Custom maps for Explorist

Thales Navigation manufactures MobileMapper device for professional georeference. To work with the MobileMapper Thales Navigation has MobileMapper (MMO) software available for public download from their ftp site. It was found by Varga Csongor (September 2003) that background maps created with MMO are also good for Meridian series. Since that time significant progress was archived in custom maps creation, join them with MapSend maps, create custom topo maps and POIs etc. These programs and findings can be found in mobilemapper2 yahoo group and on this site (Magellan GPS section, for overview of custom map creation please have a look at Magellan GPS-Create map-Garmin to Magellan and Advance map Sections of this site).

This year Thales Navigation (Magellan) introduced new Explorist series of GPS receivers. The "bad" thing is the receivers are now ARM based receivers in which Intel little-endian byte order is used (in contrast to Meridian and Sportrack line, where Motorola big-endian were used). Moreover customers found that many of the "old" Mapsend software is no longer good for the Explorists.

But as usually Thales Navigation has something good and hidden from us. Bruce (see Msg#161 on 07/05/05 in mobilemapper2 yahoo group) has found that in the new version of MMO 2.7 there is an option to create maps in Explorist format.


Here is the part of MMO27's MMOffice.ini file (located in the root MMO27 folder). Bruce found that if Byte_Order option in the [DEVICE_DEFAULTS] is equal to 1 than MMO27 creates maps compatible (after conversion with MMOconvert or convertMMOoutput programs available on this site; see the corresponding sections for details). If Byte_order=0 MMO27 creates maps for Meridians (conversion with MMOconvert is still needed). Here is the [DEVICE_DEFAULTS] section of MMOffice.ini file with the settings for Explorist map creation.

With this method custom maps can be created from *.shp, or *.mif files as it was with MMO for Meridian. Similar to old MMO custom Topo maps (see Magellan GPS section of this site) and custom POIs databases (see Magellan GPS section of this site) can also be created. For MMO27 MSMapView program is also good.

The steps to create custom map with MMO27 for Explorist are:

1. Install MMO27.
2. Modify MMOffice.ini file to have Byte_Order=1
3. Run MMO27, create map from *shp, *.mif files (Tools-Background Map)
4. Select region; Save the map with File-Upload To GPS-Background Map-Store on Hard drive.
5. The *.imi (Explorist images has *.imi extension, Meridian images has *.img extension) file will be located in the Export\Images folder of MMO27
6. Convert the *.imi image with MMOconvert (GUI program) or convertMMOoutput (console) programs available from this site
7. Transfer the file to Explorist with either standard methods.

If needed add POIs or/and TOPO as described for Meridian (note MMO27 has VectMap\ folder instead of Map\ folder of previous versions; may be some temporal renaming of folders will be needed to work with these programs, eventually I will modify these programs to make them more convenient)

The bad thing is MMO27 does not have hidden features (that can be revealed) as it was in MMO10 (see Unknown MMO section of this site). These hidden function are extremely important if custom map should contain custom groups.

Interesting, that maps created with MMO do not need authorization with serial number, they are good for all receivers. (see Convert MapSends section for details)

Create Advanced Maps

The idea is pretty simple: use advanced features of MMO10 to build maps, but export them to an image with MMO27 engine. For that we need to modify [PATHS] section of the MMOffice.ini file to point to the installed MMO10. Instead of initial VectMaps folder of MMO27 two paths are now refer to the MMO10 installation. Here is an example:

Steps now are:

1. Install both MMO100 and MMO27.
2. Modify MMO10 to reveal hidden functions as described in MagellanGPS UnknownMMO section
3. Create map with advanced features (as described in Garmin to Magellan page).
4.Optional: Create POIs (either with POI_DB_creator or hidden POI dialog); copy MMO10\DATA\catscat.dat file to MMO27\DATA\catscat.dat (overwrite)
5. Close MMO10
5. Modify Byte_order=1 and paths in the MMOffice.ini file as described above.
6. Run MMO27; you should see the map as it was in MMO10
7. Export region to the *.imi image (see above)
8. Convert the *.imi with MMOconvert (see above)

Done. Sure you can join several maps and use other methods developed for Meridian. All the same, except now we are using MMO27 engine to export maps.