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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: sjb on November 01, 2017, 07:14:29 PM

Title: What's the trick?
Post by: sjb on November 01, 2017, 07:14:29 PM
I read the tutorials, downloaded the software, downloaded the map files, and made a reasonable attempt to install the files.  Basecamp found the Idaho maps, but it did not find the Oregon or Washington files, and the tutorial indicated that I needed to download a couple programs to convert the img files, but the links to one of the files (cgpsmapper) is an internet dead-end.  It's pretty cool that folks are attempting to provide free maps, but why is it so difficult to use them?  I'm not a total software idiot, and am capable of writing some fairly complicated apps in VBA.  The tutorials suggest it's just a click or two to get them loaded, but is this really something you need to spend an afternoon trying to figure out? 
Title: Re: What's the trick?
Post by: Boyd on November 02, 2017, 04:22:48 AM
Post links to the specific maps you had problems with if you want someone to help. But look on the page for each map first. Does it have in icon that says "Installer"? Here's an example:

The vast majority of maps on this site include an installer. You do not need cgpsmapper for this kind of map. All that should be needed is to run the installer. In other words, you should never need to use this tutorial (which is apparently what you were talking about)

cgpsmapper and mapsettoolkit are used by people who make maps. Some very old maps on this site may require them but I suggest you don't use those maps. The cgpsmapper author discontinued development a number of years ago and his website is now gone. The software can still be found using the wayback machine at if needed, but you should not need it.

Most of the problems with maps on this site can be traced to an installer script used by most mapmakers that broke with the introduction of 64 bit Windows 7. Maps using this installer don't have the proper registry keys to be recognized by Basecamp. The "fix" for this is to first install a map that does have the proper keys, then the broken maps should work. Typically we recommend that you remove any maps that aren't working (the same way you would uninstall any Windows program). Then install this map which is known to have a good installer. You don't need to use the map, just install it:

Now re-install the broken maps. This usually fixes things, but if the map still doesn't work then something else is probably wrong and it's may be best to just find another map. Another issue surfaced recently when Garmin updated Basecamp. Apparently some maps only work if they are installed in a specific location. This appears to be relatively rare, based on posts I've seen here.

The maps here were made by many different people with different levels of experience and goals so you can't generalize about them. But they are free and "you get what you pay for". If this is frustrating then you can purchase maps from Garmin who will "hold your hand" throughout the process if you have problems.

However, most people will be able to find free maps that work well if they devote a little time and seek help with problems here in the forums.

Also, you need to understand that Garmin's software license specifically forbids people from making third party maps like the ones on this site. They have never published the specs of their map format and consider it proprietary. However they recognize that free maps help sell their GPS so they just "look the other way". But the cgpsmapper software used by most authors here was reverse-engineered and the author finally abandoned it out of frustration with Garmin's policy. He has tried to sell the source code for a number of years but evidently nobody was interested, so it's just gone now.
Title: Re: What's the trick?
Post by: sjb on November 04, 2017, 01:17:22 PM
1) So the trick was to load the file that sets the keys in the registry for 64 bit Win 7.  Thank you very much.  It did the trick.
2) The file that I could not find an .exe file in was: 'WA_USGS_OSM.gmap' .  There was another file for Wa that did install correctly, so I'll just avoid anything that doesn't appear to have an installer.
Title: Re: What's the trick?
Post by: Boyd on November 05, 2017, 04:17:33 AM
.gmap files are a whole different ball of wax. This is Garmin's newer map format that does not use the Windows Registry. When Garmin started supporting the Macintosh, they needed a file-based format since there is no registry on the Mac and that led to .gmap. Later, Garmin moved all their own maps to the .gmap format and  (AFAIK) stopped making the registry based maps long ago.

I have tried for many years to get the mapmakers here to embrace .gmap and have had little success. To be fair, there really aren't any tools to natively create .gmap files, you have to make a traditional registry based map and convert it.

Anyway, the beauty of .gmap is that you don't even need an installer. Just copy it to the correct directory on your computer an it wil be recognized by Basecamp and Mapsource. I use .gmap for my own maps and include an installer for the Windows version, but all it does is copy the files. It's even simpler on the Mac, just double-clicking a .gmap file launches MapManager and it copies the map to the correct location.

It's been a long time since I've worked on Garmin maps, but try pasting this into the address bar in Windows Explorer:


That should show you the correct location to copy your .gmap - or at least this used to work on Windows 7.