ones you have already. They obviously just store the last file you downloaded etc.

Format your micro-SD with FAT32 to save storage space

There’s one more important point: The map files are pretty small, some of them are less then one kb; so with 10 MB downloaded files you’ll probably fill 25Megs of your micro-SD card, because by default it’s formated with FAT16 and each of the 1kb-files fills 16kb on your card; so back your card up and format it in FAT32 in your cardreader you hopefully have. That saves you at least 50% of the space used by the maps on your card. Though I read, that micro-SD and S60 cannot handle FAT32, I tried it and it works.

Weekend in Abu Dhabi – live-music and first experience with the Nokia N95

April 15, 2007

Now that was a great weekend. Sick of boredom in Riyadh I flew to the UAE. Due to different weekends (UAE, Friday/Saturday; Saudi Arabia, Thursday/Friday) I only had one night in Abu Dhabi when clubs were full like on a weekend, but had to leave on Friday evening for Riyadh again. Was a pity to leave on a western “Saturday night”, but shifted weekends are just like that. 😦

Anyway, apart from some great independent music in the Rockwell (Zakher Hotel) and the filipina band in the Blitz (Novotel), I finally got the Nokia N95. 3220 Dirhams, about 200 USD less than in Riyadh. Still a lot of money, but I’m glad I bought it. It’s just a great toy and I’m sure you’ll enjoy importing your GPS-bookmarks to google-earth with the Nokia Sportstracker. It’s probably great if you’re into sports, but the best part to me is simply the “save to google-earth” feature, so you can export all your landmarks to google and remember your vacation trips on a larger screen or share them with friends.

No landmarks from the desert though, everybody still remembers the three french killed near Madina, after which the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to all foreign embassies in Saudi saying:

TheMinistry wishes to refer to the brutal attack on some French people after their visit to Madain Saleh on Monday 26 February 2007. The competent autority has disclosed that there is some available information that the group which has perpetrated the vicious assault has in mind to undertake similar attacks either inside or outside cities.

Therefore, we hope that utmost precautions should be taken and that Missions’ staff should be limit their movement during this period. Security authorities should be notified abruptly of any observations by contacting the Command and Control Centre, Ministry of Interior on number (991).

There’s an about monthly warning of embassies to their citizens to avoid crowded places and take different routes for the daily way to work to avoid being targeted by terrorist attacks, but a warning by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs is really a new quality of information..

Hopefully, tracking my way to work and back to the compound keeps me busy for my final 17 days in Saudi – then I’ll finally fly home to my sweet Pia.

Stay tuned.