Adding scanned paper maps into the GPS receiver using ExpertGPS software- Garmin Dakota


This is a follow up on the previous post in which we used google earth to add scanned paper maps to the GPS receiver; this time around, we will use ExpertGPS software to run the process.

ExpertGPS is a great software we discovered a while ago. The drawback is that its subscription based meaning it is not free but comes with a 250 US dollar price tag to get a full featured package. Notwithstanding, it is an excellent software that makes working with GPS data easy. For those who wish to practice, you can download the one week trial version online.

We will demonstrate to you how to add custom maps to our Garmin Dakota GPS. Our custom map is a section of  a topo map and we will be uploading it as a KMZ file into the GPS receiver.
Note that the GPS receiver should be capable of receiving custom maps. Not all GPS receivers have this functionality.
– Prepare the paper map for calibration in ExpertGPS
– Send the map to the GPS receiver as a KMZ file

Procedure using Expert GPS software
1. The paper map should be scanned at a resolution of >110pixels and saved in jpeg format. Our paper map is the south-western section of the 1:50,000 topographic sheet centered at Ahoro/Oniyangi axis(see map).


2. A dialog box to fill name and projection will pop up. Fill a name and click Add button (red boxed)to adjust the projection parameters.


3. This dialog box will open. (For Nigeria) Select Africa>Format to Decimal Degrees


4. The calibration circles (red boxed) are in the far right corner. click on them one by one and go to the map and select locations of your control points. there are three calibration circles. The green box is the location of our first calibration point.


5.  When one clicks on the location of the control points with the calibration tool, an Edit Calibration Point dialog box comes up. Fill in the coordinates of that control point and click OK.

You will do this for the three calibration points.


6. Go to GPS on the main menu >Send Maps to GPS. A yellow box will define the size of custom tiles that the receiver can take at a time. One can make several tiles and send to make up the whole area. The Send Maps to GPS dialog box will open. Make sure you check the Data Overlays option. Click Send Map

Screenshot 2015-05-02 23.21.27

7. In the Save As dialog box navigate to your GPS receiver Drive>Garmin> CustomMaps folder and save. If it is not there, create one. (this is representative of a Garmin GPS)


8. This is a screenshot of the scanned map in the GPS receiver map display.



Though a paid for software, ExpertGPS gives working with GPS data and the GPS receiver a new and simpler meaning. we would recommend it any day especially if its an organization or institution that intends to use it.

Practice, practice and practice and lets have your feedback.


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