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Waypoint Conversion Program - EasyMPS


Huga
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I posted here a while back (in January I think) about a program I've ben working on called EasyMPS. Well, there's a much much much better version of it availabel now from my website at www.iancowley.co.uk/caching.

 

What does EasyMPS do?

Well, it takes .gpx files (as saved by EasyGPS) and .loc files (as downlaoded from Geocaching.com) and will merge several files and then output as either a .loc or (most importantly) a .mps Mapsource file.

Along the conversion process the user can set the waypoint icon and the waypoint display mode

 

And what use is that?

Well, ordinarily, one has to use the GPSr to get waypoints from .loc EasyGPS to Mapsource, uploading, then redownloading the waypoints. EasyMPS allows you to do the conversion straight away. It even has command-line/scripting support and it'll edit the registry for you if you want to allow you to right-click .loc files and open them straight into Mapsource

 

Aren't there other programs that do that?

Possibly. I think GPSBabel does it, but I've never used it, so I wouldn't know icon_wink.gif

 

Where do I get this great program?

www.iancowley.co.uk/caching

 

And what if I have problems?

Email Huga at EasyMPS@iancowley.co.uk - I'm always keen to hear sugegstions, problems and bugs! I'll try to sort all bugs and problems, and will try to incorporate as many suggestions as possible.

There's a fairly detailed version history on the website, so check that out if you have problems, as it might answer a question or two!

 

Cheers, and I hope some of you can find EasyMPS useful!

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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Slight update to the program, so version 0.44.132 is now available at the same place: www.iancowley.co.uk/caching.

 

Updates:

* Now imports altitudes from .GPX files

* Clear button now changes caption for .mps imports

* Made .mps imports display progress on cache counter

* Use a standard file-dialog for locating Mapsource.exe

* Added support for importing TopoGrafix .loc format

 

I've had a few requests for support for other file formats. Well, I'm writing EasyMPS pretty much for my own benefit (since I use Mapsource), but writing in sugegstions as they will benefit me too. I'm not keen on spending laods of time working out the file structure of other file formats, but if people want to supply me with a file format/structure then I'm happy to write the import/export code, as that doesn't take long at all.

 

Enjoy, and Happy Caching!

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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Nice program Ian. It worked right out of the bag. I especially like the fact that it goes straight to MapSource via .mps rather than messing around with .wpt files. I'd like to know how you managed that as Garmin wasn't interested in sharing the file format. Granted, I was too lazy to reverse it on my own.

 

I'll share somethings with you I learned writing GeoBuddy. First, no good deed goes unpunished as people will always pester you for features. For example:

 

Since I've got MapSource 4.10, I'd prefer to have the waypoint icons as they are in the GPX file--"geocache" and "geocache found" not just "geocache".

 

Perhaps a little modding of the waypoint name on the way through (virtual caches get VC prefix, multi-caches get MC, etc.)

 

The next thing is, there's lots of good people out there who will send you cool stuff if you add their pet features. During the anthrax scare, someone sent me an anonymous package in the post. Turns out it was a present from a happy user of GeoBuddy in British Columbia.

 

Keep up the good work.

--

N35°32.981 W98°34.631

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How did I manage it? I manually decoded the .mps file format. Slowly and methodically, i changed waypoint properties one at a time, until I was sure that I had worked out which bytes stored which data. then it was a case of finding out how the data was stored. Took me about 10 hours of decoding in total, I guess.

 

I'll have a look at some of the options you mentioned...especialyl if you'll send me cool stuff!

 

Cache on.

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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If someone can tell me the Mapsend file format, I can easily write in exporting to Mapsend from EasyMPS (Hey, MPS can even mean MaPSend...maybe).

 

Does anyone have a detailed layout of the dtat structure within Mapsend files? I don't have a copy of Mapsend, so can't do the legwork myself unfortunately icon_frown.gif

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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quote:
Originally posted by Huga:

 

Does anyone have a detailed layout of the dtat structure within Mapsend files?


 

Magellan, unlike Garmin, publishes their file formats. The doc and pdf are on the Magellan yahoo groups.

 

But unless you're in to needless pain, why not just call GPSBabel under the covers to let it do the heavy lifting for you? If you can read, say, mapsource files, let GPSBabel convert mapsend to mapsource and then let your program do the UI stuff? That approach would get you Mapsend support and a few dozen other formats just for the cost of building a command line and calling exec.

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Robert:

 

That's certainly an idea, but doesn't GPSBabel already have a nice UI? There's not a lot more that mine does (other than icon and display modes).

Plus it's more a personal challenge for me, and writing the code is more fun...or something icon_smile.gif

 

I might have a look ta plugging into GPSBabel for some formats though. Could be an idea for expanding stuff icon_smile.gif

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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Tally ho, a new version for a new day.

 

Version 0.45.133 is now available at www.iancowley.co.uk/caching.

 

What's in the new version? Well, it now has:

* An option to preserve detected icons from .mps and .gpx imports (.loc tends not to have icons stored).

* An option to modify the waypoint name to MC____, VC____, WC____ and LC____ according to the cache type as stored in GPX files.

 

With the icons, non-detected icons are converted to whatever the icon setting is. So if you import a GPX, and then a .loc, all the .loc waypoints will have their icons set to (e.g.) flag, but the .gpx waypoints should be preserved. If you see what I mean.

 

With the names, waypoints for which no detectable cache type is found, the waypoint name remains as GC____.

 

Hope that keeps ya going! As ever, bugs, problems and suggestions either to the forum or to EasyMPS@iancowley.co.uk.

 

Cache on.

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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quote:
Originally posted by Huga:

 

That's certainly an idea, but doesn't GPSBabel already have a nice UI?


 

It doesn't try to be an interactive waypoint editor. It just picks stuff up from one or more formats and puts it down in one or more formats, sometimes tweaking them as we go. I won't talk you out of doing your own from scratch as long as you know the options. I'd hate for you to spend time writing something and then kick yourself saying, "wow, I could have had 30+ file formats and most of the receivers just by calling a program I didn't have to write". icon_wink.gif There are good opportunities to partner on such things.

 

As an example, GPSBabel already knows how to set icon types based on the Groundspeak/GPX extensions. OTOH, if you've got the icon thing really, really figured out in Mapsource, GPSBabel could stand to learn from that trick. I've still not figured out the zillion variants of Mapsource icons and how they map into Mapsource-of-the-week and all the receiver mutants.

 

OTOH, if doing it brings joy to your life, let me not discourage you!

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Based on some requests, there's yet another update (I'll hit version 1.00 soon as slow down with the new versions, but I like people to have the latest on offer)

 

Version 0.46.139 is available at www.iancowley.co.uk/caching.

 

Cache on.

New features/fixes include:

* Fixed infinite loop when attempting to import routes from .LOC files

* Removed annoying (debug tool) messagebox saying the type of each waypoint

* Fixed detection of Locationless caches for name modding

* Fixed invalid drive selection crash

* Expanded .GPX icon preserve to first 119 Mapsource icons (Thanks to Eric Cloninger)

* Added icon preserve for importing .LOC files

* Added preservation of Display mode for MPS files

 

Any more suggestions you guys have, I'm happy to help. And remember, bugs, suggestions and problems to EasyMPS@iancowley.co.uk

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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Due to some recent feedback, I've updated EasyMPS to Version 0.48 build 149. Woohoo!

 

Check it out at www.iancowley.co.uk/caching/, as ever.

 

Main changes are:

* Typo fix in help, and updated help

* Changed "Generate file" method to drop-box

* Added Terrabyte .LOC format as an output format

* Fixed scripting bug when trying to save without importing

*Changed scripting/command-line inputs so that it's more flexible, and easier to code. BE WARNED - CHECK /? FROM A COMMAND LINE!

*Slight changes in UI text and layout

 

For those that didn't realise, EasyMPS can be run from a command prompt, with various options (so scripting can be set up if you have consistent filesnames). There are flags for importing, exporting and opening in Mapsource. Check out "easymps /?" from a command prompt to see what's on offer.

 

Suggestions, bugs, problems, questions, comments and money (I wish!) to EasyMPS@iancowley.co.uk please.

 

Cache on.

 

--

**Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children**

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I just found this program today and it's useful for me for just one reason. (But it is an important reason). I get my GPX files from pocket queries and use GPX Spinner to munge the waypoint names and create HTML files that I can customize. I use Watcher to find caches of interest. I have been using GPSBabel to convert my GPX fles to Mapsource format. I use Mapsource to display caches on a map. I want to display Symbol and description for my waypoints when in Mapsource. Short of going through the dialog and changing each waypoint by hand there is no way to accomplish this. I haven't found a magical XML tag that specifies how the waypoint should appear when converted from GPX to Mapsource. EasyMPS seems to be the answer! I can do everything the else the way I have it set up. I just have one final extra step to convert the .mps file that says display "Symbol and Name" to a .mps file that says display "Symbol and Description". Tres cool! Thank you.

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quote:
Originally posted by freecoder:

I want to display Symbol and description for my waypoints when in Mapsource. Short of going through the dialog and changing each waypoint by hand there is no way to accomplish this. I haven't found a magical XML tag that specifies how the waypoint should appear when converted from GPX to Mapsource.


 

If EasyMPS works for you, great! (Huga has been a huge help to GPSBabel in the Mapsend department.) But I'll throw this out for the other GPSBabel users...

 

I think you're looking for the 'deficon' option in GPSBabel. There have been very recent additional improvements in the icon mapping for Garmin products - all it took was a Garmin-using programmer to take it by the horns - that improved the situation. Additionally, GPSBabel can set icon types by cache found, although it doesn't really allow runtime customization. That would be an interesting feature to add, though, now that I think about it...

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Sorry, but it looks to me like deficon will define the icon you want to use for your waypoints Like waypoint, Exit, Geocache, etc). What I am talking about is a way to define what Garmin calls the waypoint "Display" property, whether it displays the symbol, symbol & name, or symbopl & description. Even after being munged by GPX Spinner, waypoint names are still pretty cryptic and I like to see the symbol and the description rather than the default behavior of showing symbol and name. With that said, is there something in gpsbabel that will do this?

 

Thanks

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quote:
Originally posted by freecoder:

What I am talking about is a way to define what Garmin calls the waypoint "Display" property, whether it displays the symbol, symbol & name, or symbopl & description.


From your profile, I hope this isn't too presumptious of a question, but are you willing to code it? I can show you the byte in the mapsource files that should be set to a 0, a 1, or a 2 for each of those options if this is something you'd find useful enough to code.

quote:

Even after being munged by GPX Spinner, waypoint names are still pretty cryptic and I like to see the symbol and the description rather than the default behavior of showing symbol and name. With that said, is there something in gpsbabel that will do this?

 

Thanks


It's likely that pointing GPSBabel's 'make smart shortnames' feature at Spinner's output would do worse for readability than either program by itself. (They each work by smartly throwing away vowels, spaces, etc.) Describe what you find cryptic on the gpsbabel mailing list (so as not to further distract on this thread) and we'll see what we can do. I find the use of "synthesize shortnames" to be quite satisfactory on any unit with at least 8 character waypoint names.

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Robertlipe,

 

Yes I would be willing to code it, it doesn't look too hard and the code to poke the value into the structure is already there. I just don't have any time to do it until I get back from Europe in August. If it's still on my list then I will look at it.

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