Friday, May 13, 2005


Transparent TOPO maps for Garmin Mapsource

A popular request of Garmin users has been to display Mapsource TOPO and Street maps at the same time. This is possible with Garmin GPSr's but so far, they have not released a Mapsource product that actually supports this. These special overlay files are called transparent maps.

A transparent TOPO map of south Austin South (see link on left side) was created as a test. This file ( includes a large area south of Hwy 290/I35 to just North of Kyle (N30° - N30° 20" and W097° 30"- W098°).

The underlying data is from the US Government 1/3 arc second National Elevation Dataset (NED) and is better than anything commercially available for GPSr's. The 1/3 arc second data was translated and 10-foot contour lines created (dashed line). Intermediate contours (solid line) are every 50 feet and Major contours (thick line) every 100ft.

Another popular request I see from Garmin users is the ability to view and upload custom maps with Mapsource. To make custom maps loadable in to Mapsource 3 lines in the Windows registry must be added so that Mapsource knows where to look for the new map files. I recently found a third party utility that makes this less risky for the average person to do. Before you download Austin South, download and install the utility called GPS Map Manager (link provided on left side of this page). This link will take you to a web page that includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the Mapsource registry process. Note that the instructions request a UGPID. Please enter 5150 as the unique Garmin product ID (UGPID).

As you may know I do not have a Garmin GPS (MeriGold instead) so I have no way to test this on a GPS so I am looking for testers to give it a whirl. Let me know you if you run into any issues.

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Hello, I loaded this using Mapset Toolkit and cgpsmapper. Works great on my Garmin 60csx. Thanks!
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