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Best GPS Map Creator?


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Hello,

I have been reading some of the threads here such as this: https://thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=206367&parentpage=1 but have not found all the answers yet.

I have Garmin Etrex Vista, RAM mount, 12V plug wired to bike (see garage) & I have XP for my OS.

Looking for map I can upload my tracks too & then make that part of the map for download to the GPS. I ride mostly in Oregon but sometimes in Washington. Would be nice if it had most of the roads in the Tillamook State Forest. Mapsource or one of the Garmin products are the only ones?

What store would have the different maps available to look at on a PC? REI did not have a PC to view them but has a good return policy if I don't like it but would rather view them before buying them.

Also, does TT sell this stuff?

Thanks!

😢

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Toast,

You can go to Garmin's website and look at their maps. They have a viewer and you can pan, zoom and select amount of detail for all their maps. It is a bit slow though. I've never seen a store that had the maps loaded on a PC so you could play with them.

As far as making the tracks part of the map, that's not really necessary. All you do is select "show on map" on your tracks and they "overlay" themselves on top of whatever maps you have loaded into your GPS (Topo, R&R, City Select or even the basemap) The same goes for when you're looking at the maps/tracks in Mapsource on your PC.

Did that make sense????

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I hear ya,

You want to update the map that loads into your GPS.

There was an excellent hack that would open up the Garmin IMG files for editing. But it disappeared shortly after some rumors that Garmin Lawyers were sending out cease and disist letters for folks violating their copyright on the map data.

What's still around is a complier that will build a map from scratch.

check this out

It's not user friendly but workable. Some other GPS programs that will help with this project is OziExplorer.

another link is here

What Ozi will do is convert a tracklog you recorded on your GPS and export it into an ESRI shape file that will import into the complier shown above.

My favorite GPS program is Topofusion. This program is the easiest way to build a tracklog on screen using USGS topo maps and aerial photos from the Mircrosoft Terraserver.

Topofusion can be found here

To get more info about the Garmin Map editing stuff check out this webpage.

click here

All of this stuff is for starters. If you really get into this stuff deep you enter the world of GIS. Which can become a full time job quick.

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WOW! 😢 I'll check out all the links tonight from home.

One more thing. Is there a chance I may harm my GPS from running it off the 12V plug on my bike. I read something to that affect but did not know if it applies to my setup.

Thanks!

😢

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All of the small Garmin handheld units are 3 VDC. I'm talking about the Legend, Vista, Etrex....those little ones with the square interface connector.

You have to use a voltage reducing 12 V adapter to wire it up to your bike.

Garmin will be happy to sell you their external power cable.

Check out Ebay for better deals. I have heard good things about the GPSNow website but have never dealt with them.

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I have just finished a custom map of Tahuya in WA. It loads to MapSource. You can see a shot on my site http://www.gpstrailrides.com/Tahuya.htm I plan to start a TSF in OR. and a Naches/Manastash in WA. map in the spring, but for now I am off to Baja for some WR riding and GPS mapping. 😢 Drop me an email and I'll put you on my list to notify when the TSF map is ready.

Like zaknavage says above, it can be done but how much time do you have?

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Toast -

There are several applications out there that let you create your own maps and they are getting easier to use with each release. MapMan (Map Manipulator) is a nice one that quickly lets you take a scanned (or other) digital map and quickly trace a feature and then export that to a Garmin compatible map.

MapEdit is another graphical program that lets you not only create/modify Garmin compatible maps, but you can also edit existing Garmin maps. Using the two you can ride a trail, download the track, and then add that track as a feature to your Roads and Recreation map & then download that to the GPS so the trail now shows as a road (I use the trail designation myself). Slick stuff and free.

http://www.Geopainting.com/en/ is where you can get MapEdit and then link from there for cGPSMapper.

http://homepages.tesco.net/~Keith.Sheppard/MapMan.htm has MapMan on it.

Once you've played with the programs and understand what's going on (this includes basic computer skills and understanding of how files are stored for Garmin's maps) you can do this in under 10 minutes.

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I'm confused,

You guys are obviously way more GPS/Map savvy than me.

But, why would you want to make a track part of your map and then download that to your GPS, when you have the ability in the GPS to simply turn a track on and off and have it lay itself over whatever map you happen to be using.

I'm not trying to be a smarta$$...I just really don't get it.

Thanks,

Keith

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By converting a track to a map item you have more detail, can see the new "road" while traveling, reduce saved track space and probably something else I can't think of. If you have it as a track, then when you are riding in that area and have the unit laying down track points, your course and that of the saved track are difficult to discern - They look the same unless you have a color GPS. Even then, the tracks "cover" other map features.

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why would you want to make a track part of your map and then download that to your GPS, when you have the ability in the GPS to simply turn a track on and off and have it lay itself over whatever map you happen to be using?

You're right if you only want to do a small number of tracks. Your way is much easier and does the job fine. That's what tracks are for.

My biggest reason for doing mapping is when the existing map doesn't show a road, trail or trails that are really there. Or 150 trails, or more. Garmin has done a remarkable job covering the US but the rest of the world is lacking. There are vertually no vector maps of any caliber available for the Baja Peninsula.

Also many ORV areas in the US are not covered very well. There are sometimes printed maps available for these areas but they are usually out of date and inacurate. With vector mapmaking you have the ability to update and correct as you go.

Funny how most inacurate paper maps are never a problem because you're never sure exactly where you are on the map anyway. But with a GPS map you know exactly where you are. People are much more critical of GPS maps.

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Robert

There are quite a few sites available like the one you linked to where you can take your tracks/waypoints and overlay a raster map then print it out. Then what you have is a paper map with your data printed on it. There is no way to get this map into a GPS. In order for a map to be loaded to a GPS it must be a vector map. The site you mention and other sites like it will let you draw tracks on the raster map and then upload just the tracks to your GPS, but not the map.

This causes so much confusion. Most map sites like National Geagraphic, MapTech, yada..yada..yada.., all except actual maps from Garmin and a few 3rd party suppliers (usually out of the US), are Raster maps and will not actually load to a GPS. The tracks and waypoints will but not the maps. They advertise "GPS compatible" but in reality the maps are not, just the waypoints and tracks. I imagine their sales would suffer if they made this point clear.

Clear as mud huh?😢

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I'm confused,

You guys are obviously way more GPS/Map savvy than me.

But, why would you want to make a track part of your map and then download that to your GPS, when you have the ability in the GPS to simply turn a track on and off and have it lay itself over whatever map you happen to be using.

I'm not trying to be a smarta$$...I just really don't get it.

Thanks,

Keith

Keith, My latest version of Mapsource deleted the "show on map" option for tracks. Is there a way to do it on your PC before down loading?

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Keith, My latest version of Mapsource deleted the "show on map" option for tracks. Is there a way to do it on your PC before down loading?
If you have MapSource 6.5, Click on the TRACKS tab (on the left), right click on the track you want, click "show selected track on map". 😢

I think this answers your question.

.

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If you have MapSource 6.5, Click on the TRACKS tab (on the left), right click on the track you want, click "show selected track on map". 😢

I think this answers your question.

.

No that just shows track on PC screen. For tracks in your GPS, you have the option to display them or hide them. You can toggle this track by track in the GPS. Older versions of Mapsource had a box to check on each track to set this feature before you down loaded tracks to GPS. Now it is gone!

I offer Download tracks for Dual Sport rides and often Sunday tracks overlaps Saturday tracks. I wan't to preset Sunday tracks to hide then the rider changes them Saturday night and is ready for Sunday.

I am going to try to set them in my GPS then up load them so I can down load them to riders. Rather do it in my PC.

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  • 1 month later...

Another useful gps map is USAphotomaps from www.jdmcox.com. USAphotomaps uses the USGS topo and aerial photos from the Microsoft Terra server web site as does Topofusion mentioned above. Aerial photos are very useful for exploring new routes as you can tell if you are looking at a major dirt road or some long forgotten route scrambling over broken terrain.

I am a big fan of raster based mapping systems for off road use sense you can navigate on any map photograph you can get your hands on. Vector based maps, such as Garmin, limit you to the vector maps that Garmin sells you. These can be expensive or in the case of Baja, non-existent.

I'm using Oziexplorer on a PDA. More fragile then a Garmin unit, but endless mapping capability.

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