Map overlays: why and how-to

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by DR. Rock, May 14, 2015.

  1. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    ------------
    How to make a map overlay:

    A map overlay is an otherwise transparant high resolution image of your route/track line(s) that carries a TINY memory footprint.

    Reasons to use / distribute a .gmap overlay of multiple or very long routes:

    A. It is always visible above any other maps on your GPS device once loaded and selected to display.
    B. It is not subject to re-routing complications if you deviate from your intended route.
    C. It is universally distributable to any garmin GPS device, whereas tracks have size restrictions and routes may be calculated differently on different devices.
    D. You don't need any other map loaded to see it, just the basemap and you'll have a line to follow.
    E. Redundancy. Why use routes too? Routes will give you mileage to next waypoint, gas or destination, the .gmap image will not.

    Here are the steps:

    1. Create your routes, in Basecamp, recalculate and confirm that they are following the roads/trails you want precisely.
    2. Use Basecamp to convert your pre-calculated routes to tracks. No need to filter down points, they can have as many points as you like.
    3. If desired, combine your tracks into one long track, or color code each track.
    4. Export your track(s) as a .GPX file.
    5. Open IMGfromGPX.
    6. Drag and drop the .GPX file onto the window.
    7. I use Thin_NT.typ, (NT=no label on track) try none and thick as you desire.
    8. Choose track color if you want them all to be the same-- very important -- default (none) actually converts some BaseCamp shades to primary colors, see IMGfromGPX documentation.
    9. Name the map as you like, enter it into the "Name on PC" and "Name on device" fields.

    9.5 ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** If you have already made a map with IMGfromGPX, it will have assigned the Family ID as 12345. You will need to change the default entry in this field to a different number, 12346, for example. To check ALL your maps for these kinds of errors, etc, I suggest JaVaWa GMTK.

    10. Click "Create map", you will be prompted where you want to save the .gmap file.
    11. Double click on the .gmap file, MapManager should invite you to install it in your maps folder, or just drag it in the folder with all your other maps.
    12. Close and re-open Basecamp and confirm that your .gmap is visible.
    13. Open MapInstall and plug in your GPS. You should be able to select your map overlay to be delivered to your device along with any other maps like CNNA, or Topos.
    14. Once installed on your device, select it... it will appear above any other selected maps, including CNNA.

    Check the IMGfromGPX help files if you're having trouble.

    As an example, I've uploaded two map overlays I made from M9 here available for download. (bundled in a zip file only because PogoPlug sees .gmap files as folders).

    The map file labeled "M9 routes" is what we intended to ride, the track was generated from the Basecamp Route-to-Track conversion feature, and the map made with IMGfromGPX.

    The map labeled "M9 tracks" is what we actually rode. If you read the ride report, you can figure out from the date why there might be a discrepancy (seasonal road closed, trail doesn't actually exist, locked gate, unanticipated lack of fuel, etc.)

    The "M9 tracks" gmap file was made from the actual tracks downloaded from my Montana. The .GPX file containing the full unfiltered 2300mile, 14 day ride is 18.8MB and over 100,000 track points.

    The corresponding .gmap file which is just as detailed weighs in at 412KB.

    :evil
    #1
  2. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Gonna have to try that process. Should be very useful. Thanks for posting.
    #2
  3. roadspirit

    roadspirit souvlaki for breakfast

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    This is absolutely great info, thank you very much sir for sharing this!
    #3
  4. BKMLWR

    BKMLWR Wondering around...

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    it takes away those # of track limits on the 60csx....
    have done this for 2 yrs now...
    #4
  5. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Good stuff fellas.

    I just tried my upcoming Idaho route.

    Uploaded the overlay plus the waypoints from the route proper, only, to my backup GPS, the 60csx.

    No tracks or route on this unit for reasons Dave Stoll has said. Just the overlay and the waypoints.

    Perfect.

    For my 478 Ill upload the overlay plus the full route. Overlay using my good friend and trip partner, John Pitts's suggestion of "Dashed Type". This way the overlay "brackets" if you will, the active route line which runs through the middle.



    I kept the colors to match the daily route as they change according to the day.

    The 478 running the route (line in the center) + overlay (dashed lines bracketing the route line)
    [​IMG]

    The 60csx just showing overlay (Thick Type) with detailed CN underneath when on gps
    [​IMG]




    Thanks Doc, BKMLWR and John ! :clap
    #5
  6. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    #6
  7. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

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    can't get enough gps/routing/map/trip planning gadget stuff :thumb. Thanks for the heads up on this Doc Rock. Hope all is well.


    Jordan
    #7
  8. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    I learned about this from Mark aka: BigDog a couple of years ago. It works well though admittedly I haven't used it much.
    #8
  9. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Question:
    Whats the process to email your map overlay to others ?
    Cant quite figure that out
    #9
  10. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    It's a file. Share it on Dropbox or another site like that.


    Sent using strings and tin cans and Tapatalk.
    #10
  11. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Ok thanks Emm
    I guess you can't just email it ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #11
  12. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    You probably could do that too. Depends on how big the file is, of course.
    #12
  13. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    I'd like to add that I received an .exe file that is designed to install as a file set intended to provide a map overlay onto Windows PC. It was created by someone using the directions above in post #1. However I run Basecamp on a Mac. I also have Parallels (virtual machine) with Windows 8.? installed in it. So I installed the .exe into Windows successfully (shows in "Add and Remove Programs), but it would not show up the map overlay in Basecamp (as expected).

    To fix this I was able the use the JaVaWa MapConverter tool to convert the Windows folder of files into a .gmap file. Reading the directions: the MapConverter tool expects as its input, a directory with a minimum of the expected files in it. So I copied that directory of files from my virtual windows C: drive area to my Mac area (not really mandatory but I removed the uninstall.exe file first), then ran MapConverter and dragged the folder to it and did the conversion and it worked great and installed as normal.
    #13
  14. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    I believe you're using the overlay of maps for the Copper Canyon area. They were used to create the maps on OSM. Downloading OSM of the area you're going to be traveling gives you routable as well as POI locations.
    #14
  15. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    For a quick test I used the .GPX files of the BC Gravel Addicts trip. Both parts 1 and 2.
    I named it BCGRAVEL on both PC and Device.

    In the folder I saved to I get this:

    <DIR> BCGRAVEL.gmap
    <DIR> BCGRAVEL_reg
    0 gmapfolder.txt
    233,472 gmapsupp.img


    No where is there a .gmap file to double-click, only the .gmap folder.

    Where did I screw up?

    Thanks!
    #15
  16. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    If you open the folder, is it in there?
    #16
  17. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    No. In the .gmap FOLDER there are files and more folders, but no .gmap file.

    I was able to install it into Basecamp using the install.cmd batch file and it works as I expected. MapInstall installed it into my Nuvi 2597 without complaint and I can see it there. It is transparent and CityNavNorthAmerica is visible underneath.

    I need to spend some time getting the POIs organized. I just made everything a mountain peak for my first test. :-)

    Effectively, I have put a track with 10s of thousands of points into my Nuvi and it hardly takes any space. Pretty cool.
    #17
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  18. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    Wow not sure how you figured out I was getting the Copper maps, detective! I was trying to be general in order to NOT derail this thread.

    I'll reply with ONE post, simply because Copper Canyon is SO popular and they used the map overlay described above. So please nobody comment on it, but I'm gonna post one big info sharing line about it:

    Yes for the Copper map overlay, I talked to cwc (Charlie) from the Yo Sobrevivi RR who I believe first created the map overlay (an .exe file for Windows only) at http://home.earthlink.net/~ccoonswp/MexLinks.htm and now dajuice took over any updates to it and used the directions above on this thread to create it at his site http://dajuice.net/maps/copper-canyon-mx/
    With a little more energy I bet we Mac users to take the original tracks and make a .gmap file for it...

    As to your OSM point: So true, and it's great! Let this be encouragement for others to add to OSM (where are the directions for this and how hard is it?):
    They did tell me that they contributed their routes to OSM, which explains why I started with the OSM (go to the OSM Wiki and look for Mexico for the URL) and was immediately able to route in Basecamp and create a route (saved as a track) for this area, like Choix to Bato to Urique to Creel, whatever. The thing with the OSM is: yeah it's "a" route along with many others on the OSM but how difficult is a particular route so I can trust it (I'm solo). So by having SPECIFIC tracks (an overlay) from people with ride reports as well, it gives me an enormous amount of confidence before I head out. The only remaining issue, as always, is that roads change, conditions change, bridges go out especially in this area, etc.
    #18
  19. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    Very little space. One of the two BC Gravel tracks is an .img file of merely 163K. Yes - K.
    #19
  20. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    you just create a osm account and start uploading tracks. it's super easy, and next week (or sooner) the osm database will be updated and you will be able to plot routes on those newly added trails.

    ps, then you'll have all those trails you added built into your FREE osm map, and no need in cluttering your brain with oddball .img files
    #20
    Sleddog likes this.