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Converting MP source to smartphone app format

Started by 93ToyTruck, June 25, 2013, 02:14:05 PM

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I have a large map and would like to re-purpose it to other devices like iPhone or Android smartphones.

OruxMaps supports Garmin IMG files on Android but the labels don't display well. All labels display regardless of TYP file settings and there isn't a progressive display to limit the number of labels that display so it turns to soup. Labels overwhelm the map. Road labels are displayed horizontally instead of with the road and they add to the confusion. Orux has settings to control the label for object type - poi, line, polygon but it's all or nothing for the class and still displays too many labels.

I've found a few apps on iPhone and Android that support derivatives of OSM format as a custom offline map. My plan is to write a converter from MP to one of the formats. OSM would be easy and then it could be converted to other formats with converters that already exist. sqlite db seems to be the best final format so I might write a converter directly from MP to sqlite.

Are there any converters that already exist? Has anybody converted their MP map to a smartphone?

The apps I'm looking at are:
Locus Maps -Android
OsmAnd -Android
Galileo Offline Maps -iPhone


I would definitely be interested in any other vector map formats that have decent applications available to display them. I've brought this up around here before and never seen any suggestions.

Of course you can turn them into raster based maps and display them with things like OziExplorer (android and windows ce versions available) or use Google's or Microsoft's API to put them into a browser. I think OSM uses something called Layers (?) to do the same kind of thing (tiled raster maps in a browser).

But I would like a vector based format that runs inside a nice user interface on the phone. Garmin has the StreetPilot app on iPhone and Android  too, but only in certain markets outside the US. It is pretty much like the Nuvi. There are ways to add maps (from what I've read) but it was not designed for the user to be able to do this.

Indrid Cold

Converting to a non universal format really limits your userbase. You can convert vector and/or raster map data to .kml or .kmz and use tha same file in Google Earth on either iOS, Android, Macintosh and Windows... even the Garmin Monterra, no real reason to reinvent the wheel.


I really want to retain the vector format as Boyd suggested. The map has a lot of detail and I need to control when elements are displayed. I've already set the EndLevels and I'd like to use it when I convert. I think kml or kmz would be an unrecognizable glob of lines and POIs until zoomed in close. Can you control display based on zoom level? Everything I've seen has been very detailed. I don't just have a few roads and POIs. It's a highly detailed map that covers 13,000 sq miles and I've got a lot of custom graphics. Ideally the user would be able to touch screen and get more information as they can on the GPS or in BaseCamp. My preference is to increase functionality and gain more control over the UI. I'd rather write a custom converter than go backwards.

Don't you lose the ability to search when converting to raster? Search is critical. It works great with the large coverage area.

I think the easiest solution is to convert to OSM XML then use an existing converter to go to sqlite which can be used in several apps that support offline custom maps.


I think we may both be looking for something that just doesn't exist. Garmin owns Navigon now and they have an app for both Android and iOS. That would be a possiblility but I'm not aware of any way to make maps for Navigon. Ditto for TomTom. And Magellan. I've come to think we should probably just be content with Garmin because we have the tools and know how to use them.

Word has it that another company will soon offer an official software package to make vector based maps for their outdoor devices. Someone around here *might* know more about that but *probably* isn't allowed to tell us.  ;)

You can use Google's geocoder with their API to find things, but it will be searching their data and not yours. I learned enough javascript to build this site last January and used a subset of the same data from my Garmin maps here. But it's just raster imagery.

Each zoom level was rendered from my combined vector and raster data. Globalmapper does a pretty good job of this. But with the Google API, each zoom level is twice the scale of the previous, so it requires 4x as many tiles (2x2). As you zoom in the numbers can get astronomical. This map covers something like 4,000 square miles and IIRC contains over 60,000 tiles and only has 4 zoom levels.

But it needn't become a blob as you zoom. The objects are defined in Globalmapper in fixed units relative to the ground, so they are properly scaled when you render the tiles for each zoom level.


It must exist! I don't expect the app to render Garmin IMG format. The MP file is plain text with a simple structure that I can convert it to any format. I just need to find a vector map that supports the features I want. OSM appears to have all of the attributes and ability to customize the visual appearance. That's why I'm thinking convert MP to OSM XML then to a format that is portable and scalable to run on a phone. OSM seems to be a standard that has a lot of platform options and converters available. MP to OSM XML would be simple conversion.

Magellan custom map info is here:

I stopped reading when I got to "Raima Database format". In my early years I supported a product that used Raima and it was fragile at best. I'm scarred for life from spending hundreds of hours recovering customer data and rebuilding corrupt databases. The Magellan implementation might be fine but my initial instinct was to run away. Raima was a bad word.


I think that kind of Magellan map is a dead end. Their newer handhelds use a different map format from the older Tritons. Magellan was bought by Mitac a few years ago and they made some changes...


I suspect that a some people here may not be happy with the idea of "converting" their work to another format. It would violate the license agreement for the maps that I have posted for example. I guess it depends on how faithful the results are to the original map, including any custom types that are used. When you mention zoom levels, does that mean you would create separate raster images for each zoom? Seems like that would be required if you really want the map to look like the original as you zoom in and out. That could indeed result in some really big files.

"Free" is not the same thing as "open source"...  :)


QuoteThe objective is not to crack the Garmin locked maps but to find a wider audience for the excellent maps on this site and elsewhere created by tools like CGPSMapper.

I think most map authors do not lock their mapsets as a convenience to users and not as an indication you can violate the copyright and use license agreement.  If the license agreement does not specifically state you can use it in any way you like, then to do so without the map author's permission would be theft of copyrighted intellectual property.


I'm struggling to understand this. Have I missed 'use only on Garmin devices' somewhere on this site? I have no plans to offer a conversion service nor to distribute converted maps.

As this site currently operates, a file is downloaded (possibly paid for), processed trough a program and loaded onto a portable device for personal use. Where does it say the program has to be Mapsource or Basecamp and the device Garmin?


The maps distributed on this site are made for Garmin devices.  They are the products of individual authors who have compiled the data.  Plagiarism is frowned upon.  If you  want to make maps for other devices you should make your own maps, not plagiarize.  If you want to modify maps already available for Garmin devices you should either submit corrected data to the map author or create your own map.


QuoteHave I missed 'use only on Garmin devices' somewhere on this site?

If it did, then the .kmz files which some of their creators intend to be used on many types of devices would not be appropriate for this website. 

'I have no plans to offer a conversion service nor to distribute converted maps.'  Where in your original post did you say that?  The three that have responded to your post likely took '... to find a wider audience ...' to mean the opposite.


Quote from: Seldom on September 01, 2013, 05:21:27 PMIf you want to modify maps already available for Garmin devices you should either submit corrected data to the map author or create your own map.
My maps are published with CC-BY-NC license which allows any further modification and non-commercial use. For my maps I'm using free data and free tools and my real input is very small compared to enormous work on which I'm basing. I prefer that my work remains accessible for others in a similar way like work on which I'm basing.


The different map authors here may have different philosophies and goals. I use public data for my maps along with my own data - such as little dirt roads that I have traced by hand from aerial imagery. And I use relational databases I have developed myself to filter/transform the public data. I also spend a lot of time on the appearance of the map - every object is presented with a custom type.

I want people to enjoy and use my maps, which is why they're here and why they're free. But I want their visual integrity to be preserved. My philosophy may be different from others since I've had a long career as a designer and artist. Some people think of maps as "data"; I consider mine as works of art.

So I include a license agreement that explains what can and can't be done with my maps. I think misunderstandings could be minimized if each author included their own license agreement, or at least a statement of some sort. Maybe it would help if the site provided a default license of some sort that would apply to maps that don't have something specific?

Some basic guidelines are already published here:

QuoteMaps downloaded from GPSFileDepot may not be resold or re-distributed without express written permission from the map author.

QuoteMap author's set their own terms and conditions for each map they upload and these will be enforced by GPSFileDepot.


I've figured out an approach.

Export ESRI shapefiles out of GPSMapEdit 2.0.
Import shapefile into TileMill.
Use CartoCSS to apply styles based on conditional logic that uses the data in the shapefile.
Export MBTiles out of TileMill.
Use Galileo Offline Maps to view the map(raster).