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Garmin Topo Map Modifications


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Has anyone experience or heard of means to modify Garmin Topo maps in order for example to add some path, names ...

 

I have seen post in the past regarding map creation, quite a lenghty and complicated process but none to just modify existing maps.

 

You basically use the same process that you use to create maps. You find the segment you want to work with, and open it in an editing program. I think Mapcreate is what is typically used. Then when you are finished you export your finished segment through a program such as cGPSmapper. It should produce a custom segment. The custom segment will load into your GPS, but it reads it differently after you have messed with it, so work at your own risk!

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Has anyone experience or heard of means to modify Garmin Topo maps in order for example to add some path, names ...

 

I have seen post in the past regarding map creation, quite a lenghty and complicated process but none to just modify existing maps.

 

Personally I would leave the Garmin maps alone...I make topo overlays for my favorite areas using GPS mapper..It is involved the first few times you do it with a steep learning curve. Nothing hard about it, just a lot of little steps where a simple error in a path statement causes the map to not load. I can put 6 7.5 quads together , with contours, rivers streams and lakes, in about an hour. The "overlay is transparent and you can have it and city select showing at the same time. You could do the same having one "overlay" that has your trails on it. Done properly, it is selectable in "Mapsource" as a standard map and when in the unit can be toggled on and off. To be able to do trails you need to convert the Garmin file to a shapefile and then import into GPSmapper. Can't remember which freeware program did the conversion. Contour height levels are not shown becasue of zoom level but they are there. This is a small pond in the Adirondack Mountains.

 

snap1.jpg

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OK, I just managed to play with mapdekode and GPS trackmaker. It does the job althoug mapdekode is a bit cumbersome to use (just to open a file, no way to do a search, you have to key in the whole file path ).

 

Too bad trackmaker does not include the possibility to work directly with Garmin img file.

Is there an integrated tool to carry on the mods ?

 

If I was a bit younger I may have started to write program to do this ! :laughing:

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Here's the page on how to create your own maps:

http://home.cinci.rr.com/creek/garmin.htm

 

Some of the tools there (all of them are free) might be helpful. Mapedit can open and edit Garmin's .img files, but you might have to save the changed map as .mp and then recompile it to .img with cgpsmapper after you make your changes. I've never tried modifying a Garmin map.

 

Probably the easiest way to add trails would be to make them a seperate, transparent map that can overlay whatever is already on the GPS without having to try to modify any of Garmin's maps.

Edited by ejnewman
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I am currently using GPS Trackmaker in conjucton with Mapdekode. It is OK except I wish to avoid the mapdekode step.

On the other hand, the Mapdekode file format is plain ASCII you can edit with wordpad. Easy if you want to make bulk replacement of descriptions. For example I am translating dutch to english. Not easy as my dutch is rather rusty and dictionaries or Babel fish gives very strange translation of the typical word used in topo maps ! :laughing:

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Polish (.mp) map files are ascii too, Garmin's .img files are the only things that aren't. :laughing:

 

It looks like mapdekode does the same thing as mapedit, but mapedit does it graphically while mapdekode just shuffles around the numbers in the map file. Either way, you still need to compile the result into an .img file using cgpsmapper or something similiar. That step is required no matter what method you use to edit the map itself.

Edited by ejnewman
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I've modified a 24K topo map. I deleted non-existant trails, added trails not shown, added new jeep roads, added wildlife management area boundaries, corrected stream names, deleted non-existing features, added new features. In short, I've completely revised one 24K map to accurately reflect everything that is there.

The map sellers (including Garmin, Magellan, DeLorne, Nat. Geog.) rely on current USGS information which is completly out of date. I added it as a custom map to my unit, but loaded the surrounding 24K Garmin maps. For the map sellers, providers, it's easier to sell then to make over new maps.

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I've modified a 24K topo map. I deleted non-existant trails, added trails not shown, added new jeep roads, added wildlife management area boundaries, corrected stream names, deleted non-existing features, added new features. In short, I've completely revised one 24K map to accurately reflect everything that is there.

The map sellers (including Garmin, Magellan, DeLorne, Nat. Geog.) rely on current USGS information which is completly out of date. I added it as a custom map to my unit, but loaded the surrounding 24K Garmin maps. For the map sellers, providers, it's easier to sell then to make over new maps.

 

Currently doing something similar but for french and belgian topo maps. I just began 4 days ago learning/playing with various tools but can see they did a sloppy job as they did not care to name lot of places, items, streams etc..., just put generic names like "stream" "buildings" !

Formating, colors, zoom level are sloppy too.

I guess the market is not very big in Europe for these because definitely the GPS can do better when I see all the possibilities available.

 

What tools do you use ?

 

Do you have by any chance a table showing the coding of the formating data included with an item name ?

 

Eg with Mapdekode and Trackmaker: Hardwood<S=&H1F><Z=1>

 

S seems for the string format color and appearance and the Z for the zone/zoom level which are obviousely translated from the Garmin img binary format.

Edited by Suscrofa
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Here's the page on how to create your own maps:

http://home.cinci.rr.com/creek/garmin.htm

 

Some of the tools there (all of them are free) might be helpful. Mapedit can open and edit Garmin's .img files, but you might have to save the changed map as .mp and then recompile it to .img with cgpsmapper after you make your changes. I've never tried modifying a Garmin map.

 

Probably the easiest way to add trails would be to make them a seperate, transparent map that can overlay whatever is already on the GPS without having to try to modify any of Garmin's maps.

 

I wanted to thank you for posting the link, It REALLY help me out. before All I ever did was edit the garmin topo maps with mapedit. I had no idea where/how to roll my own maps. Now I have my own custom topo with awesome detail, I set it as transparent so I can still see and use my autorouting too. this just made my 60cx that much better, thanks again!

Edited by hogrod
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I've modified a 24K topo map. I deleted non-existant trails, added trails not shown, added new jeep roads, added wildlife management area boundaries, corrected stream names, deleted non-existing features, added new features. In short, I've completely revised one 24K map to accurately reflect everything that is there.

The map sellers (including Garmin, Magellan, DeLorne, Nat. Geog.) rely on current USGS information which is completly out of date. I added it as a custom map to my unit, but loaded the surrounding 24K Garmin maps. For the map sellers, providers, it's easier to sell then to make over new maps.

 

Currently doing something similar but for french and belgian topo maps. I just began 4 days ago learning/playing with various tools but can see they did a sloppy job as they did not care to name lot of places, items, streams etc..., just put generic names like "stream" "buildings" !

Formating, colors, zoom level are sloppy too.

I guess the market is not very big in Europe for these because definitely the GPS can do better when I see all the possibilities available.

 

What tools do you use ?

 

Do you have by any chance a table showing the coding of the formating data included with an item name ?

 

Eg with Mapdekode and Trackmaker: Hardwood<S=&H1F><Z=1>

 

S seems for the string format color and appearance and the Z for the zone/zoom level which are obviousely translated from the Garmin img binary format.

As a National Map Corps Volunteer in the USA, I have been extensively hiking all of the trails and exploring the areas in this 24K Garmin map which is the same as the US Geological Survey 1:24K maps which is the maps that all of these USA map makers use.

 

I opened the original Garmin 24K map with GPSmapedit, and used this program to edit the map.

 

Hikes and some off road trails were saved as tracks and other features were obtained as waypoints (if they were different then the Garmin map information) and stored and compiled in a Mapsource gdb file. Then added the Mapsource gdb file and added the tracks and waypoints.

 

Garmin uses 3 map levels, so I paid carefull attention in assigning lesser features to the lower level(s).

I obtained a shape file from a state GNIS department which showed the boundaries of wildlife management areas, and added the boundaries as polylines.

Of course, to make the map back into a Garmin Mapsource file, I used GPSmapper.

To see the coding of the maps, instead of opening the mp file with GPSmapedit, use notepad to see the coding and also allows editing.

 

GPSmapedit has default values (colors, line styles, etc.) for various features (points, polylines, polygons), but I'm not familiar with changing these values, but are the same as the Garmin 24K topo.

Edited by GeoidPS
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I've modified a 24K topo map. I deleted non-existant trails, added trails not shown, added new jeep roads, added wildlife management area boundaries, corrected stream names, deleted non-existing features, added new features. In short, I've completely revised one 24K map to accurately reflect everything that is there.

The map sellers (including Garmin, Magellan, DeLorne, Nat. Geog.) rely on current USGS information which is completly out of date. I added it as a custom map to my unit, but loaded the surrounding 24K Garmin maps. For the map sellers, providers, it's easier to sell then to make over new maps.

 

Currently doing something similar but for french and belgian topo maps. I just began 4 days ago learning/playing with various tools but can see they did a sloppy job as they did not care to name lot of places, items, streams etc..., just put generic names like "stream" "buildings" !

Formating, colors, zoom level are sloppy too.

I guess the market is not very big in Europe for these because definitely the GPS can do better when I see all the possibilities available.

 

What tools do you use ?

 

Do you have by any chance a table showing the coding of the formating data included with an item name ?

 

Eg with Mapdekode and Trackmaker: Hardwood<S=&H1F><Z=1>

 

S seems for the string format color and appearance and the Z for the zone/zoom level which are obviousely translated from the Garmin img binary format.

As a National Map Corps Volunteer in the USA, I have been extensively hiking all of the trails and exploring the areas in this 24K Garmin map which is the same as the US Geological Survey 1:24K maps which is the maps that all of these USA map makers use.

 

I opened the original Garmin 24K map with GPSmapedit, and used this program to edit the map.

 

Hikes and some off road trails were saved as tracks and other features were obtained as waypoints (if they were different then the Garmin map information) and stored and compiled in a Mapsource gdb file. Then added the Mapsource gdb file and added the tracks and waypoints.

 

Garmin uses 3 map levels, so I paid carefull attention in assigning lesser features to the lower level(s).

I obtained a shape file from a state GNIS department which showed the boundaries of wildlife management areas, and added the boundaries as polylines.

Of course, to make the map back into a Garmin Mapsource file, I used GPSmapper.

To see the coding of the maps, instead of opening the mp file with GPSmapedit, use notepad to see the coding and also allows editing.

 

GPSmapedit has default values (colors, line styles, etc.) for various features (points, polylines, polygons), but I'm not familiar with changing these values, but are the same as the Garmin 24K topo.

 

Just curious...with the original version of of map edit, I was able to open Garmin image files, I'm now using ver 0085 and map edit will not allow me to open the file....maybe this option was allowed in "early" versions and discontinued later on...any idea of how to once again access the Garmin files.

Link to comment

I've modified a 24K topo map. I deleted non-existant trails, added trails not shown, added new jeep roads, added wildlife management area boundaries, corrected stream names, deleted non-existing features, added new features. In short, I've completely revised one 24K map to accurately reflect everything that is there.

The map sellers (including Garmin, Magellan, DeLorne, Nat. Geog.) rely on current USGS information which is completly out of date. I added it as a custom map to my unit, but loaded the surrounding 24K Garmin maps. For the map sellers, providers, it's easier to sell then to make over new maps.

 

Currently doing something similar but for french and belgian topo maps. I just began 4 days ago learning/playing with various tools but can see they did a sloppy job as they did not care to name lot of places, items, streams etc..., just put generic names like "stream" "buildings" !

Formating, colors, zoom level are sloppy too.

I guess the market is not very big in Europe for these because definitely the GPS can do better when I see all the possibilities available.

 

What tools do you use ?

 

Do you have by any chance a table showing the coding of the formating data included with an item name ?

 

Eg with Mapdekode and Trackmaker: Hardwood<S=&H1F><Z=1>

 

S seems for the string format color and appearance and the Z for the zone/zoom level which are obviousely translated from the Garmin img binary format.

As a National Map Corps Volunteer in the USA, I have been extensively hiking all of the trails and exploring the areas in this 24K Garmin map which is the same as the US Geological Survey 1:24K maps which is the maps that all of these USA map makers use.

 

I opened the original Garmin 24K map with GPSmapedit, and used this program to edit the map.

 

Hikes and some off road trails were saved as tracks and other features were obtained as waypoints (if they were different then the Garmin map information) and stored and compiled in a Mapsource gdb file. Then added the Mapsource gdb file and added the tracks and waypoints.

 

Garmin uses 3 map levels, so I paid carefull attention in assigning lesser features to the lower level(s).

I obtained a shape file from a state GNIS department which showed the boundaries of wildlife management areas, and added the boundaries as polylines.

Of course, to make the map back into a Garmin Mapsource file, I used GPSmapper.

To see the coding of the maps, instead of opening the mp file with GPSmapedit, use notepad to see the coding and also allows editing.

 

GPSmapedit has default values (colors, line styles, etc.) for various features (points, polylines, polygons), but I'm not familiar with changing these values, but are the same as the Garmin 24K topo.

 

I've followed similar methods, but when loading the map into Mapsource, the autorouting that works so beautifully with the 24k maps doesn't work anymore. It seems to be cGPSMapper that is causing the problem. Does autorouting work with the maps you altered?

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...

Probably the easiest way to add trails would be to make them a seperate, transparent map that can overlay whatever is already on the GPS without having to try to modify any of Garmin's maps.

 

please forgive my density, but is there a tutorial on the best way to do this?

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