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Custom Waypoint Symbols (BC and eTrex30)

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I created a couple of waypoint symbols keeping in mind the prescriptions -- the file containing waypoint symbol should be .png (or some people say .bmp, I tried both) of size up to 32x32 pixels, with appropriate set background color (transparent) etc ... So I think I have the correct file for waypoint symbol.


But I have a problem with seeing it in Base Camp (on my mac) and on my GPS device eTrex 30.


The file system on my Garmin contains a folder X:/Garmin/CustomSymbols. If I put my waypoint symbol there, I can not see/use it on my device. I tried with different names suggested (000.png, custom 0.png, arbitraryName.png ...) but none work.


The next problem is with Base Camp (OS X version). I entered BaseCamp package, folder Contents/Resources/Waypoints. This folder contains 254 symbols for waypoints, named from 000.png, 001.png to 253.png and I can see them in BaseCamp when changing the waypoint symbol (click on the waypoint, click button "Choose" next to the waypoint symbol in the subwindow Waypoint Properties), but there each of the symbols has an additional description. For example, if I mouse-over blue flag symbol, which is the image 141.png in directory Contents/Resources/Waypoints inside BaseCamp package, the name "Flag, Blue" appears. So there must be some file with translation from 141.png to "Flag, Blue". Anyone knows where to find it? I read on the forum that on Windows, when you install BaseCamp, a directory "My Documents/My Garmin/Custom Waypoint Symbols" is created, where you can put your own symbols. What about in OS X?


The thing I tried is that I added next symbol, called 254.png into Contents/Resources/Waypoints. BaseCamp can not see it. But if I replaced the symbol 143.png (which is red pin), I saw my symbol in BaseCamp instead of red pin. But of course, additional description for my new symbol was still Pin, Red (like Flag, Blue).


All together,

1. Where in the filesystem of my mac can I find a file with translations from xyz.png waypoint symbols to the description ("Flag, Blue" or "Pin, Red" for example?)

2. How can I add new waypoint symbols to be seen in Base Camp?

3. How can I add (or change existing) waypoint symbols on my Garmin eTrex 30? I expect this can be done since there is CustomSymbols directory, but there is no Custom Symbols tab when I am changing the waypoint symbol on my garmin.




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I use Windows, so my answer will need translation to the Mac. I use about 10 custom symbols. As you pointed out, you do need to keep them to a small size. I'd have to dig back through the information to figure where I got this, but I use 16x16 pixels, which doesn't let you get very creative! The files are BMPs named using 3-digit numbers:





Now, as to where to put them, I can only give you what I know in Windows and hope that it translates into the Mac world.


Years ago, like Windows 3.1, the general idea was that a software package put their executables in a directory right off the top of the drive, for example: c:\quickenw. It was understood that, not only did their executables go there, but so did your data files.


Then Microsoft wised up (which is very rare) and decided that it would be a good idea to split them into different areas, for multiple reasons. (One is that you want to back up your data files quite often, but you usually don't need - or want - to back up the program files every time. So they should be in different places.) I'm from a UNIX background, and this matches the concept of putting program stuff in /usr/bin and /usr/lib, but putting the user's data within their own home directory.


All of that being said, on Windows .bmp files are placed in the user's data area, typically something like

c:\My Documents\My Garmin\Custom Waypoint Symbols

rather than in the software install directory

(c:\Program Files\Garmin\...).


When I put the files in there, BaseCamp immediately sees them and allows me to choose a custom symbol for a waypoint.


However, this is where things get screwy. On my eTrex 20 I found a \Garmin\CustomSymbols directory. So I copied my 10 BMP files (000.bmp to 009.bmp) into that directory. So now I have a waypoint named Dixie that uses the 002.bmp and it looks great in BaseCamp. I slide that waypoint to my device and Eject the device. It shows the generic blue flag for the symbol, instead of using 002.bmp! I can edit the waymark on the device and look in custom symbols: there they are! So I choose the proper one and it displays on my device OK. But why didn't it know to use 002.bmp from the properties of the waypoint when I copied it to my device? Don't know.


But wait, we're not done yet. I plug the 20 back into my PC and let BaseCamp recognize it and read the data. I now look at my Dixie waypoint on the device and it doesn't show my nice custom symbol nor the generic blue flag. Instead if shows a single small dot!!


The Dixie waypoint looks correct in the My Collections database in BaseCamp, but not what it (BaseCamp) is showing on the device. However, the device waypoint now looks OK.


Apparently Garmin does not have their act together when it comes to coordinating the custom symbols between BaseCamp and the device, even though it is the exact same 10 BMP files, and they are located in Garmin's chosen "My Garmin\Custom Waypoint Symbols" directory on the PC and the Garmin\CustomSymbols on the device!

Edited by MountainWoods

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Incidentally, my long essay only attempted to answer #2.


1. I don't think that you will find individual files for the built-in waypoint symbols. They are embedded into BaseCamp itself.

3. This is answered by the answer to #1. You cannot change the built-in symbols because they are built in!


However, if/when you get #2 working correctly, you can add whatever you need for custom symbols. Just be aware that

a. you need to put the files in both your computer and in the device, and

b. the symbols don't seem to be synced properly. You'll have to choose the right custom symbol for your waypoint in your My Collection on the Mac, AND you'll then have to rechoose the same symbol for that waypoint on your device. (And when you view that waypoint on your device from within BaseCamp, it will display the wrong symbol, which you can ignore.)


You can see where several of my custom symbols are used if you go to http://hobbies.WarrenEmilySwan.us (the only thing added by PaintShopPro is the text in the upper right corner).

The transparent symbol is used in many places to put a label directly over a track, such as Extended Main and Heart Attack. You can see the Dixie symbol along its trail. Also, the little bent arrows that I use for Puzzlerock Falls, Postman Hill and such.

Have fun!

Edited by MountainWoods

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Edited to remove the content on this post. Found the discrepancy between BaseCamp and the device is the file naming convention on each.

Edited by MountainWoods

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Hi, MountainWoods,


thanx for your comprehensive explanations. For the moment, I can not translate the Windows' BaseCamp behavior to Mac's one because the file system is quite different. On my mac, I enter the package of BaseCamp and there is everything I can find about BaseCamp on the mac. And there is no "custom waypoint symbols" folder.


Also, in my version of BaseCamp (4.1.2, it was downloaded from AppStore about a month ago), there is no division of waypoint symbols in categories, like it is on Garmin device (where for example I have Hunting, Public, Transportation ... tabs with symbols). I located the files (images) that represent waypoint symbols and they are just named from 000.png to 253.png and that's all.


But anyway, there is no Custom tab even on my eTrex 30. The directory Garmin/CustomSymbols exists, and I put two images 000.bmp and 001.bmp therein, but I do not know any way to find them on the device, only built-in symbols.


By the way, you said something about question 1. You wrote you create a file 002.bmp and you name this symbol Dixie. Where you define a name for the symbol? Within BaseCamp or in some extra file? Or is it just a name of the concrete waypoint? Is "Dixie" like "Flag, Red" or is it like when you name waypoint, marked by red flag, as "important crossroad"?

Because if I look at some waypoints.gpx file from my Garmin in some text editor, the description of a waypoint looks like


<wpt lat="38.8556" lon="-94.7990"> coordinates

<ele>324.9168</ele> elevation

<name>Garmin USA</name> name of the point (like "important crossing")

<link href="Garmin/JPEG/Garmin_USA.jpg">



<sym>Building</sym> name of the symbol (like "Flag, Red")



So communication between Garmin device and BaseCamp about the waypoint symbol seems to go through description of the symbol, like "Flag, Red", rather than through the name 140.png in BaseCamp directory.




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Dixie is just the name of the waypoint. I use the custom flag symbol that I made (002.bmp) as its symbol.


It sounds like the behavior of BaseCamp on Mac is just too different from Windows for me to be able to help you. We need someone with a Mac to jump in. BaseCamp on Windows does have categories of symbols, just like on the device. Don't know why they wouldn't do that on the Mac version.


As to the device, that should behave the same regardless of BaseCamp versions. You do have an eTrex 30 and I have a 20, but they should still behave pretty much the same. I just make a 16x16 pixel .bmp image and copy it to the device's Garmin/CustomSymbols directory, eject the device, and then there it is when I go to pick a waypoint symbol (in the Custom category). Perhaps the file size or format isn't being recognized. I only use 16x16 .bmp files.


There is obviously quite a difference between BaseCamp versions. Besides the lack of symbol categories, the Windows version doesn't have any filenames for the built-in symbols such as you mentioned. That makes them too much of an apple and orange thing.


Did you try the Garmin forums? They do have their own forums. It doesn't cost anything to register on them. Seems like the forums are really only for the software (BaseCamp, MapSource) rather than the device. But I recently asked a question for an issue that I couldn't tell if it was BaseCamp or the device, and they got in touch with CS (who takes care of the hardware & firmware) for me, which I thought was very nice.


BTW, after my last post I tried to find out where I got the information on custom symbols and I could not find it. It ain't in the BaseCamp Help or the online help. Might have to do a web search for it.

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I just did some web searching and found an answer to my conundrum, and perhaps one of yours.


Although the computer's naming convention is My Garmin\Custom Waypoint Symbols\000.bmp to 063.bmp the device's naming convention is different. It is

Garmin/CustomSymbols/Custom 0.bmp to ????


The reason I say ???? is because I happen to only have 10 symbols, Custom 0.bmp to Custom 9.bmp. I'm not sure if 10 would be Custom10.bmp (no space) or Custom 10.bmp. The forum I found this on didn't say!


At any rate, my device could still find them if they were named 000.bmp on up, but it didn't properly associate them with the choice when the symbol was copied into the device from BaseCamp. But it does work if you use Custom 0.bmp on up. I simply renamed my 000.bmp to 009.bmp to Custom 0.bmp to Custom 9.bmp and then dragged a couple of my waypoints that used custom symbols to my device. When I ejected the device, lo and behold, no blue flag, but the actual symbol that I wanted.


Try naming your files that way. Also, the forum I saw said that it has to be 96 dpi (and up to 32x32). To make a transparent area in your symbol, use magenta. That is always taken as the transparency color.

Edited by MountainWoods

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Thanks again. But even Custom 0.bmp does not work for me, still there is no custom waypoint symbols category on my Garmin.

I will first try to ask at my closest Garmin reseller, and if they don't know, I will attach Garmin support. I took a quick look on Garmin forum but it is hard to find things there, the search doesn't work well.


Still, any mac & basecamp user is welcome to share experience about custom waypoint symbols.




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