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Global Mapper to Garmin .IMG file

Started by Lucky Dog, June 25, 2021, 06:34:26 AM

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Lucky Dog

In a previous post I was asking for help in how to create .IMG files.

Thanks for all the input from everyone.

It seems the best option for me is to buy a license to Global Mapper, save the file in the Polish Map format, then convert the MP file to IMG using cgpsmapper or mkgmap.

Could someone give me the cliff note version of how / how well that conversion works?



There have been over 50,000 downloads here of my maps that were made that way.  :) If you want anything beyond a generic Garmin map that looks like a refugee from the 1990's, you will need to learn how to create custom types however, and Globalmapper doesn't do that.

Of course, cgpsmapper was discontinued long ago and globalmapper can create many features that are not supported at all by the Garmin .img format. You might also just reflect a bit on the current state of Garmin and .img files before making such a big investment. Garmin no longer makes maps that can be installed directly into Basecamp/Mapsource. They used to offer these on DVD but discontinued that option a number of years ago. Now they only sell maps on pre-loaded SD cards or downloads. With the download option, you must connect your GPS to your computer and the map files are copied directly to it, you don't get anything to install directly on your computer.

Basecamp is EOL and Garmin just did one bug-fix to address an issue with registry-based maps on Windows and provide 64-bit compatibility on Macintosh. Garmin is clearly going in a different direction and Basecamp will not follow. But I'm sure they will have to support the current version for awhile, since it's needed for their legacy devices.

Anyway, it's pretty straightforward to export .mp files from Globalmapper and compile them with cgpsmapper. But - just my personal opinion - it's a dead end without much of a future. I recently decided to stop making maps for Garmin devices and will remove them all from my own website this summer. I will continue to offer my maps as part of my free web app, where I control everything myself.

But Globalmapper is great, I use it every day. I recently got rid of my Windows PC and replaced it with a Windows 10 virtual machine on my Mac. I assumed I'd need to upgrade to the new version of Globalmapper, since mine is almost 10 years old. Downloaded the free trial of the new version and it worked fine, but a number of things changed which I found awkward. I was then surprised that my old version worked just fine on Windows 10, so I decided to just stick with that and save the cost of upgrading.

Lucky Dog

Thank you for the reply. You gave a lot of information for me to think about.

I should probably back up and explain what I am trying to do.

I use my GPS's for hunting and dog tracking. I use a Astro 430, Alpha 200, and a Drivetrac.
With what I hunt I live and die by two things. Public land, and Forest type. Both things are continuously changing. Forest type changes a lot, public land has minor changes each year.

I can get the data for both in a KML and Shape file format.

What I ultimately want to do is to be able to create my own public land maps and various forest type maps each year.

I really don't need to have the maps loaded into Basecamp, I'd only be interested in loading them into my devices.

When you say " You might also just reflect a bit on the current state of Garmin and .img files before making such a big investment." Are you thinking that Garmin may not support the .IMG file format in the future?

I appreciate your wisdom, I am a complete neophyte at this and will take any advice I can get.


Haha - thanks, but you should put quotes around "wisdom" - I am rather opinionated about Garmin. What you describe works well with Globalmapper and cgpsmapper, but there is going to be a pretty big learning curve. There are other tools that might be worth looking at. For example

This is an all-in-one solution that can generate the final map and install it on the GPS. I used it when I started making Garmin maps and was impressed. There were some unusual aspects of the maps when I was trying to do more advanced stuff and I eventually switched to cgpsmapper. But it's at least worth playing with the free version. And the paid version is considerably cheaper than Globalmapper.

There's also gpsmapedit, also inexpensive. I have a copy but haven't used for a long time, however I think many of the mapmakers here use it

I also have a DriveTrack 71 and really like it, good opportunities to make your own maps there. Wrote about my impressions here

I have made my own Birdseye JNX files with my own maps and also made a custom overlay of roads with more unpaved road detail than Garmin's maps. I used Globalmapper for that, but it could be done other ways. I used OKMap to create the final JNX files, but I believe the current version of Globalmapper can do that directly.

No, I don't think Garmin will stop supporting .img files, sorry should have been more clear. The .img format is getting ancient and lacks many features I would expect from in 2021. We are still constrained by what Garmin's hardware could handle 10 - even 20 years ago. And Garmin has zero interest in support 3rd party maps. Technically, it violates their license agreement to even do it. But they sort of "look the other way" because 3rd party maps help them sell products. But when a bug in Basecamp broke literally every registry-based map on this site (about 90% of the maps here), they didn't bother to fix it for over a year. They have become a de-facto monopoly.

In your case, you have a specific personal reason to make maps and it's quite do-able with a variety of software packages. So don't let me discourage you!  I'm just disappointed by the current state of affairs at Garmin and not interested in working around their limitations anymore. I can reach more people on my own and present my maps in a better way without their hardware or software.

Lucky Dog

Thanks again.

I've looked at Mapwel, it looks really interesting, but they seem to not be in business anymore. I can download the software to try, but have to pay to get the full features. I'm not going to enter my card information till I know they are still legit. Their last software update was 2017, and I have not gotten a reply to numerous e-mails. It look like it would work for me at a reasonable cost, but I just can't bring myself to do that yet.

I had not seen the GPSMapedit yet and will check that out now.