Dan Foster

ExpertGPS 3.57 now can send topo maps and aerials to your Garmin GPS!

8 posts in this topic

Garmin has recently announced new beta firmware for the Garmin Oregon, Colorado, and Dakota GPS receivers that allows them to display scanned maps, topos, and aerial photos in KMZ format. ExpertGPS 3.57 can export any map in this format. To use the feature, click Export Image on the Map menu, set the size of the map you want to export (keep it under 10,000 x 10,000 pixels) and click Export. Change the file type to Google Earth KMZ (the last option) and ExpertGPS will create a tiled map set that will display on your GPS.

You need to then copy this .kmz file to the /Garmin/CustomMaps folder on your GPS receiver's microSD card. This feature is brand new, and there may still be problems with it. Don't put the maps directly on your GPS's GARMIN drive. Put them on the removable data card. That way, if for any reason the GPS doesn't like the custom map, you can just remove the data card to start your GPS.

You should also double-click the generated .kmz file and verify that it displays correctly in Google Earth before transferring the kmz to your GPS data card.

Please let me know how this feature works for you, and if you encounter any problems, report them here or email me directly.

Download ExpertGPS 3.57 with Garmin Custom Maps support

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Dan,

One thing you are doing in the KMZ is recompressing the .jpg images. Garmin has recommended that when you create the KMZ you should not compress the jpg since it is already a compressed format and having to uncompress the jpg twice on the unit slows down render performance. Simple add them as uncompressed files to the archive.

-Scott

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So far this is working great, although the GPS isn't very stable with larger files.

One feature request: Add the ability to set drawOrder.

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I'm not sure if I'll be able to add the .jpg files without compressing them. The ZIP library I'm using to create the .kmz archives only seems to allow one way of adding a file, which compresses it.

Would it be sufficient to just have two types of output? One with drawOrder < 50, and one > 50, so users could choose whether to have the Garmin maps on top or not? I don't think most users will have any idea what drawOrder (43 vs 47, e.g.) they want to choose.

Do you think this new functionality should be put under the Export Image command (as one or more file types), or should it live somewhere else? I was thinking of adding three new file types to Export Image. The Google Earth .kmz that's now there, plus two more: Garmin Custom Map overlay .kmz, and Garmin Custom Map underlay .kmz The first would put the map over the Garmin basemap, the last would be under.

The Google Earth version wouldn't have the 100 tiles or the 1000x1000 pixels restrictions.

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Are the export instructions for the Garmin Oregon still the same? I followed this Export procedure and was able to use a map image which was properly overlain on my Garmin Oregon 550. However, the images showed up as icons on the map but were not included in the map data so they were not clickable. The only image in the image folder was the map image itself. Wouldn't a kmz file normally also include the images themselves? How do I also include the georeferenced images?

On the Garmin Oregon, I can upload the photos directly. However, I was hoping to take advantage of the photo compression that using a kmz file would automatically do. Otherwise, my 4-5 MB photos which will quickly eat up all of the space on the Oregon.

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Are you asking about sending digital photos back to your Oregon to view in the field? I hadn't considered that. The Custom Maps feature is designed to send the basemap back to your GPS, but not any geotagged photos you've created in ExpertGPS.

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Are you asking about sending digital photos back to your Oregon to view in the field? I hadn't considered that. The Custom Maps feature is designed to send the basemap back to your GPS, but not any geotagged photos you've created in ExpertGPS.

Yes, I want to send photos back to the GPS. The likely use of this is that you've hiked somewhere before and you want to remember key landmarks. Having a picture icon on your map reminds you there's something there to look for. Pulling up the photo shows you the landmark.

ExpertGPS also has a function called Export Photos in List under File. One of the file types you can save to is Google Earth KMZ File with photos. Unfortunately, when I tried to upload this file and image folder to the same folder in the Oregon, it didn't show up. I also tried uploading these photos to the DCIM/1000GRMN folder where all geotagged photos are supposed to go, it didn't work because the KMZ photo compression stripped out the geolocation information from the EXIF data.

I guess the other workaround for this is to just compress the photos using some other program that allows the photos to retain the geolocation information in the EXIF fields and then upload them directly to the GPS. I don't know if there are compression applications that can do this.

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FYI, a fine EXIF metadata tool, Phil Harvey's ExifTool:    http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/

Reads, writes EXIF, GPS, geotaging,   One would be surprised how much metedata is incorporated into camera files.  If you have some idea what the metadate means, Phil will use it in his decoding algorithms.

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