Explorist, use MapSend maps

This year Thales Navigation (Magellan) introduced new Explorist series of GPS receivers. The "bad" thing is the receivers are now ARM based receivers in which Intel little-endian byte order is used (in contrast to Meridian and Sportrack line, where Motorola big-endians were used). Moreover customers found that many of the "old" Mapsend software is no longer good for the Explorists.

But as usual Thales Navigation has something good and hidden (but still freely available). Bruce (see Msg#161 on 07/05/05 in mobilemapper2 yahoo group) has found that in the new version of MMO 2.7 there is an option to create maps in Explorist format. With MMO27 we can also use old MapSend software (like Street and Destination, Topo US etc. with standard MapSend file structure (not good for DR or WWBM) to create maps for Explorists. Moreover the maps converted (created) will now not be affected with serial number authorization.

Please read Custom maps section first.

Direct route

Direct Route (DR1 with WinXP SP2 patch from Magellan) or DR2 are already ready for Explorist. The identification what type of the image file should be created is done based on the serial number. So we do not need any tricks with MMO27. Here I just mention that the old method (described in the MagellanGPS-TOPO creator/extractor section) of joining the DR with topo data from Topo US or with custom topo maps is proven to be good for Explorist images also. Tested with DR1.0+SP2+No_CD patch


The idea is similar to described in the Explorist-Custom maps section. We are going to use MMO27 engine to create images from the old MapSends. For that we need to modify MMO27's MMOffice.ini file to have Byte_order=1 and point paths to the MapSend installation. Here is the complete MMOffice.ini file used for MapSend Street and Destination US (Topo US and other are similar)

If we will create image (map) the same way as was described in custom map section; Explorist will show "Security error" message. Why? Because Thales did some protection.

If you were involved in the custom map journey for Meridians you might be remember discussions on the bmp2bit.ics and bmp4bit.ics files. Format of them is specified in the Magellan_format specification_10 document. They contain nothing but some images (mostly marine related). These images are never appear in MapSend maps (although sometimes they are embedded into the *.img file (MMO, DR)). bmp2bit is for gray and bmp4bit is for color images. Here is some example how one of the images looks like (extracted with my unpublished program):

OK, I found that Thales decided to use these file to keep some security code at the very end of these files. This code is changing in dependence on serial number and even moment of the file creation. But we know that MMO27 creates files without security problem. So we do the following: copy these files to MapSends installation (old MapSends do not have them at all.); add path to these files to the export.cfg. If we want POIs exported also, copy catscat.dat file to MMO27. If we need add topo (custom or join topo with DR) modify ini files as it was described in TOPO creator / TOPO extractor for Meridians. The good thing is now we can add topo to virtually any MapSend (do you remember the trick to overwrite mapsend.exe of S&D to mapsend.exe from Topo US to accept topo?), because MMO27 accepts topo, POI etc. That is.

Here are the steps:

1. Install MMO27, modify MMOffice.ini to point to the old MapSend installation (see the fie above)
2. Copy to the MapSend\MAP\Images MMO27\VectMaps\Images\ICS folder. This folder contains bmp2bit.ics and bmp4bit.ics files
3. Modify MapSends export.cfg file to add path to the ICS folder (at the and, example is for SD US):

4. If you need add topo lines (if there are no). do modifications as described in Topo extractor/creator on Meridian GPS page. Not necessary to replace mapsend.exe (as it was for SD US)
5. Open MapSend, select categories to be exported (this is needed to create proper catscat.dat file). Close MapSend.
6. Copy content of MapSend\DATA folder to MMO27\DATA folder (this is needed for POIs)
7. Run MMO27, you should be able to see the same map as it was in MapSend (sometimes zoom-in zoom-out is needed to reveal topo lines and POIs, please also check Show Topo checkbox in the Options menu)
8. Select region, save to Hard Drive (note: MMO27 allows only 1 region)
9. Convert *.imi file from the Export\Images folder with MMOconvert program (from this site)

Not necessary revert back MapSend installation (remove modifications for ICS) it will still work as before.

Done. (Tested for: S&D US, S&D US+topo from TOPO US (4.02); TOPO US (4.02)).