How To Create Garmin Topo Maps - Part 9 - Compiling Data

Author: Dan Blomberg | Last updated December 4th, 2011 at 03:19pm


The final part of this lesson is two parts.  The first, and required, step is converting the .mp files to Garmin compatible .img files.  The second, optional, step is creating a NSIS setup file to allow people to easily install your new map.


Some software is required for creating .img files and the setup system.

Creating .img Files

First make sure you downloaded cgpsmapper.

  1. Copy cgpsmapper.exe and sendg.dll from its directory to your release_version_1.00 directory
  2. Download GPSFileDepot's batch scripts to make processing autonomous
    Note: this is not required but highly recommended for multiple .mp files
  3. Extract the files in the zip folder to your release_version_1.00 folder
  4. Open TranscodeQ.txt and put all your .mp filenames in there (for example,, etc.)
  5. Double click transcode.bat; this will run cgpsmapper on all the files listed there and then hit the next file.

This process will most likely take a few hours and will create .img files.  You are now done with the .mp files.

Creating The Preview File

I use MapSetToolkit to easily create the preview files.In the lower left make sure you point the cgpsmapper blank to the location where cgpsmapper is installed.

  1. Open MapSetToolkit
  2. Click "Select IMG Files" in the upper left
  3. Point it to your release_version_1.00 folder
  4. Click "Select All"
  5. Click "Add-->"
  6. Set the Mapset Directory to the release_version_1.00 folder
  7. Enter your mapset name into the mapset name box (Mississippi Topo for example)
  8. Leave Product Code blank
  9. Enter your information into the copyright information box; it may not use this depending on the version of cgpsmapper you use.
  10. We're going to fill in family ID with a 4 digit number.  This number can be random but right now GPSFileDepot's maps use 326# and 327#; please don't use any 326# or 327#.
  11. Click Start

Creating Setup Files

We will use NSIS and a template file to easily create setup files that install your maps on someone's computer as well as make it easy to access in MapSource.

  1. Download the setup template file. (Updated 4 Dec 11)
  2. Extract the files to your release_version_1.00 folder
  3. Optional: Open license.txt and modify as needed/you see fit.
  4. Open the .nsi file in notepad
  6. Edit MAP_SHORT_NAME (this needs to match the map name from Mapset Toolkit)
  7. Edit MAP_URL
  8. Edit MAP_EMAIL
  10. Edit MAP_VERSION
  11. Edit MAP_REL_DATE (map release date)
  12. You will need to convert the decimal family id to hexadecimal using Windows' built in calculator.  This decimal code is the family id from Mapset Toolkit.
    1. Open the calculator built in to Microsoft Windows (normally in the Accessories part of the Start menu)
    2. Click view>scientific
    3. Make sure that "Dec" is clicked (circle filled in) and then type in your family id.
    4. Now click "Hex"; it will return a number.  If the number is only 3 digits don't forget to add the zero to the front; for example if the decimal number was 2351 the hexadecimal will display as 92F and in this case we need to make it 092F.
  13. Now take this code and "flip" it, if the hex code was ABCD then your MAP_ID is CDAB.  In the example above the family id would be 2F09 
  14. Change the DIRECTORY to match your release directory
  15. Change the EXE_FILE from map_install.exe to XX_topo_install.exe where XX is your state's two letter code.
  16. Advanced options (do as required/optional):
    1. If cgpsmapper/MapSetToolkit created a .mdx file uncomment (remove the ; ) lines 117 and 130.
    2. If cgpsmapper/MapSetToolkit created .img.idx , .tbd, and _mdr.img then uncomment lines 116, 118, 122, 131, and 136
    3. This will allow the installer to work with searchable maps.
    4. If you want to have a custom icon for your setup file fill in line 22 and then uncomment lines 39 and 40
    5. If you want to use a custom left side graphic (as -Oz-'s installers do) then fill in line 23 and uncomment line 47
  17. Now save the file and close notepad.
  18. Open NSIS and compile the .nsi file.

You should now have a setup exe in your release_version_1.00 folder.

Creating Mac Files

This is an optional step but highly reccomended.

  1. Download Garmin MapConverter.
  2. Start MapConverter
  3. Click next if it says there are maps that can't be converted.
  4. Select the map you want to convert and uncheck all the others.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Put the file in your release_version_1.00 folder
  7. Click next and let it do the conversion.

You now have a file that can be opened and then installed on a Mac computer.

If you want to make it easier (and have a mac) we highly reccomend you create a setup file for Macs for Garmin compatible maps.

What's Next?

Now that you've made a map make sure you register here at GPSFileDepot and then go to the member's area and add your map so you can share it with the world.

If you have any questions of comments please either contact us or post in the forums.

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