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Raster Maps For Garmin And Magellan GPS Units, And Mobile Phone Apps, With Mobile Atlas Creator

Mobile Atlas Creator (formerly TrekBuddy Atlas Creator) is an open-source program that downloads map tiles from a variety of sources, and converts them into a large number of formats compatible with mobile phone mapping apps, some Garmin and Magellan GPS units, and OziExplorer. Written in Java, it comes with a Windows executable and Linux shell script to start up the program; I don’t have a Mac, but I’d guess there’s some way to get it to work with Macintosh computers as well. Map sources currently built into the program include:

  • Yahoo Maps
  • Microsoft Maps / Virtual Earth
  • A number of OpenStreetMap sources
  • Terraserver USA topographic maps (1:24K, 1:100K, 1:250K depending on the zoom level); unfortunately, includes the annoying USGS watermark stamps
  • Google Maps (street, terrain, hybrid); these are likely a violation of the Google Maps TOS, and Google tends to change the URLs on these to prevent this kind of use
  • Many, many more map sources from around the world
  • And the Readme file offers instructions on how to add your own map sources. However, the requirements are fairly strict, and rule out most map servers. If there’s one feature I’d like to see added, it would be the ability to include any WMS (Web Map Service) as a data source.

Output formats for GPS units include:

  • RMP maps for Magellan Triton units; be sure to set the maximum map size to 18000 before creating maps in this format. A nice guide to creating RMP maps with this program is available at the Triton Forum.
  • Google Earth KMZ files compatible with the Garmin Colorado/Oregon/Dakota series. Set the maximum map size to 1024 for these, or else maps will be scaled down to a maximum size of 1024 x 1024 regardless of their original size, resulting in resolution degradation.
  • You can also create waypoints on the map, and save them as a GPX file, or load GPX files and display them on the map. GPX tracks/waypoints will not show up on the generated raster maps.

I don’t have a smartphone to test these out on, but Mobile Atlas Creator can also generate raster maps for the following mobile phone apps:

The J2ME applications are Java-based, and should run on any mobile phone that supports Java; check the application pages for compatible phones. TrekBuddy in particular supports a huge range of smartphone models.

Finally, you can also create raster maps for the commercial GPS mapping applications Touratech QV and OziExplorer.

The ReadMe HTML file is mostly devoted to the specific details of getting the maps generated by Mobile Atlas Creator loaded and working on the various supported platforms. For general program operations, there’s no real help per se, but the interface is straightforward enough that you should be able to puzzle out how it works. Basically, you:

1. Choose your desired map source, and zoom in to your desired area

2. . Set the zoom level or levels for which you want raster maps generated

3. Select an area on the map, and add that selection to your atlas content.

4. Choose your output format.

5. Generate your maps (“Create atlas”)


Quick tip: The left button is used to select a map area; click and drag with the right-mouse button to pan the map.

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2 Responses to “Raster Maps For Garmin And Magellan GPS Units, And Mobile Phone Apps, With Mobile Atlas Creator”

  1. 1 bogi

    I created animated guide to demonstrate the process of KMZ Custom Map creation from online maps using MOBAC:

  2. 2 grant sandford

    thank you i can now create some mapping for my magellan 500 gps.

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