In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Garmin Topo Tracks
On a lot of our Daytrips in the desert you'll see Garmin Topo Tracks available. See the capture to the right. You can click on this and a box like the one shown below will open giving you a choice of either opening or saving it to a place in your computer. Saving it is a good choice and if your going to save more than one you might want to make a folder called Garmin Topo Tracks to keep them orgainized. They are already named for each specific area. This one is named crystalhill, so you'll know what it is. Windows 7 will save the file for you.
Your going to click on Save to save the crystalhill.mps or gpx file to your computer. Unless you have Garmin's MapSource or Base Camp on your computer, you won't be able to open this file because your computer doesn't know what a mps or gpx file format is. More on the software later.
In the window below you'll see I've created a My Documents folder called Garmin Maps. On different operating systems your proceedure will vary.
Save the file and put it into your folder for later use.
Now to access the mps file you just saved you have to have Garmin's Map Source or Base Camp topo programs on your computer. You can acquire one of these programs thru links on THIS SITE. Once you open the Map Source program you'll go to File and in the dropdown click on Open. See the window below. See the above link for instructions for Base Camp.
Here's your .mps (gpx) file for crystalhill. Select the file by clicking on it and then click open and it will open in the Garmin Map Source Program. Easy. After you do this you'll see the Active Log file in the Tracks tab. Click on Tracks tab if it's not already open (in the larger blue circle). In the smaller blue circle in the top of the program window you'll see the name, telling you you've opened the right file.
Now to see the track you've downloaded, and this is the easiest way, right click on the Active Log file and in the drop down box you'll left click on Show Selected Track on the Map. See below.
Okay here's the track you just downloaded from the site. It's the dotted yellow line on the topo map. You'll also notice there are Waypoints with the track to show various points of interest. In this case one of them shows the location of the turn off to the Narrows in Un-named Wash.
We're almost there. Now that you have the track loaded into the program your ready to put it into your Garmin GPS. Your GPS has to be hooked up to your computer via a USB cable and has to be turned on. Then just click the Send to the Device shown here to load it onto the GPS.
This window will open and the first time you do this you may have to click on Find Device to browse through the computer to the USB and click on the GPS. After the first time you won't have to do this again, the program will find it on it's own. Don't foget to connect the GPS to the computer and turn it ON. Within a couple of seconds it will have it loaded on the GPS and your done. That's easy!
Different operating systems, Windows 7 comes to mind, will act differently. Just clicking on the file will open and save it to your computer. Also we're in the process of changing all the mps formats to a gpx format for ease of use with Base Camp. These gpx files will be in zip files, that you'll have to open. In Windows 7 just a click on the zip file will open it. These are the same tracks/waypoints just in a different more versatile format.
HERE is a neat software trick for adding more than one track at a time to your Garmin MapSource progam.
NOTE: See Changes Bottom of the Page
NOTE: Garmin has several files extensions for their tracks and waypoints - mps, gdb and gpx. GPX files are now the most common and in some cases are the only file extension used in some software, CalTopo Maps for one. Change all the mps file extensions in the above to gpx for a better, more usable outcome.