Sign in to follow this  
Followers 25
rwsmith123

How to load all the US Topo maps to your Garmin GPS

108 posts in this topic

As most people know all Garmin GPSr units have a segment limit (ie. the number of map segments that can be loaded to the GPS). For example the 60CSx has a limit of 2025. The US Topo maps have a total of 6639 segments so all the maps can't be loaded to the GPSr even if you have enough memory to hold them all. Tools already exist that someone could use to combine map segments into larger ones to get around this limitation, however doing this manually would be extremely tedious. I've written a tool (CombineMaps) which automates the process. Using the configuration and files supplied with my tool you can combine the 6639 segments into 370 segments (each segment is approx 100 miles by 100 miles). The segments are up to 7.8 Meg in size with the median size being 3.18 Meg.

Here is a screenshot of the combined US Topo maps:

USTopo.jpg

 

Even if you don't want to load all the US Topo maps to your GPSr, having larger segments has other advantages. It takes MapSource a lot less time to build the mapset, building the mapset for the new combined US Topo maps only took 16 minutes, doing that for all of the original maps would take many hours. The combined maps for a given area will take up less memory than with the smaller map segments since there is some overhead involved with each segment. And you can even make changes to the features in the combined maps.

 

You can download the instructions from here.

 

The program can also be used with the new US Topo 2008 maps. If someone wants to donate a legal copy of US Topo 2008, then I'll generate the files needed to use with the tool.

 

Rich

http://rwsmaps.griffel.se

Edited by rwsmith123
0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :o

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :o

 

i just find it humorous that an average joe guy can do this meanwhile their software experts cant think of stuff like this.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :o

I don't blame you.

 

Nice app.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :o

 

i just find it humorous that an average joe guy can do this meanwhile their software experts cant think of stuff like this.

 

It's not that they can't think of it, it's a matter of having to support GPSr's with limited memory. Someone with an eTrex Legend with 8 Meg of memory doesn't want maps with large segments. One big complaint when City Navigator North America v7 came out was that the map segments were too large.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :o

 

i just find it humorous that an average joe guy can do this meanwhile their software experts cant think of stuff like this.

 

It's not that they can't think of it, it's a matter of having to support GPSr's with limited memory. Someone with an eTrex Legend with 8 Meg of memory doesn't want maps with large segments. One big complaint when City Navigator North America v7 came out was that the map segments were too large.

 

why not just have a conversion tool (like the one you have) so it would make it an official option?

0

Share this post


Link to post

I'll chip in $10 toward a copy of the 2008 version for rwsmith123 if anybody else is interested. Surely we can find seven more people!

0

Share this post


Link to post

I'm pretty sure I've got an un-opened copy of Topo '08 lying around here somewhere. Let me look and I'll get back to you as soon as I lay my hands on it! :laughing:

0

Share this post


Link to post

Very cool project. The segment limitation is as silly as the 10,000 track point limitation, especially for the "x" version Garmin products.

 

It doesn't seem very likely that all of Topo 2008 will fit in 2GB though. How much "compression" do you see? Here are the numbers I get when selecting map segments in Topo 2008: Continental US = 3.129 GB, Alaska = 847.3 MB, Hawaii = 4.58 MB.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Very cool project. The segment limitation is as silly as the 10,000 track point limitation, especially for the "x" version Garmin products.

 

It doesn't seem very likely that all of Topo 2008 will fit in 2GB though. How much "compression" do you see? Here are the numbers I get when selecting map segments in Topo 2008: Continental US = 3.129 GB, Alaska = 847.3 MB, Hawaii = 4.58 MB.

 

The DEM data (the data which is needed for map shading in MapSource) will be stripped out during the process of combining the segments. You can have both the original Topo 2008 and the new version with larger segments and no DEM data on the PC to use with MapSource. You would choose the original with the nice shading in MapSource to plan trips, etc. You would use the one with larger segments and no DEM data on the GPSr which won't show shading anyway. Without the DEM data you would be able to fit all of Topo 2008 on a 2GB card.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :laughing:

 

HEY!!!!!! Kansas City is a great town.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I didn't realize (or believe) Garmin MapSource actually sent DEM data to the GPSr! I knew it displayed elevation at the cursor position, but I never use that for anything so I never really gave it any thought. Not being familiar with the *.img file structure, the first thing that came to mind was that they would interpolate a point between the contour intervals. Wasting space for full DEM data seems sort of dumb or at the very least something that should be optional.

 

Now that I've read just a little about the *.img files & map creation process, I see there sure is a need for better tools to best make use of all this map data. It's too bad Garmin doesn't provide these options. Is cgsMapper optimized yet because the amount of processing time these things take seems absurd. I write software for embedded systems (DSPs), not PCs, so maybe I just have a different perspective or am simply underestimating the work involved.

 

PS. Does the elimination of the DEM data at the GPSr speed the screen draw time at all?

Edited by B R H
0

Share this post


Link to post

Very cool project. The segment limitation is as silly as the 10,000 track point limitation, especially for the "x" version Garmin products.

 

It doesn't seem very likely that all of Topo 2008 will fit in 2GB though. How much "compression" do you see? Here are the numbers I get when selecting map segments in Topo 2008: Continental US = 3.129 GB, Alaska = 847.3 MB, Hawaii = 4.58 MB.

 

The DEM data (the data which is needed for map shading in MapSource) will be stripped out during the process of combining the segments. You can have both the original Topo 2008 and the new version with larger segments and no DEM data on the PC to use with MapSource. You would choose the original with the nice shading in MapSource to plan trips, etc. You would use the one with larger segments and no DEM data on the GPSr which won't show shading anyway. Without the DEM data you would be able to fit all of Topo 2008 on a 2GB card.

 

Just to clarify, the DEM data is used by the GPS. If you were to pan to a point on the map that is not on a contour line, the elevation of that spot will show, or if you create a waypoint on that spot, that waypoint will have an elevation taken from the DEM data. How useful that information is to you, you will have to answer.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I thought waypoints use the current GPS elevation? Are you talking about setting a waypoint (via the GPSr) somewhere other than your current position? If so, I didn't even realize that was possible!

 

I don't find DEM data on the GPSr itself useful at all - essentially zero value to me & I suspect many others unless there is just something really cool to do with it that I've never thought of.

 

PS. I actually just created a waypoint on the GPSr somewhere other than my current location & it does not include any elevation data on the Vista HCx at least. Now that I think about it, this could be a useful feature for many reasons though... maybe even more useful than having all the US in my GPSr.

Edited by B R H
0

Share this post


Link to post

I didn't say the DEM data wasn't used on the GPSr, just that the GPSr doesn't use it to shade the maps. The other use of DEM data on the GPSr is vertical profile of routes, but the DEM data takes a lot of space making the maps a lot larger so if you don't care about the few features you'll lose then you'll be able to load a lot more maps.

 

As for the question about cgpsmapper being optimized or not, I don't know. I am familiar with the .img format and know that it takes a lot more processing to encode the .img format than to decode it (just as it takes a lot more time to compress files into an archive than to uncompress them).

0

Share this post


Link to post

Is the DEM data saved in a grid format, essentially one independent "layer" in the Garmin IMG file or does each zoom "layer" have it's own DEM data?

 

Also, where can I find good documentation on the IMG file structure? I've browsed a document on SourceForge named imgformat-1.0.pdf, but it makes no mention of DEM or elevation data & seems rather incomplete.

Edited by B R H
0

Share this post


Link to post

Is the DEM data saved in a grid format, essentially one independent "layer" in the Garmin IMG file or does each zoom "layer" have it's own DEM data?

 

Also, where can I find good documentation on the IMG file structure? I've browsed a document on SourceForge named imgformat-1.0.pdf, but it makes no mention of DEM or elevation data & seems rather incomplete.

 

There is a DEM section in addition to the TRE, LBL, and RGN sections.

 

That's the only document that I know of. You can also download the source code for gpsmapedit to see how it parses .img files.

Edited by rwsmith123
0

Share this post


Link to post

I thought waypoints use the current GPS elevation? Are you talking about setting a waypoint (via the GPSr) somewhere other than your current position? If so, I didn't even realize that was possible!

 

I don't find DEM data on the GPSr itself useful at all - essentially zero value to me & I suspect many others unless there is just something really cool to do with it that I've never thought of.

 

PS. I actually just created a waypoint on the GPSr somewhere other than my current location & it does not include any elevation data on the Vista HCx at least. Now that I think about it, this could be a useful feature for many reasons though... maybe even more useful than having all the US in my GPSr.

 

You're right, it does not put the elevation in the new (remote)waypoint, just one where you mark your current position. The DEM data is used to create vertical profiles of routes, again, you will have to decide on the usefulness.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I do hope Garmin do read this, and changes the limit of max segments.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Hi All,

 

I've got a brand new legal copy of US Topo 2008 sitting here that I was planning on selling on eBay for around $50 (after fees). Thus, if enough folks don't mind chipping in to send me the $50, I'd be more than happy to donate it to RWSmith. I paid about $75 for it just last week from Amazon.com.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

The Office Maven

 

BTW, it's eligible for the $30 mail-in-rebate too if someone has a valid serial number from the older 1999 US topo program. The reason I was going to sell it is because I can't find my serial number from my old topo program (in fact I can't find the original discs at all) and so I can't cash in on the $30 rebate.

Edited by TheOfficeMaven
0

Share this post


Link to post

Hi All,

 

I've got a brand new legal copy of US Topo 2008 sitting here that I was planning on selling on eBay for around $50 (after fees). Thus, if enough folks don't mind chipping in to send me the $50, I'd be more than happy to donate it to RWSmith. I paid about $75 for it just last week from Amazon.com.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

The Office Maven

 

BTW, it's eligible for the $30 mail-in-rebate too if someone has a valid serial number from the older 1999 US topo program. The reason I was going to sell it is because I can't find my serial number from my old topo program (in fact I can't find the original discs at all) and so I can't cash in on the $30 rebate.

Thanks for taking the time to make this program. I will be working on this and trying it out as soon as my 6th month old decides to take a nap for a while. This is something again that will help take the gps to a new level.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Does anyone know of a way to merge the East and West data into one dataset? I live very close to the dividing line, and it's a real PITA to have to constantly switch between the two when using MapSource on my PC.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Does anyone know of a way to merge the East and West data into one dataset? I live very close to the dividing line, and it's a real PITA to have to constantly switch between the two when using MapSource on my PC.

 

The program will put East, West, Alaska & Hawaii into on dataset so you don't have to switch. If you don't want to combine the maps into larger segments, you can just copy all the .img files from the original maps into one directory, and then just do step 3 and 4 from the instructions.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Hi All,

 

I've got a brand new legal copy of US Topo 2008 sitting here that I was planning on selling on eBay for around $50 (after fees). Thus, if enough folks don't mind chipping in to send me the $50, I'd be more than happy to donate it to RWSmith. I paid about $75 for it just last week from Amazon.com.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

The Office Maven

 

BTW, it's eligible for the $30 mail-in-rebate too if someone has a valid serial number from the older 1999 US topo program. The reason I was going to sell it is because I can't find my serial number from my old topo program (in fact I can't find the original discs at all) and so I can't cash in on the $30 rebate.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I'm in for $10 if we can scrape together a few other folks.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I'm pretty sure I've got an un-opened copy of Topo '08 lying around here somewhere. Let me look and I'll get back to you as soon as I lay my hands on it! :P

 

Were you able to find it?

0

Share this post


Link to post

So who's going try it out?

Never saw any response by someone who actually used your code and instructions to create these larger segmented Topo maps that could all be downloaded onto a 2GB card and used in the GPSr. I used your routine last week and it worked like a champ. When looking around for a way to solve this problem, I found your post and this one:

http://www.groupsrv.com/science/post-2197256.html

 

I tried both approaches out a little over a week ago. Running at the same time, it took about 48 hours for them both to complete. The other method mentioned above "seemed" to complete OK, but when I checked out the map segments in the GPSr, many of them were not available and I think this is probably due to the GPSr addressable map segment limit. However, with your methodology, I have the whole Topo US map set available in my GPSr. Thanks a bunch for making this available. It worked great for me.

 

Russ

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :D

I hardly see that as being a problem. Of course, I don't speak for Garmin, or anyone else for that matter, but talent like yours is so good that many companies are willing to pay someone to work from home and thus, not require a move. It's entirely possible that a major manufacturer or map-maker would be interested in hiring your work either by the hour or (more likely) contracted for the specific job at hand. You're GOOD.

 

JMTC

0

Share this post


Link to post

haha! I got all set up to do this, tried to run it, couldn't find the first img file, and it finally clicked that I can't do the 2008's yet.

 

So yeah, I'm really excited about this program. Any word on the new files yet?

0

Share this post


Link to post

haha! I got all set up to do this, tried to run it, couldn't find the first img file, and it finally clicked that I can't do the 2008's yet.

 

So yeah, I'm really excited about this program. Any word on the new files yet?

+1......... I wonder how will firmwre and map updates effect this? Edited by TENMMIKE
0

Share this post


Link to post

Never saw any response by someone who actually used your code and instructions to create these larger segmented Topo maps that could all be downloaded onto a 2GB card and used in the GPSr. I used your routine last week and it worked like a champ. When looking around for a way to solve this problem, I found your post and this one:

http://www.groupsrv.com/science/post-2197256.html

 

I tried both approaches out a little over a week ago. Running at the same time, it took about 48 hours for them both to complete. The other method mentioned above "seemed" to complete OK, but when I checked out the map segments in the GPSr, many of them were not available and I think this is probably due to the GPSr addressable map segment limit. However, with your methodology, I have the whole Topo US map set available in my GPSr. Thanks a bunch for making this available. It worked great for me.

 

Russ

 

How much memory space does the whole Topo US map set take?

0

Share this post


Link to post

Never saw any response by someone who actually used your code and instructions to create these larger segmented Topo maps that could all be downloaded onto a 2GB card and used in the GPSr. I used your routine last week and it worked like a champ. When looking around for a way to solve this problem, I found your post and this one:

http://www.groupsrv.com/science/post-2197256.html

 

I tried both approaches out a little over a week ago. Running at the same time, it took about 48 hours for them both to complete. The other method mentioned above "seemed" to complete OK, but when I checked out the map segments in the GPSr, many of them were not available and I think this is probably due to the GPSr addressable map segment limit. However, with your methodology, I have the whole Topo US map set available in my GPSr. Thanks a bunch for making this available. It worked great for me.

 

Russ

 

How much memory space does the whole Topo US map set take?

 

1.2Gig

0

Share this post


Link to post

You've stated that this conversion method removes the DEM (elevation) data from the maps. Is this inherent in the method you use, or is it simply a choice you've made to reduce the size of the map set? In other words, can this method be used to combine the maps into fewer segments but still retain the elevation data? If so, how? I like to have elevation data so that when bicycling, I can check the elevation profile on the route the 60CSx has calculated, and adjust the route if necessary to avoid steep hills.

0

Share this post


Link to post

You've stated that this conversion method removes the DEM (elevation) data from the maps. Is this inherent in the method you use, or is it simply a choice you've made to reduce the size of the map set? In other words, can this method be used to combine the maps into fewer segments but still retain the elevation data? If so, how? I like to have elevation data so that when bicycling, I can check the elevation profile on the route the 60CSx has calculated, and adjust the route if necessary to avoid steep hills.

 

It's inherent in the process. DEM data, routing data, and poi addresses will be lost. However since there is none of this data in the original US Topo maps you won't lose any data with those maps.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Hey rwsmith123 thanks for sharing. It worked for me. The process did blow up on the largest map segment, because my computer ran out of memory space. I would suggest anyone attempting this process make sure their RAM plus paging file be at least 1.5 Gbytes, and not have a lot of other open apps.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I just finished the process today and... all I have is the Eastern set of maps. I have all 4 installed on my PC... any ideas what I did wrong/how to do it right?

Edited by soundguy72
0

Share this post


Link to post

I just finished the process today and... all I have is the Eastern set of maps. I have all 4 installed on my PC... any ideas what I did wrong/how to do it right?

 

What directories are the eastern, western, alaska, and hawaii maps in? What directory did you specify to the program?

0

Share this post


Link to post

I just finished the process today and... all I have is the Eastern set of maps. I have all 4 installed on my PC... any ideas what I did wrong/how to do it right?

 

What directories are the eastern, western, alaska, and hawaii maps in? What directory did you specify to the program?

 

Thanks for getting back to me... they all reside in the "C:\Program Files\Garmin\Garmin Topo Disks" directory... \Alaska, \East, \Hawaii, and \West

0

Share this post


Link to post

I just finished the process today and... all I have is the Eastern set of maps. I have all 4 installed on my PC... any ideas what I did wrong/how to do it right?

 

What directories are the eastern, western, alaska, and hawaii maps in? What directory did you specify to the program?

 

Thanks for getting back to me... they all reside in the "C:\Program Files\Garmin\Garmin Topo Disks" directory... \Alaska, \East, \Hawaii, and \West

 

Send me the combinemaps.log file. Check my profile for email address.

0

Share this post


Link to post

 

Thanks for getting back to me... they all reside in the "C:\Program Files\Garmin\Garmin Topo Disks" directory... \Alaska, \East, \Hawaii, and \West

 

Send me the combinemaps.log file. Check my profile for email address.

 

Thanks... I've copied all the maps to c:\maps and am running things again. So far it has taken longer and produced more files than it did the first time, and it's still running. It appears to be going right this time, however if it does finish without a complete set, I'll send you the log file. Thanks!

0

Share this post


Link to post

Probably know the answer, but figure I should ask it before buying the topo map for Canada... does said homemade software work with the Canadian topo maps, or is it only capable of doing the US?

 

EDIT: Come to think of it, it has been said that the segment limit is 2025. Is anyone aware of if Topo canada exceeds this limit to begin with?

Edited by Kabuthunk
0

Share this post


Link to post

The process will work for any map, however certain information can be lost in the process such as routing, street addresses, additional poi information such as address and phone number, and DEM information. The original US Topo maps don't have any of this information, so nothing is lost from doing the process on those maps. To use the process on another map such as the Canadian topo maps you will have to generate a set of .gdb files which contain the map segments you want to combine, this is a simple but somewhat tedious process.

 

The Canadian topo maps have over 7000 segments. They do have routing so that would be lost. The size of the maps is over 3Gig so you wouldn't be able to load all the maps onto a 2Gig card even after eliminating the segment limit (but you would be able to load more than you would be able to otherwise).

0

Share this post


Link to post

The process will work for any map, however certain information can be lost in the process such as routing, street addresses, additional poi information such as address and phone number, and DEM information. The original US Topo maps don't have any of this information, so nothing is lost from doing the process on those maps. To use the process on another map such as the Canadian topo maps you will have to generate a set of .gdb files which contain the map segments you want to combine, this is a simple but somewhat tedious process.

 

The Canadian topo maps have over 7000 segments. They do have routing so that would be lost. The size of the maps is over 3Gig so you wouldn't be able to load all the maps onto a 2Gig card even after eliminating the segment limit (but you would be able to load more than you would be able to otherwise).

It seems someone was reading my mind. That was going to be my next question!

 

The US maps worked now, thanks. It seems the program halted at some point and I thought it was finished. It halted on my 2nd attempt too, but with more map segments done. I re-started it, it picked up where it left off and finished without incident. The maps are being sent to my box as I type this. If they ever come out with 4GB MicroSD cards, I'll bother you for a tutorial on doing the Canadian maps.

 

Thanks again!

0

Share this post


Link to post

Has anyone done this with Roads&Rec? I'm a little unsure of how to generate the GDB files.

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :unsure:

 

HEY!!!!!! Kansas City is a great town.

 

Is that Kansas City,Kansas,or Kansas City ,Missouri? We Brits find it strange that the Americans were so obsessed with drawing straight lines on the map that they would cut a city in half

0

Share this post


Link to post

and you're not working for garmin why?

 

lol nicely done.

 

Because I don't want to move to Kansas City. :unsure:

 

HEY!!!!!! Kansas City is a great town.

 

Is that Kansas City,Kansas,or Kansas City ,Missouri? We Brits find it strange that the Americans were so obsessed with drawing straight lines on the map that they would cut a city in half

Technically, neither -- Garmin is in Olathe, KS, a subdivision of the "greater Kansas City metropolitan area".

 

For further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_Metropolitan_Area

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olathe%2C_Kansas

http://tinyurl.com/3y8l5n

 

-Ren Hoek

0

Share this post


Link to post

Will there be any performance related issues on GPS unit when map(s) are combined to one larger map?

 

A lot more calculations done internally?

0

Share this post


Link to post

You can easily exceed 2025 limit using "GmapTool v0.21". This program helps join different *.img files generated by Mapsource.

 

Collect all *.img files with 2025 limit, generated by Mapsource in one folder (must have different names). Insert to folder gmaptool program. In windows command shell execute sth like this:

 

gmaptool -jo gmapsupp.img *.img

 

Copy gmapsupp.img to "Garmin" folder in your SD card of your GPS.

 

Program can be downloaded from (the manual in english is included inside zip folder):

http://www.anpo.republika.pl/files/gmaptool021.zip

 

cheers! a. :rolleyes:

0

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 25