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Making Customized Dashboards

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  • popej 57 Points
    What about messages, that get icons on left edge? For example when you finish a route, nuvi shows an icon with 'P' for parking search.
  • turtle 31 Points
    It seems Garmin has gotten their butt kicked on the displayed info/quality of their supplied/default dashboards by ordinary users. Probably not enough demand for them...if they would've come up with something like this, maybe dashboards would've been more popular. I've never seen any new/updated dashboards since the ones that were released on units. This applies to map themes as well. Some of the supplied themes are there on the units in name only...if you look at the actual map theme file contents, you'll see that some are basically blank (I believe there are ~3 or so of these), using the default Garmin colors. Good job, Boyd.
    http://www8.garmin.com/vehicles/dashboards/
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Thanks again Sergey. I think the dashboards in Turtle's link were released in late 2011, and it's pretty cool since for years I've been wishing, If I could only have Darth Vader on my GPS screen..." :lol:

    I think Garmin just decided to change their user interface in 2013 and it would have been a pain to make it compatible with these dashboards because of the slide out tabs, advanced lane guidance, etc

    Ha, ha Popej. Have never taken this gps into the city and haven't seen the parking search icon. But really, I am just having fun and learning what's possible. The whole idea is to do things the way I want - something that was never really practical before on the Nuvi. Of course, you can do your own in whatever style you like too. :)
  • SergZak 240 Points
    Yep...those are definitely dashboards but I wouldn't actually use one of those. Not very practical...just novel. :lol:
  • SergZak 240 Points
    for years I've been wishing, If I could only have Darth Vader on my GPS screen..." :lol:
    And this is probaby why you finally got a dashboard-capable 35xx. The truth is revealed! :P
  • popej 57 Points
    I'm impressed with your dashboards but I'm curious too. Could you simulate a short route? It should end like on this picture:

    image
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    No parking icon when simulating routes around my area... because parking is free. :wink: I simulated a route in downtown Philadelphia where I used to work and as the destination approached a message "Find Parking" appeared in the green navigation bar briefly. Then the icon appeared on the left, like your screenshot, and was covered by the buttons.

    But when I arrived the speed limit icon disappeared. :)

    image
  • popej 57 Points
    There could be more icons for messages on left, here parking and speed camera warning:

    image
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    In that case, you probably won't like the layout with fields on the left side. And that's fine, because it isn't available anyway. :D

    I don't think I will use this or the 6-field layout myself even. It was just an experiment. As I stated earlier in the thread, I like the minimal approach that provides the most amount of screen space for the map itself. I don't use the routing functions of a gps very often, it's mostly just a "moving map" for me....
  • philhu 91 Points
    Boyd, did you ever publish your howto on all this? I am chomping at the bit for the 6 field layout for my 2595!!!
  • +1
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    I will be writing an article for GPStracklog, but after further consideration it won't be the "how to" that I originally planned, due to concerns about Garmin's software license terms.

    I don't want to get into responding to individual requests for my dashboards. If somebody wants to set up a method of sharing as discussed above, I will contribute mine. BTW, I should note that dashboard files are really tiny. A zipped version of my 6 field dashboard is only 25k. So it would not be a big deal to store and distribute them, if somebody wants to.

    Of course, you would need to build your own dashboards for the 2595 since the screen resolution is 480x272 and my dashboards are 800x480. I wonder how well the 6 field layout would work on a lower resolution screen? Might look a little ragged, but it probably is possible.

    Since I don't have a 480x272 nuvi, I have no plans to create any dashboards for them at this time.

    For the time being, I'll try to answer specific questions about making dashboards in this thread. We will have to see how specific I can get while still keeping in line with GPSReview site policy. :)
  • philhu 91 Points
    I would be willing to host a place to hold dashboard files

    A quick connection to a private area on a dropbox account would work. I would be willing to set that up, or some other web-based location.

    The easiest way I see is to setup a public folder in dropbox. You can send me your dashboard files with a brief description/resolution/screenshot.

    I'll post the 3-file set (dshb, jpg, txt) and users can download as they want

    If we want to do this, I'll set it up and post my throwaway email address to send the files to.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    That sounds good Phil. Thanks for offering to do this. :)

    You could try to send me a PM but not sure if it will work for you; click "You have no new messages" at the top of the page then "new post" and enter my user name. If that doesn't work, you can post the info here as you suggested. I'll then send you a copy of the 800x480 6-field dashboard.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    edited July 2013
    Looking at my dashboards again, I'm finding a problem. The left 3 fields in my 6 field layout are not user selectable. According to the code and also the screenshot I posted, they should always show

    1 direction
    2 speed
    3 elevation

    But now in driving mode they are showing

    1 direction
    2 direction
    3 elevation

    In routing mode they show

    1 elevation
    2 elevatioin
    3 arrive in

    Something is definitely wrong here. I don't understand how the nuvi stores the field preference. Also, the "Muscle" dashboard I used as a basis for mine also no longer shows the speed and travel direction like it should.

    This may be a specific problem of mine, considering all the different hacked dashboards I've been trying - I sent a version of this file to another forum member awhile ago and he has not reported problems.

    Nevertheless, this is a bad sign. There may be a reason why Garmin doesn't allow any more than 4 data fields in their own dashboards. A hard reset did not fix any of this.

    I will have to investigate further, but for the time being I am not going to allow downloads of my dashboard. Seems like they may not always play well together. :cry:
  • turtle 31 Points
    I would be willing to host a place to hold dashboard files

    A quick connection to a private area on a dropbox account would work. I would be willing to set that up, or some other web-based location.

    The easiest way I see is to setup a public folder in dropbox. You can send me your dashboard files with a brief description/resolution/screenshot.

    I'll post the 3-file set (dshb, jpg, txt) and users can download as they want

    If we want to do this, I'll set it up and post my throwaway email address to send the files to.
    I've got my three files ready.....Minimal dashboard for those that want that.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    I may have found the problem. If you look at the beginning of the XML code you will see an ID and part number. For example

    id="Muscle"
    part_number="006-D3351-25"


    I didn't bother to change this in my 6 field dashboard and I think that created a conflict, although it never manifested itself until now. Actually I had 3 files on my nuvi that all had these same id and part numbers.

    I made up a new name and number for the six file dashboard and that fixed it, but the original Garmin Muscle dash still had the same problem. So I copied that file and changed the id to "Muscle2" and made up a different part number. That fixed it.

    Next, I deleted the "Muscle2" dashboard and replaced it with the original Garmin "Muscle" file. It still exhibits the same problem - doesn't show the speed. A hard reset did not fix it.

    The field preferences must be internally stored along with the dashboard id. I don't see a way to restore them once they get messed up, aside from changing the dashboard ID.

    Bottom line: Be very careful here with user-modified dashboards. Downloading and installing them might permanently affect the stock dashboard on which the modified one is based.

    I am not offering anything for download until I have a better grasp of what's going on, since there doesn't seem to be a way to fix the problems they may create.

    If you make your own dashboards, be sure to create a unique id and part number. Not sure if the part number is needed, it is probably just the id since I note that the "Vader" dashboard has no part number.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Here's a followup. My Nuvi software was two versions behind, so I just updated to the newest 35x0 version. I also used webupdater to reinstall the "muscle" dashboard.

    None of this made any difference. The original Garmin "muscle" dashboard is still broken and shows direction where it should show speed and elevation where it should show direction.

    I don't really care since I don't like that dashboard anyway, and my patched version works. But this is a little worrisome because I didn't think you could mess anything up with a dashboard that couldn't be fixed by just removing the file.

    Phil, you should probably put a BIG disclaimer on your site about the use of user-modified dashboards if you're going to offer them for download. Who knows what kind of interactions might result from a mix of dashboards from different authors all based on the same original Garmin versions?

    Perhaps something in the Developer menu can clear this problem but I have no experience there. What happens if you use the function to clear Nonvol memory? Is that where these preferences are stored?

    Maybe Popej can shed some light on this. :)
  • popej 57 Points
    Clearing Nonvol works like clearing user data. I haven't noticed differences but there could be some, maybe it will help with your problem.

    Other thing you can try is to flash older firmware, this usually makes some bigger cleaning of internal state. Then you can update again.

    I suggest you look for info about backup nuvi NV on SD, this could be a useful precaution when you tinker with a nuvi.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Thanks, I will check it out. :)
  • philhu 91 Points
    Well, at the least, posted dashboards should require a different name/part number structure.

    I propose that the part numbers for user dashboards start with '999-'
    and the name begins with 'usr'

    That should keep them seperate from anything in the system
    Also, if anyone is playing with making dashboards, they should make these changes BEFORE THEY SAVE the FIRST TIME, to not inadvertently changing stored objects for the original dashboards
  • turtle 31 Points
    Well, at the least, posted dashboards should require a different name/part number structure.

    I propose that the part numbers for user dashboards start with '999-'
    and the name begins with 'usr'

    That should keep them seperate from anything in the system
    Also, if anyone is playing with making dashboards, they should make these changes BEFORE THEY SAVE the FIRST TIME, to not inadvertently changing stored objects for the original dashboards
    No part number needed.....not in all garmin dashboards.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    I agree; before posting anything you should confirm that it has a unique id. I doubt that the part number matters, but not sure. Look at the dashboards Garmin offers for download. The Darth Vader dash doesn't have a part number, haven't looked at any of the others.

    Did you get my PM phil?

    Things are developing here, and now it looks like I may have a place to publish the "how to" article, maybe even host some downloads. Can't get any more specific now... will post more about this later.

    I have stepped back a little myself and am re-writing my dashboards, trying to make the code a little cleaner. Am moving towards a modular approach with standard sized fields and buttons than can easily be positioned anywhere on the screen by just changing the coordinates of the object's top left corner.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    No part number needed.....not in all garmin dashboards.
    Haha, you beat me to it. :wink:
  • turtle 31 Points
    I agree; before posting anything you should confirm that it has a unique id. I doubt that the part number matters, but not sure. Look at the dashboards Garmin offers for download. The Darth Vader dash doesn't have a part number, haven't looked at any of the others.

    Did you get my PM phil?

    Things are developing here, and now it looks like I may have a place to publish the "how to" article, maybe even host some downloads. Can't get any more specific now... will post more about this later.

    I have stepped back a little myself and am re-writing my dashboards, trying to make the code a little cleaner. Am moving towards a modular approach with standard sized fields and buttons than can easily be positioned anywhere on the screen by just changing the coordinates of the object's top left corner.
    + :D
  • Boyd,

    I would purchase, etc your 6 field dashboard with the vehicle placed lower on screen immediately. Nice job!

    I tried lowering the vehicle on my dashboards and it worked fine. The problem is I cannot find the dashboard file for the 4 field dashboard I use. I removed all dashboards and it still shows up but I cannot find it anywhere. Any ideas?

    :?:
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Thanks, but I am not selling anything. :D

    I'm rebuilding the 6 field dashboard and some others and hope to make them available in the future.

    When you go to the dashboard menu, the first two are actually part of the Nuvi firmware. So even if you remove all the .dshb files, they will still be there.
  • Bummer - it's the second dashboard in firmware where I wanted to lower the vehicle. Since I cannot modify that one I'll have to settle for the similar "glass" #6 dashboard. I don't like "glass" because the speed tile is not on the far right side like the firmware dashboard.

    I know you don't sell your design, I just said that to let you know how much I like it. Hopefully it will become available soon.

    Thanks again for your efforts and work.

    :D
  • turtle 31 Points
    Bummer - it's the second dashboard in firmware where I wanted to lower the vehicle. Since I cannot modify that one I'll have to settle for the similar "glass" #6 dashboard. I don't like "glass" because the speed tile is not on the far right side like the firmware dashboard.
    :D
    Do you just run track up, because track north, on all default to center screen?
  • I am running north up
  • turtle 31 Points
    I am running north up
    Only on track up can you move your vehicle
    Per Boyd .......
    "It is very simple. Here is the line of code from the earlier screenshot I posted.

    <Car Land="154" Port="206" />

    And here is the change I made to move the vehicle closer to the bottom of the screen, as shown below. The value in quotes represents the number of pixels from the BOTTOM of the screen to the center of the vehicle (Land=Landscape, Port=Portrait).

    <Car Land="100" Port="206" />

    But modifying these files is not trivial, and you can make them non-functional if you change the number of bytes in the XML section. "
  • Thanks Turtle

    :)
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    So I have been doing the best I can to make the Nuvi not look like a Nuvi. :) This won't work in routing mode because the green bar is completely hidden, but I like it with my topo because it gives me every available pixel for the map.

    I had a problem when I tried something like this before, due to not correctly defining the full screen as the dashboard area. Use the text in red below if you want the whole screen for your playground. :D
    __________________________________________________________

    </DashboardStyles>

    <Meta>
    <LandscapeRect x="0" y="0" w="800" h="480" />
    <PortraitRect x="0" y="0" w="480" h="800" />

    </Meta>

    <Car Land="100" Port="100" />

    <Components>

    __________________________________________________________


    image
  • I made the above changes to my 3590 "glass" dashboard and here is what I got.

    image
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    You are off to a good start because you were able to modify an existing dashboard and it works. :D

    When you say "the above changes", are you saying you changed the vehicle position (Car Land="100"), yet it still appears centered in the screen? If so, as Turtle stated above, the parameter has no effect in "North Up" mode. In that mode, the vehicle is always in the middle of the screen - which makes sense, because why would you want the vehicle at the bottom of the screen if you're travelling south? :wink:

    You need to set either 3d or Track-up mode for this parameter to have an effect. I can tell your GPS is set for North-up in your screenshot because there would be a directional arrow below the scale bar if it were in track-up mode. :)
  • I used your data:

    </DashboardStyles>

    <Meta>
    <LandscapeRect x="0" y="0" w="800" h="480" />
    <PortraitRect x="0" y="0" w="480" h="800" />
    </Meta>

    <Car Land="100" Port="100" />

    <Components>

    _

    I thought it would make the dashboard look like yours but it came out as posted with the tile background colors gone (only black numbers/letters) which I like.

    I'm ready to try your 6 tile dashboard :D
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Sorry, but I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to do there. The red text you posted is just one snippet from the beginning of a long program. The values for Landscape Rect and PortraitRect don't "do" anything. They merely define the full screen as the boundaries of the dashboard. This allows you to place objects anywhere on the screen. You will need to write your own code to actually accomplish this however.

    As for what you describe happening, did you read my post on the previous page? This is the *most* important concept you need to understand before even starting to modify a dashboard. :)
    You cannot change the length of the XML section of the .dshb file.
    ..............

    I suggest that you use a text editor such as Notepad++. I have a scratchpad next to my computer - real pen and paper ;) - EACH TIME I open a dashboard file to edit, I write down the file size BEFORE I make any changes. This is shown at the bottom of the Notepad++ window, such as Length: 72075. Then, before I save a modified file, I either add or delete characters to keep this value the same. The easiest way to do this is create some comment lines as filler, then either add or delete characters from them. For example

    <!-- ****************FILLER*****************-->
    <!-- ****************FILLER*****************-->
    <!-- ****************FILLER*****************-->
    <!-- ****************FILLER*****************-->
    It's looking pretty good for me to put a tutorial online now, hopefully with some companion files to illustrate how to make your own dashboards. More info to follow later...
  • Boyd,
    My learning curve is increasing thanks to you.

    By not paying attention to the length of the XML section I created the above dashboard by accident and it seems to be working okay. The length should have been 51318 and my creation was 51314.

    I am now playing with the same dashboard paying attention to the XML length.

    Thanks for the heads up
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Great, glad that worked for you. :)
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    I'm ready to try your 6 tile dashboard :D
    I have re-written this... and now it's a 7 field dashboard. :) Needs a little more work, but it's functional and has some improvements over the original:

    * Speed limit is included in the dashboard itself
    * Tapping the speed brings up the trip computer
    * 4 of the fields may be customized
    * Uses less screen space in portrait view
    * Corrected various errors in the code


    image
  • SergZak 240 Points
    I have re-written this... and now it's a 7 field dashboard. :)
    Excellent, Boyd! :D
  • Spectacular !

    :shock: :D
  • mkpcxxl 31 Points
    Hello Boyd,

    I really like the dashboard you've created.
    It would be nice, if there will be a possibility to download it.
    Can you tell me if you have plans to do this ?

    Greetings
    mkpcxxl
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Thanks everyone! :)

    I'm hoping to publish a detailed online tutorial explaining how to create your own dashboards. As a companion, I hope to also offer a download that includes a couple simple examples that will correspond with the tutorial. The download would also include the 7-field dashboard shown above, and the final part of the tutorial would explain exactly how it works.

    However, none of this is quite final yet so it's all subject to change and I can't offer any further details. Stay tuned to this channel for breaking news. :D
  • Boyd,
    It's really going to help us neophytes. It's taken me three days of trial and error to get my Garmin "glass" dashboard how I want it to look. If I hadn't had your help I would never have gotten there.

    And, to be able to get your 7-field dashboard would be the ultimate.

    We are anxiously waiting. :D
  • philhu 91 Points
    Wow!

    See what happens when I sleep?: :)

    Boyd, this work is very good. Are you going to publish it? You mentioned a place you have to host and publish a How-to.

    I can still do it, unless you have a place.

    The 7 field one looks cool. I like the limit in the line. I'll have to see how it looks with the 2595 resolutions.
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    Thanks Phil!
    Are you going to publish it?
    Patience, patience.... :D

    Of course, you would need to re-write it for a 480x270 screen and I'm not sure how good that would look. However, the screenshots above were scaled to 500 pixels wide in Photoshop, so maybe it would be OK? But I'm not sure if comparably sized fonts are available on the 480x272 models.
  • philhu 91 Points
    Thanks Phil!
    Are you going to publish it?
    Patience, patience.... :D

    Of course, you would need to re-write it for a 480x270 screen and I'm not sure how good that would look. However, the screenshots above were scaled to 500 pixels wide in Photoshop, so maybe it would be OK? But I'm not sure if comparably sized fonts are available on the 480x272 models.
    Oh, take your time, my question didn't come out right.

    I meant, "Are you going to publish it or do you want me to when you are ready?"

    English is a very unexact language...
  • Boyd 1954 Points
    No worries Phil. :)

    Good news - I have just now received the go-ahead for this project from Tim. The tutorial will be published over on "the other side" of this site! GPSReview.net.

    GPSReview will also host the 3 files to accompany the tutorial so you can follow each step of modifying a dashboard. The first file will be the simplest possible dashboard with only a back button and menu button - the equivalent of a "Hello World" program (for those of you familiar with computer traditions :D)

    The second file will build on what you learn in the first example and add two data fields.

    The final file will put it all together as the 7 field dashboard shown in my screenshots.

    These files should give you the building blocks you need to create your own custom dashboard files. But if programming isn't your thing, you could simply drop them into the dashboard folder on your Nuvi 34x0 or 35x0 and use as-is.

    If you can wait just a little while longer, I think it will be worth your while. These files have all extraneous "stuff" stripped out and have comments to explain how they work. They should be a better foundation to build on than the stock Garmin dashboards.

    I can't give you a firm date for when this will be available, but I hope to complete my part this week (the files are already done) so Tim can format it for the site and put it online. He is currently out of the country, so please be patient. :)

    This represents sort of a milestone for GPSReview IMO, as a very technical article on what has traditionally been a consumer oriented site. If you like the way it turns out, please let us know and maybe there will be more articles like this in the future. :)
  • SergZak 240 Points
    That's great news, Boyd. Good to hear that Tim gave the OK for this project. I'm looking forward to the article/tutorial and I'm sure many others here are as well. Your "dead end" seems to have opened up for passage. 8)
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