Mapping la vida loca







Useful software

This page is a short collection of useful free software to help build Garmin maps from OSM data. This is on top of mkgmap itself, about which I've written lots on other pages.

Quick reference list

Manipulating IMG files


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  • View details about the individual tiles inside a mapset (e.g. a gmapsupp.img file)
  • Combine various individual IMG tiles into a single gmapsupp.img file
  • Transfer IMG files to a GPS unit connected by USB
Details Sendmap is free, notwithstanding the URL link given above. I recommend that instead of using Sendmap, you remove the memory card from your GPS unit, plug it into your computer and transfer the gmapsupp.img file that way. Sendmap is still useful for two things, though: 1. Viewing what files lie inside a gmapsupp.img file. Open any *.img file and sendmap will show you what lies inside it (tiles, TYP files etc). 2. Creating a single gmapsupp.img file from lots of other *.img files. Say you have a gmapsupp.img file for the UK and another for Belgium and another for South Africa. You can open them all in sendmap and create a single, unified gmapsupp.img file for the lot that you can then copy to the GPS unit. Note that sendmap doesn't work perfectly with mkgmap-created maps: it will not set the mapset names properly (making it harder to disable individual layers in the map).


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  • Install mkgmap-created maps into Mapsource
Details To install maps into Mapsource, you need to edit the registry. MapSetToolkit handles for you. Read this section of my FAQ to learn more about how to do this.

Editing TYP files


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  • View the Garmin colour palette for GPS units with a 256 colour display limit (e.g. GPSMap 60/70 series)
  • Use the colour picker to see whether a certain colour is in the Garmin palette; if it isn't, let's you pick the nearest adjacent colour that is
Details Certain Garmin GPS devices are limited to a 256 colour display with a fixed colour palette. If you create your own TYP files, you should ensure that you use colours that are in the Garmin palette. If not, you will find that maps look different on the GPS to how you expect (as the GPS will interpolate your specified TYP colours to the nearest matching colour in its palette.

GarminColor displays the Garmin 256 colour palette and helps you find the nearest colour in the palette to the colour you actually want to use.

Note that currently GarminColor uses French for the interface.


Download from
  • Open and edit binary TYP files, or their decompiled text equivalents
  • Has an integrated Garmin colour palette checker to make sure the colours you use are in the Garmin 256 colour palette
Details This is a really powerful graphical editor for Garmin TYP files. It works perfectly with binary TYPs or the decompiled text equivalents. It will compile text->TYP and decompile TYP->text. In my opinion this is the best TYP editor there is. Its only disadvantage is that it doesn't display everything on one page, as is possible with
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