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Topics - Boyd

General Discussion /
September 16, 2021, 08:18:52 AM
Some of you are probably familiar with the GPSReview forums, I have been a moderator there for many years. Starting on September 13, I have been getting "Invalid URL" error messages when I go to

It's unclear at this point exactly what is happening, but there's a good chance the company that owns the site just decided to pull the plug without warning. I'm in touch with someone who should know, he is also uncertain what's going on but says he hopes to know more soon.

Anyway, this may very well be the end. Last year the plug was pulled on the the GPSPassion forums in a similar way with no warning. LaptopGPS also shut down last year, but that was announced in advance.

This sure feels like the beginning of the end of dedicated GPS devices. Not something that will happen overnight, but the trajectory seems pretty clear. Garmin is the only company that still makes handheld devices for the US market, giving them a de-facto monopoly.

We shall see. My Montana 600 died several years ago and I am not going to replace it. Still use a Garmin DriveTrack 71 in the car and like it. But I am no longer offering Garmin format maps on my own site and am developing my own free GPS web app as an alternative.

Interesting times, for sure. Let's hope the lights stay on here at GPSFileDepot!  :)
This is pretty surprising, and makes Garmin look even more desparate these days. New firmware for some handheld devices is intentionally disabling routing on OSM maps - this could affect some of the maps here at gpsfiledepot. For example, see this eTrex firmware update changelog:

More information in this thread
Last weekend a user informed me of problems downloading one of my maps. To make a long story short... I finally traced the issue to a plug-in that wasn't compatible with the new Wordpress software on my website. To make things worse, when I attempted to update the plug-in, the process failed, corrupting all my download pages and making them blank!  >:(

Sorry if you've been unable to download any of my maps, not exactly sure when this problem started but I suspect it's pretty recent. Am going through my whole site now and fixing the problems, but it may take another day or so to complete. See this support thread for more detailed information:
We are getting a lot of posts about this in the forums - see this thread:

Seems like this should be covered by a "sticky thread" or some kind of alert message....
Site Support / "Editor selected" maps
April 17, 2018, 09:40:47 AM
Many of the "editor selected" maps (shown in a box on the custom maps page) are getting quite old, and many (if not most) have the Windows registry bug. This is a constant source of confusion and frustration to new users, here's a thread from today that is typical: I'm sure there are others who have this problem but don't bother registering and posting to the forum.

Unfortunately I don't think the authors have any intention of updating most of these maps, so you might reconsider the recommendation for "editor selection". I realize this could take awhile, so another option might be eliminating the "editor selected" box altogether.

Just a suggestion... what do you think?
Here's a project I spent a lot of time on a few years ago, then lost interest and forgot all about it. I pulled the source files off my computer because they were taking up so much space, and now it appears that I erased the drive they were archived on. So everything, including the custom software I wrote is now gone and only the map itself remains. Easy come, easy go! ;)

This map is now available for download for the amusement my fellow mapmakers and advanced users:

It really highlights the difference in rendering engines across Garmin's product line. Kind of surprising how the Montana mangles it (looks like a watercolor sketch of a map). My guess is that Garmin plays a little loose with the math to speed up some of their devices. Can't really blame them of course, I'm doing things they never intended to support with their map format. :)

I have an odd problem that I just can't figure out. Looking at a map I made a few years ago, all the elevations are too high. On closer examination, it appears that Basecamp (also Mapsource) think the elevation units are meters when they should be feet. So all the numbers are 3.25 times too large. For example, an elevation that should be displayed as 80 is actually shown as 260. I have Basecamp units set to feet in the preferences. If I change the preference to meters then it shows an elevation of 80 meters.

The map was created in Globalmapper and correctly shows the elevations in feet. I export as an MP file, it appears to be correct in GPSMapEdit. Here is the header


Here's an example contour line


What could be wrong here? If I look at another MP file that shows the correct elevations, I don't see any difference
Map Making Support / Globalmapper Mobile
June 22, 2016, 04:21:09 AM
Looks cool, but you need GM17 in order to exchange any data with the app:
Map Making Support / iOS Map Making Software
December 08, 2015, 04:12:05 PM
I just got a big iPhone 6s Plus and am interested in using it to create/edit shapefiles. The gis-kit/gis-pro apps look very interesting, but are rather expensive - $100 for the kit or $300 for the pro version.

Both versions can import shapefiles but  unfortunately, you need the pro version to export shapefiles. That's too much for me. So looking around a bit more, I found igis, which is a free app.

Just getting started playing with this, but it looks good. To use raster imagery, you need to convert it to a tileset with the free MapTiler program

The free version is limited to images no larger than 10000 x 10000 pixels and there are various paid versions with different capabilities. It runs on windows, macosx and linux. I exported a geotiff 1 foot per pixel aerial image from Globalmapper as a test. After converting with Maptiler, I had no problem importing it into igis via iTunes.

I then exported a shapefile containing buildings (polygons) from Globalmapper and had no problem importing it in igis using iTunes file transfer. You can also use dropbox or e-mail to transfer files in both directions.

I was able to create a new polygon of a building in igis, then export the shapefile back to my computer using iTunes. Opened the file in Globalmapper and my new building was there as expected. Creating polygons with their user interface was a little shaky on the first try, but practice should help. A stylus might also help, but not sure what would be compatible with the iPhone.

So it actually works, and it's free. :) There are a lot of other capabilities that I will explore soon. There's a pro version that adds some additional features, and the price looks reasonable - $5/month or $20/year.

Anyone else using iOS to make maps? What else is available?
Just stumbled on this while searching for something else:

Looks like it does everything that mapsetToolkit does, plus some interesting extras. Anyone try it? 14 day free demo that (apparently) only lets you create one mapset with a fixed ID number.
Have spent the past few days updating my NHD data to clean up old problems. Built a filemaker relational database that translates FCODE into MP_TYPE and GM_TYPE so all the objects are classified the way I want for Globalmapper and cgpsmapper.

But when I look at the results, there is almost no wetland data. In the past I've used the National Map to download NHD, but that is very confusing and tedious. Finally figured out that I could directly ftp everything here, which makes it much easier:

I have downloaded the highest resolution HU8 shapefiles directly and also the highest resolution files for the whole state. The wetland data  (Swamp/Marsh, FCODE = 46600) just isn't there. Here's an example of the current 2015 download. Water is blue, wetlands are green.

Compare that to the old 2010 data I have archived. No, all these wetlands have not dried up! ;)

Am I doing something wrong? It is not a question of how I am processing the data. The greens areas just aren't in the 2015 files. I believe the 2010 data was downloaded directly from the NHD before it was moved to the National Map.

Site Support / Forum format vs. images in posts
March 08, 2015, 10:27:45 AM
Is there some simple global setting in the forum software that would allow us to view the forum in a wider window? If you post an image, it is cut off at something like 600 pixels wide. You can see the rest of the image by scrolling the entire post but then the left side of all the text is offscreen.

This seems like something left over from the days when 1024x768 was the standard monitor resolution.  ;) On a forum dedicated to the discussion of maps, it sure would be nice if we could view the page in a larger window without cutting off the images.

Anyway, just a suggestion, if there's some easy way to fix it. Thanks!  :)
I don't have a 64, but thought this was interesting...

QuoteI had spoken to Garmin tech support about this, and they suggested that a corrupted map file could cause this. In my case, removing the "My Trails" map from cured this condition. I have downloaded the updated "My Trails" map but it does the same thing. I also noticed that when My Trails was enabled, it disabled the Garmin 24k Topo map and would only show the generic basemap instead. I had emailed the author of My Trails, but I have not yet seen a resolution to that. I have no such problems with other maps from gpsfiledepot, just this one. But taking My Trails off the device cured this issue of the zoom data fields getting corrupted and crashing the 64s.
Was just looking at and this caught my eye. I rarely use mapinstall mysef so I have not experienced this. But I wonder if it could explain some of the threads we've seen here about installation problems?

QuoteMapinstall & TYP files

Latest version of Mapinstall has some very useful features.

However, you may find maps selected and so called installed on your gps may not appear;it does not necessaily create gmapsupps if the imgs are not created by Garmin.

Individual TYP files are ignored as it seems to presume that non topo imgs all have the save typ file!
This is very clever.   :)

Anybody try typwiz 4 yet? He is using the same trick to create multicolored bitmaps that I've used in my own maps for a number of years (stacking duplicate polygons with transparent bitmaps), but this simplifies the process.
Map Making Support / Raster imagery inside .img files?
November 15, 2013, 06:16:37 AM
Is this actually possible on new Garmin devices, such as the Nuvi? I have read some posts on another site that suggest it's now supported. Now this is a bit of a tricky topic since GPSFileDepot does not allow discussion of hacking Garmin firmware or software. So please don't post anything specific that would cause this thread to get deleted. I'm not posting a link to the discussion I saw on the other site for this reason.  ;)

But I'm just curious as to what hidden capabilities the newer devices may have. Does Garmin use this capability in their own maps? I know that some of their marine maps contained raster imagery before Garmin introduced Birdseye or "custom maps".

From what I have read, no firmware hacks would be needed for a compatible device to show raster images contained in an .img file but the only way to create such a file would be to use Garmin's proprietary software.

In case it's not clear, I am not talking about turning a raster image into a vector image but actually embedding a real raster image in an .img file.
Map Making Support / Pseudo-photorealism
October 03, 2013, 11:53:41 AM
New Jersey has some excellent land use/landcover data available for download ( , and I used it to make this map about 3 years ago:

I decided to re-visit this recently with the goal of making simulated aerial imagery that would be compatible with all Garmin devices. The Nuvi 3000 series does a really great job of realtime 3d rendering, so it has been especially tweaked for them (although it works fine in 2d mode on older models). I have been testing on a Nuvi 3550 and Dezl 760 and they have no problem rendering the map at highway speed. The map tiles are actually smaller than my NJ topo.

This is done with extensive use of custom types, and that puts a lot of limits on what can be done since they only support 32x32 bitmaps in two colors (or one color plus transparency). To work around this, I have duplicated some polygons to add a third color with a transparent overlay. I thought that typwiz 3 was going to support additional colors, but it doesn't seem to offer that for polygons.

One of the biggest challenges has been creating simulated buildings for suburban/urban areas, but I'm getting there. Although the Nuvi correctly scales the bitmapped types in perspective, it does not scale them when you zoom in and out. So the map only works well through a limited zoom range (about .2 miles through .5 miles). I could improve on this using multiple bit levels and draw priorities, but I think I will run out of usuable custom types before I get to that. ;)

This is still just an experimental map that covers a small area, but I hope to expand to the whole state and make it available here (someday).

Here's what it looks like in Mapsource.

And on a couple vintage devices (Nuvi 205 and 60csx). The .typ file could be tweaked to make it look better on these.

(Note: you have to scroll the web page to the right to see the full images above)
Map Making Support / GlobalMapper 15 released
September 19, 2013, 05:58:58 AM

Is anyone upgrading? I'm still on version 12 and it really does just about everything I need. The one new feature that would be nice is the ability to pass variables to GM scripts from the command line. That's something I requested long ago in their forums - it would allow me to use the database applications I've developed to actually launch Globalmapper and do automated processing.

List price is $450 but you can get 10% off here:

Version 14 users can upgrade for $169. The e-mail I received said that users of older versions might be eligible for a 25% discount if they contact [email protected]

This reminds me of the VectorWorks CAD software I have used for almost 20 years. "Back in the day" it was a $400 program, then the company was purchased by a larger one who added many new features (that I don't need) and it is now something like a $1500 program. Originally it filled a niche as a low cost CAD package, then they added enough features for it to be viewed as an AutoCAD alternative. Looks like the same thing may be happening with Globalmapper vs ArcGIS.

Oh well, good tools aren't cheap I guess. I am sticking with version 12.  :)
Seriously. With more recent firmware, I see this on two different Nuvi's as well as my Montana. Try doing an address search on your GPS for anything you like - streets, cities, POI's. The word Mill is always capitalized. For example:

MILL Haven Rd
Paper MILL Playhouse

If you have a moment, try this and if you get the same thing post what model GPS you're using. Basecamp doesn't do this, so I think it's a recent global change in Garmin firmware. Very strange.
NOTE 6/5/23: Sorry, the illustrations for this post no longer exist and I no longer recommend this approach anyway. I believe you can download landcover from openstreetmap now.

Some of you know this has been a pet topic of mine.  :) After lots of trial and error, I have a procedure that I'm pretty happy with so I would like to share it. You will need Globalmapper and either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (could also be done with GIMP I'm sure). The procedure is pretty straightforward but involves a number of steps that I will summarize below.

This tutorial assumes you have some basic knowledge of the NLCD and its color coding scheme, although I will show the exact process that I used.

First you need to download the 2006 NLCD imagery, which is one big file covering the entire US. I suggest you crop this down to a very small area for the purpose of experimenting because processing time can be significant with a large file. For example, one USGS 24k quad is about 500x500 pixels and will process pretty quickly.

This is what you should initially see in Globalmapper.

Right-click the image layer in the Control Center and create area features. This function creates polygons from raster images based on the criteria you specify.

I have decided to only extract two things from the image: forest cover and populated areas. I'll leave it up to you to work out similar techniques for extracting other data. Create a layer called forest using the option for selected colors, then choose the colors shown - Palette ID numbers 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8. These are different kinds of vegetation recognized by the NLCD.

After completing this, use the following options to extract the populated areas (which I will call "residential") - palette ID numbers 11, 12 and 13. I am also creating a new layer called residential for these.

This is what you should now see.

Change the Globalmapper background color to black - this will help isolate the colors in Photoshop.

Select all objects on the residential layer, specify a custom style with a null border and solid fill of primary red (RGB value of 255,0,0).

Repeat this for the forest layer using primary green as the fill (RGB 0,255,0). You should now see something like this

We will now export the results as a TIFF raster image using the following options. I am up-sampling the image in order to create a smoother final result (anti-aliasing). I find that 50 feet/pixel is a reasonable setting for a 24k map but feel free to try other values. Processing time and file size will increase with higher settings, lower settings may look too "jaggy". Also be sure to save a TFW and PRJ file or you will have a problem opening it in Globalmapper after modifying in Photoshop.

(continued in next post)