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Not So Free Tools For Custom Garmin Vector Maps XVII: Paid Apps

After 16 posts on free tools for Garmin vector map creation, thought I’d throw in some links to non-free apps. Free apps are great, but they often have a steep learning curve, and require more effort to use; paid apps often have more features, and come with support.

GPSMapEdit: Free evaluation version already covered here; paid version offers more features.

MapMan: Free version already covered here; paid version adds a few more features. Not clear to me it’s worth the price (30 UK pounds); GPSMapEdit and MapWel are better choices in that price range.

Global Mapper:  Can export vector data in Polish Map (.mp) format, along with proper level formatting data. Supports just about every vector GIS format out there for input, and can re-project just about any coordinate system to the geographic/WGS84 coordinate system required for Garmin maps. At $300, hard to justify for that use only, but it’s a full featured vector/raster viewer and format converter as well.

MapWel: A full-featured vector map editor and compiler, with routing support recently added. Lots of supported import vector formats (shapefile, Polish Map Format .mp, OpenStreetMap OSM, GPX, GDB, KML, KMZ, DBX, PLT, WPT); you can also import raster imagery as a guide for drawing vector features.. Vectorizes raster images into Garmin format; allows custom symbology; very fast compiler. Biggest drawback has been incompatiblity with MapSource/Basecamp, but there is a somewhat clumsy workaround for that now. Basic version has a limited feature set, and only lets you create maps for a single unit; Advanced version removes those limitations.

gpx2img: Converts GPX tracks and waypoints to transparent .img vector map files, with customizable symbology. Not officially released yet. Based on the features listed on the website, you can get all of this functionality using free tools, but it may offer an easier workflow.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for free and paid apps; if I’ve missed one, let me know. I’m working on an updated GUI for the mkgmap compiler, and that should be out sometime next week.

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