Skyline Guide

Skyline, in the ViewRanger app, is an augmented reality feature that uses the camera viewfinder and overlays information about your surroundings into the landscape. Peaks, places, water or lakes and points of interest are labelled. If you are following a route then navigation arrows will be placed into the view.

ViewRanger Skyline

Safety notice

When using Skyline remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.

How it works

Skyline is a feature within the ViewRanger app. You can start it from the Skyline button in the lower left of the screen. Skyline cleverly blends the sensors on your device to ascertain your surroundings. The following sensors are used; magnetometer (compass), gps, gyro and accelerometer. It reads height and landscape data and combines these with a database of peaks, places and water from OpenStreenMap and other sources.  When you point the camera viewfinder at the horizon, labels are placed on peaks, places and water into the landscape around you.

Labels on Peaks


The app is free but additional functionality, including Skyline, can be unlocked by upgrading the app to Premium.  All our map subscriptions include the premium upgrade. 

However, due to the transition to Outdooractive we no longer sell subscriptions. Please use the Outdooractive app and its pro subscription instead.

When you need to step out of Skyline and onto the map screen press the back button at the bottom of the screen.

Using it offline

Skyline requires a map to be installed to work. If a map is installed then it will work offline. Download a free detailed area of Online map, download premium map tiles for the area or install a map package. All the data required to enable Skyline to work offline is included in any new map download. Help with getting maps onto the device are in the related pages below.
If you have existing maps on the device you can refresh the skyline data. This is done from Menu tab (in green bar), Maps,  tap on the name of the map and refresh skyline data.
When you download a map, skyline data for a further 32km (20 miles) beyond the edge of the map, is downloaded, so labels in the distance are shown.
If the Skyline data is not installed, it will attempt to download over a data connection when it starts.

Download Skyline data
If no map is installed and there is no data connection is available, it will not work!

Compass Calibration

The compass is used to align the labels placed peaks, palaces and water. The compass has a tolerance of plus or minus 3 degrees, when calibrated, so a small misalignment, especially for far away labels, is normal. The further a label is away, the more an non calibrated compass will effect the label alignment.
To improve the accuracy of the placement of the labels, calibrate the compass by rolling your device around in figure of eight, or when prompted. You are moving the device through the earths magnetic field, which allows it to calibrate.
Device cases can interfere with the compass. If having problems, try it out of case, even if you think it does not contain metal! Nearby metal objects, such as keys in pocket or parked car, can interfere with compass, so move away and calibrate again!


Passing the device through and away from a local magnetic field, like metal keys in your pocket, will encourage the compass to re-calibrate.

Calibrate compass regularly


When the Apple "rolling ball game" compass calibration screen appears then this means "the device requires movement". This screen is generated by the Apple iOS and not the app.

Line of Sight

We use a landscape model, to determine the surroundings. We use this to work out what labels you should be able to see from your vantage point. The model works at ground level. It is not aware of trees, houses or other structures that sit above the ground. We only show labels on peaks, places and water, that you can actually see from your point of view.  There must be a clear line of sight, as far as the landscape is concerned, from your position to the label.  We add 6 feet to the ground level for eye height!
The label for a mountain peak or hill is placed on the peak. For a place, or a body of water, it is placed into the centre. This may lead to a situation where there is a mountain in front of you but it is not labelled as there is a shoulder of rock obscuring your view of the summit. Likewise, one third of a large lake may be visible to you, from your position, but the rest hidden behind a fold in the landscape. The label is hidden behind the landscape, so the lake is not labelled.
Labels are not shown that are closer than 20 meters or further away than 32 km or 20 miles.
The landscape model data comes from OpenStreetMap and other sources.

Points of Interest

In the ViewRanger app you can create POIs (Points of Interest) on the map. You can tap on a POI on the map screen and navigate to it. These POIs are labelled in Skyline and have a small yellow point. POIs ignore line of sight rules and are always shown.


If your favorite peak, place or water is not labelled then add your own POI (Point of Interest) to the map.

Following a route

A route is a plan of where you are going to travel. You download or create your own route before you go and then follow it when you are at the start point. When you are following a route, blue navigation arrows are placed into the landscape in Skyline. The arrows point you in the direction of the next waypoint, relative to your position. You can tap on some waypoints for extra information. The start and end of the route waypoints are always visible (if not further away than 32 km or 20 miles) but other waypoints are not visible till within 500 meters.

Navigation arrows

When you get a route there is an indication of how suitable the route is for use with Skyline. Routes that are not suitable do not display the blue navigation arrows.
As you approach a route waypoint or a POI (Point of Interest) label it will drop from landscape and into the drawer at the foot of the screen. Tap it for more information.

Taking photos

You can take a photo with the camera button in Skyline. A preview is loaded on screen and it can be shared via social sites. Use the X at the top of the close to close it. Navigation arrows are removed from the photo. EXIF data, such as location, is recorded on the photo file.


You can filter which types of labels are shown; Peaks, Places, Points of Interest or Water. Press the filter button next to the camera button.



  • The devices compass has an accuracy of plus or minus 3 degrees, when calibrated, so a noticeable amount of misalignment on far away labels, is normal.
  • GPS location has an accuracy of 5 to 10 meters which can result in misalignment of labels and navigation arrows.
  • If a route is not plotted accurately then the navigation arrows will not be accurate on screen.
  • An accurately plotted route on a trail marked on a map may not exactly match the trail in the real world.
  • Not all peaks, places and water are registered in the OpenStreetMap node database so some will not be labelled.
  • The name for peaks, places and water comes from the OpenStreetMap node community database so some nodes may be incorrectly labelled.
  • Height data is not available for the whole world so some so will not show labels in some parts of the world.


Skyline uses just about all the sensors on the device at the highest accuracy and power levels. This is a battery hungry operation. We recommend taking a portable power pack to re-charge the device when using Skyline, especially if using it to navigate by!
ViewRanger GPS power sever modes do not work in Skyline as it requires your continuous position.


  • Remember to download a detailed map for offline use before you go or labels will not be shown.
  • Overview maps and regional saved online maps do not contain Skyline data so you must install detailed maps.
  • Move away from metal objects that can interfere with the compass.
  • Calibrate the compass often by moving it in figure of eight.
  • Try the device out of the case, and calibrate compass, if having problems with alignment of labels.
  • Try resetting the Skyline calculations by stepping out of Skyline, with the back button, at the foot of the screen, then start Skyline feature again.
  • Poorly plotted routes will not display the blue navigation arrows.


If you wish to contribute to the OpenStreetMap data here is the Beginners Guide.

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