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Backroads GPS Maps on different software?
Bushman67
Hi all: I'm new to this forum.

I'm setting up a complete new nav setup in my 4x4 that I use for loads of explorations (western Canada and NW US)

I've have been setting up a laptop based GPS system and have found this site just chocked with great info.

I had a new Dodge Journey running Garmin nav headunit, and it worked really nice for Street nav. I would like to come up with a similar touch nav system that cleanly displays topos. Alternatively I would like to export tracks to MapSource/Basecamp, however, I could to that with my handheld (as a backup)

I'm currently set up with nRoute and Garmin Mobile PC, with a BU-353-S4 receiver. Oregon 450t as backup.

I was very disappointed in the visual appearance of Garmin topo maps in Garmin Mobile PC. grey contour lines & grey road? Ugh. If that was fixed then I could see GMPC working nicely with an ultrabook of sorts. Garmin Canada topo 4 I find is sadly out of date, and lacks smaller 4x4 roads/trails, and I have had to use map converter to get anything new to run on nRoute.

Can someone post images of Backroads GPS maps on various software/hardware? nRoute? Kenwood NAV headunits? Can they work on Delorme or Lowrance? and what do they look like in GMPC?

Or has someone found some ideal combination of software/hardware/maps to offer clear up-to-date topos (especially canadian).

I have read posts of people seeing lost information on their canadian topos on GMPC, and converted maps for nroute... any headway on fixing this?

thanks again peeps
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman67
I was very disappointed in the visual appearance of Garmin topo maps in Garmin Mobile PC. grey contour lines & grey road? Ugh.
Actually you can fix that if you are willing to do some "map hacking" Here are a couple screenshots from Garmin's US Topo 2008


Original Garmin Version




My Modified Version

The appearance of all objects on Garmin maps may be controlled by a special file included with the mapset. You would need to find the directory on your computer where Mapsource stores the individual .img files in the mapset. Look for a file with a .typ extension. If it is not present (US topo 2008 doesn't have one, for example) you can create one. I will assume that you need to create a new file in the example below. If you already have a .typ file, then open it instead and edit the contour line features. IMPORTANT: be sure to have a good backup of everything before attempting this.

You can use the online .typ editor here: http://ati.land.cz/gps/typdecomp/editor.cgi

Click the Create tab (or use the edit tab and choose the existing file), then click the button to create a new .typ file. Click the add new line button under "Lines" . Under "Type and subtype", choose "20 - Land contour (thin) from the dropdown menu. Choose a 1 pixel wide line with no border under line style. (If you have an existing .typ file, you would just choose line type 20 and make the needed changes to it instead of creating a new line)

Click the blue << symbol to choose a day/night foreground line color. You can also enter a hexadecimal color value directly in the box for more choices.

Now repeat the same procedure to create a line type of 21 - land contour (medium) and 22 - land contour (thick). However choose 2 pixels for the medium line and 3 pixels for the thick contour. Actually you might find that the map is more readable if you define all the contours as only 1 pixel wide but use different colors for them. Experiment around a bit and see what you like.

When you're done click the button at the bottom to download your .typ file. It should be placed in the same directory as the mapsource .img files on your computer. If it looks OK in Mapsource, send it to MobilePC and have a look. Repeat as needed to get the look you want.

This is just a quick overview, but should get you started. For more control over .typ files, have a look at typwiz: http://pinns.co.uk/osm/typwiz3.html There are many other things you might want to modify to make the map look better in Mobile PC as well. You might also want to change the line style of the roads

Another thing I did the example above is to change the map background color to white. To do that, you would create a new polygon of type 4b and set the color to white.

Also note that this assumes you are using a "classic" Garmin (registry based) map. Some of Garmin's new products use a different format called "gmap" and modify them would be more complicated.
Bushman67
Thanks for the great info. I presume that at lest the 24K US and Canada Topo 4 are all new gmaps, as they have to be backwards converted to run in nRoute. I'll have to check into that.

No one running the "Backroads GPS Mapbooks" (a Canadian product) I've read that people are having problems getting them to display in GMPC. I thought they were img/jpg based... I would like to see what these look like on GMPC or nRoute.

Also... does GMPC store saved tracks somewhere that I can export them, or transfer files over to MapSource/BaseCamp?
Ken in Regina
I don't have time right now to do screenshots of Backroads maps and have not looked at them recently on Mobile PC or nRoute. Early in their development they looked a lot like Topo Canada 4 on Mobile PC and on Nuvi devices. Perhaps I will find some time later to reinstall them and take screenshots.

In the meantime there are a couple of options. One is to use the option Boyd described. It's your best bet for making TC 4 work for you.

Another option is to download Northwest Trails and use it on top of City Navigator or Metroguide Canada road maps. Northwest Trails is a transparent overlay of 4x4 roads and ATV trails in western Canada and Pacific Northwest. It's an excellent bit of work.

I prefer the second method because I find zero value in contour lines. They just clutter the map and don't tell me anything I can't discover by looking out the window. Your mileage may vary.

Yes, Mobile PC will keep tracks. You will save yourself some head scratching if you pretend Mobile PC is just a Nuvi stuffed into your PC. Mapsource sees it as just another device. So you can use the Transfer functions to transfer tracks from it, just as if it was a Nuvi or handheld.

Backroads Mapbooks is not a gmap product so it will work on nRoute unmodified.

...ken...
Boyd
If you have already converted the maps to the registry format (required by nRoute), then you can add the .typ file to the converted version. I am pretty sure that Garmin doesn't use a .typ file on their 24k maps, or at least I don't see one with my Garmin Northeast 24k topo.
Bushman67
Thanks Boyd... just starting the process to play with the display... thanks again guys for the wealth of knowledge.
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I prefer the second method because I find zero value in contour lines.
The topo maps have quite a bit more hydro data (rivers, streams, small lakes) and much more accurate shorelines than City Navigator. Of course there are also POI's for things like dams and mountain summits as well. But I guess it's just a matter of personal preference. You could also use my technique above to make the contour lines completely go away by defining them as bitmaps and leaving the line color transparent.

You got me wondering about tracks in MobilePC and I couldn't immediately find them looking on my Win 7 based tablet. But they are stored in the file Current.gpx inside the ~\AppData\Roaming\GARMIN\GarminMobilePC\GPX directory where the ~ represents your user home directory. An easier way to find them is just to type "Current.gpx" into the search box on the start menu and choose the option to search the whole computer.

I did not open the file, but assuming it's like the Nuvi, it should contain all your tracks, routes and favorites (aka waypoints) and can be opened by any program that understands .gpx files.
Bushman67
Thanks Ken for you help... I hadn't found Northwest Trails in my search for maps.. I'll give them a try.... contour lines useful at times, but overrated - spoken like a true Saskatchewaner! I like where your head is at though.

I'm running 5.00.60 GMPC, and 6.13.7 MapSource on Window 7, and I can't get MapSource to recognize mobile as a device... So to transfer maps, I had to use the workaround and send maps to a USB flash, and swap out gmapsupps... any clues on that
Boyd
This thread probably belongs in the Garmin/MobilePC Forum.

There has been discussion of this problem before if you visit that forum. I have MobilePC 5.00.60g and Mapsource 6.16.3 and they work together fine. Is there a reason why you aren't running the newest version (some people prefer the appearance of the old version)? I think your old version won't recognize gmap files either. Mapsource was discontinued almost 3 years ago, so 6.16.3 is the final version.

http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=209
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
This thread probably belongs in the Garmin/MobilePC Forum.
Done.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
@Bushman67,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman67
Thanks Ken for you help... I hadn't found Northwest Trails in my search for maps.. I'll give them a try....
They are available here. Scroll the page a bit to read the description.

http://www.switchbacks.com/nwtrails/

I think they are also available on the GPSFileDepot site.

Moun10bike and Red90 have done a great job of compiling them into a transparent overlay map. And kudos to the many offroaders who have contributed their track files to the project.

@Boyd,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
The topo maps have quite a bit more hydro data (rivers, streams, small lakes) and much more accurate shorelines than City Navigator.
Yes, I had forgotten that. When I am cruising around the boonies of southern Alberta and British Columbia I normally have Metroguide Canada v5 and the Northwest Trails overlay selected. Metroguide Canada v5 has all the hydro data and shoreline accuracy of Topo Canada v4 without all the contour clutter.

One thing that has surprised me as I cruise around the backroads and logging roads in my CR/V or on my BMW F650GS adventure bike is how many of the smaller roads the latest versions of City Navigator contain. Still no comparison to a good topo map but surprisingly good for a roadmap.

@Bushman67,

Boyd mentioned the topo-specific POIs and they are relevant to this discussion. Whether you ultimately like the Backroads Mapbooks GPS maps or not, they come with a huge POI file of campgrounds, boat launch locations, fishing spots and a host of other stuff that people travelling the backroads will find useful.

...ken...
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I think they are also available on the GPSFileDepot site.
There's a page for them, but the maps are not hosted at GPSFileDepot so it only provides a link to the switchbacks site: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/27/
Ken in Regina
@Bushman67,

Rob, you asked me a question in a private message regarding the Backroads Mapbooks GPS maps that I'm going to answer here. I normally consider it rude to disclose private discussions but in this case it's a straighforward technical question and answering it here adds to the archive of public knowledge in this section. I hope you will forgive me.

Quote:
From reading your review and other threads, I know that only maps loaded into Mapsource/Basecamp can be sent off to nRoute or garmin mobile pc.

Have you personally gotten the mapbooks to display on either of these apps?
The simple answer is yes.

The Backroads Mapbooks GPS maps are Garmin compatible. Specifically, they will only work on Garmin devices. They are built in the same format as the older non-NT/non-gmap products. So once they are installed on your PC they will work immediately, without modification or conversion, in Basecamp and any version of Mapsource, including older versions like yours. And also directly in nRoute.

They show up in the map products list just like any Garmin product. You select map tiles for compilation and transfer to a device just like any other Garmin map product.

In light of the discussion to this point you might want to go back and read my initial review again.

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3545-review-backroad-mapbooks-gps-maps#post27862

It might make more sense now. It also includes a Mapsource screenshot of an area around Christina Lake, BC, to illustrate how it looks in Mapsource. Later in the review I describe in a fair bit of detail how it looks on a typical Garmin handheld (it will display similarly in any Garmin handheld designed for hiking use, like your Oregon) versus a Garmin Nuvi (terrible, and looks the same in Mobile PC).

In fairness, I have not updated my BC Mapbooks maps in a long time so I do not know if they have improved the look on Mobile PC and vehicle navigation units like the Nuvi. I know they were working on the display problem. It should also be noted that the problem stems from Garmin's lack of standardization in how they display things on their various types of navigation devices. Specifically, they were working on the .TYP file to try to get something that would display equally well on both handheld and vehicle navigation devices.

Regarding the custom POIs that are available with their maps, you should read this post for a very serious caution about whether they will work for you or not:

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3545-review-backroad-mapbooks-gps-maps#post28354

...ken...
Bushman67
Yes, this thread took a turn from general maps on various software to more Garmin specific.

...playing with TYP editor is perfect... thanks for the great links Boyd
...I'll look into MetroGuide & NW trails to compare my files...

Both great options.... thanks a bunch guys, I'll upload visual updates when I get a chance. Later!
Ken in Regina
In Garmin navigation devices, transparent overlay maps will display over top of any other mapset that has been selected for the same coverage area. That is, if you have City Navigator selected and you also select a transparent trail map, the trails will display right on the City Navigator roadmap as if they were a part of it.

Problem: Garmin has never added the capability to either Mapsource or Basecamp to do this. Eg. in both those programs you can only display a single mapset. That means you can display a transparent overlay map in them but it's not very useful, except for using them to install the maps on your navigation device.

Two things that will affect your use on a laptop...

1. Mobile PC acts and functions just as if you stuffed a Garmin Nuvi inside your PC. That means you can install a roadmap like City Navigator or Metroguide Canada, or both, and also a transparent overlay trail map like Northwest Trails, select a roadmap and the trail map and you will get the desired display ... the trails from the trail map will display on top of the roadmap just as if they were part of it.

Just like a Nuvi or your Oregon, you must compile and transfer the maps you want into it from a program like Mapsource or Basecamp's Map Install.

2. nRoute behaves like Mapsource. In fact, for the historical record, nRoute was once the navigation portion of much older versions of Mapsource but was carved off into a seperate program at some time back in the Paleolithic. So it will display any maps you have installed on your PC that are compatible with Mapsource 6.13.7 or earlier without doing any other installation. Eg. once the maps are properly installed on the PC they will simply show up in the map products dropdown list, exactly the same as they do in Mapsource itself.

And just like Mapsource, you can only select one mapset at a time. That means you cannot use transparent overlays in nRoute in the same way as you would in Mobile PC or on a navigation device.

...ken...
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