Friday, 20 January 2012

Get more detail with the NZ Open GPS Project

I might like all maps, but I really love FREE maps!

 

Back in 2009, I wrote how to get free street maps from the NZ Open GPS project loaded into a Garmin Edge 705. As I look to venture into more mountain biking and perhaps even do a little more tramping I have found other maps from the NZ Open GPS Project that provide more detail and as such are far more useful when leaving tarmac.

 

For best results:

  • Build UltraMaps (Free Open GPS NZ Combined mapset) with Mapsource and send to your GPS. Make sure that the ~700Mb gmapsupp.img file is copied to the Garmin folder of your Micro-SD card.
  • Copy the gmapsupp.img file from  “Free Open GPS Autorouting” mapset into the Garmin directory for the internal memory of your GPS
  • When on the road for latest maps and less screen clutter to help read street names disable the “Free Open GPS NZ Combined” mapset in Setup –> Maps
  • When in the mountains or trails enable the “Free Open GPS NZ Combined” mapset in Setup –> Maps

Free Open GPS NZ Autorouting (~38Mb)

The Free Open GPS NZ Autorouting Maps (updated every weekly) are a well known and heavily used mapset. It includes all the NZ roads and are suitable for road navigation from a car, or a road based cycle tour or brevet. You can download the latest image from http://www.nzopengps.org/public/Direct_gmapsupp/ and copy it onto your GPS [instructions]. This mapset is about 30Mb is size.

 

NZAutorouting-ArthursPass

 

Use this mapset if:

  • You have limited storage
  • You do not have Mapsource or Basecamp software
  • Your journey is entirely on the road.

Free NZOGPS_DOC_SRTM (~220Mb)

For mountain biking or tramping, a little more detail may be cleaned from the NZOpenGPS_DOC_SRTM map set (last updated 2010) – this adds Department of Conservation tracks, streams, rivers as well contour lines from the NZ Topomap series, increasing the size to over 200Mb.

 

NZ_DOC_SRTM-ArthursPass

 

This mapset is updated infrequently. Probably best to miss this one.

I would generally recommend that you use either the Free Open GPS NZ Autorouting (above) or UltraMaps (below). But use this mapset if:

  • You are venturing away from the roads and have limited storage capacity on your GPS.
  • You don’t mind some old data and the screen is too cluttered, even after reducing detail when using the “UltraMaps” mapset

 

UltraMaps / Free Open GPS NZ Combined mapset (~700Mb)

 

“UltraMaps” or NZ Open GPS Combined set. Fully integrates the NZ Topo series with the routable street maps. This mapset is very complete at about 700Mb in size and may in some situations provide too much detail for a handheld GPS screen. It is not available prebuilt as a GMAPSUPP.IMG file, so it is more complex to install. You will need to have Garmin’s Mapsource or Basecamp software to build it and transfer it to your GPS.

 

This mapset was a little hard to find, but after delving into the forums of the NZ Open GPS project I came across a post from “Mr Purple” – thankyou sir. When installing it will be worth looking at more recent posts in the same forum to look for newer versions of this mapset.

MrPurple wrote:

LATEST VERSION includes latest changes to zoom levels, typ skin, and a recent road update.
Ive combined all the different ones I've made including Nevs improvements to the typ skin with the offical OS maps and provided an updater as a seperate program to grab any new OS road map you might install. To be clear the OS road updater doesnt update the OS roads, it grabs the OS roads you have installed and copies them into the combined map. You need to update the OS road maps yourself first.
Once you unzip the archive with 7zip you've got an installer with topo/title boundaries/OS roads/residual tracks
Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4
OS road updater
If you dont want any of the maps on your device just dont select them when you transfer, or better yet prepare multiple mapsets by renaming the gmapsup.img which you create to make mapsets that you can switch between.

 

NZCombined-ArthursPass

 

This detail is fabulous when in the hills, especially on foot. In urban areas with a small  GPS sized screen it can be cluttered and getting the detail right so you see all the street names you desire can be a challenge.

 

Use this mapset if:

  • You have plenty of storage
  • You have Mapsource or Basecamp software
  • You are spending time in the mountains or trails

 

 

The Ultimate Combination…

As per the “for best results” summary at the beginning of this post, I am now having my cake and eating too. When navigate the cities and towns of New Zealand I am disabling the “Free Open GPS NZ Combined” mapset. There may be other ways to achieve these same means but this is a simple and easy to understand method of achieving this result. Alternatively, if only routing from the “Free Open GPS Autorouting” mapset there may be more pure topomap sets to load which I will investigate over time.

 

I have tested this process on both a Garmin Etrex 30 and a Garmin 705 GPS.

 

For best results:

  • Build UltraMaps (Free Open GPS NZ Combined mapset) with Mapsource and send to your GPS. Make sure that the ~700Mb gmapsupp.img file is copied to the Garmin folder of your Micro-SD card.
  • Copy the gmapsupp.img file from “Free Open GPS Autorouting” mapset into the Garmin directory for the internal memory of your GPS
  • When on the road for latest maps and less screen clutter to help read street names disable the “Free Open GPS NZ Combined” mapset in Setup –> Maps
  • When in the mountains or trails enable the “Free Open GPS NZ Combined” mapset in Setup –> Maps