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Messages - Boyd

Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
July 05, 2022, 08:49:41 AM
OK, just tried this on my DriveTrack and it lets me download Birdseye to the computer even though I no longer have an active subscription (same as always). When I try to send to the GPS, this is what I get - again, same as always.

But when I click the link to subscribe, this is what I get. Nice job Garmin. I was disillusioned about them before, but this is a new low.  >:(

Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
July 05, 2022, 06:24:00 AM
Birdseye is a Garmin product, but the imagery comes from Digital Globe. I have two devices that are Birdseye-compatible: a broken Montana that I no longer use and a DriveTrack 70 that I still use in the car (with my own .jnx files). The DriveTrack included a 1-year Birdseye subscription when I purchased it.

Have you actually tried to renew a Birdseye subscription for your GPS? I have not, but in discussing this, another Montana owner claimed that it was possible to renew his subscription if he did it with Basecamp (as opposed to purchasing from Garmin's website). Not sure if he actually did this, but apparently he got a message asking if he wanted to renew in Basecamp.

I will give this a try myself soon, just for fun. If they are actually not allowing current Birdseye users to renew their subscriptions, Garmin is going to have a lot of angry customers.  >:(

I see that a number of retailers are still selling Birdseye subscription cards. Wonder what happens if you buy one of these?

And Garmin still has support FAQ's for Birdseye too

Available BirdsEye Products

Subscription Based:

The subscription lasts for 1-year from the activation date. The imagery downloaded to your device during the 1-year subscription does not expire. When the subscription expires, the imagery cannot be transferred to the device from BaseCamp. The imagery already on your device remains on the device. If you wish to renew your expired subscription, you just need to purchase a new subscription.
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
July 01, 2022, 10:34:18 AM
Garmin is ending Birdseye? Wow, I had not heard that. Do you have any more information about this? I found these with a quick search

If this is true... then you can probably disregard everything we have posted about making your own .jnx files. If Garmin is discontinuing it in basecamp, you would not be able to authorize your home-made .jnx files and they would be useless on the GPS.  >:(
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 29, 2022, 03:51:34 AM
True, but actually it is rather constraining. You need an *active* Birdseye subscription to be able to use .jnx files. You then must trick Garmin's servers into believing your imagery is actually Birdseye, because it must be authorized by Garmin or it won't work on the GPS. This all works fine, but (apparently) you can only have one Birdseye map per subscription.

This becomes an issue if you want to use "real" Birdseye imagery in addition to your own. If you have them both loaded on the GPS, they will be merged together which is a mess. So you would need separate SD cards - one with your own .jnx files and another with Garmin .jnx files if you want to use both. Now, there may be some way around this but I could not find it the last time I tried.

I suppose it would be possible to have multiple active Birdseye subscriptions (such as topo and satellite) if you want to have two kinds of imagery on the GPS at the same time. Of course, none of this gets around the terrible performance of raster imagery on Garmin handhelds. It is really slow to zoom and pan the map. And the screens on my Garmin GPS'es look terrible with aerial imagery, it's a "muddy mess" on my Montana 600 and the colors are all wrong too. Garmin has optimized their screens for high-contrast vector maps, not aerial photography with subtle shades of green and brown.
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 28, 2022, 11:35:59 AM
Getting back to aerial imagery... in your earlier post you said

Quote from: sockmonkey on June 27, 2022, 03:30:12 PMFor shading and basic 3D the 3" are fine for basecamp and gps and they are 2.75mb for each tile vs 25mb for the 1".

At first I didn't understand this, but then realized you were using the quote character to denote arc-seconds, in other words 1" = one arc second. Is that correct? And I also assume you are only talking about the DEM? Of course, one arc-second would be really low resolution for aerial imagery.

The comparison below might be useful for the OP. IMO, you want at least 4 feet/pixel resolution for hiking but 1 foot would be even better. The last example is a 30m or 1 arc-second view of the same area.

With a 100-tile limit for most Garmin handhelds, the "custom map" (.kmz) format will only permit a map that is 10240 x 10240 feet using 1-foot imagery. That's slightly less than 2 miles x 2 miles. Using 4-foot imagery you could cover an area about 8 miles x 8 miles. You can do the math yourself for other resolutions, just multiply 10240 times the resolution in feet.

Although I haven't used it myself, I believe one nice feature about mapc2mapc is that it will help you make the best use of 100 map tiles when making custom maps, and even has a grid where you can create irregularly-shaped maps that show exactly your area of interest.

As discussed above, you can get around the 100 tile limit by using .jnx files and fooling Garmin's servers to think they are Birdseye to authorize them for your gps. That will allow you to use something like 50,000 tiles.

Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 27, 2022, 06:15:59 PM
So how much area is covered with your 40gb dataset? There must be something very inefficient about the file format if you are getting 100:1 data compression with zip! My maps consist of .png map tiles (was not satisfied with the compression artifacts when I tried .jpg). So when I zip them, the size is basically the same. However the source data DEM files are uncompressed geoTIFF and they are about 10x the size of my final product.

Mine is a web app so all the data stored on my server, no SD cards are needed. That is my medium now, it makes my maps easily accessible to anyone on both computers and phones with nothing to download or install. Of course, Garmin handhelds certainly have their uses but I'll leave it to you and others to make that kind of map. I spent many years making Garmin maps, but just got frustrated with all the limitations.
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 27, 2022, 04:18:49 PM
Cool. 8) Can your Garmin handheld GPS also display the map like that (photorealistic 3d view)?

The map in my link above is about 100gb (4 million tiles) and my high resolution LIDAR 3d map of the Mid Atlantic states is 260gb (10 milliion tiles). Am currently working to expand coverage which should end up around 600gb (maybe more?) later this summer.  :)
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 27, 2022, 03:02:06 PM
That is pretty cool. Where does the 3d terrain come from in your screenshot. Is that Basecamp? Google Earth?? Or are you making your own Garmin-format DEM?

I made my own 3d map of North America using the Mapbox API with ASTER DEM, USGS NLCD and ESA Worldcover data. Not familiar with Eagle Cap, but assume it is somewhere around here?

(use the right mouse button to tilt/rotate the map, or two-finger gestures on a touchscreen)

But this is not something that can be done with Garmin's software or devices.  :)
Map Making Support / Re: Aerial images
June 26, 2022, 09:49:53 AM
Many states have their own free imagery, the quantity and quality may vary. But I would start there with a few Google searches such as this (substitute your state name)

michigan gis data
michigan orthophotography
michigan orthoimagery

The USGS National Map has NAIP (National Argriculture Imagery Program) imagery for the whole US at 1-meter resolution, they are in the process of upgrading the resolution. They shoot this every year during the growing season on a rotating schedule to cover all US counties. However, depending on your needs, this imagery may not be as useful since the tree canopy hides a lot. The individual states generally have imagery shot durig the winter when trees are bare.

Anyway, you can go to the National Map downloader and check the imagery/NAIP box to find what is available in your area.

Now for the hard part... Mapwel is not the tool to use for aerial imagery. It can convert raster imagery into Garmin's format but the result will be really poor by today's standards. I spent quite a long time using Mapwel, MOAGU and ultimately writiing my own software for this. I used to offer a map of the Mid-Atlantic region with aerials that I converted to Garmin's format. Recently I discontinued that map because the quality just isn't there. The best I was able to acheive was ~50 feet/pixel and Garmin automotive devices really stuggled to handle that. Garmin handhelds just couldn't handle that at all and would either crash or operate in slow motion.

If you want aerial imagery, you need to use a raster format. The simplest choice is Garmin Custom Maps (.kmz files) but these are limited to very small coverage areas - 100 tiles at 1024x1024 pixels on most devices. There are only a few handhelds with a 500 tile capacity. Even then, coverage is pretty awful.

Using 1-meter imagery, 100 tiles will cover an area 10km x 10km (~6mi x 6mi). If you use imagery with 1-foot resolution, you can only cover about 2mi x 2mi. The best solution is to use software that can covert your imagery to Garmin's birdseye format - .jnx files. I don't think there is free software for this, but could be wrong. I know that OKMap can do it, but it is not free.

Mapc2mapc is another paid app that can do this although I have not used it myself

Once you put the imagery into .jnx files, you can trick the GPS into believing it is real Birdseye. However, you need to have an active Birdseye subscription for this to work, and the whole thing is complicated and unintuitive. I have done this myself (with OKMap) and made a map of most of my state with my own imagery. I then made a transparent .img file overlay in Garmin's standard format to display roads, cities, etc. on top of the aerial imagery. I still use this on my Garmin DriveTrack automotive GPS, which is compatible with Birdseye and custom maps.

Now, whatever you download will likely be in geoTIFF files (or possibly JPEG 2000), so you will need software that can open that and covert to one of Garmin's formats.

This is all way to complicated and now I'm out. Not making any more Garmin maps - they could make this easy for everyone but they won't, because they don't want people making maps that compete with their paid products.

Anyway, there are some ideas for you. Unless you just want to make a map of a very small area, it is going to be a pretty frustrating exercise I'm afraid.

Happy to help. Remember, you need to include any maps installed in the GPS internal memory in the count. So your 2000 segment card actually might be at the limit.
Probably not, but do some quick research on your own and see how many map tiles you currently have on a card and how much storage is being used. There's an old thread here where somebody bought hundreds of dollars of the Garmin 24k topos back when they were selling them on DVD's. Then he was upset they wouldn't work when he copied them all to a big SD card.

But you could also download Birdseye imagery and put it on the card, that can get into a lot of gigabytes and is not part of the tile limit.
I think you've got it down pretty well. I would use a built-in SD card reader unless your computer is really old with slow ports. In almost all cases, it will be faster and less prone to error if you create the card in the computer, then put it in the GPS.

I'd suggest installing these two free tools, they are really helpful for managing Garmin Devices. Unfortunately, the author had a serious health problem several years ago and is no longer updating these apps, so there could be compatibility issues with newer operating systems (especially on the Mac).

There's a less-obvious but important thing to check on your cards. Use the Device Manager program to check the total number of map segments on each card. See this info from Garmin's site, which says your GPS supports a total of 3000 segments.

Do not create a card with more than 3000 segments or it won't work properly. Some maps or parts of maps will be blank if you exceed the limit. Impossible to predict because it depends on the maps you are installing.

But the segment limit applies to ALL files on the GPS - the SD card PLUS internal memory. So you need to add those two numbers and make sure it is less than 3000. There's no standard size for a segment, it's up to the map maker.

Typically, you will hit this invisible segment limit long before you fill an 8gb SD card.

Map Making Support / Re: Experiments with LIDAR
June 07, 2022, 11:45:24 AM
Quote from: Boyd on February 06, 2012, 03:37:27 PM
Have gone back to the beginning of this thread and started playing with grayscale imagery again, to see if I can create more detailed maps.

Believe it or not, ten years have passed, I'm still here and still doing "Experiments with LIDAR"!  ;D Still working with grayscale imagery too, but with 1-meter resolution DEM in 3d with my own web app. Garmin devices and software just can't support the maps I want to make anymore.

My web app is free, there's no advertising, no registration and it works on any device.

This has been my most ambitious map-making project yet, ten million map tiles (over 260gb), covering a portion of the US Mid-Atlantic region. Am planning to expand the map to a much larger area later this summer. This is the current coverage

There's also a 2d version of the map which loads faster and uses less data, since there's no 3d elevation data.

Still using Globalmapper for almost everything, finally upgraded to version 23 this year. My app uses the open source Maptalks API however the 3d maps use Mapbox GL/JS inside a Maptalks container. Has been quite an education, needed to figure most things out for myself as there is not much documentation on building 3d maps from your own data and hosting them yourself.

I put all the DEM together in 32-bit floating point TIFF files which are imported into the Mapbox rasterio command-line program, then exported in Mapbox RGB elevation format. I wrote my own code to read elevation from these files and show it in a realtime "heads up" display on the map.

As a companion project, I used NASA ASTER 1 arc-second DEM to make a lower-resolution 3d map covering all of North America. Used USGS National Landcover Dataset and ESA Worldcover data (outside the US) with my own pseudo natural color pallete to produce a more "artistic" 3d view, along with atmospheric effects.

This was more of an "art project" for fun, but the elevation data is used in the same way as the other map, providing a realtime elevation display anywhere in North America as you move the map around. Still a big project, but "only" about 4 million tiles / 100gb.

There are over 200 other maps available in my app, from servers in many different US states, Canada and even Switzerland. Also OpenTopo, USGS National Map, live weather forecasts and radar plus a number of maps from HERE (the company that provides data to Garmin for City Navigator). I support waypoint import/export in Garmin-compatible GPX files, plus my own format that can be customized and imported/exported in Excel. Not supporting tracks yet, but will get around to it eventually.

Anyway... that's what I've been up to. How did you spend the last ten years?  ;D  Is anybody from this thread still here? Quite a nostalgia trip revisiting it now, I do miss the old days.
Map Making Support / Re: What is the CGPS Mapper?
May 16, 2022, 06:15:53 PM
You really should not need to use MapsetToolkit. It's a program for people who make maps. Almost all the maps here include an installer, just double-click the installer and the map should be installed in Basecamp automatically.

Also note that Garmin .img files are NOT "disk images". Garmin uses the .img extension for their own purposes but that same extension is also used for disk images. But the two are completely different things. Windows may claim they are "disk images", but that is bogus.

You don't say which map you are trying to install, but look at its download page. For example:

Notice the "installer" icon. That means you simply need to run the installer. See this tutorial:
Cool.  8) MyTrails is a free map available on this site. It's just an overlay that must be enabled at the same time as another map.

How many maps are on the card? There's a limit to the number of "segments" that Garmin devices can access - these are the small "tiles" that make up the full map. This limit is reached long before you run out of space on a SD card. Impossible to be specific because it depends on the exact maps and GPS, but my experience has been that you will likely hit the limit with 4gb or less of map files. If you go over this limit, strange things may happen on the GPS. This is something Garmin really has not documented very well.

A limit of 4000 map segments is typical, with old devices only allowing about 2000 and a few new premium (ie: expensive) models supporting something like 10,000 segments.