My government provides maps that I thought I could use on my Garmin eTrax 20. They come as a .gdb folder with these files inside. This is a N50 map over a state(Norway) if that matters.

a00000001.TablesByName.atx a00000001.gdbindexes a00000001.gdbtable a00000001.gdbtablx a00000002.gdbtable a00000002.gdbtablx a00000003.gdbindexes a00000003.gdbtable a00000003.gdbtablx a00000004.CatItemsByPhysicalName.atx a00000004.CatItemsByType.atx a00000004.FDO_UUID.atx a00000004.freelist a00000004.gdbindexes a00000004.gdbtable a00000004.gdbtablx a00000004.spx a00000005.CatItemTypesByName.atx a00000005.CatItemTypesByParentTypeID.atx a00000005.CatItemTypesByUUID.atx a00000005.gdbindexes a00000005.gdbtable a00000005.gdbtablx a00000006.CatRelsByDestinationID.atx a00000006.CatRelsByOriginID.atx a00000006.CatRelsByType.atx a00000006.FDO_UUID.atx a00000006.gdbindexes a00000006.gdbtable a00000006.gdbtablx a00000007.CatRelTypesByBackwardLabel.atx a00000007.CatRelTypesByDestItemTypeID.atx a00000007.CatRelTypesByForwardLabel.atx a00000007.CatRelTypesByName.atx a00000007.CatRelTypesByOriginItemTypeID.atx a00000007.CatRelTypesByUUID.atx a00000007.gdbindexes a00000007.gdbtable a00000007.gdbtablx a00000009.freelist a00000009.gdbindexes a00000009.gdbtable a00000009.gdbtablx a00000009.spx a0000000a.freelist a0000000a.gdbindexes a0000000a.gdbtable a0000000a.gdbtablx a0000000a.spx a0000000b.freelist a0000000b.gdbindexes a0000000b.gdbtable a0000000b.gdbtablx a0000000b.spx a0000000c.freelist a0000000c.gdbindexes a0000000c.gdbtable a0000000c.gdbtablx a0000000c.spx a0000000d.freelist a0000000d.gdbindexes a0000000d.gdbtable a0000000d.gdbtablx a0000000d.spx a0000000e.freelist a0000000e.gdbindexes a0000000e.gdbtable a0000000e.gdbtablx a0000000e.spx a0000000f.gdbindexes a0000000f.gdbtable a0000000f.gdbtablx a0000000f.spx a00000010.freelist a00000010.gdbindexes a00000010.gdbtable a00000010.gdbtablx a00000010.spx a00000011.freelist a00000011.gdbindexes a00000011.gdbtable a00000011.gdbtablx a00000011.spx a00000012.freelist a00000012.gdbindexes a00000012.gdbtable a00000012.gdbtablx a00000012.spx a00000013.gdbindexes a00000013.gdbtable a00000013.gdbtablx a00000013.spx a00000014.freelist a00000014.gdbindexes a00000014.gdbtable a00000014.gdbtablx a00000014.spx a00000015.freelist a00000015.gdbindexes a00000015.gdbtable a00000015.gdbtablx a00000015.spx a00000016.gdbindexes a00000016.gdbtable a00000016.gdbtablx a00000016.spx a00000017.freelist a00000017.gdbindexes a00000017.gdbtable a00000017.gdbtablx a00000017.spx a00000018.gdbindexes a00000018.gdbtable a00000018.gdbtablx a00000018.spx a00000019.AnnoClassID_Index_23.atx a00000019.Status_Index_23.atx a00000019.gdbindexes a00000019.gdbtable a00000019.gdbtablx a00000019.spx files.txt gdb timestamps

I tried using Basecamp from Garmin but it seems to only acceps .gdb as a file, not a folder.

Is there a way I can make this into something Basecamp or Garmin eTrax 20 accepts?


BaseCamp accepts these formats. But eTrax might not accept them. I dont know. Accepted file formats

Edit 2:

Error when opening .gdx file in BaseCamp: Unknown Error

Edit 3:

Here's my procedure:

Choosing all layers

Then I select all layers. Select all layers And eksport the layersexporting layers

Here I tried GPX without that ended with an error in BaseCamp

Tried KML which did work in BaseCamp but I only got markup for houses. Markup for houses

Edit 4:

I have learned until now that i do have what is called "ESRI File Geodatabase (FileGDB)". The goal is still to have this transfered over to the Garmin gps.

I gave @AndreJ answer below a shot, but failed.

I attempted to use gdal(ogr2ogr) to convert fgdb dataset to osm and garmin gdb. It started processing, but I got some errors with field names not supported and some errors when writing.

GDAL is basically able to convert between the both by the use of the GPSBABEL driver.

I tried that using this command:

ogr2ogr -skipfailures -f "GPSBabel" GPSBabel:gdb:outMapGarmin Basisdata_05_Oppland_25832_N50Kartdata_FGDB.gdb

Zero size file created

I pasted the errors here: errors on pastebin

If you are interested in polygons, you might think of converting the data to .osm format and render a GARMIN map with mkgmap.

ogr2ogr -skipfailures -f GPSBabel GPSBabel:osm:outmap.osm Basisdata_05_Oppland_25832_N50Kartdata_FGDB.gdb

I pasted the errors here: errors on pastebin

I wonder if I'm doing it wrong or is there some other way?

  • Do you have Arc Desktop?
    – enolan
    Jul 25, 2018 at 19:49
  • Unfortunately not
    – JoakimE
    Jul 25, 2018 at 19:50
  • 1
    If you can download QGIS you can open the gdb and export feature to shape, and then I think that you can open a .shp file in your Garmin device. youtube.com/watch?v=8isLE6yo3s0
    – enolan
    Jul 25, 2018 at 19:56
  • @enolan I think that video uses ArcMap... Jul 25, 2018 at 20:10
  • It does but it also shows how to use a .shp file in a garmin device.
    – enolan
    Jul 25, 2018 at 20:32

4 Answers 4


You are mistaking two data formats that use the same extension:

  • ESRI FileGDB can be used by GDAL and QGIS
  • GARMIN GDB can be used in Base Camp and Garmin GPS devices

GDAL is basically able to convert between the both by the use of the GPSBABEL driver.

But the driver uses GPX as an intermediate format, so the restrictions of that format apply to the GPSBabel output as well. The main obstacles are the absent of polygon, multiline and multipoint geometry types, and the limited allowed field names. You can use QGIS to sanitize your data with polygon to line and multipart to single part conversion. The output should be in EPSG:4326.

If you are interested in polygons, you might think of converting the data to .osm format and render a Garmin .img map with mkgmap. In QGIS you can transform your data to shapefile, and load that into the JOSM editor to apply tags like building=yes or landuse=forest. Save it to a .osm file, AND DO NOT UPLOAD TO THE OSM SERVER on exit.

Some Garmin devices allow .kmz files with georeferenced images to be loaded. QGIS can create georeferenced .jpg images with Save as image. Make sure to work in EPSG:4326 as project CRS. https://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/GarminCustomMap/ , https://www.maptiler.com/blog/2009/10/garmin-custom-maps-kmz-from-geotiff-via.html and https://support.maptiler.com/i80-import-custom-maps-to-garmin-gps might be worth to explore as well.

  • Thanks for answering. I'll check this out when I got time and reply with result
    – JoakimE
    Jan 4, 2019 at 16:23
  • see my edit 4 for trying your suggestion, I think I'm doing it wrong, could you explain?
    – JoakimE
    Jan 5, 2019 at 16:19
  • You are hitting the restrictions of the GPX format: No polygons, and only very restricted field names. You could use QGIS to convert polygons into closed lines, and remove fields you don't need in the attribute table. For the conversion to osm, I thought of wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Ogr2osm instead of the GPSBabel driver.
    – AndreJ
    Jan 5, 2019 at 18:40
  • Seems that this is more difficult than I originally thought. I do have other formats of the same data that might be better to work with (FGDB,PostGIS, GML, SOSI). Do you know if any of them is worth another shot? Will try conversion to osm soon
    – JoakimE
    Jan 5, 2019 at 18:49
  • The bottleneck is still the same on the garmin side.
    – AndreJ
    Jan 6, 2019 at 7:19

With QGIS, you can open the Geodatabase using the Layer > Add Layer > Add Vector Layer with the following settings:

enter image description here

From there, you can right-click the layer, then SAVE AS a format such as GPX that your Garmin will support (not sure what other formats you might have available with that unit).

  • Seems to almost work. I get an error when importing to BaseCamp. See updated question.
    – JoakimE
    Jul 25, 2018 at 20:32
  • Wait - it says that it takes GDB files - can you just upload the GDB you got originally? Jul 25, 2018 at 20:52
  • It takes gdb files. But not a folder like I have. Or can I save it as a file?
    – JoakimE
    Jul 25, 2018 at 20:57
  • @Starlord I see I see... I can't remember how QGIS exports back to GDB but there has to be a better format for you... Also: what layers from the GDB are you trying to import into Basecamp? Jul 25, 2018 at 21:14
  • 1
    @Starlord I'm not familiar with the Garmin app that you are trying to utilize but sometimes with applications that are looking for .gdbs and .shps the browse tool just want you to select the .gdb and not double click it. If you do it will require you to open it. a gdb is a folder of files that are all related to the file geodatabase. I don't see how it can be one file. If it was the indexing and locks etc wouldn't work as designed.
    – enolan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 16:55

Global Mapper reads ESRI FileGeoDatabase and can write to Garmin File Formats


I would open the .gdb file in QGIS, save as a shapefile, open the shapefile in JOSM, save as an .osm file and then use mkgmap (and splitter) to output a Garmin .img file

It would interesting to see the difference between the original and final display.

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