A reader from Canada asks, “Is it possible to load an AutoCAD file (dxf?) into my Garmin GPSMAP 60csx?”. I don’t know of a free one-step solution, and if any reader knows of one, I’d appreciate. However, using some of the procedures described in previous posts on this blog, it can be done fairly easily.
1. Convert the DXF file to a shapefile using the MapWindow DXF To Shape Converter. Points, lines and areas will have to be converted into separate shapefiles.2. If the coordinates of the DXF are not in the native coordinate system for most GPS units (latitude/longitude, WGS84), you’ll need to re-project the new shapefiles from their current coordinate system (e.g. UTM) to the GPS native system using MapWindow.
3. Load the shapefile into the GPS using one of several programs available. Points and lines will be imported as waypoints and tracks, respectively, while areas will be imported as tracks that describe the perimeter of the area.
It’s even less painful than it sounds; should take no more than about five minutes to put a DXF file into a GPS, once you have all the software you need installed.
Addendum: You would also follow the same basic procedure if you wanted to display a DXF file in Google Earth, but instead of step 3 above, you would convert the shapefile created in step 2 into a Google Earth KML file using one of the converters I’ve posted about previously.