Note: Version 6.15.3 of MapSource accidentally dropped support for custom waypoint icons; version 6.15.4 puts it back. Make sure you have the most recent version.
The two previous posts in this series dealt with creating and uploading custom waypoint icons to supported Garmin GPS units. But while third-party software for handling GPX data (both upload and download) will download the waypoints, most (if not all) don’t support display of these custom waypoint icons. For that, you’ll have to use Garmin’s MapSource program (aka Trip and Waypoint Manager), and set up custom waypoint icon graphics so that MapSource can import and use them.
The earlier posts described how to create and name graphic files for uploading to your Garmin as custom waypoint icons. In addition to very strict graphic file requirements, these files have to be named “Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp”, “Waypoint Symbol 001.bmp”, “Waypoint Symbol 002.bmp”, … “Waypoint Symbol 023.bmp”, (for a Garmin 60Cx) corresponding to maximum of 24 custom waypoint icon symbols (for my Garmin 60Cx; your unit may be different). Once you’ve created and uploaded these icon graphics to your GPS, copy them to MapSource’s “Custom Waypoint Symbols” folder, usually located in the “My Garmin” subfolder of your Windows’ “My Documents” folder. If this is the first time you’re doing this, you’ll probably find 8 files in that folder, “000.bmp” to “007.bmp”; these are 8 dummy custom waypoint icon symbols, plain blue dots, corresponding to the default custom waypoint icon on a Garmin GPS. You could probably delete these, but on the off chance you might want them again in the future, you might want to move these into another folder for safekeeping.
Now, rename the Waypoint Symbol files like this:
Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp => 000.bmp
Waypoint Symbol 001.bmp => 001.bmp
Waypoint Symbol 002.bmp => 002.bmp
Waypoint Symbol 023.bmp => 023.bmp
(Note: MapSource can use up to 64 different custom waypoint icons, 000 through 063, but if your GPS unit only supports 24 custom icons, 024 and above would only work in the MapSource display, and would show up on your GPS as a default waypoint icon).
For example, for doing archaeological field surveys, I created five custom waypoint icons, each representing a different prehistoric cultural artifact:
|Graphic file||Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp||Waypoint Symbol 001.bmp||Waypoint Symbol 002.bmp||Waypoint Symbol 003.bmp||Waypoint Symbol 004.bmp|
|Artifact type||Pottery||Arrowhead||Food grinder||Rock art||Ruin|
The magenta color in each graphic is the transparent color, and disappears when uploaded to the GPS. Using the procedures described previously in this series, the icons are uploaded to the GPS, and show up in the “Custom” waypoint icons section:
I can now use these icons when marking waypoints, and have them show up on the map screen:
(Note to concerned archaeologists: This is a fictitious example, and doesn’t depict actual locations of cultural artifacts).
Now, I copy all five of the above bmp files to the “Custom Waypoint Symbols”, and rename them as described above (e.g. “Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp” is renamed to “000.bmp”). Starting up MapSource, and downloading all of the waypoints depicted above, the waypoints are mapped out:
The custom waypoint icons show up exactly the same in MapSource as they do on the GPS unit.
You don’t actually have to use the same graphic for custom waypoints in MapSource as you did for the GPS unit. MapSource will accept custom waypoint graphics in either 16 x 16 or 24 x 24 BMP format, and in either 8-bit or 24-bit color (unlike the GPS custom waypoint graphics, which have to be 16 x 16 8-bit color). You just have to make sure you name them to correspond to the correct GPS custom waypoint icon, i.e. 000.bmp for the first icon, 001.bmp for the second icon and so on. Transparency is supported as well; as with the icons for the GPS, magenta (R 255, G 0. B 255) is the transparent color.
Using custom icons like this gives you a handy way to separate out and save waypoints in different categories. For example, downloading the points above into MapSource gives me the following waypoint list on the left:
Clicking on the “Symbol” column at the top sorts the waypoints in this listing by the symbol type:
To save only the pottery-related waypoints in this list:
- Select the first seven waypoints (with the pottery symbol)
- Right-click on the selected points, and choose Copy
- Start up another MapSource program window (e.g. from the Windows Start Menu, or by double-clicking on the program icon or shortcut)
- Paste the copied waypoints into the second MapSource window (Ctrl-V, Edit => Paste, or right-click anywhere in the second MapSource program window and choose Paste)
Only the pottery-related waypoints will show up in the new program window:
I can now save these points in their own file, say a GPX file, for either direct import into a GIS program or conversion to an alternate format like shapefile using a program like DNRGarmin.
Finally, I can also create waypoints in MapSource using these custom waypoint icons, using the Symbol dropdown in the Waypoint Properties window:
When uploaded to GPS that has matching custom waypoint icons, they will display in the map with the corresponding custom waypoint icon.