Mapping Overview and Basics

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Map Authoring or mapping is simply the process of building your own GPS maps from data which contains Lat/Lon information. This and all other articles in this wiki section explain the method used by amateur mapping communities to create their own home-made maps. Distinction has to be made against the process used by GIS professionals using expensive data acquisition and software.

Malsingmaps is a community of GPS enthusiasts using primarily Garmin GPS devices. Our maps are principally in Garmin platform hence also our mapping process and reference.

Basic and Routable maps[edit]

Due to its different characteristics, it is essential to make a distinction between basic and routable maps.

  • Routable maps are GPS maps which have the capability to provide turn-by-turn instructions to navigate from point A to point B on a GPS map. Routable maps require much more effort to create and maintain as it contains road direction and restriction information. Example of routable maps are our free Malsing Maps.
  • Basic maps are GPS maps which do not have the capability to provide turn-by-turn routing instructions. Example of basic maps are POI-only maps and topographic maps. There are also city maps which are non-routable.

We suggest that newbie map authors focus on building non-routable maps first to get a better understanding of the overall map authoring process, before moving to the more complex routable maps.

Overview - Mapping Process[edit]

The diagram below illustrates the process of creating a Garmin map from the data source to final map.

Map Authoring[edit]

Waypoints and tracklogs collected by our members are used as reference to draw our maps. We use GPSMapedit to create and maintain our maps.

Routing Process[edit]

To create routable maps, routing data need to be created and included into your map. There are two ways of automatic routing data creation.

One way is to use GPSMapedit to create your routing data (Tools->Generate Routing Graph->Using Coinciding Nodes)

The other way is to use Maproute. The output from this process is a series of ESRI shapefiles ready for the compilation.

Map Compilation[edit]

We use cgpsmapper to compile ("cook" in malsingmaps term) our map definition into Garmin IMG map format. This final format is readable by Garmin GPS receivers and also PDA-based navigation software.

Mapsource Mapset Generation[edit]

This is an optional process to create mapset for Garmin's Mapsource and Nroute software. Using the maps in Mapsource enable users to preplan their journey. It is also much easier to search for addresses or point of interests (POIs) using Mapsource. This can be done by creating preview files and registry editing or with utilities, such as our free M3 - Mapsource Mapset Manager. There is also a shareware called IMG2MS with a limited demoversion "works 14 days, only 3x delete mapsets, only 1 ID-number", and requires payment for the full unlimited version.