Stream Map USA Manual

This manual is designed for all editions of Stream Map USA. Examples used in this manual are taken from Stream Map USA's Northeast Edition so your coverage area may be different.

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This manual introduces the key features and functions in Stream Map USA using tutorials and practical examples. It is designed to give you a strong base of knowledge to continue your exploration of the app on your own.

When Stream Map USA is launched, a map of North America opens showing your current location and a colored area highlighting the states covered..

As you zoom in, you notice many colored lines representing rivers and streams coming into view. River lines are displayed slightly thicker than stream lines.

Stream Map USA uses a unique color coding system to identify each individualy named river and stream.

Traditional maps have always used simple blue lines to depict water courses making it diffiicult to follow a specific steam.

In Stream Map USA, each named river and stream is displayed as a unique color. The specific color of each stream is not important. What is important is that no other stream touching it is that same color.

This makes it incredibly easy to follow any stream. You simply follow the colored line. If the color changes, you are on a different stream.

As you zoom the map further, you'll notice additional light blue lines appearing on the map. These represent the many unnamed streams, canals, and ditches making Stream Maps USA, a complete watershed map.

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Locate the "Tab Bar" at the bottom of your screen and choose the "Search Tab" to begin your search.

The "Search" page now opens.

On the "Search" page, use the toggle switches to choose the type of water you wish to search.

Use the "State" field to narrow your search to a specific state.

Use the "County" field to further narrow your search to a specific county.

Use the "Search" field to open the keyboard and enter the name of the water you wish to find.

Tap the "Search" button to initiate the search.





For demonstration purposes, we've set up the "Search" page below to search the entire region for any water that includes "Mill" in its name.

We initiate the search by tapping the "Search" button.

Search results are returned as a series of color coded pins on the map.

Let's zoom in to understand each pin type.

A blue pin with the letter "L" indicates the result is a lake or pond. Taping the pin opens its information box which identifies the lake's name and location.

Any pin with the letter "S" indicates a stream result. On the map, streams and rivers are both color coded to differentiate them from their tributaries making it easy to follow any stream's course from headwaters to mouth. Result pins are color coded to match these colors. Here, we see a blue "S" pin pointing to a blue stream named East Branch Mill Brook. The Green "S" pin points to the main stem of Mill Brook and the Orange "S" pin identifies the West Branch. All three results were generated from our search of "Mill".

Any pin with the letter "R" indicates a river result. On the map, rivers are displayed as thicker lines to easily differentiate them from streams. Here, the blue "R" pin identifies the Millstone River which is also colored in blue. In addition to the "R" pin on this map, we also see some pins that look like measuring gauges.

These gauge pins show you the location of flow gauges administered by the US Geological Survey that report real time stream height and flow data. Tap the "i" button on the gauge's information window to view the stream's current conditions.

Tap the blue "Done" button at the top left to return to the map.





So how do you get to a river, lake or stream? For this demonstration, we'll explore a suggested paddle trip we researched on the Middle Branch or the Moose River in the Adirondacks of New York. To start, we searched rivers in New York with the search term "Moose" and got the following result.

We identified the Middle Branch as the orange pin on the map. In our research, it was suggested we launch at Green Bridge Road in Thendara so we zoomed in and followed the orange line to find Green Bridge Road.

We switched our background map to hybrid view to look for the launch point.

To change background maps, tap the "Map" button at the top of the map.

Stream Map USA can be viewed over Apple's standard road, satellite, and hybrid background maps. We've also included seamless USGS 7.5 minute topographic maps and the OpenStreetMap both of which can be stored for offline use. In addition, a plain white background option lets you easily read stream labels when the background maps are too busy.

We found the suggested launch point on the map and placed a waypoint (Green Flag) next to the road. To create a waypoint, touch the map for 2 seconds where you want to add the waypoint.

Touch the flag to open its information window.

The window displays a newly created waypoint's GPS coordinates and linear distance from your current location. Touch the "i" link on the information window to open its context menu.

We'll cover waypoints in greater detail later. For now, tap the "Go" button on the menu. Touching "Go" passes the GPS coordinates of the waypoint to your device's navigation software setting it as your destination.


Choose "Current Location" from the list as your start point, then tap "Route" for directions right to your waypoint. You can also copy the coordinates from the end field to any GPS navigation device if you prefer using a different navigation tool.

Tap the start button and you're on your way.





As demonstrated above, waypoints are an important navigation tool in Stream Map USA. This tutorial covers the many ways to map custom destinations using waypoints to get reliable navigation to those destinations as well as covering other important functions in Stream Map USA. Because navigation can only be demonstrated in action, this tutorial involves some very local travel on your part and should take you no more than an hour to complete. We suggest you follow this simple step-by-step tutorial to fully appreciate the power of Stream Map USA's map and navigation tools in a simple real-world exercise.

Let's get started!

Touch the "Waypoints" tab.

The waypoints list opens with two preprogrammed waypoints ready for use.

Each waypoint has its own "Details" page. Touch the "Home" waypoint to open its "Details" page.

Let's edit this waypoint to store your home's location. To do so, step outside your home and wait a minute or two to allow your phone to get the most accurate GPS fix possible.

Now touch "Use Current Location" on the Details page.

The latitude and longitude coordinates are revised to show your home's current GPS location. You can easily save any location as a waypoint no matter where you are by tapping the "Use Current Location" button.

Touch the "Checkmark" button to save this change. It is important to save every time you change a waypoint's details.

Tap the "Arrow" button to return to the waypoints list.


Now Let's travel!

For this next step, we suggest you take a short drive to a nearby store or other destination with a large parking lot. When you arrive, park your vehicle some distance from the store to simulate a point you may need to walk to. While still in your vehicle, open the "My Car" waypoint. and tap the "Use Current Location" button to store where you parked. Remember to save this change and return to the waypoints list.

Now let's create a third waypoint from scratch. Walk to the store's entrance.

Tap the "Plus" button to create a new waypoint.

A new "Details" page opens with no name and GPS coordinates set to zero, zero.

Tap the "Use Current Location" button then touch the "Name" field to open the keyboard.

Type "The Store" or whatever else you'd like to name this waypoint and then tap "Done" on the keyboard.

Save the waypoint.

This new waypoint now appears in your waypoint list.

With the three waypoints set, let's look at how to use these waypoints as they interact with the map, compass, and navigation functions.


Targeting Waypoints

Open the "Home" waypoint's details page.

Tap the "Target" button to set "Home" as your Target Destination.

The map opens, centered on the location of your "Home" waypoint. Because we set "Home" as the "Target Destination" a red target is displayed on the map.


Finding your Current Location on the Map

Tap the "Map Mode" button.

This button centers the map on your current location and sets the map to track your progress as you travel.

In this mode, the map will always display north up. As you travel, it will keep your location centered by moving the map. The green flag you see is the location of the "My Car" waypoint. Waypoints are displayed as green flags on the map so they can be seen relative to your current location.

You'll also notice that the "Map Mode" button icon has changed to indicate you are in a different mode.


Entering the Map's Compass Mode

Tap the "Map Mode" button again.

The "Map Mode" button icon changes again and the map enters "Compass Mode". In this mode, the map rotates in your direction of travel as well as tracking your current location. A compass icon appears on the map to indicate north.


Finding the Target Destination on the map.

Tap the 'Center on Target" button.

The map now centers on the "Target Destination" set earlier. By using the map buttons described above, you can explore the map as much as you want having confidence that you can easily return to both your current location and target destination.


Using the Compass to Navigate

Now let's explore compass navigation. To do this, we'll find your vehicle in the parking lot using the compass.

Touch the "Waypoints" tab and return to the waypoints list.

If necessary, tap the "Arrow" button to return to the list.

Tap the "My Car" waypoint and set it as the "Target Destination" using the "Target" button on its "Details" page.

The map opens centered on the "My Car" waypoint which is now the "Target"

Tap the "Compass" tab to open the Field Compass.


The field compass always displays your current GPS coordinates, heading, altitude above sea level, and speed of travel.

When a "Target Destination" is set, the compass also displays the distance and bearing to that destination and a red direction of travel arrow appears on the compass to point the way.

To find your vehicle or any "Target" waypoint, align the direction of travel arrow and walk in that direction. As you walk, the compass counts down the distance. Once you get within 30-40 feet of you vehicle, just look around until you see your vehicle.

It is important to note that GPS accuracy limits all devices. On iOS devices, accuracy is about 30-40 feet in most cases. This rivals common handheld GPS devices.


Navigating in the Wild

Because waypoints are stored locally on your phone, the Compass can be used to find any destination. The compass and waypoints do not require cellular service to operate. While the example above used the Compass as a car finder, the compass is designed for navigation in the wilderness. You can hike to your tree stand, fishing hole, camp or any other waypoint destination just as easily in areas with no cellular service.


Turn-By-Turn Driving Navigation

Now that you've found you vehicle, let's get you home again with turn-by-turn driving directions and navigation.

Touch the "Waypoints" tab and return to the waypoints list.

If necessary, tap the "Arrow" button to get to the list.

Tap the "Home" waypoint to open its details.

On the details page, tap "Go" to start your phone's navigation app. Tapping "Go" here works exactly like tapping "Go" on the waypoint action menu mentioned earlier passing along the waypoint's coordinates to your device's navigation software.





Creating Waypoints on the Map

As mentioned earlier, you can create a waypoint anywhere on the map. Touch the map at a location for 2 seconds and a new waypoint is created. The waypoint is automatically named with its GPS coordinates. You can then open the context menu to edit the details, target the waypoint, or use its GPS coordinates for any application you wish.

TRICK - You can browse the roadmap until you see a destination of interest. Create a waypoint and then open its context menu to tap "Go" for immediate turn-by-turn navigation. We call this "Touch-N-Go" navigation.


Additional Waypoint Details Functions

The waypoint "Details" page also includes a "Notes" field.


Waypoint Notes

You can add or edit notes for any waypoint. Simply tap the "Notes" field to open the keyboard and enter your notes.

When you are done, tap the "Details" button to return to the details page and save the change.


Editing Waypoint Coordinates

You can manually enter a new waypoint's coordinates or edit an existing waypoint's coordinates. Simply touch a coordinate field on the "Details" page to open the entry screen.

We recommend you have your phone in landscape orientation when entering coordinates.


Sharing Waypoints

On the waypoint "Details" page, the "Share this Waypoint" button sends an email link that can be opened by the recipients of your choice.

The message includes a link that opens Google Maps and displays your waypoint with notes on the recipient's computer or mobile device. If the recipient has the Google Maps app installed on their iOS or Android device, the link opens the Google's "Maps" app ready to provide turn-by-turn driving directions for the recipient. This is a great tool to meet-up with your friends before heading into the field.


Deleting a Waypoint from the List

On the Waypoint List, tap the "Edit" button.

Open the red "Minus" symbol by the waypoint you want to remove. Tap "Delete" and the waypoint is permanently deleted. Tap "Done" to exit edit mode.

You can also delete a waypoint from the map directly by tapping a waypoint flag then tapping "Delete" on the context menu.

Tapping "Details" on the context menu allows you to access the "Details" page for that waypoint.





Change the background map using the app settings.

When set to "Yes", the Stream Map USA layer is displayed on the map.

Adjusts the transparency of the Stream Map USA layer.

When set to "Yes", your current location is displayed on the map.

When set to "Yes", stream gauges are displayed on the map.

Change the Latitude/Longitude entry and display format for waypoints. You can choose the type of GPS coordinates that work best for you. Options include; WGS 84 Degrees Minutes and Seconds (DMS), Degrees with Decimal Minutes (DDM), or Decimal Degrees _DD)

Removes all locally stored maps from your device's memory. When your device's memory starts to fill up, you can erase the downloaded maps to make more space and then load any new maps you need.

Clears the targeted destination from the map and removes the distance and bearing display.

Clears all search result pins from the map.

Permanently deletes all custom waypoints. Be cautious here!

Exports your custom waypoints and data. This builds a custom file that can be emailed to a friend or to yourself as backup or if you replace your phone. To import the waypoints, open the email on your Apple device and then open the attached file. Imported waypoints are added to the list of existing waypoints already on the app.




The Stream Map along with USGS topographic maps, OpenStreetMap, and all waypoints functions can be used without phone service so you'll always have a GPS enabled map as well as your compass to track your progress.

To prepare maps for offline use:

Map Button

Tap the "Map" button at the top of the map.

Choose either USGS Topographic or OpenStreetMap.

Map Choices

Go to the map. Depending on your choice, you'll notice that the USGS and OpenStreetMap background maps load as map tiles.

The first time you view an area of the map, map tiles are download from our server and either the USGS or OpenStreetMap server depending on which maps your are using. These tiles are stored on your device. The next time you need those tiles, they are immediately available from internal memory and remain available when you do not have service. This also reduces your cellular data usage because maps are only downloaded once.

To prepare the map for offline use, choose the background map you, need then browse the map in all areas and at all zoom levels you would like to have available. Be sure to allow time for the tiles to fully load and that you cover the entire area you need for offline use. Essentially if you have seen a particular area of the map at a particular zoom level, that areas will be available for offline use.  Just browse the map while connected, covering your anticipated course at the various zoom levels and the app will take care of the rest. Doing so while connected to wifi can speed downloads and reduce your data usage.

NOTE: This app uses United States Geological Survey topographic maps directly from the USGS server. USGS limits the zoom capability of these maps to approximately the resolution of their printed maps. Rather than limit our zoom level accordingly, we chose to turn the USGS layer transparent when there is no USGS map available. If you do not see the USGS layer on your map, zoom out until it appears.





Using your device as a handheld GPS is battery intensive.  These suggestions can help to  maximize your battery life.

1.  When using the app for navigation in your car, use a car adapter to power the device so that you'll have a full charge when you reach your destination and head into the wilds.

2. The screen display on your device is a major drain on power.  Reduce the brightness of your display and set the Auto-Lock to the shortest time possible.  While this means you will probably need to unlock the device more often, it will significantly increase battery life.

3. When not viewing your map, place your device in sleep mode. You can always find your location on the map later with "Center on Current Location".

4.  To accurately display your current location on the map, The app continually polls GPS satellites to identify your location.  This function adds demands on your battery.  You can disabled this function using the "Display Current Location" setting.  Disabling the current location still allows you to view the maps.  To find your location again, turn the "Display Current Location" on.  Your location will now appear.

5.  Many manufacturers sell reserve battery packs that you can carry into the field for additional battery life.  You may wish to consider purchasing a backup power source for use in the wilds.

6.  There are many Internet articles and discussions covering additional tips and tricks to conserve your battery.