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Topics - Boyd

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Map Making Support / Raster imagery inside .img files?
« on: 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
« on: October 03, 2013, 10:53:41 AM »
New Jersey has some excellent land use/landcover data available for download (http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/lulc07cshp.html) , and I used it to make this map about 3 years ago: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/441/

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
« on: September 19, 2013, 04:58:58 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: http://www.globalmapperforum.com/global-mapper-pricing/

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.  :)

GPSr Units / Does your GPS capitalize the word MILL?
« on: July 11, 2013, 10:21:18 AM »
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.

Map Making Support / Tutorial: Make your own forest shading/landcover
« on: April 21, 2013, 12:14:13 PM »
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)

Map Making Support / Making maps for Lowrance
« on: April 09, 2013, 04:51:15 AM »
Recently I've gotten curious about other vector map formats, and realized that I knew next to nothing about Lowrance. Digging around on their site, they have something very cool - free emulators that you can download for many of their devices. These are like a "virtual gps" that works just like the real thing although they can't be used for navigation. What  a great idea - I wish Garmin would offer the same thing.

Anyway, I noticed that Globalmapper is able to export vector data in Lowrance's .lcm format so I tried a few tests. Didn't go well at first; when I used the 64 bit version of GM 12 I got an error that some kind of .dll was missing when I tried to export. I had the 32 bit version handy on my Windows tablet, so I made a really simple "map"with only one line object and tried exporting. It seemed to hang for awhile, and when I looked it had created over 1100 files on my desktop where I wanted to save the map! Had to kill GM and delete all the files.

Still not ready to give up, I dug around and realized I also had the 32 bit version of GM on my desktop machine. This time it worked like a charm and I was able to install a simple map that contained major roads in my area. It wasn't pretty, but it worked on the emulator. So I tried exporting a full 24k quad from my NJ topo and that also worked fine.

Obviously it would take some work to clean this up and make it look good on Lowrance, but really the process was very straightforward. The cool thing is that you can export directly from Globalmapper and it is really fast - no need for cgpsmapper or other software.

Anyone else ever play with this? Does anyone actually have one of these devices? The hardware is interesting - 5" screen at 480x480 pixels. They are rather expensive, and I gather they dropped support for topo maps a couple years ago which made a lot of people mad. They have just released some new topo products though - http://www.gpscity.com/lowrance-topo-insight-pro-2013-east-microsd-card.html

Anyway, I suspect there are a bunch of people out there who would love free maps for their Lowrance devices. If you want to play around with this, the emulators are available here: http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Support/Product-Emulators/ I have been playing with the Elite-5 Emulator.

To install a map, first find the emulator program folder - C:\Program Files (x86)\Navico\Elite-5 on my Vista system. Create a new folder named Maps0, then copy the .lcm file you exported from Globalmapper there. I suggest that you create a temporary folder somewhere and use it when you export your globalmapper file.... just in case it decides to create thousands of files like it did with my earlier test.  :)

« on: April 02, 2013, 08:40:06 AM »
I got a Garmin GLO last week and have been putting it through its paces. If you aren't familiar with the GLO, it's a very small GLONASS-enabled bluetooth GPS receiver that sends position data to applications running on a laptop, tablet or phone.

While this specific device may not have broad appeal, the GLONASS performance is remarkable. Here's a test I did this morning side by side with my 60csx and Montana sitting stationary at a known location. You can see that the GLO is a completely different kind of device. It appears to have created less points than the other devices, but in fact they're all there, just stacked on top of each other. I don't think I will buy another handheld unless it also has GLONASS.  :)

Map Making Support / TypWiz 4 to support multi-color polygon bitmaps?
« on: March 11, 2013, 06:05:53 AM »
I have always wanted to do this so will be very interested to have a look at TypWiz 4 when it is introduced this spring.  :D


Using The Maps/Garmin Software / Multiple map display coming to Basecamp
« on: February 07, 2013, 05:11:06 AM »
See the following post from one of the Basecamp developers: https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?34189-Wish-list-for-Basecamp&p=164244#post164244

Quote from: FALAGAR
In the future, you will hopefully be able to display more than 1 map at the same time which should solve this issue. (This future is probably still a distance away, I don't think this will happen in 4.2.)

Map Making Support / Corrupt/bogus downloads from the National Map
« on: January 10, 2013, 11:12:04 AM »
Generally speaking I like the National Map better than the old seamless server. But I have found some bugs/anomalies. I have been downloading NED 1/9 arc second data using 24k reference polygons. Some of the downloads result in corrupt zip files ~800kb that can't be opened (a proper download would be in the 50-60MB range).

I don't think these are failed downloads, they are just quads for which no data is available. But the data selection dialog claims that 2011 NED 1/9 is available. These are areas where no data was available a couple years ago when I started collecting the NED 1/9, so again it isn't surprising. But you have to go through the whole process of ordering and downloading only to get the little garbage file.

Some of the 2011 NED 1/9 is actually available for download, but it's a crapshoot and the only way to find out is the make the download attempt. No big deal, just a small annoyance. I wonder if the 2011 data is actually available but they just haven't put it all online yet?

Anyone else see these kind of glitches with the National Map?

GPSr Units / New garmin models coming at CES next week
« on: January 05, 2013, 07:36:31 PM »
See: http://forums.gpsreview.net/viewtopic.php?p=182259#182259

Some interesting new features and hardware in the Nuvi series, but nothing that gets me very excited. If the specs are correct, it appears they are introducing a 7" device with a resolution of only 480x272.  :o

Now let's see what they might have in the handheld department. There have been rumors of new Oregon and Edge models but I haven't seen any specifics.

General Discussion / Mapping out the new year
« on: January 05, 2013, 12:07:55 PM »
What kinds of projects are other mapmakers planning for the year ahead?

For starters, I am learning my way around the Google Maps API and have an alpha version of my LIDAR based map of the New Jersey Pine Barrens running in a browser. Sitting here right now with a "Teach yourself Javascript" book next to the computer.  ;D

Kind of slow getting started, but it has only taken me about 3 days to get a barebones site up and running. Lots of files involved with this... using my settings, about 4,000 map tiles are required for each USGS 24k quad. I might transition this to some other kind of software since I'm not using any of the Google-specific features or maps, just their interface for displaying my own map data.

Also have an alpha version of another project which uses the same high-res LIDAR data in .kmz files as a Garmin Custom Map. I have a companion transparent Garmin Vector Map (.img file) containing roads and POI's that can be overlaid on the .kmz. Each USGS quad requires 16 .jpg files so that limits most Garmin handhelds to a total of 6 quads at a time (96 tiles) although the Montana can handle 31 quads.

Not sure what else I might tackle this year. I'm interested in a lot of things, but as you know, this stuff takes a lot of time! Happy New Year to all!  :)

There seems to be a bug in the current version of Basecamp that can cause the basemap to be displayed at the same time as other maps. In the course of discussing this, one of the Basecamp developers says that adding support for transparent overlays (such as MyTrails) is actually on their "to do list".  :)

See: https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?32540-Bug-BaseCamp-shows-roads-twice&p=155857#post155857

Just noticed this on Garmin's site.


Garmin Training Center is no longer maintained or supported by Garmin

Please note that Garmin has decided to discontinue development of Garmin Training Center for Windows and Garmin Training Center for Macintosh. Garmin recommends that users of Garmin Training Center transfer their data to Garmin Connect. This forum will remain open for users that decide to continue to use Garmin Training Center and collaborate with other users but Garmin will no longer provide support in this forum. Garmin apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause for our customers.

I also think the Mapsource install tutorial is no longer correct: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/tutorials/how-to-install-mapsource-if-it-didnt-come-with-your-gps/

If you have limited bandwidth you can download Garmin Training Center as step one and then MapSource.

For quite some time users have reported that this no longer works, due to changes in Training Center. The "trick" relied on the fact that Training Center included a basemap, but I believe that was removed from the package awhile ago.

GPSr Units / Garmin offers 20% discount on maps and accessories
« on: October 07, 2012, 05:48:49 AM »
Enter coupon code FALL20 at checkout when you buy maps or accessories at https://buy.garmin.com/shop/ (map updates excluded). This is a cheap way to get a copy of City Navigator for your handheld - the Lower 49 version would only be $48 with the discount: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=253&pID=28765

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