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Better looking topo maps for the Nuvi 3xxx (and others)

Boyd 1303 Points
Have been meaning to play around with customizing Garmin's standard topo maps. Since I've already customized everything else on my 3550, this seemed like the logical next step. :lol:

The following style is based on my own topo maps that have been tweaked for a Nuvi with an 800x480 screen. Still a work in progress at this point.

Maybe a topic for a future article? Very simple.... Download a tiny file (less than 3kb), two clicks in JaVaWa GMTK, fire up MapInstall and send the new map to your Nuvi (requires the DVD version of a Garmin Topo).

Should work with all 3xxx Nuvi's (3760, 3790, 3450, 3490, 3550, 3590, 3597, etc) and other devices with 800x480 screens (2797, dezl 760, etc)

What do you think? :D


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Comments

  • Boyd,

    Another great improvement! Your version makes the roads, etc. more prominent. The Garmin version almost hides that data.

    I'd like to make the change - easy to do?

    :D
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    edited July 2013
    Thanks. I will see about putting this all together into a package. It would be very simple.... Download a tiny file, download the GMTK program, click-click. All done. :D


    Midnight in the mountains...

    image



    image
  • Would it be a good thing to add to the "Dashboard Tutorial" site?

    I would like to try it when you have it packaged. My topo is a 2008 version, should be okay.

    Thanks again
    :D
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    The dashboard tutorial will be an article here at GPSReview. This has nothing to do with dashboards.

    I'll see how Tim feels about doing another article/download. It might be a little while though. I would want to package it with another version that works on the 480x272 Nuvi.

    Here's another comparison. It never ceases to amaze me that Garmin thinks elevation contours should be darker and thicker than roads. It would be easy to make the Nuvi natively render topo maps like this, if they wanted to. Maybe they have forgotten what a "real" map looks like?...

    image
  • Yep! Your version of the contour lines is the way they should be.

    I know dashboards is completly different. I mean't that venue might be a good place to add a "Topo Tutorial" if you didn't have any place to post it.

    Keep up the good ideas - so far their all winners.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Well, Tim likes this idea too. :) So I'll see what I can put together. I'm thinking of a "Garmin Topo Makeover" package for the Nuvi that includes three files. One (shown here) would be for Nuvi's with 800x480 screens, and there would be another for Nuvi's with low resolution screens (480x272 and 320x240).

    Then there would be a third file that could be used to improve topo map appearance in Basecamp and Mapsource. I have already created the foundation for these with my own maps, so it's just a matter of bringing that in line with Garmin's maps.

    The article would show you how to install (very simple) and also show you how to tweak the style to your own liking if you don't care for the way I've done things. One nice thing about all of this is that it would be fully Mac compatible as well.

    More info to follow...
  • That's all great news - will be waiting for the final.
  • SergZak 217 Points
    Very cool! Looks like the .typ file gives you control of likely everything, unlike the map theme file does. I know there is a certain land type (hills/mountains & likely others) that I could never change the color of using the map theme file method. Looking forward to this tutorial as well if you get to it.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Thanks Sergey. I thought about doing this with themes, but then I thought better. Themes are a "nuvi thing" and only work on newer devices. .Typ files work everywhere, including Basecamp and Mapsource. They are also specific to the map in which they're installed while themes are global. Who wants to change themes everytime they switch between City Navigator and a Topo? :)

    But even putting all of that aside, .typ files can use bitmaps for any object. That makes them much more powerful, and is especially important on the 3xxx series. It will scale bitmapped objects properly as they vanish in the distance, giving the map a much more pleasing look in 3d mode. This is essential for contour lines, for example.

    Your comment about land types is interesting. That must be a city navigator thing, because I've never seen it used in a topo map. There's terrain shading of course, but that comes from a completely different mechanism.

    If you want to see the list of all commonly used map objects, look in the cgpsmapper manual starting on page 107 here. I think the numbers will correspond to those used in map themes. This was, of course, reverse engineered and the author stopped developing it a few years ago.

    http://www.cgpsmapper.com/download/cGPSmapper-UsrMan-v02.5.pdf

    Typwiz is probably the most up to date way to change map objects, the author continues to update it frequently

    http://pinns.co.uk/osm/typwiz3.html

    However the method I will describe in the tutorial is much simpler and will even work on your Mac. :D

    This will be a brief article. The dashboard tutorial is 25 single spaced pages, and that doesn't even include the illustrations!
  • popej 52 Points
    Even with TYP map theme still influences rendering, attribute "scale" changes line thickness. This could be used to adopt TYP designed for devices with lower resolution. I use scale="1.70" for roads.

    Other unexpected feature is that if you define a line without borders, its thickness will be scaled accordingly to zoom level.
  • SergZak 217 Points
    Your comment about land types is interesting. That must be a city navigator thing, because I've never seen it used in a topo map. There's terrain shading of course, but that comes from a completely different mechanism.
    If there is in fact a theme file value that does control this land type color value, It sure isn't included in the available map theme files that I could find. And this type of thing is pretty much impossible to guess the name of (if there even IS such a value).

    Also, I find an advantage in using a theme file is that you can switch between them rather easily...if you have a bunch of them with different settings, you can switch to the theme that suits what you'll be using the GPS for without having to go back to the PC side to replace the .typ file embedded in the mapset.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Wow Popej, that's very interesting. In the little that I've read about themes, it's always been said that they only affect maps without a .typ file. Guess I need to look into that more closely.

    I have found that the 37x0 and 35x0 do something odd with borderless lines, maybe it's related to what you've said. My maps use hydro data that shows streams where they flow through lakes - so there are actually lines being drawn through the lakes.

    On older devices it doesn't matter because I use the same color for the line (stream) and polygon (lake). But on the Nuvi I can see the "ghost" of the stream in the lake. This was driving me crazy until I recently discovered that adding a border to the stream (in the same color) made the "ghost" vanish.

    I also noticed that the Nuvi wouldn't make the streams as wide as I wanted, even if I made the .typ very wide. No doubt that is the effect of the theme file you've mentioned.

    Maybe I need to come up with a "null" theme (one that renders the map in the "traditional" style). Does such a thing already exist? Is it even possible on the new devices?
  • popej 52 Points
    Some themes are empty, for example Garmin theme.

    You can make a minmal theme, that include only changes that you need. My theme has only tags for line thickness, like this:
    <STYLE field = "MAP_ROAD_ARTERIAL_CLR" scale = "1.70" border = "1.00" >
    </STYLE>

    This makes maps looking better in 2D mode, where standard lines are quite thin.

    I use white background in theme, I think this settings overwrite TYP:
    <STYLE field = "MAP_LAND_CLR" >
    <COLOR >
    <PRIMARY day = "#F F F F F F" night = "#000000" />
    <SECONDARY day = "#F F F F F F" night = "#000000" />
    </COLOR>
    </STYLE>

    (These F F F F F F should be without spaces, don't know why it is presented this way)
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Thanks, I'll have to look into this eventually. You are right about the standard themes, the minor roads are much too thin.

    That's very strange about the CODE you posted. I tried and it did the same thing. Sort of like Garmin capitalizing the word MILL. 8)
  • SergZak 217 Points
    Some themes are empty, for example Garmin theme.
    The following "themes" supplied on nuvis (that came with themes) are not actually themes at all:

    Belgium
    Luxembourg
    Polska

    The xml theme file is there with some identifying xml code but nothing is there that actually changes the theme. Seems like they were going to create these actual themes but didn't get around to it or felt that it wasn't worth their while or time. When selecting these themes from the theme selection on the nuvi, it makes you believe something is being changed but in reality, nothing is and the default Garmin theme is used on all of them. :roll:
  • I'm trying to eliminate the green background (indicating Park/NationalForest/etc) from my Garmin Topo24K maps, so the contour lines will be more easily visible. I don't need to be shown that I'm in a Park/NF/etc when I hike - ALL the places I hike have a green background!

    I know that TYP files can be used to alter the treatment of polygons, which are used to generate the background - so I want to make them transparent. And I'm used to creating TYP files. But its not obvious to me where a TYP file is being used with Topo24K.

    So to get rid of the green background, what I've done is

    () Used GPSmapedit to find the polygons used in Topo24K. These appear to be a "City Park" type with hex code 0x17 and "State Park" types with hex codes 0x1e and 0x1f and 0x20. And the Familiy ID is 330.

    () Used that information and the on-line TYP editor at http://ati.land.cz/gps/typdecomp/editor.cgi to create a "transparent day+night" polygon type for those hex codes for Family ID 330.

    I was hoping that simply loading that TYP file into the map directory on my GPSMAP62 would somehow automatically override any type setting internal to the Topo24K IMG file already there (since the TYP file contains the Family ID) - but that did not seem to work.

    So I used GMapTool to "join" the Topo24K IMG file and the TYP file to create a new IMG file. I then loaded that onto the GPSMSP62 and the green background disappeared!

    So I've found a way to get rid of the green background - but each time I want to create a Topo24K map for a new region, I must go through the process of combining it with the TYP file to create a new IMG. Is there some way of simply putting the TYP file onto the GPSMAP62 and have it be automatically invoked by any/all Topo24K maps (i.e. all with a Family ID of 330) ??
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Hi Glen. The Garmin 24k topo maps don't have .typ files. It sounds like you're on the right track however. My own look at Garmin's topo maps suggest that the following types would need changing:

    0x14
    0x16
    0x17
    0x1e
    0x20
    0x50

    You might want to set these all to white (f f f f f f) and also set the map background (type 0x4b) to white also. This will give you the best readability.

    You can also improve the readability of the contour lines by defining them as bitmaps. In the online typ editor, you would change types 0x20, 0x21 and 0x22. Choose color mode 7, and bitmap height 1, choose a color your like then just fill the bitmap with the foreground color.

    For the best results, I would suggest adding the .typ file to the mapset itself on your computer. That way it will also show in Basecamp and Mapsource and will be included when you send the map to the GPS.

    Use JaVaWa GMTK to install the .typ file. It makes everything really easy and you won't need to work about Family ID codes - it takes care of all this. And you can easily remove or change the .typ file later too.

    http://www.javawa.nl/gmtk_en.html
    Change or add TYP file

    With this option you can add a TYP file (or replace the current one). A TYP file controls the display of the various map elements in MapSource and on your device. By adding a TYP file you can enhance the display of the map. You cannot use just any TYP file, it needs to be suitable for the map. When the ID in the TYP file doesn't match the map, JaVaWa GMTK adjusts it automatically.
    There is no way to add the .typ file to your GPS itself so that it will be global. On the nuvi series, you could use the map themes discussed in this thread for that. But themes are not supported on Garmin handhelds.
  • Thanks, I'll try that. I did have a later thought that I might be able to insert the TYP file into the Topo24K mapset in MapSource using MapsetToolkit. It appears to have a feature which will do that, but when I tried using it I got the message "you cannot save this information because its a new garmin format file. I working on this, coming soon". I thought perhaps the message was referring to the fact that the TYP file had been created using a "new" (NT) header, but when I used a TYP file with an "old" header I got the same message, so I guess it applies to the Topo24K file. And I've got the latest version of MapsetToolkit (1.77beta). So that was not a solution.

    Have never used JaVaWa GMTK so dont know its capabilities.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Garmin has changed to something new called "gmap" for storing maps. This is the format they introduced when they ported their mapping software to the Macintosh. IMO, it is superior to the old format because it's file and directory based and doesn't use the Windows Registry.

    A few years after developing this format for the Mac, they ported it to Windows. This now allows a single universal version of their maps that work on both platforms.

    MapSetToolkit is intended for people who make their own maps and want to install them in Mapsource/Basecamp. It only uses the old format. It is the wrong tool for your task. AFAIK, the author abandoned it long ago and there have been no updates.

    Just use GMTK as I suggested. It's new, modern software and it works really well. It will take care of all the details for you. Basically, it's a no-brainer.

    But it's up to you....
  • Hoo boy - this may prove more difficult than expected. My Norton anti-virus is not letting me use the downloaded JaVaWa GMTK_setup.exe file - it calls it a "threat" and immediately deletes it! I've never experienced that in many years with this computer and software, so will have to think a bit about how to proceed.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    The software is written in Java, so that is probably the issue. There are overall security concerns about Java, but those are primarily for Java code used on a website.

    The GMTK author is well know and participates in many forums. I have never seen any hint of issues with his software. Like I said, it's up to you. You could always send him an e-mail if you're concerned. Personally, I have no problems with GMTK and my Trend Antivirus doesn't report any problems.
  • Thanks - I did want some reassurance since I'd never experienced that "threat" message/behaviour before. So I un-"quarantine"d the file and boldly clicked the button to install it. And then used JaVaWa to add the TYP file (after having to rename it down to 8 characters!) to Topo24K and voila - Topo24K now appears without the green background! Very nice. Thanks much for your help. I'll be using Topo24K for several upcoming hikes which include off-trail portions, for which seeing/using the contour lines is important.

    Jack
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Great - glad I could help. GMTK has a number of other handy features as well. Enjoy the hikes!

  • 0x14
    0x16
    0x17
    0x1e
    0x20
    0x50
    PS: FWIW, according to GPSMapEdit in Topo24K 0x14 anbd 0x16 are "railroad" and "trail" poly_lines_. For the area I looked at there was no 0x50.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Again, I think you are looking in the wrong place. Don't confuse polyline and polygon types, they are completely different things.

    See the cgpsmapper manual. A full list of polygon types begins on the bottom of page 119. http://cgpsmapper.com/manual.

    I have never used this program, but it is supposed to extract a full list of the types used in a map and create a typ file to match: http://pinns.co.uk/osm/img2typ.html

    The author also wrote TypWiz, an excellent editor for custom types.
  • You are correct. I looked again and found some 0x14 polygon areas. So I added those to the TYP files as well as 0x15 and 0x16. Thanks again for your help.
  • miki57 0 Points
    hello guys, I'm Italian and I apologize but I have to translate with google, I just took the nuvi 3597lmt (in Italy there is no version LTMHD) and there is no information on this new browser. I am interested in customizing the style topographic maps, I downloaded the program JaVaWa GMTK but do not know how to use it. Can anyone give me detailed information to do this, oppre can you tell me if there is a tutorial?. Thanks for the replies ..... Miki57 .... Rome Italy
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Hi Miki. I plan to write a tutorial myself, but there it no deadline. It might be awhile, sorry.

    Some of the theory behind custom types can be found in Tutorial 2c on page 33 here: http://www.cgpsmapper.com/download/GM8DocV2.pdf

    But the implementation has gotten much simpler today, you don't need to create xpm bitmaps like that tutorial shows. Identify the objects you wish to change in the map and create a new .typ file containing them by using the online editor here:

    http://ati.land.cz/gps/typdecomp/editor.cgi

    A full list of all the codes for Garmin object types begins on page 107 of the cgpsmapper manual: http://cgpsmapper.com/manual

    Sorry, but this is a complex topic and it's just not possible to give detailed instructions in a forum post. GMTK is only used to install the custom .typ file. You must first create the file yourself.
  • miki57 0 Points
    Boyd hello thanks for the reply,
    I understand that the subject is complex and look your tutorial, in the meantime I'll try to experiment with the info you gave me. If I have trouble going to ask you information. Thank you and congratulations for the forum.
    miki57 Roma Italy
  • Hi Miki. I plan to write a tutorial myself, but there it no deadline. It might be awhile, sorry.

    ...

    Sorry, but this is a complex topic and it's just not possible to give detailed instructions in a forum post. GMTK is only used to install the custom .typ file. You must first create the file yourself.
    Boyd- appreciate all the work you've done here and on the other forums to make these infernal machines more user-friendly.

    While you work on the tutorial for creating .typ files to work with the Garmin-supplied topo data, do you mind posting the .typ file you used to create the screenshots above? I'd like to learn how to tweak this stuff myself, but in the meantime it would be great to just load usable topo on the nuvi.

    Also do you know what happened to the online typ editor (http://ati.land.cz/gps/typdecomp/editor.cgi)? I see many references to it scattered around, but it seems to have been down for the past month or so (the extent of my experience with digging in to these devices). I've downloaded TYPViewer as an offline tool, but am a bit unsure where to start to edit for the topo maps.
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    edited November 2013
    Thanks for the nice words.

    Apparently the online editor is just gone. It was discussed recently in the GPSFileDepot forums but I don't have any real info. Too bad, it was pretty handy and was also the only way I know to compile .typ files on the Mac.

    I can't post a binary file here, so let's see if the forum software will accept the text version....

    Copy everything below, paste it into a text editor and save with a .txt extension. You should then be able to open the file in TypViewer and save it as a binary .typ file.

    Hopefully it will work, but unfortunately the forum software sometimes mangles text. That might create some problems...

    ___________________________________________________

    (note: code has been removed due to problems with the way the forum software mangled it - sorry)
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    I've tried a couple different ways to make the post above work, but the forum software is just determined to mangle it. All the objects that contain bitmaps have been messed up.

    Sorry. You could go through each object and try to fix or replace the bitmapped items but that is going to be a bit of a pain.

    Unfortunately, I can't promise any date for my proposed article either. I have gotten distracted with other things recently. When I get back around to this, I will post a followup here.

    Just looking quickly, here are the objects that seem to be messed up

    POLYGONS
    0x51

    POLYLINES
    0x14
    0x16
    0x1c
    0x1d
    0x28
    0x29

    ALL POI's except 0x066

    Use this at your own risk. I don't know what kind of less-obvious problems the mangled text might create and I have not tried installing it. Unless you know what you are doing it might be best not to mess with this... :?
  • I've tried a couple different ways to make the post above work, but the forum software is just determined to mangle it. All the objects that contain bitmaps have been messed up.
    Thanks for the quick reply Boyd, looking forward to checking this out after dinner. I think it should be enough to get me started anyway.

    Do you mind trying to use http://pastebin.com/ or http://pastie.org/ to host the code, and share the link here? Services like those are designed to not mangle text pastes.
  • popej 52 Points
    Apparently the online editor is just gone. It was discussed recently in the GPSFileDepot forums but I don't have any real info. Too bad, it was pretty handy and was also the only way I know to compile .typ files on the Mac.
    Mkgmap should work on Mac:
    http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Mkgmap/help/TYP_files
  • Boyd 1303 Points
    Do you mind trying to use http://pastebin.com/ or http://pastie.org/ to host the code, and share the link here? Services like those are designed to not mangle text pastes.
    Sorry, this is something I'm just not ready to post because I haven't really had time to test it or look at it in depth. In fact I have edited it out of the post above because it's really "not ready for prime time". :)

  • Sorry, this is something I'm just not ready to post because I haven't really had time to test it or look at it in depth. In fact I have edited it out of the post above because it's really "not ready for prime time". :)
    Fair enough, I'll see what I can figure out here. Looking forward to when you get the tutorial written up =)
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