GENERATING MAPS FOR EXPLORIST

Custom maps are generated by loading shape (shp) files into MobileMapperOffice, generating an imi file and converting this imi file to Explorist format using MMOconvertor. The imi file is loaded into the GPSr  (and Mapsend Lite) as a Detailed map.

Update 20091009: Detailed example added

Update 20091006: I have discovered that you can see the Hex codes of all the individual elements of a Garmin map in Mapedit. This facilitates allocations in SplitMP.xls.

Update 20081128: (section 2.2) Improving the appearance of certain lines (eg highways and streets) of MMO generated custom maps by modifying the export.cfg file. This update is based on MobileMapper2 yahoo group posts #1689 and #194 and the document object_properties.pdf in the files section. 

Update 20080912 (added here for my own reference as well) I wanted to include some tracks (in gpx format) as part of the detail map. For that you need to use EGPS2shp.exe ( see http://www.msh-tools.com/download.html ). 

Update 20080904: Someone who read these pages found another solution that works for him. I have not tried it myself, but I have included a copy of his email and instructions here: how-to-convert-garmin-route-to-magellan-track.htm

Update 20071225: (see section 1.4) Combining custom maps and Mapsend maps if AddMagMap does not work. Since this original article was written I have successfully combined a custom map with the Mapsend map supplied with the Explorist. This is exactly what AddMagMap (see www.msh-tools.com ) is supposed to do except I could not get it to work for me. I am writing this up quite a while after I did the procedure, so I hope I have remembered correctly. It basically is very similar to the procedure for converting Meridian img files to Explorist imi format described in the files section of mobilemapper2 yahoo group see img2imi.pdf In short you split the Mapsend detail map (imi format) it its shape files, combine this with custom shape files using MMO and generate a combined imi file.

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1. For creating maps in MMO you need the data in the form of shape files (shp). This can be obtained by several methods

    1.1. Converting a Garmin mapsource map (img) to Polish Format (mp) using the utility cgpsmapper.exe (also available in gpsMapedit) and then to ESRI shape files (shp) - Ptext2shp.exe (this utility is also available in AddMagMap).

    1.2 Convert Garmin gdb files to shp files. Use GPSbabel to convert from gdb tp gpx. Use EGPS2shp to convert the gpx to shp files. These two programs can be used to convert all sorts of formats to shp files for MMO.

    1.3. You can export tracks and points as shp files in Oziexplorer.    

    1.4 Convert the Detail map as saved on your GPS (with imi extension) into shp files using MagsendTool (see img2imi.pdf) I think Magsend tool was originally developed to split Meridian img format files, but it works just as well for Explorist imi format files.

2. Load the shp collected by any of the methods in step 1 into MobileMapperOffice (I used version 2.70). Tools>Background Maps>Map Editor>Add Layers

    2.1.You will need to experiment with all the layer attributes to make it all look presentable.

    2.2. Optional: Modify the export.cfg file to make the map more presentable in Mapsend Lite and the GPSr

3. Generate the imi file from MMO 2.70 (described in more detail in "MORE ON STEP 3" below)

4. Convert the imi file to Explorist format using MMO converter.

This imi file can be copied to the detail maps folder of your Explorist and can also be viewed using Mapsend Lite (Mapsend Lite can be downloaded free from the Magellan website and uses the same detail maps as the GPSr as opposed to using the Mapsend CD)

The detail map is not quite identical in look to the original, but all the information is there (much improved since I discovered the procedure described in section 2.2)

I am certain there are better methods (for instance look here ), but this is one that I could get to work for me.

The programs you would need are:

1. Mobilemapper Office (I used version 2.70) : generates Magellan imi files from shp files

2. MMO converter.exe : Converts imi files to Explorist format

The following are optional - depending on what parts of section 1 you are doing

3. cgpsmapper.exe or gpsMapedit : Garmin img to text (Polish Format)

4. Ptext2shp.exe or AddMagMap : Text (polish format) to shp

5. gpsbabel   http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/ :  Garmin gdb to gpx

6. EGPS2shp  : gpx to shp (Cannot recall where I downloaded it. Google EGPS2shp or try http://gpx2shp.sourceforge.jp/ )

 

These programs are available in the Files section of the Mobilemapper2 yahoo group and msh-tools.com

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NOTES:

I prefer using MMO2.70 as it does not require the GPSr to be connected (which I prefer), but you must remember to change the Byte Order  to 1 (Byte Order=1) in the Mapsend.ini file, otherwise you get an img file instead of an imi file. For more info see http://www.msh-tools.com/exploristmain.html

MMO3.40 requires you to have the GPSr connected (and correctly recognized) in order to do the "Upload to GPS>Backround Map..." sequence even if you only want to store it on the hard drive (the byte order is then automatically adjusted).

Detail on loading the shp files and exporting the imi file:
In MMO:
a) Tools>Background Maps>Map Editor>Add Layers>(select the shp files)
If you want to see any text that was visible in the original map then here you must Set the DISPLAY ATTRIBUTE to LABEL (I took a long time to find this out - very important). Save the project. Click "Create Map"
b)Tools>Create Region>(select a region) Remember to click outside the selected region to activate it (I took a while to work that out)
c)File>Upload to GPS>Background Map>Store on Hard Drive>Finish
d)The imi file is now stored in ..\MobileMapper Office\Export\Images\*.imi
e)Remember to convert this file with MMOconverter

MMO is usually installed in C:\ProgramFiles\MobileMapperOffice. Once you have completed all the steps in MMO there will typically be the following files and folders pertaining to your project (for this example I use the default name MyMap)

...\DOCS\Mymap.mmp   contains details of all the layers

...\VectMaps\MyMap\  - location of the Mymap.cfg file where you can make changes to improve the appearance of streets and highways amongst others (section 2.2)

...\Export\Images\Mymap.imi   location of the imi file that you can load into Mapsend Lite and your GPSr (after conversion by MMOconvertor) 

 

MORE ON SECTION 2.2:

 The thickness of lines generated by MMO in the resultant imi file is controlled in the file ...\VectMaps\Mymap.cfg . The default is all MSOLID_LINE which is a 1 pixel wide line. Typically streets and highways do not look like the original Mapsend version. You can change specifications for various lines to look more like the real thing. I only changed the layer attributes in the [COLORS4BITS] section - it was sufficient for the Explorist 500. Apparently the attributes in the [LAYERS] section needs to be altered for monochrome units.

Here is a truncated example of the [COLORS4BITS] section of the cfg file where I changed some line attributes.

 3 BLUE US_INTERSTATE_HW_LINE 4 RED US_STATE_HW_LINE 5 CYAN MSOLID_LINE 6 BLACK US_RAIL_ROAD 7 CYAN SOLID_FILL 8 BLACK US_MAJOR_RD_LINE

For more information see MobileMapper2 yahoo group posts #1689 and #194 and the document object_properties.pdf in the files section. 

Note that in there are two copies of the cfg file: One in the folder ...\VectMaps\MyMap\ and also \VectMaps\ . Files belonging to the "attached Map" (ie the current map loaded into MMO) are copied to the \Vectmaps folder. I'm getting into a knot trying to explain this. It is only relevant to know if you are working with and "attaching" different maps. 

MORE ON SECTION 1.1

The Garmin file stucture contains only one layer, with attributes for elements (linetype, label, zoom level etc) specified in paragraphs. The Magellan file structure groups elements with the same attributes in different layers. Converting a Garmin img file to mp and then to shp files will result in only one layer with all attributes grouped together. I compiled an Excel file SplitMP.xls that can be found in this sample folder  that reads the MP file and lists all the combinations of SHAPE/TYPE/ZOOM. You then specify how you want to group them and then the program splits the MP file into several files.

The Polish Format mp file structure has a short header section and then many paragraphs that typically look like this:

[POLYLINE]
Type=0x20
Label=787
Data0=(-33.77493,18.79031),(-33.77407,18.78894),(-33.77382,18.78812),(-33.77322,18.78735
[END]
 
1st line : Typically POLYLINE, POI, or POLYGON
2nd line: Indication of linetype
3rd line (optional) : The text that will be displayed if you set the Display Attribute of a Layer in MMO to "LABEL". In this case the polyline is a contour and the Label was the elevation in feet. I converted it to metres as I wanted it metric.
4th line: Typically Data0, Data1, Data2, Data3 followed by coordinate pairs - the digits at the end of "Data" indicate at what zoom level the object would become visible, Data0 being the most detailed.

EXAMPLES

 

A Mapsend map combined with contours. The topo detail was obtained from the Trig Survey department as a Garmin img file. Note how I managed to colour and label major contours differently to the minor contours.

 

 

MMO generated custom map. Note streets are 1 pixel wide lines. This custom map also contains contour lines - part of the custom improvements.

Same area after changing the layer attributes for streets and highways. Note the more realistic appearance. 

Please let me know if this has been of any help. It would make me feel happy and as if all the effort was not for nothing. Also, if you have any extra tips or information, let me know
Regards
Laurence Lombard

lombardm@mweb.co.za

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo

What follows is mostly the original article I wrote here. A lot of it is a repetition of what has already been stated above and need not be read. I merely include it here for historical purposes to remind me of all the trials and errors I have experienced. There might be useful information in there but at this stage I am going to leave it as is. 

==========================================================================================================

Laurence Lombard 20071022

I have been working away over the last few weeks to convert some Garmin Mapsource img format maps to Explorist imi format. I have finally got to a point where I think I have a satisfactory solution, so in order to tick that project off I would like to share my experiences on this forum in the hope that it helps someone else. I am by no means an expert - there must be many out there who know much more (including the developers of the various programs) - this records the journey of a newbie into the world of converting maps.

 
CONVERTING A GARMIN MAPSOURCE MAP FOR EXPLORIST
 
1 Convert Garmin Mapsource map (img) to Polish Format (mp) - cgpsmapper.exe (this utility is also available in gpsMapedit)
2 Convert Polish Format (mp) to ESRI shape files (shp) - Ptext2shp.exe  (this utility is also available in AddMagMap) 
3 Convert shp to imi - MMO2.70
4 Convert imi to imi (Explorist compatible) - MMOconverter
This imi file can be loaded into Mapsend Lite and into the Explorist 500 as a detail map
 
MORE ON STEP 3:
MMO3.40 requires you to have the GPSr connected (and correctly recognized) in order to do the "Upload to GPS>Backround Map..." sequence even if you only want to store it on the hard drive (the byte order is then automatically adjusted). MMO2.70 does not require the GPSr to be connected (which I prefer), but you must remember to change the Byte Order  to 1 (Byte Order=1) in the Mapsend.ini file, otherwise you get an img file instead of an imi file. For more info see http://www.msh-tools.com/exploristmain.html
 
Detail on loading the shp files and exporting the imi file:
In MMO:a) Tools>Background Maps>Map Editor>Add Layers>(select the shp files)
If you want to see any text that was visible in the original map then here you must Set the DISPLAY ATTRIBUTE to LABEL (I took a long time to find this out - very important)
b)Tools>Create Region>(select a region) Remember to click outside the selected region to activate it (I took a while to work that out)
c)File>Upload to GPS>Background Map>Store on Hard Drive>Finish
d)The imi file is now stored in ..\MobileMapper Office\Export\Images\*.imi
e)Remember to convert this file with MMOconverter
 
MORE ON MAKING A MORE PRESENTABLE MAP:
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Update 20080904: To summarise what I have written below: In the Garmin file structure, the attributes (linetype, label, zoom level etc) are specified at ELEMENT level. In the Explorist file structure all elements that have the same attributes are grouped in the same LAYER. If you merely convert the MP file to SHP files you will only get 3 files: LINES, POINTS and POLYGONS. If you look at LINES for example: All LINES will be in 1 SHP file and will end up in 1 LAYER in MMO which can end up quite cluttered (Major roads, minor roads, major contours, minor contours etc will all look the same). To get them into different LAYERS in MMO so that you can specify different attributes you need to split the MP file into several smaller files, grouped by attributes as you see fit. Sounds complicated? Here is the good part: I compiled an Excel file split-mp.xls  that reads the MP file and lists all the combinations of SHAPE/TYPE/ZOOM. You then specify how you want to group them and then the program splits the MP file into several files. Hope it all makes sense.

===========================================================================================

 

 

The Polish Format mp file structure has a short header section and then many paragraphs that typically look like this:

[POLYLINE]
Type=0x20
Label=787
Data0=(-33.77493,18.79031),(-33.77407,18.78894),(-33.77382,18.78812),(-33.77322,18.78735
[END]
 
1st line : Typically POLYLINE, POI, or POLYGON
2nd line: Indication of linetype
3rd line (optional) : The text that will be displayed if you set the Display Attribute of a Layer in MMO to "LABEL". In this case the polyline is a contour and the Label was the elevation in feet. I converted it to metres as I wanted it metric.
4th line: Typically Data0, Data1, Data2, Data3 followed by coordinate pairs - the digits at the end of "Data" indicate at what zoom level the object would become visible, Data0 being the most detailed.
 
Garmin Mapsource maps have one layer, with linetypes and zoom levels specified in these paragraphs. Somehow some elements displayed at smaller zoom disappear as you zoom in - as far as I can see Magellan does not have this functionality.
 
If you convert the original mp file to shp, only the Data0 elements (belonging to the most detailed zoom) are transferred - the resulting map is then very cluttered at lesser zooms and all lines are the same type, colour and thickness - not very presentable at all.
 
MMO has only one linetype and one zoom level per layer, so if you want different linetype and zoom levels you have to split the original mp file into as many files as you want different linetype and zoom levels. This could result in a lot of layers and confusion so in the above example (a TOPO type map with contours, rivers, dams and POIs) I split the mp file using a macro written in Excel VBA. I could pass on the VBA code (very rough and ready) if required.
 
I split the original mp file into 5 smaller files: 1-Intermediate contours, 2-Major contours, 3-Streams, 4-Rivers, 5-Everything else (to see if anything useful was ommitted).  After converting all these mp files into shp files and adding them as layers in MMO I set the Layer attributes to LABEL, chose colours etc for the lines. The Detail contours were set to 1:10000 scale while all the rest was set to 1:100000 scale. In this way the detail contours only came in at the most detailed zoom, otherwise the map is far too cluttered to make any sense of it (will also slow down screen refreshing on the GPSr). I stand corrected, but if you convert the original mp file to shp files with Ptext2shp, only the 0 layer is converted.
 
In this way I made the map quite presentable, but as you can see quite a lot of trouble. Now that I have achieved this it is unlikely that I will bother to do all this on a large scale - it is just not worth it. I wonder if there is a more automated method of getting the various linetypes in different layers with the correct display attributes?
 
USING A SCANNED IMAGE
I thought I was onto a technique with potential, but I am missing something. This part of the project is incomplete.
 
It goes as follows (my example is called "Constantia"):
1. Load a scanned image as a raster map into MMO (I use version 2.70)
2. Georeference this map (this facility exists in the Background Maps>Raster Maps section. A georeferenced tiff file is saved in the MMO\RastMaps\Constantia\Constantia-geo.tiff
3. Vectorise this map using Wintopo
4. Load the vectorised map as a Background Map in MMO.
 
Sounds great but: The generated vector map does not look right - it does not fit the raster maps at all - it is all scrunched up to the left. I have included a screen dump of MMO with the raster map and vector map loaded (see image called Constantia in my album lombardm in the Photos section of this website)
 
I think this phenomenon is described in the document "Transfer scanned topo-map to Meridian.doc" in the Files section of this site, but I am having difficulty following what is going on there.
 
It seems from another raster map that I georeferenced that is is distorted.
 
PROGRAMS TRIED
 
Oziexplorer is quite a nifty program to load scanned images and georeference them. It does no vectorization though (and cannot be loaded into Mapsend.GPSr). It is used to draw tracks/routes/POIs which can be exported to Mapsend/GPSr.
 
AddMagMap
This looks like the ideal answer : Add custom maps to Mapsend maps (including Garmin Mapsource maps) BUT I did not get it to work for me. It does not work with Mapsend Lite (that fact is documented on the AddMagMap website and on this forum) and it also did not work with my Mapsend S&D South Africa - when I try to open Mapsend from within AddMagMap near the end of the process I get the error message "Cannot initialise MapExport - the application will be closed". This is all very sad - it would be great if it worked. Maybe this can be sorted out someday.
 
MMO 1.00 with hidden features and POIdbCreator : I spent quite a bit of time on these. It is very confusing to the uninitiated. It seems as if it is not exactly what I was looking for so have not used it successfully.
 
EXAMPLES
I have saved some examples in this file.
http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/lombardm/mobilemapper/gpsmapexamples.zip
It contains:
Larks.img Larks.imi - map of mountain showing POIs, paths and ravines
lltest.img lltest.imi - a topo style map
Constantia.jpg - the example I used to (unsuccesfully) demonstrate georeferencing a raster map.
 
I would appreciate it if you could forward some example Explorist compatible imi maps you have generated. My email address is lombardm@mweb.co.za
 
LINKS
 
http://www.zshare.net/download/739390736987/    MMO 1.00 download site
 
http://rapidshare.com/files/53569804/MMOffice270.zip   MMO 2.70 download site
 
http://www.msh-tools.com/ is a huge information resource. Most of what I collected here is from that site. AddMagmap, MMOconverter, using MMO1.00 with hidden features, poiDBcreator, converting from Garmin maps to Explorist etc etc
 
http://www.oziexplorer.com/  OziExplorer  useful for georeferencing bitmaps and drawing tracks, POI's and routes for later transfer to Mapsend and GPSr
 
http://www.geopainting.com/en/   MapEdit - for viewing Garmin Mapsource maps and converting to mp format (save the viewed map as mp format)
 
http://wintopo.com/   Wintopo - for vectorizing raster images. The free version does not permit georeferencing, which renders it somewhat useless.
 
 
Many thanks to those in the forum that replied to my numerous queries.
 
Please let me know if this has been of any help. It would make me feel happy and as if all the effort was not for nothing. Also, if you have any extra tips or information, let me know
Regards
Laurence Lombard

lombardm@mweb.co.za

 
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