Rambler Navigation

Rambler 2.0 has just been published on the Play store, and all the manual below is out of date. Please read the brand new Rambler User’s Guide.

Download & installation

From Google Play: free version / pro version. Please (PLEASE) test the free version before buying (or not) the paid one. Before you start using the app, and especially before rating on the Play Store, please read this manual to the very end. In the manual the pro features are marked blue.

Before you start using the pro version, please enter the companion app settings, to enable pro features: launch the Android Wear application on your phone, select the Rambler miniature, and click the gear icon on it. See the “Licensing” section below for more information.

What’s new?

Rambler 1.5.0 version has just been published. Before the manual is updated, please take a look at this post.

Application overview

This watch face is actually a location and magnetic sensor based Android Wear application, that navigates you to predefined points in terrain or along Google Maps based tracks. Use while cycling, sailing, paragliding, trekking, mushrooming, sightseeing – any time you need the information on your current target distance and direction, and your trip/workout stats. Rambler will also come in handy when you track your workouts with some other app, and need navigation info on your watch. Now you can get your most advanced GPS watch, cyclocomputer or a running watch without spending a fortune.

Watch face buttons

Starting from the 1.3 version, Rambler Navigation uses touchable areas on the watch face to simplify users’ interaction:

Active (touchable) areas during navigation

Active (touchable) areas during navigation

The application consists of two watch faces useful in different conditions: the classic one, called just Rambler, and Rambler LV, aimed at better visibility and power saving.

Rambler watch face

This service works in two modes: compass based, and location (movement) based. The compass based mode will show the direction to the target even when you’re not moving, or location data are unavailable. In location based mode all the info you see bases on your movement. You can use this watch face while sightseeing, trekking, etc. Turn on “auto” (pro feature) to switch between modes automatically, according to the current speed. The compass based data are available in the active mode only.

For the compass to work properly, it must be calibrated. Stay away from magnetic fields, and press the navigation button. When the menu appears, the compass sensor is being switched to the highest sampling rate, to ease the calibration. Now you can either hold the watch up in front of you and wave it around in a figure 8 pattern, or rotate it slowly in all three axes. You must find out on your own which of those methods fits better you and your watch. Be patient. 🙂


Calibrate compass now

Rambler LV watch face

The Rambler LV service aims at readability and power saving. It doesn’t use compass, that costs a lot of the battery life. You can see all the info in the ambient mode, and get up to 14 hours of constant navigation (measured on Sony Smartwatch 3). To extend the battery life, turning “Tilt to wake screen” off is recommended in this mode.

When you’re not navigating anywhere, the watch will show the power friendly watch face, with two side widgets (touch to change their content), and the “navigate” button below. Long press the screen to select either digital or analog layout.

If you press the pause button during navigation, the watch will get back to the power friendly watch face, but you’ll see the orange resume button, and values of distance made, and time elapsed.

There are at least two ways to configure active and ambient screen widgets in Rambler LV navigation mode:

  1. Place the most important info on ambient screen, and the least important on active screen widgets. You can see the essential information (e.g. current speed, time elapsed, distance made) all the time, and call the rest by tapping the screen to switch to the active mode. If you configure your widgets like this, you can make use of the “night mode” checkbox (pro feature): when it’s getting dark, the ambient mode screen is no longer visible. Use the night mode to swap ambient and active widgets, and see what’s most important on the highlighted screen. NOTE: turning the night mode on overrides auto-swapping settings (see below).
  2. Use auto-swapping widgets (pro feature). If there’s a value you’d like to see all the time (e.g. current speed), set it on both ambient and active screen in the same place. For the rest define pairs, e.g. DST/ELA, ETE/ETA, ASP/ALT respectively for active/ambient screen display, then touch the right orange button to auto-swap them, according to the rate you set in the companion settings.


The application displays information i widgets, represented by icons in Rambler and abbreviations in Rambler LV watch face. Select widgets content in the companion configuration app.  Side widgets in the power friendly LV watch face used while navigation stopped (battery level, steps counter, sunrise, sunset) you change by touching them. Currently available widgets:

  • Time of sunrise
  • Time of sunset
  • Time left to sunrise
  • Time left to sunset
  • Azimuth
  • Current bearing
  • Current speed (SPD)
  • Average Speed (ASP)
  • Maximum Speed (MSP)
  • Speed Made Good (SMG)
  • Estimated Time Enroute (ETE)
  • Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
  • Distance made (DST)
  • Time elapsed (ELA)
  • Altitude (ALT)
  • Steps counter
  • Watch battery level


From the menu called by the menu button you can start and stop navigation:

  • Select HOME, LOC1 or LOC2 button to start navigating to predefined points.
  • Press the FOLLOW ROUTE button to navigate along the route you created in the companion settings app (pro feature).
  • Press the MOB button to launch the Man Over Board mode: your current location will be saved as the target, and navigation starts. You’ll be navigated back to the place you started from. The button activates when your watch gets the current location data (the screen turns green).
  • Press the SAVE AND STOP button to finish your current trip/workout and save stats (pro feature).
  • Press the CANCEL button to abandon current navigation without saving stats.


Entering settings

To configure the application, define locations, and view statistics you need to enter the on-phone companion settings. In order to do this, launch the Android Wear app, and select Rambler or Rambler LV miniature with the gear icon on it. There are separate (marked blue and green) activities for each of them. To select basic setting for the watch face currently in use, press and hold the screen, an select the gear icon below the miniature.

Targets and routes

Both free and pro app versions allow you to set up three basic locations (HOME, LOC1 and LOC2), and launch quick navigation directly from the watch. To define the points, select a button in the on-phone settings, and set locations in the Google Maps based interface.

You can also define a waypoints based route, and navigate along it (pro feature). The watch face will display direction and distance to the first not yet reached waypoint, and automatically switch to the next one when necessary.

Other settings

In the companion settings you set up the widgets you want to see in active and in ambient modes. Additionally you can select the time display 12/24 hours, and measurement system (metric/imperial/nautical). For Rambler (classic) watch face you can also select the status line content (your location / target location / GPS status), and the content (pro feature) of 4 additional widgets shown if your watch is a square one.

Various and common settings:

True North instead of magnetic (Rambler):

  • adds the magnetic declination to the compass indication, to show you true north direction; on by default;

Auto-pause ETE/ETA:

  • to calculate estimated time enroute, and estimated time of arrival, the Speed Made Good value is being used. It means, that not your current speed over ground is taken in consideration, but your real progress towards the target. Some lately acquired values are being averaged, according to what you set in the “Speed history length” field. To prevent ETA/ETA values from sudden changes on every accidental stop, the calculation may be paused when you’re not in movement.

Auto-pause ELA:

  • if turned off, the time elapsed is the difference between the current time and the time you started navigation (even if the navigation is paused at the moment). Turn on to count ELA as the sum of periods of time between consecutive location updates when you are in movement (on by default).

Target reached threshold:

  • the value in meters specifies how far from the target you want the navigation to be stopped. It’s also used when you select your current location as the target. For the application to start checking if you’ve arrived at your destination you must first move away from it of more than “Target reached threshold” x 2.


The pro version of the app collects your trip/workout statistics. You can check the time, distance and average speed of your last trip, and cumulative data since you pressed the reset button for the last time.

Location refresh rate

In the pro version you can select the interval at which the location data are being refreshed during navigation. When you don’t navigate, the watch automatically switches to the battery friendly mode.

About the steps counter

The steps counter implemented in the LV watch face does not use Google Fit data, but the internal steps sensor. The latter counts steps taken since the last watch reset. In order to count daily steps, the app needs to know the steps number from the last midnight. After the first installation, please wait till midnight before reporting a bug. 🙂


Starting from the 1.3 version, Rambler Navigation Pro uses the License Verification Library, to hinder unauthorized distribution of the application. Of course such the kind of DRM can be easily hacked, but I just couldn’t stand people who buy the app, make a backup, and refund it at the Play store. Furthermore – please keep in mind that hacked apk files found on the pirate sites may work improperly and/or contain dangerous additions.

The app will check the licence right after installation, and later every 7 days. Since the success of the check depends on the Google Play servers, occasionally it may turn out impossible. I do hope it won’t turn out too inconvenient to honest users.

Why buy pro?

If you buy the pro version, you’ll be able to:

  • view the last and cumulative statistics
  • navigate along routes
  • select GPS refresh rate
  • use LV widgets auto-swapping
  • auto-switch compass/location based mode
  • use the LV night mode
  • configure the square screen widgets up to your taste
  • take part in beta test of not yet published versions
  • buy me a beer a cup of coffee to support further app development.

Feedback & bug reports

Thank you in advance for feedback in comments to this post. You can also send them by email: nwg.piotr@gmail.com. Discussion, further development plans and more you’ll find on the nwg testers G+ community.

Final notes

  • The sunrise and sunset widgets base on the SunriseSunsetLib library by Mike Reedell. It may not work properly in all possible locations. If it happens to you, you may always turn them off. You have been warned. 😉
  • The application was developed and tested on Sony Smartwatch 3. Although the most part of settings is available on the phone only, Rambler works well without the phone, using the watch GPS.


VERY SPECIAL THANKS to +Afonso Santos – for countless ideas, beta testing, and great pictures. The application would not be half as useful without his ideas and support.

26 comments to Rambler Navigation

  • Tobias Henry  says:

    Great watch face. I was wondering if you could add Military grid reference system to the face so it could be use for land navigation for soldiers.

  • piotr  says:


    The wish list for further development is quite long, and still growing. Take a look at it, and add your wishes.

    Best regards,

  • Rodrigo  says:

    I have downloaded the free version but can’t find it in android wear app. It’s been a couple of days

    • piotr  says:

      It’s not an app but the watch face service. If you installed it, set it as your watch face. Take a look at this help topic for more info.

  • Crisanto  says:


    Could you include user selectable speed units, like: Knots, Kph, and Mph
    and user selectable distance units, like: Miles, Nautic Miles, and Km

    I would be very useful depending on which activity you are using it for.

    Thanks and best regards.

    • piotr  says:


      For now you can choose from kilometers and miles in the on-phone configuration (“Various settings / Time format and units”). Adding more units is definitely possible, but I would need more testers. Unfortunately I’m receiving hardly any feedback lately, and I’m not familiar enough with miles, knots etc.

      Please visit the nwg testers G+ community to submit features you’d like to see in future versions (“Rambler 1.1 wish list”), and find out what’s cooking right now.

      Best regards,

      • Crisanto  says:

        Thanks for your fast response Piotr.

        Well Knot (kn) is a speed untit which means 1 Nautic Mile per hour, but it is not named NMph (Nautic Miles per hour), it is just named Knot (2 Knots = 2 Nautic Miles per hour). This speed unit is used in air and sea navigation.

        This watch face is a great idea, but in most occasions where I could be really useful, Knots (kn) and Nautic Miles (nm) are more than needed.

        One Nautic Mile corresponds to 1852 meters (1,852 Kilometers)

        One Mile (normal / terrestrial mile, as used in the USA) corresponds to 1609 meters (1,609 Kilometers)

        I promise I will feed you back with all issues, problems or suggestions I find when using it for navigation.

        Best regards.

        • piotr  says:

          OK, knots are queued, but will have to wait several days. I hate getting back to interrupted things, so the Maps API integration must be finished first. Thank you for feedback, I’m waiting for more. 🙂


        • piotr  says:

          If you use the pro version, you can join beta tests here. Amongst numerous changes I added your nautical miles and knots. To join test you must become a member of nwg testers G+ community first. APK I’ve just uploaded should be available soon (v. 1.0.9).
          Adding nautical units made me rewrite large parts of code. I’m 100% I must’ve made some mistakes. Thank you in advance for help at testing.

          Take care,

          • Crisanto  says:

            Just installed new beta with nautical units. I will test it and let you know.

            Thanks for your work. Best regards

          • piotr  says:

            I’ll be really grateful for feedback. I’d like to publish v. 1.1.0 ASAP (holiday!), and I’m working hard on the final releases of both free and pro versions.

  • David Geiersbach  says:

    I’m using a Sony SmartWatch 3 & I got the program with my smartphone, the RAZR M, the program appears on my watch but there is nothing on my smartphone how do I get the companion program and the widgets?

    • piotr  says:

      There’s no launcher icon, since it’s a watch face, not a standalone application. Just launch Android Wear app on your phone, and click the Rambler watch face miniature with the gear icon. You’ll enter settings this way.

  • Alberto  says:

    Navigation doesn’t work, tried to set Home, Loc1, Loc2, but distance is always 5050 km…

    • piotr  says:

      It means you haven’t yet defined Home / Loc1 / Loc2, and latitude/longitude values are all 0. Enter the on-phone watch face settings, click SET HOME (or SET LOC1 / LOC2). Drag the marker to desired point on the map, and press “SAVE THE POINT” on the very bottom. You should see the message “Home saved” (or Loc1 / Loc2 saved). Please read more in the manual above. If you entered the values, and still see “5050 km”, please check if your GPS is on. The application may use either phone or watch GPS, but you must turn location services on.

    • piotr  says:

      One more thing: in case the problem persists, restarting the watch is always a good idea.

  • Alberto  says:

    Thanks for fast reply. I drag the marker but i don’t see the SAVE THE POINT button on the bottom of google maps

    • piotr  says:

      You’re welcome. BTW: the beta 1.1.9 pro version is available on the beta channel. The free branch is almost ready, will be published tonight. Both should be bug-free, but I don’t dare to publish final releases at the moment: leaving for holiday tomorrow. If you’d like to see what the new version looks like, all the info will be available soon on the nwg testers G+ community.

  • Alberto  says:

    Still not working. When i drag the marker and click on it, “Home” appears on the top of the marker but, on the bottom, “Click or drag the marker to Home position” remains.

    • piotr  says:

      Oh, please… Click the “Save the point” button on the very bottom.

  • Alberto  says:

    Hi Piotr, here’s the point! I don’t have any “Save the point” button on the bottom of the screen.

    • piotr  says:

      No idea. Could you send a screenshot? Can not do anything about it at the moment, but will try as soon as I’m back from holiday.

  • Alberto  says:

    Thanks. What the address to send you the screenshot?

  • Takayuki  says:


    I want to buy pro version.
    but I can’t buy pro version.
    I live in japan.

    best regards.

    • piotr  says:


      I regret to say, that, due to your consumer tax, I had to disable all my paid apps in Japan. I’m just a small independent developer, and I no way could I afford for a separate accountant only to gather all the reports required by your tax authorities. If you’d like to join our testers, you could install current development version from apk file, and use a testers’ licence. However, we expect our testers to send us bug reports from time to time. Contact me at nwg.piotr@gmail.com if you’re in.

      Best regards,

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