Quickstart with Cumulus for Android



Cumulus is a well established Open Source flight navigation software focused on (but not limited to) soaring pilots. The primary hardware targets were Sharp's Zaurus devices and later Nokia's Internet tablets. Both are able to run Qt software with relatively little adaptation efforts which made it possible to use large parts of the desktop flight preparation software "KFlog", created for the KDE framework.

The fine Android Lighthouse project succeeded in providing a development kit for porting Qt applications to the Android environment with little or no changes, sneaking in as native libraries controlled by the JNI API (Java Native Interface).

1. What you need as a minimum

You probably have installed the APK package from the Android Market which contains the program and the Qt library files.

You do need this basic file package to get started:

CumulusData.zip (updated package, Fall 2011)

Unpack it to your storage card (the part of your device that you can access from a desktop computer). You must have a directory named "Cumulus" in the top level of this storage afterwards.

The package contains media files, airspace files for Germany and some adjacent countries, an airport database, and terrain data for the original home site (which is set to Berlin); this allows you to play around with the map for a while.
Also included are program translations for German and Italian which will give you a language choice on the "Personal" setup page.

2. Data files for your region

As soon as you enable GPS in the Android menu and get a fix, your map position will jump to your current location. In the majority of cases you will be in blue water because no terrain data for that area is available on the storage card yet.

To get the files for your country or region, go to the main Cumulus homepage which has lots of interesting information.


Look for the "Map Room"; there you will have the possibility to get a tailored package of terrain data according to your lat/lon preferences. The files you unpack from this package go into the Cumulus tree. This is the target folder: /Cumulus/maps/landscape

You are also advised to check for the latest airspace and airport data for your flying area. There are some links provided at "Aeronautical Maps".
See also the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

3. Usage

Since the port and the underlying SDK are still in an early stage, some features of the original program may not work yet.
Integration of Qt is not seamless yet; for instance, dialogs are not managed by a window manager - they work, but may appear in unusual places or stretched to the whole screen.

That said, the program seems to run quite stable and fast on the more recent hardware. Note that you won't have much fun with a screen width below 800 pixels in landscape mode (no upright mode for Cumulus and none planned).

The Android menu provides some shortcuts to the important setup pages of Cumulus, and the GPS switch to control the mode. To show the application menu, touch the "S2f" field at the bottom of the value display area on the left side.

Notable differences in respect to the original Cumulus program are the finger scrolling/flipping in all lists and the dragging feature of the main map (in non-GPS mode).

If you start up the program, it will be in non-GPS mode. You can do setup and flight planning in that mode, most likely by setting of waypoints. This is easily achieved by dragging the map until the X marks the intended spot and then pressing the "Bearing" icon on the left (blue dot with embedded plane).
Later you can combine your own waypoints and all imported ones (mostly airfields) in the task editor ("Preflight Setup" in the main menu).

To get started with navigation, enable the GPS from the main menu.

4. Disclaimer

This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY!
Do not rely on this software program as your primary source of navigation. It is your responsibility to aquire official aeronautical charts and to use adequate methods for safe navigation.
The information presented in this software program may be outdated or incorrect.


Page last revised: 2011-10-05