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Does anyone know how to interface a Garmin GPS 78 Marine GPS with their computer to manage waypoints (upload, download, save, etc.) Previously I was using the MN DNR Garmin tool, but it no longer recognizes the GPS. Any solutions are welcome Thanks

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1… – Mapperz May 31 '11 at 18:24
I just bought one of these today. Darn. Also purchased the MapSource compatible Ontario detailed maps (on SD mini card) by Backroad Mapbooks. Unfortunately I don't have it here to try it as the unit is in the field now. But. Can't you use MapSource and save the files as DXF? – Jakub May 31 '11 at 18:26
You can do that, but the process is a little cumbersome. MapSource recognizes the GPS as an external hard drive, so you have to use the file->open and navigate to the actual GPs unit in order to download the waypoints as a .gpx. Same thing to upload them. Really not what I had in mind as a solution. – Andrew May 31 '11 at 18:30
@Mapperz will this update fix the issue? – Jakub Jun 1 '11 at 13:16
@Jakub it is the latest (Beta) Firmware for the device - Apr 28, 2011. There is a change log if you drill down to the the download page (after terms and conditions) – Mapperz Jun 1 '11 at 13:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

So my brand new Garmin GPSMAP 78 has returned from the field with some data on it. Downloaded DNR Garmin to try this out. As Russell already pointed out there are some issues.

Basically, just make sure that DNR Garmin is communicating with the device. (For me it was as simple as setting the "Auto Connect to GPS" option under the GPS menu) I was not able to download the usual "Waypoint -> Download" way but noticed that the unit now saves files as GPX right on the device.

Go to File -> Load From -> File
When Open dialog appears change the file type to GPS eXchange Format (*.gpx) Navigate to the Garmin and find the GPX file you want to load Then proceed as usual to save to shapefile or other formats as needed

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I was just reading something too that said the new GPS 78 is treated like an external hard-drive. Very interesting. – Andrew Jun 1 '11 at 16:41

Use GPSBabel, which supports a large number of formats and supports many GPS units. Relying on vendor-provided software is always a bit dicey since its another form of lock-in and prevents easy movement between GPS platforms over time, particularly a problem when the older releases are unsupported or unavailable.

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Another free program is Easy GPS...

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I'm pretty sure you can still upload and download tracks, waypoints, and routes with the latest version of DNR Garmin, but it seems that the interface that Garmin has put in on these newer models makes it a little more cumbersome to get data off the units. You may wish to take a look at:

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Official supported is the Garmin Communicator Plugin API

The API is a JavaScript library that provides user interface components that will transfer GPS data between a website and a Garmin device. The result is a toolkit that can connect any website’s visitors to Garmin devices with very little development effort. API Features

Auto-detection of devices connected to a computer
Access to device product information like product name and software version
Read tracks, routes and waypoints from supported recreational, fitness and navigation devices
Write tracks, routes and waypoints to supported recreational, fitness and navigation devices
Read fitness data from supported fitness devices
Geo-code address and save to a device as a waypoint or favorite
Read and write Garmin XML files (GPX and TCX) as well as binary files.
Support for most Garmin devices (USB, USB mass-storage, most serial devices)
Support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome on Microsoft Windows.
Support for Safari, Firefox and Chrome on Mac OS X.

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If you are an ArcGIS user you might want to consider purchasing (CAD 133.83) the MxGPS plugin which allows you to download & upload points and tracks right inside ArcMap.

It was very convenient but I did not end up using it much though because of the functionality limitations with respect to fields. The early version was only able to upload field vales from one field (I think it had to named WAYPOINTS) and it could not be longer then 11 characters.

But this was 3 or 4 years ago. They now have a version for ArcGIS 10 and claim to be able to download directly into a geodatabase. (The early version only downloaded to a shapefile but was able to upload lines and points from a geodatabase features class, shapefile or a CAD layer.)

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