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Colorado Topo maps for Garmin GPS


IndyJpr
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I built this mapset for a trip this past summer and finally just got around to cleaning it up a little for public consumption...

 

http://www.miscjunk.org/mj/mp_cotopo.html

 

I'm going to do another revision in the next couple of weeks to address the following:

 

- fix zoom/levels (reduce "clutter" when zoomed out)

- decrease tile size slightly, probably align to USGS 100K tiles

- clean up the land status layer, fix names

- (maybe) improve contours to 40 or 50ft (currently at 80ft)

 

For a trip next year I'm also working on the state of Utah and should have that ready in early-mid January.

 

Your comments are welcome.

 

Thanks,

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Cool! I'll download/install this when I get a chance and give it a look!

 

BTW - I saw your 4WD trail maps on your site, too. How are you getting that data? Driving the trails or digitizing other maps? We go out to the SW CO area (Ouray, Durango, etc) every couple of years and would like to have detailed and accurate maps of available trails out there.

 

Thx-

RenHoek

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IndyJpr, very nice.

 

I don't get to CO often, so I will probably not download any time soon. I am, however, very interested in your method. I fortunately discovered that I like 40 ft contours MUCH better than 80 ft so that is how I have been doing all my maps (having a lot of RAM in the GPSr is very nice).

 

I have a few questions:

Which steps actually required the GlobalMapper software? I build my own maps for fun; $299 is a bit out of range for my play budget.

 

Are you following these instructions? Can you share how your method deviates?

 

I am very interested in your map properties settings in, particularly the settings on the Level and cGPSmapper tab.

 

I see that you have hydrological data, but you did not mention the source. If that is from USGS NHD GEODATABASE, have you found a method that is less time-consuming than processing each subbasin with a dozen mouse-clicks to get all the different types into your map. I'd love to find an automated method that pulls out all rivers, streams, and creeks and ignores all the other data that come in the nhd datasets.

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BTW - I saw your 4WD trail maps on your site, too. How are you getting that data? Driving the trails or digitizing other maps?

 

I basically used waypoints/tracks from the web and 4wd books to find the general definition of the trails and then hand digitized them using 1m aerial photos - here's an image showing a before/after:

 

http://www.miscjunk.org/mj/images/syncaerial.jpg

 

Turns out nice but was very time consuming... I was running out of time before our trip so than I did the general topo set. I was thinking about putting the 4wd trails (with the custom line style) in the general CO topo set but I wasn't sure since I didn't have a complete set of trails...

 

dfg

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IndyJpr, very nice.

 

Thank you.

 

I see that you have hydrological data, but you did not mention the source. If that is from USGS NHD GEODATABASE, have you found a method that is less time-consuming than processing each subbasin with a dozen mouse-clicks to get all the different types into your map. I'd love to find an automated method that pulls out all rivers, streams, and creeks and ignores all the other data that come in the nhd datasets.

 

Actually, CODOT has statewide layers for lakes and hydrology that I used. For my projects I always look for state or local sources of data first before going to the national data sets. The state/local data - if it exists and if it's available - is usually more up to date (more relevant for roads, etc. than hydrology of course).

 

I've not used the site you mentioned - I just took a look at it and it does seem like it would be very painful to get any large amount of data out of it...

 

I'll respond to your other questions later this evening when I have some more time.

 

Thanks,

dfg

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I am, however, very interested in your method. I fortunately discovered that I like 40 ft contours MUCH better than 80 ft so that is how I have been doing all my maps (having a lot of RAM in the GPSr is very nice).

Yes, 40 is nice but it really increases the time to generate the contours and compile the maps. I'll probably also download a higher resolution DEM if I end up doing the 40ft contours. Currently I'm using the SRTM DEM.

 

Which steps actually required the GlobalMapper software? I build my own maps for fun; $299 is a bit out of range for my play budget.

None of the steps really require GlobalMapper (GM) and GM is not a full fledged GIS. But GM does make a couple of steps a lot easier. It has filtering and layering which help with setting up feature types, it can generate contours from DEM data, it can grid the data (create a set of tiles from a larger set of data) and it can now directly export to MP (Polish) format. When I first started making GPS maps I used GpsMapEdit and still use it occassionally for testing/debugging.

 

I had to sell some "toys" so that I could afford to buy some software... :D

 

Are you following these instructions? Can you share how your method deviates?

I've definitely used that page in the past (along with other references like the ones listed on the GpsMapEdit's website), also the "Making Your Own Maps" book by Owings.

 

My current workflow isn't that much different. A high level overview:

  1. figure out what I want to do...
  2. gather all the data (DEMs, road data, hydrology, POIs, etc.)
  3. load it all up into GM
  4. generate countours within GM
  5. assign feature types to layers/subsets of layers
  6. do any special processing needed (usually for names, road signs, etc.)
  7. export MP files from GM (usually gridding the data into smaller tiles)
  8. testing (compile a few tiles with cgpsmapper, checking/tweaking levels & zooms, checking mapsoure integration, loading into GPS and testing, etc.)
  9. compile mapset, preview - setup installer (if I'm going to share with the world)

I realize that's not much detail - let me know if you have questions about any particular step...

 

I am very interested in your map properties settings in, particularly the settings on the Level and cGPSmapper tab.

 

I'll clean up what I have for the Colorado mapset and post it in the next day or two...

 

dfg

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I am very interested in your map properties settings in, particularly the settings on the Level and cGPSmapper tab.

 

Hynr,

 

Below is what I now have for the headers. Nothing really special about my settings - pretty similar to what you will see in other examples. One thing to note is the the global EndLevel declaration in the DICTIONARY section isn't very well documented - it allows you to specify it once and not have to include a Levels= or EndLevel= entry for each item (only if you're using a dictionary).

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Thanks,

dfg

 

[IMG ID]
ID=59474886
Name=fred
DrawPriority=31
Elevation=F
LBLcoding=6
Codepage=0
Marine=N
Copyright=Copyright 2007 -  dfg
Preprocess=F
POIIndex=Y
Transparent=N
TreSize=2500
RgnLimit=1024
Levels=5
Level0=22
Level1=20
Level2=18
Level3=17
Level4=15
Zoom0=0
Zoom1=1
Zoom2=2
Zoom3=3
Zoom4=4
[END-IMG ID]

[DICTIONARY]
EndLevel=4
;
;		   0		1		 2		 3		 4		 5		 6		 7		 8
;		   12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890
Level0RGN40=11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Level1RGN40=11111001101000000101000000000010010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
Level2RGN40=11111000001000000001000000000010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
Level3RGN40=11100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
;
;		   0		1		 2		 3		 4		 5		 6		 7		 8
;		   12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890
Level0RGN80=11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Level1RGN80=00100000000000000001110000000111000000000000000000000000000111111111111110000000
Level2RGN80=00000000000000000001110000000111000000000000000000000000000111111111111110000000
Level3RGN80=00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
;
;		   0			  1			   2			   3			   4			   5			   6			   7
;		   123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0
Level0RGN10=1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Level1RGN10=1111111111111111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000100000000001010000000000
Level2RGN10=1111111111111111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000100000000000000000000000
Level3RGN10=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
;
;		   0			  1			   2			   3			   4			   5			   6			   7
;		   123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0
Level0RGN20=1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Level1RGN20=1111111111111111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000100000000001010000000000
Level2RGN20=1111111111111111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000100000000000000000000000
Level3RGN20=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
[END DICTIONARY]

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I was able to complete some of the revisions I mentioned in my original post, specifically:

 

- fixed zoom/levels (reduced "clutter" when zoomed out)

- decreased tile size slightly, aligned to USGS 100K tiles

 

The increase in usabilty/performance from fixing the zoom/levels is dramatic - made me realize the previous version was not quite ready for prime time... The package size has also been reduced to 34MB (from 80MB).

 

If you downloaded the previous version, please get this newer version - no need to uninstall the previous version, this will install over it. The website and installer are here:

 

http://www.miscjunk.org/mj/mp_cotopo.html

 

Your comments are welcome.

 

Thanks,

dfg

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The view in mapsource is greatly improved. :)

Have not had a chance to load the revised version to the GPSr.

 

Just got my first data onto the GPSr.

USGS SDTS DLG via GlobalMapper 8.03 to mp file

via cgpsmapper (freeware) to imp file

via sendmap20(freeware) to Garmin 76csx

 

What software/procedure did you use to create the files needed for viewing/selecting in mapsource?

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

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What software/procedure did you use to create the files needed for viewing/selecting in mapsource?

 

Mark,

 

It's not too difficult to do, here are the general steps:

 

1) You need to create a preview .img file - this is done with cgpsmapper (with different options and a new configuration file)

2) You then to make a couple of new Windows registry entries for MapSource - basically tells MapSource where the files are.

 

I believe the cgpsmapper manual has some examples. Also, I've not used this software but I've heard a lot of good things about it:

 

http://cypherman1.googlepages.com/home

 

It basically is a little utility to perform all of those step so you don't have to do it manually.

 

I'd go into more detail but I'm currently at work - let me know if you have any problems.

 

Thanks for your feedback,

dfg

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Indy, i just downloaded the maps, they look really good and I look forward to using them next year. I am moving to summit county so these will come in handy.

Question, i noticed the roads and trails that I already know of are not in these maps. Is there a plan to work on this area soon? Is it something I could help with?

 

Thanks

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Indy, i just downloaded the maps, they look really good and I look forward to using them next year. I am moving to summit county so these will come in handy.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Question, i noticed the roads and trails that I already know of are not in these maps. Is there a plan to work on this area soon? Is it something I could help with?

 

Is it a whole set of roads or just a random road here and there? And are they newer roads or roads that have been there forever? If you can give me some examples I can check whether I simply missed a data layer or whether it's an issue of old data.

 

Thanks,

dfg

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Do you know how this would work on the Colorado 400t? I'm downloading it now so I can see for myself, I'm just curious if anyone has done it yet.

 

Hi Team G,

 

If you look at my recent posts regarding the 400t every screen shot that mentions a custom topo is the CO mapset.

 

In my (slightly biased) opinion, they look really good with the DEM shading of the 400t....

 

Hope that helps,

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I loaded the maps a few hours ago. Did I get the latest maps or should I download them again?

 

I did load the ones I downloaded earlier and it appears the map in my area is more accurate than the included topo on the 400t. :)

 

No, you've got the most recent. I was just putting a pointer to the new thread. For CO the road data came directly from their department of transportation so I was hoping that it was somewhat up to date. :ph34r:

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I loaded the maps a few hours ago. Did I get the latest maps or should I download them again?

 

I did load the ones I downloaded earlier and it appears the map in my area is more accurate than the included topo on the 400t. :)

 

No, you've got the most recent. I was just putting a pointer to the new thread. For CO the road data came directly from their department of transportation so I was hoping that it was somewhat up to date. :ph34r:

I only went to Home Depot and back, but the track was lining up with the roads a lot better than it did with the topo basemap. I'll check it out further tomorrow.

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IndyJpr,

This is great stuff. I want to create some maps of the major ski areas. Also bike trails in the Denver metro area where I live. You've already got a base map of sorts done. Would it be possible to short-cut the process? For example, I would create the lift lines, ski runs, trails, etc and then use them as an overlay on your topo and avoid repeating your work with the contours, major geographic features, etc. I see how to create all those objects, I just don't know if I need to do anything special to have them as an overlay. Any ideas?

 

I would also be willing to send what I do your way for inclusion into your topo map. It would be sort of an "open source" project. Feel free to contact me directly through my GC profile as well.

 

Did you know that some other guy has also done a similar project but charges for it? His doesn't appear to run on MapSource, though.

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IndyJpr,

This is great stuff. I want to create some maps of the major ski areas. Also bike trails in the Denver metro area where I live. You've already got a base map of sorts done. Would it be possible to short-cut the process? For example, I would create the lift lines, ski runs, trails, etc and then use them as an overlay on your topo and avoid repeating your work with the contours, major geographic features, etc. I see how to create all those objects, I just don't know if I need to do anything special to have them as an overlay. Any ideas?

 

I would also be willing to send what I do your way for inclusion into your topo map. It would be sort of an "open source" project. Feel free to contact me directly through my GC profile as well.

 

Did you know that some other guy has also done a similar project but charges for it? His doesn't appear to run on MapSource, though.

You could just create those features as a transparent map and they should show together with the topo map.

 

If you're going to go to the trouble of collecting those GPS traces, consider contributing them to OpenStreetMap, too. Soon I'm hoping to be able to create routable Garmin maps from OSM data, so there's giving back for you. You can currently create non-routable Garmin maps using mkgmap.

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proimion & cobra-ak - Thank you for the kind words.

 

proimion -

 

As SiliconFiend mentioned transparent maps have a lot of advantages, mainly that you can overlay them on any other map and still have your data set. I'll contact you offline over the weekend.

 

Thanks,

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Soon I'm hoping to be able to create routable Garmin maps from OSM data, so there's giving back for you. You can currently create non-routable Garmin maps using mkgmap.

 

It will be interesting to see if you have success.

 

IME, it is very difficult and requires a lot of manual work to get routing to work.

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Soon I'm hoping to be able to create routable Garmin maps from OSM data, so there's giving back for you. You can currently create non-routable Garmin maps using mkgmap.

 

It will be interesting to see if you have success.

 

IME, it is very difficult and requires a lot of manual work to get routing to work.

It's tricky, but it is possible to automate it. OSM is particularly suited for this. I already had some success creating routable maps, but it was an XSLT sheet and it totally choked on even 10 MB of input data, which is a tiny area. Don't worry, once I get something working I'll post a notification here. Maybe we can get people to "cache & map" like they "cache in, trash out", and improve the OpenStreetMap data in the process.

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If you look at my recent posts regarding the 400t every screen shot that mentions a custom topo is the CO mapset.

 

In my (slightly biased) opinion, they look really good with the DEM shading of the 400t....

 

mp_cotopo_gps_ss1.png

 

Hi IndyJpr,

 

I'm curious about this screenshot from your Colorado 400t. Is it a shaded map from the included Garmin Topo 2008 or your new custom Colo Topos? If from your maps, what is the source of the DEM's used for shading?

 

Also, are the colors customizable? Comparing the green of Mt Princeton to the green of Buffalo Mtn, one is much darker than the other. Perhaps that's not true as you use them and only the screenshots?

 

Thanks

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mp_cotopo_gps_ss1.png

 

Hi MtnHermit,

 

I'm curious about this screenshot from your Colorado 400t. Is it a shaded map from the included Garmin Topo 2008 or your new custom Colo Topos? If from your maps, what is the source of the DEM's used for shading?

It is my custom map (the CO mapset) but it is draped on top of the Topo 2008 DEM. The shading is from the underlying Topo 2008 DEM - my mapset does not have any DEM. (As far as I know no one has figured out to embed DEM in custom mapsets - yet.)

 

Also, are the colors customizable? Comparing the green of Mt Princeton to the green of Buffalo Mtn, one is much darker than the other. Perhaps that's not true as you use them and only the screenshots?

I believe in my CO mapset they are both set to National Forest so they should appear as the same color. The 400t seems to have its own ideas on coloring features so I'm not sure why they appear as different colors.

 

I would do some more checking but I returned the 400t (I hope to eventually buy the 300 but I'm waiting for some HW/firmware improvements and hopefully raster support...)

 

Thanks,

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Dude, folks in Montana would kill for these maps! Sadly we are left in the cold with no one of expertise to generate maps for us. I have tried to make public landowner maps for hunters but I can only do 60mi X 60mi blocks (until I pay MapEdit for the ability to break the data into smaller files). Is this how you can make entire states in a single map product?

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Dude, folks in Montana would kill for these maps! Sadly we are left in the cold with no one of expertise to generate maps for us. I have tried to make public landowner maps for hunters but I can only do 60mi X 60mi blocks (until I pay MapEdit for the ability to break the data into smaller files). Is this how you can make entire states in a single map product?

Hi yogazoo,

 

A lot of people make large (state size and bigger) mapsets without breaking up the data but I was never a fan of that. I always break mine up in small chunks so that if there are any issues in compiling the maps I find it in minutes instead of hours...

 

Here's some timing information from my projects, all pure computing time:

- compliling 40ft elevation contours from 10m DEM for an entire state, 6-10 hours

- exporting MP (polish) data from final data, 1-5 minutes per tile, 1-3 hours for an entire state

- compiling the GPS files from the MP data, 5-10 minutes per tile, 5-10 hours for an entire state

 

And of course before any of the above happen there are high 10's of hours in manually finding, downloading, processing and configuring the data...

 

Thanks,

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Hi yogazoo,

 

A lot of people make large (state size and bigger) mapsets without breaking up the data but I was never a fan of that. I always break mine up in small chunks so that if there are any issues in compiling the maps I find it in minutes instead of hours...

 

 

Thanks for the info IndyJpr. I will try to get my computer to process these smaller chunks (after I pay for Mapedit). I have had difficulty in the past with the state containing too much data as I try to include Topo lines, a Public Land Ownership Layer, high res NHD as well as all the waypoints in TopoUSA. I get a message after about three hours of processing that something went wrong and that I have to reduce my region size. I'll just try smaller chunks or less data.

 

I have 40 ft contour intervals from a 1/3rd arc second dem of the entire state of Montana AND shapefiles of every little state and federal chunk of public land (color coded and highly detailed to include inholdings). The whole state is in a nice .mp file just waiting to be born (processed .img's) and added to Mapsource. When I get the project completed I would like to send you a copy for possible posting on your site for all to use freely. Anyway, thanks again for your input and for providing these maps for a donation.

 

For anyone reading this thread I would like to communicate to you that although involved and somewhat time consuming, these maps aren't that difficult to create. Find the tools for free and the data for your state for free and get cracking! There are multiple step by step tutotrials online on how do do it. There is even a free gis program that will do everything ArcView will do. Its called "MapWindow". If you google it you will find the free download site. With this program you can also project shapefiles, create contour lines from DEM data, create shapefiles, edit existing shapefiles and attribute tables, and so on.

 

That being said, take nothing away from IndyJpr. Excellent job! He truly sets a standard for excellent maps.

 

Thanks!

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Hey Indy just a thought...

 

If I can't get my computer to give birth to the state of Montana could I send you the completed .mp and .TYP file on DVD for birthing? Just a thought, I know we all have lives but. Food for thought is all.

 

It was created from state library (NRIS) data so none of it's proprietary. Yeah just stinkin thinkin is all.

 

Map nerds of the world... ACTIVATE!!! :D

Edited by yogazoo
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Hi MtnHermit,

 

I'm curious about this screenshot from your Colorado 400t. Is it a shaded map from the included Garmin Topo 2008 or your new custom Colo Topos? If from your maps, what is the source of the DEM's used for shading?

It is my custom map (the CO mapset) but it is draped on top of the Topo 2008 DEM. The shading is from the underlying Topo 2008 DEM - my mapset does not have any DEM. (As far as I know no one has figured out to embed DEM in custom mapsets - yet.)

You may be right, but I have a hunch that the DEMs are embedded in the Colorado basemap. Clearly more testing is needed. Agree on the "Yet".

 

Also, are the colors customizable? Comparing the green of Mt Princeton to the green of Buffalo Mtn, one is much darker than the other. Perhaps that's not true as you use them and only the screenshots?

I believe in my CO mapset they are both set to National Forest so they should appear as the same color. The 400t seems to have its own ideas on coloring features so I'm not sure why they appear as different colors.

 

I would do some more checking but I returned the 400t (I hope to eventually buy the 300 but I'm waiting for some HW/firmware improvements and hopefully raster support...)

I thought that raster support was a base feature, can't you load your photos as JPEGs? OTOH, you've had one in hand, I haven't. I'm thinking of the Colorado 200, w/o the gimicky wireless. I suspect it'll show this summer.

 

Some other thoughts:

- Surprised you don't charge for your maps, should pay for your toys.

- D/L the Colo mapset, it wouldn't work with Mapsource v3, worked with v6.*

- I notice you didn't use the High Rez hydro data from the map guide on this forum.

- Looks like the requests for "MY" state are going to be endless, well actually only 50.

 

Good Luck

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Here's some timing information from my projects, all pure computing time:

- compliling 40ft elevation contours from 10m DEM for an entire state, 6-10 hours

- exporting MP (polish) data from final data, 1-5 minutes per tile, 1-3 hours for an entire state

- compiling the GPS files from the MP data, 5-10 minutes per tile, 5-10 hours for an entire state

 

And of course before any of the above happen there are high 10's of hours in manually finding, downloading, processing and configuring the data...

 

Hey Indy,

 

Sorry for my ignorance on this subject, but have you written (or do you know of) an online tutorial that describes how to complete each of the steps above? I wouldn't mind trying to build a topo of New Mexico while, at the same time, buying lottery tickets hoping to win the "big one" for you.

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It is my custom map (the CO mapset) but it is draped on top of the Topo 2008 DEM. The shading is from the underlying Topo 2008 DEM - my mapset does not have any DEM. (As far as I know no one has figured out to embed DEM in custom mapsets - yet.)

You may be right, but I have a hunch that the DEMs are embedded in the Colorado basemap. Clearly more testing is needed. Agree on the "Yet".

Yeah, I don't know - I'm currently leaning to the "embedded in the map (img) file" camp only because when I turned off the "Topo 2008 maps" on the 400t my maps were flat. They only showed the hill shading when the "Topo 2008 maps" were turned on...

 

I thought that raster support was a base feature, can't you load your photos as JPEGs? OTOH, you've had one in hand, I haven't. I'm thinking of the Colorado 200, w/o the gimicky wireless. I suspect it'll show this summer.

Yes, I think they unofficially support raster maps (one of the base maps on one of the 300s is a raster file). But Garmin has not released any products to take advantage of it and of course no one has figured out how to use custom rasters.... ("yet ")

 

Some other thoughts:

- Surprised you don't charge for your maps, should pay for your toys.

- D/L the Colo mapset, it wouldn't work with Mapsource v3, worked with v6.*

- I notice you didn't use the High Rez hydro data from the map guide on this forum.

- Looks like the requests for "MY" state are going to be endless, well actually only 50.

Well, the problem is if I charged for them people would (rightfully) expect a higher level of support that I'm just not able to offer... I figure if people find them useful they'll donate, even if it's just $5-10. Any amount helps (and it adds up...)

 

I've looked at the high res hydro data before but unless I'm missing something it seems to have the most painful UI I've ever seen in respect to trying to download a whole states worth of the data. I'll have to take another look at it one of these days...

 

Thanks,

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Sorry for my ignorance on this subject, but have you written (or do you know of) an online tutorial that describes how to complete each of the steps above? I wouldn't mind trying to build a topo of New Mexico while, at the same time, buying lottery tickets hoping to win the "big one" for you.

 

Hi jmedlock,

 

The tutorial that MtnHermit pointed to is a good one. You can also Google for the keywords: custom garmin map

 

Software wise, the old standbys are GpsMapEdit (UI) and cGpsMapper (compiler). You can try those out without spending any money. I've never used it but I've heard good things about Mapwel - it is an all in one UI/compiler and supposedly has some pretty good tutorials. It has a trial version and a cheap personal version. Another one to check out is MapMan, I believe (like GpsMapEdit) it uses cGpsMapper as the backend (compiler).

 

Hope that helps,

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Hey Indy just a thought...

 

If I can't get my computer to give birth to the state of Montana could I send you the completed .mp and .TYP file on DVD for birthing? Just a thought, I know we all have lives but. Food for thought is all.

 

It was created from state library (NRIS) data so none of it's proprietary. Yeah just stinkin thinkin is all.

 

Map nerds of the world... ACTIVATE!!! :ph34r:

 

Hi yogazoo,

 

How big is your MP file? What error is it spitting out?

 

Thanks,

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