Rich of GPS TrackLog points out that the demo version of OziExplorer has the ability to open shapefiles, and export the data to a GPS. I’d avoided looking at OziExplorer because I thought it was shareware, and you’re obligated to pay $85 for registration to use it. But Rich is right – the demo version does let you import shapefiles, and send them to a GPS. And it does a bunch more as well:
- Imports other GIS vector formats, like MIF and MapGen, and even has limited support for the dreaded E00 format; also does GPX and Google Earth KML files
- Exports data from any of the above formats to a GPS unit, and supports a wide variety of units from Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, Eagle, Brunton/Silva, and MLR.
- Imports GPS data (waypoints, tracks and routes), and can save in GPX, KML, shapefile, text, and IGC format.
- Lots of additional features for importing and calibrating background images, creating vector shapes, real-time navigation, etc..
Almost too many features, in fact – the interface is a bit intimidating:
If you try it for the GPS/GIS/Google Earth features, here are a few tips:
- Select Map => Blank Map (Auto Scale) before importing or downloading data.
- For GPS connections, set the GPS type and the communications port in File => Configurations. OziExplorer will create a GPS menu with the brand name of your GPS unit based on this choice.
- All the downloaded data may not appear on screen; use the +/- buttons to zoom out, or click on a blank area and drag to move the map screen.
As with GPS Utility, though, OziExplorer *is* shareware, and if you plan to use it on a regular basis, you should pay the $85 registration fee. It has lots of additional mapping features, but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, you might be better off with GPS TrackMaker or EasyGPS, completely free options described in earlier posts.