Working with GPS Units

You can import and export data using a couple of methods.

  1. Connect directly to a Garmin GPS using GPSIO

    GPSIO is a still-experimental replacement for the Garmin Communicator plugin, built on open web standards and using GPSBabel to read GPS data. Additional information is available here. See below for installation instructions.

  2. Access GPS Units that support a USB Mass Storage Interface through the file interface.

    USB mass storage interface means that when you plug the GPS into your computer, it appears as a USB drive, like a thumb drive or external hard drive. A list of Garmin GPS units that support a USB mass storage interface can be found here. In addition the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx can be accessed as a USB storage device with a little work, see this article.

GPSIO Method

Installing the GPSIO Extension

Install the prerequisites if not already installed on your computer:

  1. Python, which comes pre-installed on Mac and Linux installations, but may need to be installed for Windows. Click here to download the latest Python for windows.

  2. GPSBabel, an open source program for working with GPSs and GPS data (consider making a donation).
    Click here to download.

To comply with browser security restrictions, GPSIO is composed of two parts: an extension and a host.

  • Install the host. Download. On windows systems you must unzip this file by right-clicking on it and choosing "Extract All"; the installer will not work properly if you navigate into the zipped folder by double-clicking on it in the windows file explorer. Either double-click on the install.py script or open up a command prompt and run "python installer.py".

  • Install the extension in your browser.

Importing GPS Tracks and Waypoints as Lines and Markers using GPSIO

  1. Connect the GPS to the computer with a USB cable. It may take the GPS a minute or two to save the tracks and establish a connection.

  2. On the CalTopo top menu bar, click "Import" and "Connect via GPSIO".

    connect_via_gpsio.png

  3. A message will appear while the GPS is being read.

    reading_data_from_GPS.png

  4. If the connection is unsuccessful, you may see an error message. The extension may not be correctly installed, or you may have not given the GPS long enough to connect.

    reading_data_from_GPS_error.png

  5. A second message will appear once the data has been read and is being processed.

    data_read_from_GPS.png

  6. Un-check any waypoints or tracks you do not want to import and click "Import".

    import_data_selection_2.PNG

  7. Track will appear in the "Lines & Polygons" folder, waypoints will appear in the "Markers" folder.

    lines_and_polygons_and_markers.png

Exporting Lines, Polygons and Markers to GPS Units using GPSIO

  1. Connect the GPS to the computer with a USB cable. It may take the GPS a minute or two to save the tracks and establish a connection.

  2. On the CalTopo top menu bar, click "Export" and "Connect via GPSIO".

    export_via_GPSIO.png

  3. Un-check any objects you do not want to import and click "Export".

    export_select_objects.png

  4. Once the export is complete, you will see this message:

    gpsio_export_successful.png

  5. If the connection is unsuccessful, you may see an error message. The extension may not be correctly installed, or you may have not given the GPS long enough to connect.

    gpsio_export_error.png

USB Mass Storage Interface Method

These instructions assume a Garmin GPS, but similar steps will work with other GPS units that support a USB mass storage interface.

Connect the GPS to the computer with a USB cable. It may take the GPS a minute or two to save the tracks and establish a connection. Once the connection is established, the computer may chime and/or a file explorer window will open for the GPS in Windows. On a Mac, a Garmin folder will appear on the desktop.

Importing GPS Tracks and Waypoints as Lines and Markers using the USB Mass Storage Interface Method

  1. On the CalTopo top menu bar, click "Import" and "Choose Files".

    choose_files_v2.png

  2. Navigate to the Garmin unit, and then the Garmin / GPX folder, select the desired track and/or markers and click "Open".

    win_open_gpx_file.png

  3. Un-check any waypoints or tracks you do not want to import and click "Import".

    import_data_selection_2.PNG

  4. Track will appear in the "Lines & Polygons" folder, waypoints will appear in the "Markers" folder.

    lines_and_polygons_and_markers.png

Exporting Lines, Polygons and Markers to GPS Units using the USB Mass Storage Interface Method

  1. On the CalTopo top menu bar, click "Export" and "Download GPX File".

    export_via_usb.png

  2. Un-check any objects you do not want to import and click "Export".

    export_select_objects.png

Depending on your browser and how it is configured, you may be prompted where to save the file or it may be automatically saved in your downloads folder.

If you are prompted where to save the file:

  1. Navigate to the Garmin unit, and then the Garmin / GPX folder, change the file name as desired and click "Save".

    winsave.png

If the file was automatically saved in your "Downloads" folder:

  1. In the bottom bar of the browser (the example shown is Chrome) click the menu beside the file and choose "Show in Folder" .

    show_in_folder.png

  2. Now drag the file to the Garmin\GPX folder on the GPS Unit.

    drag_to_GPX.png

Ejecting a GPS Connected Via USB

In Windows, eject the GPS by clicking on the USB icon in the System Tray and then selecting the Garmin unit.

win_Eject_Garmin.png

In MacOS, eject the GPS by right-clicking on the GARMIN folder on the desktop and click "Eject "GARMIN".

mac_eject_garmin_right_mouse.png

SARTopo Specific Features

Importing Tracks/Waypoints Into an Assignment using GPSIO

  1. Click the assignment name in the Assignment Folder.

    assignment_name.png

  2. Click “Import Tracks”

    click_import_tracks.png

  3. Click “Connect via GPSIO”

    import_into_assignment_gpsio.png

  4. A message will appear while the GPS is being read.

    reading_data_from_GPS.png

  5. If the connection is unsuccessful, you may see an error message. The extension may not be correctly installed, or you may have not given the GPS long enough to connect.

    reading_data_from_GPS_error.png

  6. A second message will appear once the data has been read and is being processed.

    data_read_from_GPS.png

  7. Un-check any that tracks or waypoints you do not want to import, and click "Import".

    import_data_selection_2.PNG

  8. The imported objects will appear in the "Tracks" and "Waypoints" folder below the "Assignments" folder.

    track_and_waypoints_in_folders.PNG

Importing Tracks/Waypoints Into an Assignment using the USB Mass Storage Interface Method

  1. Click the assignment name in the Assignment Folder.

    assignment_name.png

  2. Click “Import Tracks”

    click_import_tracks.png

  3. Click “Choose Files”

    import_into_assignment_usb.png

  4. Navigate to the Garmin unit, and then the Garmin / GPX folder, select the desired track and/or markers and click "Open"

    win_open_gpx_file.png

  5. Un-check any that tracks or waypoints you do not want to import, and click "Import".

    import_data_selection_2.PNG

  6. The imported objects will appear in the "Tracks" and "Waypoints" folder below the "Assignments" folder.

    track_and_waypoints_in_folders.PNG

Convert Line to Assignment Track

A GPS track that was previously imported as a line, can be converted to an assignment track.

  1. Right-click the line on the map, click “Convert”, “Convert to track”.

    convert_to_track.png

  2. Select the assignment and click “OK”.

    select_assignment.png

Clean Assignment Track

The Clean Tracks tool removes portions of the track sufficiently outside of the assignment boundary.

  1. Click the assignment name in the Assignment Folder.

    assignment_name.png

  2. Click “Clean Tracks”

    click_clean_tracks.png

  3. Enter the distance from the assignment in kilometers you would like to clip the track and click "Go".

    clean_go.png

    Any tracks that intersect with the assignment area will be clipped the specified distance outside of the assignment. Any tracks completely outside of the assignment area and are the specified distance away, will be deleted.

Additional Cleanup Method

If further cleanup of the travel path to and from the assignment is desired:

  1. Right-click the point on the track where the task actually started, and click "Modify", "Split here".

    split_here.png

  2. Delete the unwanted portion of the track

  3. Repeat for where the travel begins at the end of the task.