Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Free GPS Maps


#1

Having got my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx yesterday I was looking around for information on how to load Maps into MapSource 6.x (still looking), but in the process came across the following free map site:

Stewart G0LGS


#2

In reply to G0LGS:

That site looks a nice find Stewart.

Did you get to the bottom of the difference in tracks between mapsource & Google you mentioned the other day?

For mapping, I have gone for the easier (more expensive) option of ordering the North of England & the Midlands Garmin TOPO map on SD card.

I have been trying the unit out each day on my way to work & back & the tracks generated fit very nicely in Google Earth. They are pretty accurate too, apart from in or very near large buildings were they do deviate a little.

Once the Topo map arrives, weather permitting I will be able to give the unit a proper test next Saturday on G/SP-008 with Tony 2E0LAE.

73,

Mark G0VOF


#3

Mark,

It seems that it is just the inaccuracy of position of the main roads around Cheltenham in the Garmin basemaps in MapSource 6.16.3

I did buy the Southern England & Wales TOPO map on SD card. I would like to see those in Mapsource too, but not worked out if or how that can be done.

I’ve had mine on track most of the day today, had to go to get hire car this morning (I was picked up by them) and that track was good, as was the one when I went to the supermarket later with the hire car. (it lost me in the supermarket and in another large building that I went too on the way home).

The odd thing is that when left running in the house it seem to loose lcok or something as it showed having moved about 400m away for a while when I had not moved.

Stewart G0LGS


#4

In reply to G0LGS:

Hi again Stewart, I haven’t received my sd card yet but from the llok of the main screen in Mapsource I would think that with the sd card in the GPS unit & the GPS unit plugged into the computer:
On the Transfer menu when you click “receive from device” once it has found your GPS tick the box for Maps & I would think that should import the map data from the SD card.

If this is what you have tried & had no joy with then I won’t be able to help until I can try the same thing. I take it you can import Routes, Waypoints & Tracks OK?

As a thought, there is an option on the Utilities menu for “Unlock maps”, what happend when you click this?

73,

Mark G0VOF


#5

Mark,

In reply to G0VOF:

On the Transfer menu when you click "receive from device"
once it has found your GPS tick the box for Maps & I would think
that should import the map data from the SD card.

That just gives a message that reads ‘Some maps could not be opened because the following MapSource products are not installed: Topo Great Britain v2’

I don’t have ‘unlock maps’ on the MapSource utilities menu. I have ‘Manage Map Products’ but I cannot make that do anything other than ask me for a code that I don’t know where to get/find.

Stewart


#6

In reply to G0LGS:

I will see what happens when my SD card arrives, sorry I cannot help further at this point.

The copy of mapsource I received is Version 6.13.7, I see yours is a different (later?) version

73,

Mark G0VOF


#7

In reply to G0VOF:
No help to you guys but you prompted me to check for updates which I did & it updated to mapsource version 6.16.3.0
My topo GB V2 came on dvd rom with an 8 digit unlock code, when entered on the garmin website this generates your own unique 25 digit unlock code for the maps. If you dont have the 8 digit code Id contact garmin.
73


#8

In reply to G0VOF:
As far as I am aware, after Mapsource 6.13.7, Garmin removed the unlock feature. This was apparently because someone going by the pseudonym of “Jetmouse” successfully decoded the Garmin security algorithm and released a utility which when provided with the unit ID of any Garmin device and the reference number of the Garmin mapset, would generate a 25 character unlock code that would facilitate that mapset being downloaded to that GPS unit. In other words with the utility someone could download any Garmin mapset to any GPS. Clearly once this was compromised, Garmin had no choice but to remove the unlock feature and move the process to on-line.

A comment to Stewart G0LGS: Garmin basemaps are essentially represented by a series of inaccurate straight lines. I bought a copy several years ago of TOPOGB on DVD, when I walk along the Tyne it is reasonably accurate but on the base map I need SCUBA gear.

73,
Jim g0cqk


#9

In reply to G0CQK:

Thanks Steve & Jim,

I have run the “check for updates” routine here,twice, & now have version 6.16.3

Sadly, I have lost the imaginary railway line that apparantly ran very close to my house that appeared in the earlier version of the basemap :wink:

My options on the Utilities menu now appear to be the same as Stewart’s.

73,

Mark G0VOF


#10

Well I am learning and making progress.

I managed to load some free maps into MapSource (but not the SMC ones from the URL given in other thread).

I found a program called GPS Trackmaker that seems to have the same issue of the lines for roads being significantly misplaced.

Is there a list of summits in a format that I can load on my Garmin ? or into MapSource or will I need to add relevant points myself using the summit information pages ?

Stewart


#11

In reply to G0CQK:

Clearly once this was compromised, Garmin had no choice but to
remove the unlock feature and move the process to on-line.

I may be out of date, but my understanding is that unlock codes (which ultimately end up stored in *.UNL files) are still used, but have been supplemented by a certificate file *.GMA which is intended to prove that the code was generated by Garmin. It’s not quite clear to me which units are actually using this new mechanism; I’d be surprised if it had been back-ported to the Vista.

The other thing to remember is that DVD maps are very different from those on SD card. Maps on DVD have to be unlocked to specific devices (you can unlock 2 devices with a single purchase). The maps on SD card do not need to be bound to a device because they are locked to the physical card. This is actually a real nuisance because you cannot usefully take a backup, and cannot move the maps to a larger card which has room for more maps.


#12

I did buy the Southern England & Wales TOPO map on SD card. I
would like to see those in Mapsource too, but not worked out if or how
that can be done.

Take a look at:

https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?t=14372

The problem here is that Mapsource is fundamentally a compiler, which selects map tiles from the DVD format, and builds an image file which contains those tiles. An SD card already contains an image file, so in effect to get it into Mapsource you would have to de-compile it.

The “transfer maps” facility which somebody mentioned only transfers the metadata about which tiles are present in the image. It expects the map tiles themselves to be available to Mapsource already.

Martyn M1MAJ


#13

In reply to G0LGS:

Is there a list of summits in a format that I can load on my Garmin ?
or into MapSource or will I need to add relevant points myself using
the summit information pages ?

The interchange format of choice is GPX. What I tend to do is convert the KML files which I generate into GPX files (using GPS Utility) and import those. This is actually fairly potty - what I should do is modify my script to generate GPX directly - but it works.

I only publish an “all summits” file, but my script can actually generate specific subsets. So I make a KML for the area of interest, convert, and upload.

Mapsource appears to choke if given an “all summits” GPX file - I’m not sure whether it is the sheer size or something else like the rich character set of the European names. But loading them all is a bit daft anyway.

I could very easily make a GPX file with (say) all UK summits if people would like to try it.

Pro tem try https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D152346_6887692_601451 though this isn’t guaranteed to remain long term ]

By the way, I recommend GPS Utility (www.gpsu.co.uk) to anybody who wants to get into this sort of thing seriously. It will do all sorts of format conversions and coordinate transformations, and talk directly to Garmin GPS devices.

Martyn M1MAJ


#14

Martyn,

The GPS Utility program that I just downloaded doesn’t like the size of even the UK Summits.gpx file and the Summits.kmz is much too big.

Stewart G0LGS


#15

In reply to G0LGS:

The GPS Utility program that I just downloaded doesn’t like the size
of even the UK Summits.gpx file and the Summits.kmz is much too big.

The free version is size limited (100 waypoints). If you licence it, it will happily cope with the “all summits” file.

You should be able to load the uk-summits.gpx file directly into Mapsource. It worked for me.


#16

Martyn,

Yes it loads into MapSource fine, but it seems to contain too many Waypoints to load them all into my Garmin Etrex Vista HCx (it holds those up to GM/SS-160 with just one or two of my own loaded).

So it looks like some way of splitting it into smaller areas (i.e. Associations / Regions) may be useful (I realise we can do this by removing them in MapSource).

Stewart G0LGS


#17

In reply to G0LGS:

  1. Purchase 1:50000 OS DVD of UK from Anquet maps (about £67 offer price)
  2. Download Marilyn overlays from HaroldStreet website
  3. Connect Vista HCx via USB to PC
  4. Download or Upload
  5. ???
  6. Profit!

Well 6 should be delight at simplicity of drawing routes, downloading to GPS, walking and activating summit, uploading track and smiling at what you did.

Andy
MM0FMF


#18

In reply to MM0FMF

  1. Purchase 1:50000 OS DVD of UK from Anquet maps (about £67 offer
    price)

Looks good, but sadly the software is Windows-only.


#19

In reply to M6LEP:

Yes, that’s a pain. It’s one of the reasons I keep a Windows PC. It’s a .NET CLR program so in theory Anquet could port it to Linux under MONO if they wanted to.

Or run XP in a VM window on your chosen PC (Linux/OS X).

Andy
MM0FMF


#20

In reply to G0LGS:

So it looks like some way of splitting it into smaller areas (i.e.
Associations / Regions) may be useful (I realise we can do this by
removing them in MapSource).

It wouldn’t be difficult to generate a file per region, though some of them might still be bigger than you need. I’d want to script it though, as it would be tedious to do manually.

GPX files are plain text, so it’s not difficult to edit them with your favourite text editor. Wordpad or Notepad will do if you’ve nothing better to hand. The one I’ve just made happens to have each waypoint on a line of its own, so that makes it fairly easy to make a customised version. Be sure to leave the header and trailer intact, and just delete lines that begin "<wpt ".