ATAK for Hikers + Signed Meshtastic Plugin

Hey everyone, I recently wrote up a walk-through for setting up ATAK, a free and open source mapping software publicly released last year by the U.S. government.

I also wrote a plugin for ATAK that uses Meshtastic to provide off-grid communication in ATAK – e.g. position of others on the map, transmission of markers and routes, chat messages. It was recently signed by the TAK Product Center for use with the Play Store version of ATAK. I’m distributing it via a Drive link for now with the goal being to publish it to the Play Store once it’s more polished.

If anyone is interested please check it out, I’m trying to get bug reports and feature requests in for the next release. The plugin source is here along with instructions for setting it up:

Edit: Users on the ATAK Discord have reported this works with the latest firmware + Meshtastic-Android. When testing I did run into a situation where it kept crashing, if that happens to you I’m sorry :confused: it will be fixed in the next release. I have a build with the fix for that issue so if you’re not opposed to installing a debug build of ATAK check out the dev-builds directory, you’ll need to install both ATAK and the plugin from the directory since ATAK checks that any plugins it loads are signed with the same key as ATAK itself.

Thank you!


The problem with “ATAK” is the data collection issue “ATAK” collects more data than Facebook itself :laughing:
Let’s not talk about the permissions it asks to function.
However, implementing meshtastic with “ATAK” is in my opinion a very good idea.
The maps look very detailed and very suitable for use with meshtastic.


Can you substantiate this claim?

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While ATAK is cool, have you considered writing a plugin for osmand.

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I’d like to hear more about that as well. Also, there is the option to run your own server using FreeTAK

I take back what I said about ATAK data collection
(I apologize for causing some confusion).
I have some technical details but better not to make public things that can confuse people.
If you do not use ATAK servers, the application does not collect data.
Use ATAK without being so afraid.

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Thanks for the clarification, @TitanTronics !

@geeksville I couldn’t find a way to set the hopLimit on a DataPacket, will that field be exposed in the future?

ooh - that would be easy to add - I didn’t expose it in the android api because I forgot ;-). Can you file a bug on meshtastic-android?

okay will do! thank you!

edit: hopLimit is not exposed in DataPacket · Issue #235 · meshtastic/Meshtastic-Android · GitHub

hi paul, i‘was read only now your post here. i‘love it … you cant belive how mutch … many thanks for your work and this time what you was spend …

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Oh, i’was install, it‘s show me it is incompatible … it requires TAK v4.2.0.CIV - my installed version is v4.2.1.10 with plugin API 4.2.1.CIV

Same here

A possible solution Binary APK releases · Issue #32 · paulmandal/atak-forwarder · GitHub

Nice! Atak 4.2.0 debug with Atak forwarder 0.9.4 debug from ATAK and Forwarder Plugin Builds - Google Drive Working with Meshtastic app 1.2.7 and firmware 1.2.10. I had to uninstall Atak 4.2.1, sideliad 4.2.0 debug, delete the secure database, create a new one, and because the 0.9.1 forwarder apk was cached, I had to re-sync the repo with autosync feature. Looks good!

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Latest version of atak keeps denying even the debug download. Says it requires version 4.2.1 but I’m running version 4.3.0. Any help?

The builds on the Drive link are dev builds that aren’t signed (or versioned) for the Play Store version of ATAK yet, you’ll need to install the dev build of ATAK from the Drive link to use them.


A new build has been posted on the Drive link for anyone who is interested in testing it


Really digging the plug-in and trying to figure out how to get it running correctly. I’m a Windows 95-era power user that’s fallen WAY behind.

I’ve been able to get it running on two Android devices and working in a living room test environment so far.

My question is about a series of error messages I am getting.

5 errors in a row, check range/signal, etc…

With the LoRa’s only feet apart, what can I check to limit these errors? What causes them?

Is the same channel/region configured in the plugin in both devices? Check in Settings → Tool Preferences → ATAK Forwarder and use Share QR / Scan QR to share the channel between the devices.

If you’ve already done that, I’ve occasionally run into a situation where every response comes back as an error, usually right from the start of usage. I just reset the Meshtastic devices and that seems to sort it out, if that doesn’t work try rebooting the phones, too.

If you’re Android-inclined the plugin outputs a bunch of debugging logs that you can view with Android Studio or adb logcat


I did a lot of playing around today.
After 30 minutes of struggle got it working.

The nMe of channel has to be same in both.
Then it 2as a smooth ride.
I has lora ttgo v board without gps.

Works fine now for me.

Tomorrow outdoor tests.

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