National Cycle Network map for Garmin GPS

Posted by Richard on 5 July 2009 in English (English)

I've been playing with mkgmap over the last week, with the aim of creating a Garmin map of the National Cycle Network from OSM data. It's effectively a new version of the one I did the other year, but with better styling (via a .TYP file), contours, and so on.

NCN mapping on OSM is coming on in leaps and bounds this year, not least due to Gregory Williams' Three Corners Cycle Ride. So I figured this was a great opportunity to make it available for GPS, and so tackle the familiar "now which way do I go here...?" problem. The screenshot above would have helped Gregory find his way out of Gloucester. :)

You can now download a prerelease version (UK-only, 240Mb file):

The installation procedure is the same as any such map: connect your Garmin via USB, go into Mass Storage Mode (Setup->Interface), open the Garmin folder (creating one at the top level if there's not one already) and copy gmapsupp.img in.

I'd very much like to hear comments on what could be improved, in particular with the styling, and the choice of what's rendered at each zoom level. I've not as yet paid a lot of attention to POIs and would particularly welcome suggestions and comments on that. (I think I might remove the bus-stops before NAPTAN drowns us all.)

Routing is enabled but does not consistently choose the quiet routes I'd like it to. If anyone knows how to make it suck less, let me know; t�he eTrex's routing algorithm is famously impenetrable. Caveat emptor. Source will be available when I get round to uploading it to svn.

Regional and Local routes are both rendered in the same blue. I'm anticipating the abolition of Regional Routes in favour of three-digit National Routes. ;) The National Byway is shown in brown (let joy be unconfined).

Many thanks to Andy Gates for his Garmin cycling map, which has been a great inspiration and especially helpful in figuring out what goes where; and also for having the generosity to release the source. Several of the icons and some colouring are taken from his work. Thanks to the Scottish Mountaineering Club for the contour files. Thanks to Andy Allan whose fault all this open cycle mapping is, and yes, you're right, taking a photo of an eTrex screen is a PITA. And thanks, of course, to Steve Radcliffe and the mkgmap community for a superb, ever-improving program - for example, shield support has just been added, which really lifts the appearance of the map - and for being consistently helpful.

Update: The source is now in svn here, and full instructions are on the wiki.

Comment from chillly on 5 July 2009 at 15:42

Does this map have the National Byway on it?

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Comment from Pete Reed on 5 July 2009 at 19:32

I've just installed this, and it looks great. I'm looking forward to trying it out on the bike tomorrow.

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Comment from Richard on 5 July 2009 at 20:51

chillly: yes! Pete: great stuff - hope it works well for you. I've just spent an afternoon cycling with it and it seemed plenty clear. Don't think I agreed with the eTrex's routing more than a couple of times, though...

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Comment from Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 6 July 2009 at 07:10

You can also take screenshots of the device itself over USB. QLandkarte supports this and Garmin also has some proprietary utility for this if you're running Windows.

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Comment from Richard on 6 July 2009 at 09:18

Interesting. Think I'd rather not have to undergo the pain of Qt on this Mac though!

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Comment from wieland on 6 July 2009 at 16:34

Would somebody like to create this for Germany ? :-)

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Comment from Richard on 6 July 2009 at 18:41

wieland - I've just put the source in svn and written instructions at . So hopefully someone will create one for Germany!

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Comment from Pete Reed on 6 July 2009 at 19:54

I've just been out on the bike to give this a try. All seems to work fine. The routing was sensible enough, and directions clear. There were a few oddities, but the main problem was remembering to pay attention to the traffic, not the count down to the next junction. Well done, and thank you.

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