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New Map or POI or something else

Started by AirHead, April 29, 2013, 07:24:23 PM

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I'm new to this and not sure where to begin.  I need to create a custom map or overlay (or something else?) that has these three features:

- Identify polygon areas on the map and shade these areas with specific colors (red or yellow).  These areas are generally city lot size, but could be industrial plants, city parks and so on (some larger than 400m in one or more direction, some not even that big).  Proximity alarms from the borders of these would be very useful.

- Custom points of interest (symbol).  Proximity alarms would be useful on some, useless on others.

- Display arbitrary boundaries: 5 nautical miles from the stadium, 2 statute miles from the penitentiary, the key hole shape that surrounds an airport on an aeronautical chart and so on.

It would be extremely useful to associate a name (32 characters or less) with these.  It would also be useful to associate text with these (even if it is just a comment in an XML file).  Specific colors have meaning for these features.

I have no idea where to begin.   I don't know of a POI file has this capability.  Do I need to modify an existing map?  Or something else.  Any advice will be appreciated!


For starters, you need to pick which GPS platform you want to use. This site is primarily dedicated to maps for Garmin devices. On Garmin, you would need to make a map if you want polygons. Points and lines can be placed into .gpx files, but not polygons.

I don't know of anyway to create proximity alarms for polygons on Garmin. It can be done with POI's however.


I use an eTrex 30, but my 100+ friends will be using a Dakota 10. (I may have to join them; I loose the good altimeter, but gain a larger screen and a touch screen interface).

I assumed that GPX files were limited to waypoints, tracks and routes.  I imagine that I could define a track around a boundary of one of the areas (although this seems like a 'kludge').  But more important than the proximity, is the ability to fill and display the bounded area in a specific color.

(This is great help so far - making me re-assess what I think I know about this - Thanks!)


You could play around with the free demo of Mapwel, it can probably do most of what you want (except proximity). It is fully functional on the computer, but you need a license to send the map to the GPS.

It's arguably the most user friendly program for creating Garmin maps, and it does everything whereas other approaches require the use of multiple programs.


Thanks - Mapwel looks promising, except for the per device cost to upload the map to the unit.  With the potential for up to 500 devices using the map that is well more than I can afford. 

(Trying not to sound ungrateful) what alternatives would you suggest.  GPSMapEdit or GlobalMapper?  Or are these even similar programs?

It sounds as if you'd suggest that a new map is the approach to pursue?

Again, thank you for your advice.


The advanced version allows you to make maps for as many devices as you like, and also has some other nice features (I purchased a copy a number of years ago). You must register it to one specific GPS, but that is then just used like a "dongle". The maps you make can be used by anyone on any gps.

Cgpsmapper is probably the most commonly used program and is available in free, shareware and pro versions. But it is just a compiler and you will want another program to build the map, such as GPSMapedit which is also available in several versions.

Then there is the open source compiler used for the OpenStreetMap project.

These days I use GlobalMapper - a powerful GIS package that costs several hundred dollars -  to build the map and the shareware version of cgpsmapper to compile it.


Quote from: Boyd on April 29, 2013, 09:02:21 PM
Then there is the open source compiler used for the OpenStreetMap project.

It's called mkgmap.  It's a pretty good compiler, but it's always being updated, so sometimes an unstable version is distributed.  You can make the map with one of the OSM distributed editors, and compile it with mkgmap.  You'll need to follow tutorials on the OpenStreetMap site.


Thank you both.

I was not certain that a new Map file would be the best approach. 

The Point of Interest sounded promising (less work, easier to update, exchange ...) but the polygon areas have me stumped (and I haven't even started yet!).

The maps available on this site far and away exceed what was provided with my receiver.  You are (and this site is) an excellent resource!


Just curious how large an area you want to map.  If it's small enough you could trace polygons and lines using GPSmapedit with it's Google Earth imagery. (You need to pay to register for GE).  But if you have a large map, you'll need to download and manage data.


The area is a rectangle about 60 miles North to South by 30 miles East to West and contains a city of a population of about 500,000.


What city, and how do you plan to use the map?


Albuquerque, NM

Basically, I'm reproducing and updating the map provided at the following link to be used with a Garmin Dakota 10 (remove white space):

(It's a very large file - 14 MB)  I intend to make it (the map, POI or whatever) available to be used as a navigation aid.  This year I am not officially associated as a staff member or volunteer of this event - so there is no 'sponsorship' for tools. (And there is a question of liability - but that's for others to decide.)

At the bottom of the parent page is a GPX file which is a good start, except:
- There is duplicate data (I can fix that).
- The provided GPX file an overlay of tracks and and way points and it needs better underlying map data (e.g., roads) than what's provided with the default Garmin map.  (Hence my thinking that a better map should be provided - I use the NM Topo from this site on my eTrex).
- The provided GPX file uses tracks to define polygons, but is unable to fill/shade the polygons.
- Proximity alarms should be used and are not.
- (I think that) using tracks as drawing tools will confuse actual path tracks taken making it hard to distinguish between 'map data' and 'actual track data'
- There is a great range of GPS skill expected among the users of this map - it should be as simple as possible!


I think the easiest thing to do would be to get the author of that map to save it for you in MP format and compile it using cgpsmapper.  Absent that the next easiest thing to do would be to download the area of the map from OpenStreetMap, and modify a version on your machine for your use.  Then compile it using mkgmap.  Learning curve for the download and compiling is pretty simple if you use the JOSM editor.  Learning curve for the JOSM editor itself will be pretty steep, however.


Wouldn't be the easier way to convert georeferenced pdf to kmz for Dakota? I don't know much about raster maps, but I think this task can be done directly with Global Mapper, probably even with timed demo version.


@Seldom - I'm not sure the original author is available; inquiries have gone unanswered.  I looked at the OpenStreetMap project yesterday and the details for our area are more than adequate.  I didn't see a reference to a JOSM editor on that site (I'll look again later today), but I did see a reference to Merkaartor.  Are they at all similar?

@Popej - I know very little about raster maps, or any of this for that matter.  I'm a little concerned that there is limited storage on the Dakota 10 (no MicroSD card) .  I looked at GolbalMapper mentioned by @Boyd earlier.

Fortunately, I have an opportunity to pester one of the official event staff this weekend and find out what (if anything) they are pursuing with the original author.  Until then, I have been digging through their GPX file and comparing individual feature locations sources.

Thanks for your help.