India Navi

old school new tech outdoor navigation system

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Imagine being outdoors in the middle of nowhere and want check your route. If your phone has reception you might be able to get a map on. But what if you had a map that already shows where you are and nothing else? Nothing distracting you from nature and you still got an accurate GPS position. The India Navi can do exactly that. Using an 7-color ePaper Display combined with OpenStreetMap Data that is specifically rendered to look good on the ePaper. No notifications, no calls no texts. Just a map with our position on it.

This device combines a 7-color e-paper display with an ESP32 microcontroller and GPS Receiver to display a map of the current location. The e-paper display is very well readable in bright sunlight and therefore ideal for outside use during the day. The energy efficiency of e-paper displays cause this device to last for several days on just one battery charge.


A ruggedized version of the case. This might be waterproof as well.

stp - 7.87 MB - 11/06/2021 at 11:23



A small and simple case to protect the electronics. Used in the leather version.

x-zip-compressed - 1.42 MB - 11/06/2021 at 11:20



Hi there. New schematic is now on github

Adobe Portable Document Format - 227.02 kB - 10/29/2021 at 12:10


  • Alternative Use Cases

    Platinenmacher11/06/2021 at 11:11 0 comments

    While beeing outside and having a map with the current area right at your hands is great, most of the time we aren't outisde looking for the right track. So that is why we explored alternative uses for the IndiaNavi Device.

    One quite obvious usecase is enabling Wifi during Charging. Connected to the internet the ESP32 on the Board is able to get information about pretty much anything. First usecase:

    Take the last known GPS Coordinate and get weather data

    A great place to get informatio about weather on any place on eath is You can get a free API Key that allows you to update your IndiaNavi 1,000,000 times a month!

    IndiaNavi displays current temperature
    The display shows a temperature of 5.6°C

    Show this weeks calendar from Google Calendar

    Google Calendar allows you to export your calendar for public access. This URL contains a secret key that allows access. For a similar project you can have a look here

    Display the train arrival table from your local Bahnhof

    Deutsch Bahn makes their arrivals table for every trainstation available for free. You can get the arrivals for your area from a URL like this: You can query the API 10 times per minute if you need to.

    Have an inspirational Track in your area displayed

    I the future we can provide a splash screen image for every track converted on our server. This screen will show information like the Name of the track, the area and a picture of the whole course.
    The button can then be used to download the track to the device. But to come to this we still have a lot to do and much more devices to build. If you are interested in the technology or want to talk a bout future plans: Drop us a line

  • Mobile App for generating map files

    Platinenmacher10/27/2021 at 14:36 0 comments

    I was busy creating a mobile App for interfacing with our map generation server. Map tiles are prerendered on a webserver. Base for the tiles is open street map. The map data is colored in a specific way that makes use of the colors available in the dispaly.

    To get a map exerpt that contains the area you want to hike in, is quite easy. You plan a route of your hike with an app like Komoot or on After that you can upload the gpx trail to the map rendering server. Or you can use the app to do the uploading for you. It also tracks the progress of the data generation.

    After the data generation is finished the app will let you download a zip file with all the files needed on the SD card. The link to the zip file can also be shared to your pc to download it. The next big change will be to have the IndiaNavi to download the map files directly. For this reason we have that huge ID tag. It coresponds to the ID the device gives Itself based on the ESP32 Chip MAC and a Device Name that is customizable.

    You can chack out the app in the Play Store:

  • Versions overview

    theBrutzler09/15/2021 at 09:41 1 comment

    Here you see an overview of our prototypes

    Going from left to right we have the first Prototype with STM32 Microcontroller. Moving on to a solution without the STM32 and only the ESP32. Prototype 2 does have a battery and works. GPS reception was not the best so we fixed the antenna position in Prototype 3. This prototype is also wraped with a leather cover to make it more "adventurous"

  • First Hardware Version 3 is built

    Platinenmacher07/11/2021 at 16:07 0 comments

    Hardware Version 3 is done and it looks gorgeous. Next step is a nice, narrow case that protects the screen before we can remove the protective film and get a "real" view of the screen.

    If you are interested in getting one get in touch with us. You can find us here:
    IndiaNavi Forum

  • 3D Printed Case and PCB

    theBrutzler06/24/2021 at 09:48 0 comments

    The PCB version3 arrived today. I will assamble it this evening. I hope all will work fine.

    We will also see how the PCB will fit the case we designed.

    In our last stream we tried to laser edge the logo.

  • 3D Model 4 NaviCover

    theBrutzler06/14/2021 at 08:32 0 comments
  • We are building a prototype run

    Platinenmacher06/10/2021 at 08:57 0 comments

    Ok, we are finaly done with the hardware design and it looks gorgeous! The design was done by The Brutzler.

    With this hardware we are going to build a small prototype run. If you want to be involved wih the project, you can donate to either my or The Brutzlers paypal moneypool:

    The Brutzler:

    Building the prototype can be watched on twitch. So if you are interested in getting one for yourself:

    Follow Platinenmacher and thebrutzler.

  • OTA Download

    Platinenmacher06/04/2021 at 16:38 0 comments

    Today i implemented OTA firmware download. It takes around 10 seconds to download a new application. So updating the Screen does not really make sense since this takes around 12 Seconds

    I also improved the GUI by showing WiFi connection state

  • More patterns for the different colors

    Platinenmacher06/03/2021 at 16:50 0 comments

    I improved the converter a little bit more so it matches more coluors. For that I built a script that generates a picture to review the patterns on screen before generating new map tiles with it.

    The long strip is dynamically generated based on the colours in the palette. Using these mixed colours on the screen gives more available colours to chose from.

    looking at the colour orange gives a strange effect. This needs to be investigated further

  • Hardware issues are getting sorted out. New converter code.

    Platinenmacher05/30/2021 at 14:47 0 comments

    We found that the issue with the strange colours is probably because of a broken connection inside the flat flex cable of the screen. I did fold the display quit a lot during initial bring-up. So we will continue with a new Display and try not to move it around so much.

    Chris, my partner in crime, is going over the hardware issues we found during bring-up. You can check out his progress on the GitHub for the PCB. Now with all the functions running I can concentrate on bringing a more advanced Firmware to the device.

    First step will be to enable OTA Firmware download to the ESP32 and hopefully get it to flash without removing the SD-Card. This is currently necessary since the card detect messes with the strapping during POR boot. Causing the Downloader to go into UART Mode, but not UART Download mode.

    On the Server side of the project I improved the Converter a bit. Now the Converter can run a function to map a colour at a specific position. This will enable us to use patterns of colours for mapping more than 7 colours to the screen. The last version just looked at the closest colour and used this to replace the original in the PNG.

    Original Image from MapNik showing a piece of the Rhine river
    Original Image from MapNik
    Same image but the river is black because it is closer to black than blue
    River colour got mapped to black because it is closer to black than blue
    New function mapps blue and black in a dotted grid
    New function maps blue and black in a dotted grid

    How the new style looks on the screen and what else we can improve is going to be in the next log.

View all 11 project logs

  • 1
    Get PCB, Display and Battery

    There are two ways to get the PCB. Prepopulated or plain PCB.

    Talk to me to get a PCB with most of the components. You can order the parts for yourself or get a populated board if I have some spare.

    Or you can go to and download the latest gerber files to order your own PCB or even PCBA.

    The display can be bought at WaveShare:

    A Battery can be found at several supplier. Choose your trusted and get a LiPo with charging protection and max. 70x100 mm size

  • 2
    Assemble PCB, apply display and solder battery

    If you got your PCB manufactured you have to solder all the components to the board. If you got something prepopulated, then you just add what is missing.

    Glue the display to the PCB front with doublesided tape. Apply the take to the display, put the connector cable through the PCB and push it into the connector. After the display is connected fold it over and glue it to the PCB. Solder the battery wires to the PCB and use an USB-cable to charge the battery.

  • 3
    Get SD card files

    Check the repo here if your area is available for download. If not, leave an issue and I will see if I can add the region. This part is under heavy construction.

View all 5 instructions

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lisa wrote 10/17/2022 at 09:06 point

This device appears to be aimed at hiking and biking navigation due to it's presumably low power, However I haven't seen anywhere that it includes a compass sensor. This is almost essential as GPS alone at low speed or stopped will not always show the direction you are facing. This can be frustrating when choosing between footpaths in a forest, with no visible indicators.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ivan M wrote 09/11/2022 at 21:39 point

1) Do I understand correctly that if I use a different type of displays (Greyscale), then I will need to convert the map to display colors?
2) Have you thought about implementing a plugin for Qgis - this will allow you to convert any maps?

  Are you sure? yes | no

even wrote 11/08/2021 at 18:17 point

Currently live on twitch #firmwaredevelopment

  Are you sure? yes | no

ToXIc wrote 07/12/2021 at 20:10 point

This is great work.

Do you plan to add GPX route support?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 09/06/2021 at 16:52 point

yes and it is added in the current version of the firmware

  Are you sure? yes | no

peterquinn wrote 07/06/2021 at 21:05 point

I should mention. This is a great idea and well executed.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 07/11/2021 at 07:40 point

Thank you ❤️

  Are you sure? yes | no

peterquinn wrote 07/06/2021 at 21:04 point

Have you thought about putting a solar panel on the back to charge it? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 07/11/2021 at 07:41 point

No, but it would be a great idea

  Are you sure? yes | no

rpmchugh wrote 05/26/2021 at 22:34 point

The UV issue on some displays can be solved easily with a UV film for the display.  Likely not a bad idea anyways.  I like it though.  On the pink display part - I have no doubt this group will have that sorted out quickly.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/29/2021 at 16:49 point

good idea I will have to watch for a future revision

  Are you sure? yes | no

Frank van der Hulst wrote 05/26/2021 at 18:44 point

What displays are you using? Some e-Paper displays are UV sensitive and not suitable for use in direct sunlight. Look for DES displays that are UV safe at

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/29/2021 at 16:48 point

the display did not receive to much sunlight. I think it is a broken wire on the flat flex connector. I folded the display a couple of times and sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Giovanni wrote 05/26/2021 at 17:33 point

Awesome. You might want to check out and

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/29/2021 at 16:55 point

thank you for the links. Very interesting projects

  Are you sure? yes | no

Kyle wrote 05/26/2021 at 16:16 point

Great work! I've been dreaming of doing something similar. There's of course a million features to add that would slowly morph the project into a monster but one thing I dreamed of is a hardware button that prints the current magnetic bearing on the top right corner. The idea would be to wake up the mcu, read the compass, sleep for 5s, then erase the number and go back to sleep.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/29/2021 at 16:46 point

nice Idea we will have a look into that feature. Would be a nice addition to the map.

  Are you sure? yes | no

dearuserhron wrote 05/20/2021 at 20:34 point

Very interesting. I have used to download PNG from openstreetmap and then print it on A3 paper before traveling. And, you know what, I used GIMP to increase image contrast to make printable results look better.

OSM renderer is a very needed thing. I wish I can customize street names font size and disable smoothing, to make it more readable.

Idea for hackaday prize - rethink openstreetmap renderer.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/21/2021 at 18:44 point

Yeah we did setup a OSM tile renderer instance to generate PNGs that are then modified for the display. I hope we will have the display up and running soon. The current hardware has an issue with the screen and we do not know what the issue is.

  Are you sure? yes | no

dearuserhron wrote 05/21/2021 at 19:36 point

> we do not know what the issue is

Symptoms? No display reaction at all? Black lines appearing? Maybe power?

Gray-scale e-paper will show more accurate picture, I think. And it is easier to obtain and get it work.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Platinenmacher wrote 05/22/2021 at 10:04 point

We hve two displays and one does not show all the colors and the other also does not show all the colors but also has a red tint to all its area. It might be a damage that was caused by voltage spikes on the supply line. I am currently in the progress of putting up documentation while a buddy of mine is doing the hardware diagnostics.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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