Friday, December 03, 2004


Custom GIS Data on Magellan GPS Receivers

I've been spending way too much time working on uploading public GIS data from the City of San Antonio into commercial GPS receivers by Thales Magellan. So far I've been able to load topographic (i.e., contour lines) data from TNRIS (Texas Natural Resources Information System) , vector line layers for streets, rivers, and polygon layers such as park boundaries and downtown parking lots. I have taken about a half a dozen point features and created POI's (points of interest) that can be searched (i.e., where is the closest bus stop). The POI features have been interesting because they have a separate data screen so you can display as much information about the POI as you like (i.e., phone number, web site address, number of parking spaces, etc.). Having all this information on the screen slows things down a bit so I'm currently working on turning off certain information when you are zoomed out too far on the display screen. As soon as I get that looking good I'll post a link for the datafile which can be loaded onto Magellan brand GPS units.

It is also possible to do this for Garmin series of GPS unit but I probably will work on creating data for other Texas cities on the Magellan platform first. Austin would probably be the next city I try (probably after the new year unless people have a lot of interest in San Antonio). I'm also interested in creating turn by turn driving instructions on the GPS. This is possible and the San Antonio data set will support it, but No one has figured out how to do it yet.

Before I started Whereabout LP, a couple of co-workers of mine thought we could create a company that would make custom digital tourist maps of select cities for cell phones and PDA's that have location technology built in. That concept ever got off the ground but in a very small way this is kind of a proof of concept for that idea.

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