Maps.Me app for Android

A map shown in Maps.Me
A map shown in Maps.Me

Google Maps is great on a Android device, if you have 3G or wireless internet all the time. If you don’t have 3G and are traveling outside, then you need offline maps. One of the best apps for offline maps is Maps.Me. It used to be called MapsWithMe earlier.

The interface of Maps.Me is similar to Google Maps. Its maps are derived from OpenStreetMap and maps for most cities and countries can be downloaded from inside the app. The maps are in vector format and so are very light. For example, the entire map for Singapore is just 4MB!

The rendering of the maps is not as beautiful as Google Maps, but I found it functional enough for use during traveling. From my experience, the transport infrastructure is well mapped, but the information on many popular business destinations can be missing. If you need to bookmark the places you like, you can do so with the Pro paid version of the app.

Tried with: Maps.Me 2.6.2, Android 4.4.2 and Moto G

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Camera Error on Moto G

Problem

You open the Camera app on Moto G to take a photo. The app throws a Camera Error message and closes. If the Moto G is restarted, then the Camera app works fine. But after some hours, this error might happen again.

Solution

According to the discussion on this forum thread, the culprit is the Skype app. It seems to be not releasing the camera resource in a clean manner.

I used to face this error on a daily basis. Skype seems to be have fixed their error. After their recent update, I have not faced this error in more than 2 weeks. For reference, the current Skype version on my Moto G is 4.7.0.43514.

Tried with: Android 4.4.2 and Moto G

The strange case of the Moto G that would not charge

Problem

The Moto G ships with a micro-USB cable, that can be used to charge it by plugging it into a computer. I took the Moto G on a trip recently where I only had access to a Windows 8.1 notebook. I did not use Moto G for a few days and it completely drained out the battery. On plugging the dead Moto G into the notebook for charging, the LED on the phone would blink for a few seconds and the phone would go dead.

No matter how many times I tried this and how long I left it plugged into the notebook it would not charge! The Moto G had been charged with this same notebook successfully when it had not been fully drained. Folks on the Internet suggested holding the power button pressed for 17 seconds or freezing the phone for a few minutes in the refrigerator. None of these methods worked for me.

Solution

I noticed that there was some type of communication happening between the Windows OS and the Moto G whenever I plugged it in. I guessed that this was what was causing Moto G to not charge from the notebook. Once I was back from the trip I found an old micro-USB charger from Samsung that could be plugged into the electricity outlet. Moto G started charging successfully from this! πŸ™‚

How to mount Moto G on Ubuntu using MTP

Moto G is an Android smartphone that does not have a microSD slot. So, the storage of the smartphone cannot be extended. If you want to transfer files between your Ubuntu computer and the Moto G, there are 3 possible ways to do that: FTP over wireless, PTP over USB and MTP over USB.

If your Ubuntu computer has wireless, I highly recommend using FTP over wireless. It is convenient (no wires!), offers good transfer speed and the entire /sdcard contents are available for read and write.

If your Ubuntu computer does not have wireless, then your next option is to use a micro-USB-to-USB cable. The choices here are PTP and MTP. You can enable and switch between the two after you connect Moto G to your computer using a USB cable. If you enable PTP, then Moto G is automatically mounted as a partition in Nautilus. However, you will only be able to see the /sdcard/DCIM and /sdcard/Pictures directories. If you are transferring photos, then this option offers good transfer speed.

If your Ubuntu computer does not have wireless and you still want to read and write to the contents of /sdcard then the option left to you is MTP. Note that with MTP, Moto G takes a really long time to mount and the transfer speeds are really really low. It can take ages to transfer even a small file. You have been warned! πŸ™‚

There are many solutions offered online to mount the contents of /sdcard using MTP. This solution is the only one that worked for me:

  • Install the MTP packages:
$ sudo apt-get install mtp-tools mtpfs
  • Connect Moto G using a USB cable to your computer. Make sure MTP is selected, and not PTP.

  • Find out the vendor ID and product ID of Moto G using mtp-detect. For my smartphone I got:

$ sudo mtp-detect
Unable to open ~/.mtpz-data for reading, MTPZ disabled.libmtp version: 1.1.3

Listing raw device(s)
Device 0 (VID=22b8 and PID=2e82) is UNKNOWN.
Please report this VID/PID and the device model to the libmtp development team
 Β Β Found 1 device(s):
 Β Β 22b8:2e82 @ bus 1, dev 12
Attempting to connect device(s)
Android device detected, assigning default bug flags

You need to press Ctrl+C to stop the command. For the Moto G, you can see that the vendor ID is 22b8 and product ID is 2e82.

  • Open a new file /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules using sudo and add this line:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="22b8", ATTR{idProduct}=="2e82", MODE="0666"
  • Restart the USB service and create a directory to mount the Moto G:
$ sudo service udev restart
$ sudo mkdir /media/motog
$ sudo chmod a+rwx /media/motog
$ sudo adduser your-user-name fuse
  • Open the /etc/fuse.conf file as sudo and uncomment the line for user_allow_other

  • Restart your computer. Connect back the Moto G to the computer.

  • You can now mount the /sdcard of your Moto G using this command:

$ mtpfs -o allow_other /media/motog/

Note that the mounting operation is slow and might take about a minute.

  • You can find all the directories and files in /sdcard of Moto G in /media/motog. You can read and write to these directories.

  • To unmount use this command:

$ fusermount -u /media/motog/

That is it! You may want to create aliases for the mount and unmount command to make it easy to use πŸ™‚

Note: You will not get the USB mass storage option in Moto G since that can be provided for external storage, not for partitions from which the Linux kernel is currently running. And in any case, you will need root access on the phone to touch those directories.

Tried with: Moto G and Ubuntu 12.04