Generating Custom Garmin GPS Maps : Part 2

By Adam Newham



The following article is a follow up article on how to generate downloadable maps for Garmin's range of GPS receivers using one of the new GUI's that have appeared in the last year. This article will focus on the use of MapEdit. The GUI that originally shipped with GPSMapper is no longer supported by it's authors. I also took a look at GlobGPS, but in my opinion MapEdit has a better feature set/easier to use despite the fact that GlobGPS has calibration integrated into the application.

As with the original article, it is still required to have some form of basis for the map you wish to create. This process simply removed the requirement of tracing the files in OziExplorer and the tedious task of generating the text control file.

The basis for your map can be anything from; an existing track taken with you GPS, a set of waypoints, or for my example an aerial photograph. I currently use UsaPhotoMap in combination with BigJpeg due to its ease of use and that it gives both aerial photographs and topographic maps. If you are using this process I suggest that you take note of two waypoints that can be used later as calibration points.

This article assumes that the tools required are installed and configured as per the previous article.

The Example

USA PhotoMap

The following example will create a map from scratch using aerial photograph downloaded using TeraServer.

Top Left N 32.915435 W 117.255387 N 32 54.9260' W 117 15.3232' N 32 54' 55.56" W 117 15' 19.39" Easting 476,120 Northing 3,641,941 z11y18209 x2380 32.54 -117.15

Bottom Right N 32.889138 W 117.242589 N 32 53.3482' W 117 14.5553' N 32 53' 20.89" W 117 14' 33.32" Easting 477,310 Northing 3,639,023 z11y18195 x2386 32.53 -117.14




The following file is a partial map of Torrey Pines.

Tip: If you have multiple maps, using the "File/Add" option you are able to import each of them into the work area. Then using the mask option select the area of interest and right-click cut outside. This is useful when wanting to perform the equivalent of a merge and want to avoid having a "blank" area's just outside of your custom map when used with Garmin supplied maps.

Generating Map


Generating the Map

Tool Installation

The following tools need to be installed (listed in the order they are required)


The following is a selection of commonly asked questions I've received since I wrote the first article.

Q: Can I download a image (scan/photograph or other bitmap image) directly to my GPS receiver?

A: No, GPS receivers require specially formatted maps which are in "vector" format i.e. a sequence of coordinates representing individual lines rather than "bitmaps" which typically represents an image such as a photograph.

Q: Do you know of a program similar GPS Mapper for my brand "X" receiver

A: There might well be, but as a Garmin owner I am unfamiliar with other brands that might or might not have comparable utilities available for them.

Q: GPSMapper doesn't seen to generate maps correctly, what is wrong?

A: Make sure that you're able to generate the example map that comes with GPSMapper. It's located in the directory where you installed GPSMapper under SampleMap or Test_map. Note, I am not the author of this program. I've simply written this How-To FAQ to assist enthusiasts.

Q: I have Garmin's "X" GPS receiver. Will this method work for it?

A: Any of Garmin's GPS receivers that have mapping capability will work with this process. Garmin GPS receivers that support POI should still be able to display POI information contained in the maps, but will not be able to display the maps themselves.

Questions?  Corrections?  Additions?  Click HERE to send  Email to author Adam Newham

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