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Old 05-31-2012, 04:57 AM   #12
Emmbeedee OP
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Location: Near Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Custom Waypoint and Point of Interest (POI) Symbols (Icons)

Custom Waypoint and POI Symbols are not essential, but very useful to have in your gps, rather than the generic dots and flags normally used to indicate Waypoints and Points of Interest

The information below was written by dvwalker, in two posts, to the New Garmin Montana thread in early 2012. The software versions for both BaseCamp and the Montana have changed but the information is still relevant, though minor details may have changed with the software.



Not sure how many here have tried to get custom waypoint and poi symbols working with BC and the Montana but it's a bit of a black art. I know I spent at least a couple hours decoding how this works, so thought I'd share my efforts. I'm sure others with more knowledge will chime in with more detail, but if I can save someone else a couple hours of trouble I think this topic is worthy of a post.
- BaseCamp 3.3 (BC for Windows)
- Montana 650 fw:v3.68
- Paint.Net (used for creating/updating bitmap files)
Step 1: Enabling custom symbols in BaseCamp:*
After importing a large number of motorcycle NA/Canada repair shops (ie., Honda, KTM, Yamaha, etc) into BC, I wanted to assign the appropriate factory symbol to each dealer waypoint. As I travel I like to know where the closest repair or parts dealer is located either via POI or Waypoint. These are the steps I followed to enable custom waypoint symbols. Custom POI symbols can be discussed in a separate post since this is a different process all together...
  1. create or obtain desired custom bitmap files (.bmp format) for each dealer. I used bmp file format because this is what worked when getting custom symbols to work on the Montana (described below).
  2. Pixel size for each bitmap file I used was equal to or less than 22x22 with a bitsize of 24. BC may support up to 32x32 ps, but I did not confirm.
  3. copy custom bitmap files into the \Documents\My Garmin\Custom Waypoint Symbols directory
  4. bitmap filenames must be numbered (i.e, 000, 001, etc) in sequence using NNN mask. Otherwise BC will not load the symbols. Note BC loads these symbols on startup, so if you add another custom bmp later, you'll need to restart BC.

  5. Custom images will now be available for selection in BC WayPoint symbols dialog grouped at the bottom in the Custom section.*
  6. BC will allow you to select multiple waypoints and assign your custom symbol at the same time. Very nice feature...

Step 2: Enabling custom symbols on the Montana:*
Now that custom symbols have been assigned to my various waypoint lists in BC, I want my Montana to show these custom symbols after any transfer from BC. There's a few tricks to make this work...
  1. Copy custom bitmap files from the BC \Documents\My Garmin\Custom Waypoint Symbols directory to the Montana \Garmin\CustomSymbols directory. I used the main memory drive, but the SD would probably work just as well.
  2. bitmap filenames must be named Custom 1.bmp, Custom 2.bmp, etc in sequence using "Custom nN.bmp" mask. Otherwise when BC transfers over the waypoints the custom symbols will NOT be loaded .
  3. Also found that the bitsize needs to be 24 bit, otherwise the symbols will NOT be loaded by the Montana . Note, jumping ahead to custom POI bitmaps, they need to be 8 bit to show correctly on the map, go figure....

  4. On inspection of the waypoint GPX file produced by BC on the Montana after transfer (send to->), you'll notice the reason for the difference in the file naming convention between the two products. I believe this is a software development artifact due to two separate teams working on different products. At some point I would expect the Garmin teams to get their act together and fix this compatibility issue between BC and newer units.
  5. To test that custom symbols are working on the Montana, I sent a single waypoint from BC to the Montana. Instead of the default flag, the custom symbol was displayed after transfer
  6. On further inspection, the other custom symbols are also available for selection on the Montana


Assigning custom POI symbols is a completely different process than assigning custom Waypoint symbols. Of course, there's a couple tricks to enable this to function correctly on the Montana.
- POI Loader v2.7 (Windows)
- Montana 650 fw:v3.68*
- Paint.Net (used for creating/updating bitmap files)
  1. Download POI files (csv or gpx format) from your favorite POI website. I found it easier to group similar POI files together in the same directory on your PC because of how the POI loader program works.
  2. To assign a custom symbol to each POI file, download or create a bitmap file with the same name as the POI file. I found the bitsize must be 8 bits and less than 32x32 pixel size otherwise image does not display correctly on the map.
  3. Run POI Loader.exe program to send POI's to your Montana. Available from Garmin website.
  4. POI Loader will generate a Garmin formatted POI file in the \Garmin\poi folder. Due to a bug in POI Loader v2.7, you must rename the extension from ".poi" to ".gpi". Otherwise the POI's will not be loaded by the Montana. (Edit - This may no longer be the case - Garmin has updated PoiLoader) *The bitmap image file(s) for your custom symbols will be included in the POI file. Note the waypoint image files located in your \Garmin\CustomSymbols are not used for POI's.*
  5. Where To? application on the Montana should now have an Extras option along with your POI lists

  6. The custom POI symbol should also be available on the map


The original post on Custom Waypoints is here

The original post on Custom POIs is here.

If you want to discuss the techniques, please go to the original post through the link provided and discuss it there, so we can keep this thread clear of discussion.
Want to know more about the Garmin Montana? See the Wisdom and FAQ Thread.
Want to know more about the Garmin VIRB? See here.
"The motorcycle, being poorly designed for both flight and marine operation, sustained significant external and internal damage," police noted.

Emmbeedee screwed with this post 05-31-2012 at 07:46 PM
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