Use the map

One of the core features of the HERE SDK for Android is Mapping, which includes adding a map view, changing the location displayed by the map, and modifying its properties. The primary component of the mapping API is the map view, which is integrated as a View subclass. The map view represents a vector based view to display a map and various properties.

HERE map data is updated on a weekly basis to ensure you always get the freshest map data available. By integrating the map view you can automatically benefit from this. While the map is vector based, you can also integrate custom map tiles from other providers.


If you want to create a simple map application, refer to the Get Started section.

To manipulate the map and its properties, it is best to start looking at the Camera section. More features include:

  • Map gestures to handle common map gestures and default map behaviors like pan or rotate.
  • Map schemes to instantly switch default map styles such as satellite versus normal map layer. More on the available map schemes you can find below.
  • Map items to place objects and shapes onto the map and interact with them.
  • Custom raster tiles to show custom server images as an additional map layer.
  • Custom map styles to fully customize the look of the existing map schemes.

Performance optimization

By default, the MapView is rendered with 60 frames per second (FPS). Via mapView.get/setFrameRate() the maximum frame rate can be adjusted - for example, to reduce CPU / GPU usage on low end devices. It is also possible to deactivate automatic render cycles by setting FPS to 0. Setting negative values has no effect. The value can be set individually per MapView instance - in case your app contains multiple MapView's.

Another option is to use custom map styles that contain less elements to render.

To shrink the size of the HERE SDK framework, unused fonts can be removed before shipping an application.

Load map schemes

The HERE SDK supports several preconfigured map schemes:

  • LITE_DAY: A simplified day version of lite map scheme NORMAL_DAY, featuring fewer map elements and limited color palette.
  • LITE_NIGHT: A simplified night version of lite map scheme NORMAL_NIGHT, featuring fewer map elements and limited color palette.
  • LITE_HYBRID_DAY: A simplified day version of lite hybrid map scheme HYBRID_DAY, featuring fewer map elements and limited color palette.
  • LITE_HYBRID_NIGHT: A simplified night version of lite hybrid map scheme HYBRID_NIGHT, featuring fewer map elements and limited color palette.
  • NORMAL_DAY: A lossless scaleable vector base map for usage during daylight.
  • NORMAL_NIGHT: A lossless scaleable vector base map for usage during night.
  • HYBRID_DAY: A day version of a hybrid scheme combining satellite imagery with vector street network, map labels and POI information.
  • HYBRID_NIGHT: A night version of a hybrid scheme combining satellite imagery with vector street network, map labels and POI information.
  • SATELLITE: A bitmap based map showing satellite imagery for various zoom stages.
  • LOGISTICS_DAY: A day version map scheme with focus on fleet management content.

Note that it is also possible to fully customize your own map styles, except for the satellite imagery.

Use the following code snippet to load a map scheme:

MapScheme mapScheme = MapScheme.NORMAL_DAY;

mapView.getMapScene().loadScene(mapScheme, new MapScene.LoadSceneCallback(){
    public void onLoadScene(@Nullable MapError mapError) {
        if (mapError == null) {
            // ...
        } else {
            Log.d(TAG, "Loading of map scheme failed: mapError: " +;

It is recommended to use the day variants during day time when the surrounding light is brighter. The night variants are optimized for usage when there is less light. For example, an application may switch from day to night scheme when a driver is passing through a tunnel - if you are using the Navigate Edition, you can get notified on changed road attributes to know when you are driving through a tunnel. This allows an application to switch the map scheme on the fly. Note that this is not happening automatically.

The HERE SDK is also not automatically detecting the current time of the day to switch between day and night modes. An application may decide to do this based on the user's configuration or by checking the device clock.

From left to right: MapScheme.normalDay, MapScheme.normalNight, MapScheme.hybridDay, MapScheme.hybridNight

The available map styles are optimized to easily add additional content and overlays onto the base map without visual interference. The map schemes are less colorful and support a clean and neutral tone to maximize readability even in case of color blindness:

  • The street network is designed in gray scales and provides a hierarchy through brightness, contrast and widths.
  • Colors are overall rather bright set up.
  • Key colors are grey, blue, green, white.

In addition, the HERE SDK offers a satellite scheme, that does not contain any labels:


Add map layers as map features

On top of map schemes, the HERE SDK allows to add certain kinds of layers - we call them map features - that show additional information such as the current traffic flow. Below you can see how such layers can be enabled:

Map<String, String> mapFeatures = new HashMap<>();
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.TRAFFIC_FLOW, MapFeatureModes.TRAFFIC_FLOW_WITH_FREE_FLOW);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.TRAFFIC_INCIDENTS, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.SAFETY_CAMERAS, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.VEHICLE_RESTRICTIONS, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.TERRAIN, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.LANDMARKS, MapFeatureModes.LANDMARKS_TEXTURED);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.EXTRUDED_BUILDINGS, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.BUILDING_FOOTPRINTS, MapFeatureModes.DEFAULT);
mapFeatures.put(MapFeatures.ROAD_EXIT_LABELS, MapFeatureModes.ROAD_EXIT_LABELS_ALL);

Similarly, you can also disable a list of layers like shown below:

List<String> mapFeatures = new ArrayList<>();

Note that not all feature layers are available for all editions. Take a look at the API Reference to know which layers are supported. Note that adding a layer may have a minimal performance impact on lower-end devices.

Below you can see screenshots for all supported map layers:

The traffic flow layer shows active traffic jams on the streets. The traffic incidents map layer shows incidents such as accidents, construction works, and more. The safety cameras map layer shows speed warning cameras. The vehicle restrictions map layer shows truck-specific information. The terrain map layer shows hill shading.
The 3D landmarks map layer shows textured landmarks. The extruded buildings map layer shows a 3D representation of buildings. The building footprints map layer shows 2D footprints of buildings. The building and footprints map layers are enabled by default. This is how it looks when they are disabled.

Some layers allow to filter the shown content via MapContentSettings:

  • MapFeatures.TRAFFIC_INCIDENTS: Use filterTrafficIncidents​(List<TrafficIncidentType> trafficIncidents) to filter the displayed traffic incidents.
  • MapFeatures.VEHICLE_RESTRICTIONS: Use filterVehicleRestrictions​(TruckSpecifications truckSpecifications, List<HazardousMaterial> hazardousMaterials, TunnelCategory tunnelCategory) to filter the displayed truck restrictions.

Note: The map layers BUILDING_FOOTPRINTS & EXTRUDED_BUILDINGS are enabled by default on the MapView.

Embedded POIs

Naturally, on the map you can find, by default, several icons for restaurants, public transit and other places of general interest. These POIs are called carto POIs and they can be picked by the user to get more details. You can also control the visibility of these embedded POIs.

Take a look at the map items section for more details.

Get informed when the map is ready

The HERE Rendering Engine will be attached each time after onResume() is called. The OnReadyListener tells you once this happens:

mapView.setOnReadyListener(new MapView.OnReadyListener() {
    public void onMapViewReady() {
        // This will be called each time after this activity is resumed.
        // It will not be called before the first map scene was loaded.
        // Any code that requires map data may not work as expected until this event is received.
        Log.d(TAG, "HERE Rendering Engine attached.");

Most often, you may not need to wait for this event. For example, map items can be added any time. Once the HERE Rendering Engine is attached, the map will become visible. Only code - such as picking map items from the map view - that requires map data should wait for this event to ensure that you will get the expected results.

Remove unused font files

The HERE SDK contains several font files to render map labels for all supported languages. If you want to optimize the size of the overall app, you can remove selected fonts.

For example, the DroidSansFallback font uses the Simplified Chinese ideographs for shared Unicode code points. It is packaged in the HERE SDK AAR file (which can be opened by appending ".zip" to the file name):

  • assets/geoviz/DroidSansFallback.ttf

As another example, if you do not need to render the full set of Japanese characters, you can remove:

  • assets/geoviz/NotoSansJP-Regular.otf

You can also remove other files, for example, the Navigate Edition contains voice packages like voice_package_ar-SA used to generate texts with guidance instructions for use in TTS engines.

In order to remove files, you need to edit the app's build.gradle file. In the android { ... } section add aaptOptions. The example below shows how to do this for the three mentioned file examples from above:

android {
  aaptOptions {
    ignoreAssetsPattern "!voice_package_ar-SA*:!DroidSansFallback.ttf:!NotoSansJP-Regular.otf"


When you remove a font, it is recommended to switch the map language to any other language than the removed font. At least one font needs to be left to see any map labels. Note that each time a label needs to be displayed in a language for a font that was removed an error message is logged - for each character that is missing.

Note that the size of a font file may range from a few hundred kilobytes to a few megabytes in size. After removing selected fonts your application consumes less space when it is installed on a device. The maximum amount that you can save with these steps is approximately 11 MB.

Set a map language

You can customize the language that is used on the map to show labels for streets, cities and other map data. By default, the local language of a region is used.

Call MapView.setPrimaryLanguage(languageCode) to set the language for the world - or set null to switch back to the default behavior. This will set the language for all instances of MapView. If a language is not supported in any region of the world, the local language for that region is shown instead.

Geopolitical views

The HERE SDK supports multiple geographic political views and disputed borders to show the map boundaries based on an international view (default) or a local country view. The local view affects only particular areas on the map when a border and possession or control is claimed by two or more political entities - usually a country.

You can change the default geopolitical view by setting a three letter language code for the politicalView member accessible via SDKOptions. The supported country codes are accessible on the coverage page.

When set, the map view will show all country boundaries according to the geopolitical view of the country that has been set and the MapView will show the borders accordingly.

Note that this is released as a beta feature.

If you want to change the geopolitical view at runtime, use the following code snippet:

// Optionally, clear the cache, so that changing the options has an immediate effect.
SDKCache.fromEngine(SDKNativeEngine.getSharedInstance()).clearCache(error -> {
    if (error != null) {
      // ...

SDKOptions options = SDKNativeEngine.getSharedInstance().getOptions();
options.politicalView = "ARG";

// Now initialize the HERE SDK again using the new options.

Make sure to call this not during any ongoing HERE SDK operation, as setting new options requires also to create a new shared instance. Ideally, set the options and the politicalView only once before initializing the HERE SDK for the first time during the app's lifecycle.

Availability of map data

By default, a few regions in the world including Japan, China and Korea, contain limited map data. To get access to the full map data, please get in contact with your HERE representative.

Map data format

The HERE SDK stores all kind of data in map tiles. This can include data needed for rendering purposes in the map view, but it is not limited to this. For example, map tiles also contain data about places or road attributes that are not visualized on the map view, but are needed for other purposes such as turn-by-turn navigation.

The information that is stored in a map tile is categorized into several layers that hold the information for such distinct topics as traffic or landmarks.

  • Under the hood, the Navigate Edition uses the Optimized Client Map (OCM) catalog format which provides a compact, fast and flexible map. The OCM catalog is compiled from HERE Map Content (HMC).
  • Internally, the Explore Edition uses a slightly different map format (OMV) which is not supporting the offline use case.

Adapt map caching

To better support online and offline use cases, the HERE SDK supports caching of downloaded vector map data. This happens in the background. While interacting with the map, the data is stored locally on the device and can be accessed even when the device loses connection or operates in an offline mode.

The integrated map caching mechanism supports the standard vector based map schemes - satellite images and other raster tiles are also cached, but in a different cache that is not configurable.

Please note that the amount of cached data is limited and will be overwritten with new map data while using the map. In most cases, this is sufficient to give the user the impression of a faster start-up time - as no additional data must be downloaded when you start an app again at the same location as before.

When the cache is full, a least recently used LRU) strategy is applied.

An absolute cache path and maximum size can be specified when manually initializing the HERE SDK using SDKOptions. Note that the cache path can be also set via the AndroidManifest file. Check the Engines section for more details.

Note: There can be a separate cache defined for customer raster layers.

This is how you can clear the map cache:

SDKCache.fromEngine(SDKNativeEngine.getSharedInstance()).clearCache(error -> {
    if (error != null) {
        // ...

Note that disposing the shared instance of the SDKNativeEngine does not clear the cache.

By setting an empty string as cache path, you keep the default cache path - which is also accessible via context.getCacheDir().getPath() or SDKNativeEngine.getSharedInstance().getOptions().cachePath:

// Specify credentials programmatically and keep default cache path by setting an empty string.
SDKOptions sdkOptions = new SDKOptions("YOUR_ACCESS_KEY_ID", "YOUR_ACCESS_KEY_SECRET", "");

It is also possible to specify the cache path from the AndroidManifest.xml file. Consult the API Reference for the SDKNativeEngine to see an example.

Questions and answers around the map cache

  • What is a map tile? Map tiles are stored in the map cache. A map tile contains data relevant for search and routing, as well as vector data for the visual representation. It is stored in the Optimized Client Map (OCM) format. Map tiles are available for different zoom levels. A map tile may contain different data, depending on the zoom level.

  • What is the impact of missing data in the map cache? Usually, the map cache is never assumed to be complete and there can be always tiles missing for a surrounding area. This is because map tiles get loaded only on demand while they are rendered. When there are tiles missing from the map cache then, for example, the OfflineSearchEngine will not find POIs or road names that are part of the missing tiles and the HERE Rendering Engine cannot render such data. Also, the OfflineRoutingEngine might fail - unless it finds a route around the missing tiles. Note that the OfflineSearchEngine and the OfflineRoutingEngine are not available for every edition.

  • What is the size of the map cache? The size of the map cache can be changed by the application. Use at least 256 MB (default). Values above 512 MB or 1 GB are recommended. For turn-by-turn navigation (which is available e.g. for the Navigate Edition), map tiles of zoom level 14 are needed, which equals a circle of roughly 2 km. However, this can vary a bit from location to location.

  • What is the eviction policy of the cache? The HERE SDK uses a LRU (least recently used tile) logic to evict the tiles when the map cache becomes full. There is no sophisticated logic to evict, for example, tiles that are farther away from the current location - as it is not foreseeable which areas of the world the user might visit next. However, the map cache is not session-specific, its data from the last time the device was used, ie. from the last power cycle, is still there the next time the app is used. Note that the cache is specific per app, not per device.

  • Is any previously cached map tile searchable offline? Yes, it's always searchable with the OfflineSearchEngine. However, sometimes not every map tile contains the same search results for every zoom level. Note that the OfflineSearchEngine is not available for every edition.

  • Is only one map tile cached at a time? Yes, only one tile at a time may be added unless its location is on the edge of two tiles. Depending on the zoom level, rendering of the map view will require several tiles - this is not happening automatically and only when the zoom level changes.

  • Are satellite images cached? Yes, when the satellite map scheme is set, the corresponding imagery is also cached, but satellite images cannot be used after 1 day (for contractual reasons) and will be evicted. In this case, the HERE SDK checks if there are newer satellite map tiles available and if yes then the images are automatically updated in the cache. If the images have not been changed, then only the timestamp is updated so that the images can be reused after this check for another period of 1 day. However, the LRU strategy still applies. Note that non-satellite map tiles are only evicted when the cache is full - there is no staleness of old tiles and no automatic deletion of old tiles based on time.

  • Is there always "base map" available, such as a globe view? The HERE SDK downloads automatically the world tiles, ie. the top most zoom level tiles for the globe. This means that there is always a map available for the globe with a very limited amount of information for rendering purposes. The shapes of countries and continents are visible and capitols are shown with text labels.

  • Is the cache auto-cleared? No, a full cache is only cleared based on a LRU strategy (see above). If tiles have not been fully downloaded due to a connectivity interruption, these tiles are preserved and the download continues when connectivity resumes.

  • If connectivity is available, will a whole route be cached in advance? No, this is not happening automatically. However, you can use the RoutePrefetcher to download map data into the cache along the route corridor. Look into the turn-by-turn navigation section for more details. Note that the RoutePrefetcher is not available for every edition.

HERE logo watermark

When using the HERE SDK, it is required that the HERE logo is always visible on the map view. By default, the HERE logo is located at the bottom right corner of the map. However, you can easily customize its location to meet your app design by calling setWatermarkLocation() on your map view instance. It is recommended to change the default placement only when it is required due to overlapping UI elements. Note for very small views: If both edges of the map are less than 250 density independent pixels in size, the watermark will be hidden automatically.


Only upon special agreement with HERE it is possible to remove the HERE logo.

Choose surface or texture view

Depending on your application needs, the MapView supports two different native render modes.

  • By default, MapRenderMode.SURFACE is used, which offers the best performance, but may suffer from graphical glitches that may occur on Android 12 and newer.
  • For applications with complex and dynamic UI or with multiple MapView instances consider to use MapRenderMode.TEXTURE to avoid graphical glitches. This mode may have a greater performance impact than using the default SurfaceView.

Choose the MapRenderMode via HereMapOptions.renderMode, which allows to set internally a native SurfaceView or TextureView for rendering.

Add support for Android Auto

The HERE SDK can be seamlessly integrated with Android Auto and Android Automotive.

For example, you can use the premium offline & online search capabilities of the HERE SDK to search for places in your car - or integrate a full-blown navigation solution. If you want to show a map view on the Desktop Head Unit, you need to render the map using a MapSurface instance. Follow the Integrate a HERE Map into Android Auto tutorial to see how this can be done.

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