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Incorporate tracks in map

Started by JerryK, June 15, 2018, 06:41:37 PM

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I know there's a way to do this, but I haven't been able to find the instructions anywhere, so I would appreciate someone pointing me in the right direction.  For some navigationally challenged friends, I want to create a custom Garmin map that has wide, highly visible tracks incorporated into the base map.  Someone give me a clue, please.


What kind of GPS do your friends have? That could make a big difference. If it is a Garmin handheld, then you could just give them .gpx files containing tracks. You could use software such as Garmin Basecamp to edit the tracks.

Garmin's automotive units cannot load track files, so that won't work for them. Other brands of GPS devices will have different compatibility issues.

But if you really want to make a "map", that gets much more complex. There are a couple simple programs that will turn tracks into simple maps, but they may not allow the control you want.

If you want to make a more complex map, see the tutorials of this site. This gets very complicated:

IMO, the most user-friendly software for making Garmin maps is Mapwel:

Again, this all assumes your friends use Garmin devices of some kind. The basic problem is that Garmin doesn't want you to make your own maps. They consider their map format proprietary and have never publicly disclosed it. So all existing tools rely on reverse-engineering.


My friends all have Garmin hand-held devices, 60cxs, 78s, Montanas.  I am very familiar with making tracks and routes using MapSource and Basecamp and navigating.  The problem is that some of my friends are no so adept and they prefer having a basemap with the tracks embedded in the map so that they don't have to hassle with turning tracks on and off and selecting colors, etc.  I know it can be done because GPSKevin does it all the time.  I just want to learn how to do it myself.  And I want to be able to customize the width and color of the track.  I know how to make tracks, export to a gpx file and use GPX2IMG to make a map, but that just produces a blank base map with nothing but the tracks.  I also know how to edit TYP files using TYPWIZ5, but that doesn't help me if the track isn't already on the map as a coded element. 


Then look at Mapwel, you can use it for free on your computer but I believe it creates a watermarked and/or crippled GPS map unless you pay. But it's really the easiest software for making maps because it does it all. Other solutions require the use of several different programs. It has a built-in system of customizing each map element so you don't need TypWiz.

Otherwise, just make a map like most of the people on this site do, following the portions of the tutorial(s) I linked to as they are relevant.

However if you just use a program like GPX2IMG (or the other one I linked to, which is free) you can make a transparent overlay that can be added to another map like a topo, OSM, etc. TypWiz could be used to create the wide track line you want.


I do that with GPSMapEdit and cGPSmapper

Import/open all the .gpx files-data you want on your map into GPSMapEdit
Save it as a .txt file
I use a .bat file to run cGPSmapper to create a Garmin .img file

It creates a Garmin map .img file that you can then load into your Garmin
I use sendmap20.exe to load the map into my Garmin
I also use the same garmin .img file on my phone using OruxMaps.

All the data you entered in GPSMapEdit is now part of the Garmin map
It's not a track file or any other object, it's part of the map

You can go back and open the .txt file in GPSMapEdit and edit it or add more anytime you want and create the edited map again

For example in my screen shot below
This is me a small section of a map in GPSMapedit
And what you see on the screen is exactly what the map looks like in my Garmin Oregon and Oruxmaps on my phone


I do that using QGIS.  It has a high learning curve but will produce pro quality maps.

Not that mine are pro quality, but here is an example of what you are talking about.  The underlying map is the USGS topo series hill shade.




I just turn on a detailed topo background on my gps when I need it
I don't like all the extra screen clutter when I am hiking trails