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General Category => Map Making Support => Topic started by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 10:22:51 AM

Title: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 10:22:51 AM
Is there any kind of tutorial or other article about how to convert a shape file from ArcGIS to a gmapi file that I can then upload to several Garmin GPS units?  I've created Custom Maps for Garmin, but this would be polygon data.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 10, 2011, 10:29:39 AM
The only way that I know to do this would be to make a regular garmin map (.img files) and install it into Mapsource/Basecamp on Windows. You would then use MapConverter to turn it into a Mac file: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/MapSource_TransferringMapProductsfromaPCtoaMacComputer.pdf

Use the tutorials on this site to make the map for a Windows machine. I am not aware of any way to do what you want completely on the Mac.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 10:39:32 AM
Is there a tutorial for creating the .img file?  I can save out the shape file to a .kmz file if that would be easier to convert???
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 10, 2011, 10:44:06 AM
Covered in great detail here: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/tutorials/how-to-create-garmin-topo-maps/

Making a single .img file is actually pretty simple. But installing it into Mapsource is a bit more complicated. Don't know what you are trying to do, but another approach would be to export the shapefile data as a calibrated raster image, then turn it into a "custom map".
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 11:02:29 AM
I've got a client who is interested in getting all of his property into something similar to the Google Earth kmz file on his iPhone, but wants it on his Garmin Nuvi.  Is that how things like the PLSS Overlay are created?
I see that you are a fellow FileMaker user.  I've been using it for over 12 years now and find new things to do with it all time.  I'm not a programmer, just a user, but I get a friend to help me if when it comes to serious programming in the app.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: maps4gps on March 10, 2011, 11:36:28 AM
My PLSS overlay mapset was created from State file data in vector shape file format downloaded from BLM's public websited. 
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 10, 2011, 11:38:54 AM
Cool... I go way back with Filemaker, to their first version sometime in the 1980's  :)

Do you want to get an aerial image onto a Nuvi? That's not really possible unfortunately. There are a couple programs that use hacks to approximate it, but the Nuvi really isn't the platform for this kind of thing.

There is also no support for custom maps (.kmz files) on the Nuvi.

So you're correct then, you need to create a vector based (.img file) map for the Nuvi. This just isn't supported in any thorough way on the Mac (and I have used Macs exclusively since 1985... except for mapmaking).

If you have access to a Windows machine, look at Mapwel: http://mapwel.eu/. It is the only all-in-one program for creating Garmin maps, and is also probably the most user-friendly. It should import your shapefiles.

It also tries to turn raster imagery (aerial photos) into vector images, with varying degrees of success. You can use all the features on your computer with the free demo, but you have to purchase to be able to send a file to the GPS.

This program will only create the file to use in the GPS however, and not all the files needed to use the map on a computer in Mapsource.

[edit]Now I'm confused... are we no longer talking about creating a Mac file from shapefiles? What exactly are you trying to put onto the Nuvi?
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 11:55:20 AM
Sounds like we have a lot in common.  I've been using the Mac since the first release in '84 and only use windows for MS Access, which I convert into FM, and for ArcGIS.  I'm running Parallels for those, but keep all my data on the Mac side to keep it more secure.

I'm trying to put property boundary file on the Nuvi.  I have it in ArcGIS as a shape file (polygon) but can convert to a .kmz file if that would be easier to convert.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 12:02:21 PM
My PLSS overlay mapset was created from State file data in vector shape file format downloaded from BLM's public websited. 

And did you use the process described in the Tutorial that Boyd is talking about or a different method?  I am looking to do something very similar to what you have done, except I'll be using some property boundaries that I have mapped in a polygon shape file.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 10, 2011, 12:24:12 PM
Have a look at Mapwel. It will open the shapefile, allow you to customize their appearance, and export them an .img file that you can drop into the Nuvi. Putting it into the Mapsource format and converting it for use on a Mac are more complicated.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: maps4gps on March 10, 2011, 12:25:49 PM
I had purchased GlobalMapper a few months before OZ created this site and the tutorials.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 10, 2011, 12:36:24 PM
Thanks guys - I really appreciate the help....
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 10, 2011, 01:15:39 PM
Globalmapper is a fantastic program that can do almost anything (except create the actual .img file). You can download the free version at globalmapper.com and play around with it, but it won't export files.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 11, 2011, 05:05:41 AM
Now I have to figure out why the img file replaced the existing dataset instead of Merging it like it should have (I marked the check box for Merge).  It seems like MapWell downloaded the existing map file from the Garmin, then said it processed, then uploaded to the GPS.  But what I ended up with was a file that didn't have any of the data showing.  When I went back in to MapWell and told it to just send that one file, it did send it fine.  It just looks like it may have trouble with the Merge.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: Boyd on March 11, 2011, 06:24:08 AM
I have never tried to merge maps with Mapwel. If you're having problems, they have a support forum on yahoo: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mapwel/
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 11, 2011, 06:39:23 AM
Thanks Boyd - I'll check it out.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 16, 2011, 03:09:46 PM
I was able to merge maps fine using Mapwel, but even after setting the map as "Transparent" it still covers up the built in maps.  Even tried setting the Draw Priority all the way up and all the way down with no luck.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: maps4gps on March 16, 2011, 04:09:07 PM
Transparent is a misnomer; better verbage would be overlay.  The data in such a mapset displays on top of other data.  This is generally OK for point and lines; however, polygons will cover-up the 'base map'  data.  jbensman 'solved' this issue by using a custom type for the polygon consisting of alternating dots of colors and clear points between them.  Thus enough of the 'base map' features are visible to tell they are there and what they are. 
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 16, 2011, 04:13:17 PM
Makes sense - thx. 

I wonder if there is any way to get that custom type instead of recreating the wheel???
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: jbensman on March 16, 2011, 05:03:09 PM
Its copyrighted.  As long as it is for non commerical use, I will grant you permision to use the typ file from Eastern Land Owership (it will be installed in the directory with the img files).  If you only have need for one type of polygon, use forest.  If you need more types of polygons, let me know and I can tell you some more you can use.  You still have to set the map to transparent.
Title: Re: Tutorial for converting a shape file into a gmapi file for Garmin units?
Post by: wredmonds on March 16, 2011, 05:18:25 PM
Thanks - I just got through going into the User Defined Styles and turning off every other pixel and then turning off the background and it works great.  I can still see the other map data that you had created underneath my new polygons.