Memory Map: A User’s Guide – Part 6

Updated for Memory Map v6 – December 2015

Importing and Exporting

You can find the previous part of this guide here: Part 5: Printing

Part 6 of this parallel user’s guide covers the importing and exporting of data from MM. Something you will inevitably need to do.

For the most part, you will use Import to ‘Open’ Memory Map files and Export to ‘Save’ them. As mentioned earlier in this guide, the native MM file format is MMO, but by default in v6 MM exports and imports in GPX format, which makes the files easier to share between different versions of Memory Map and different mapping programs too.

Additional File Types

In the latest v6 incarnation, MM has streamlined the number of file formats it supports natively – removing many of the irrelevant file formats, but some obvious ones are still missing.

mm file formatsWhat we are missing most are Google Earth format files (KMZ and KML) and we need to find a way to work around this.

There are two main ways to do this – the first is to use the GPX or CSV formats, which are almost universally supported by digital mapping products, GPS devices and many other programs too. Export to GPX or CSV and then import into the other program.

The second option is to use a third party file conversion program – something like GPS Babel ( This imports and exports hundreds of different GPS formats and is free to download from the URL above.

I won’t cover the usage of GPS Babel in this document, it has its own documentation and help screens, but I will say that it’s well worth investigating if you intend to start sharing files between people with different GPS devices, or digital mapping programs.

Google Earth

The free version of Google Earth (GE) is all you need for 3D modelling of satellite imagery. It’s 100 times better than the satellite maps sold by Memory Map and although it may not be quite as easy to access – straight from the MM interface, it more than makes up for it in detail and functions.

If I’m walking a new route for the first time I like to get a view of the path on the ground – in many cases the OS maps won’t show a thin track across a heather moorland, or indicate where forest has recently been felled and cleared.

If you export your route (or track) to a GPX file and import that file into GE – you get a blue track, superimposed on the satellite imagery provided by GE. So often this has helped me identify a slightly better route or a diversion to an interesting location. It’s also great to be able to see Panoramio photos uploaded by other people who have walked in that area previously. This may give a feel for what the terrain is like, how boggy it’s likely to be, how well defined the path is, and so on.

Google Maps

You have access to Google Maps (an on-line version of GE) through the menu in MM. This is a useful way of identifying what a particular point on your route looks like, or allows you to access Google Street View to look for parking places in a village.

Centre the point you wish to view – say a village – in the middle of your screen and from the MM menu select  Web > View Online Satellite Photo. Your web browser will open and a new tab will be loaded with Google Maps. In the centre of that map will be the point you had in the middle of your MM screen. Use the zoom control in Google Maps to fly down into more detail. If you got the centre-ing right you will zoom down to the same point.

It’s easy to switch between Google Maps and Google Street View – which is the absolute best way to find parking spots down country lanes and in little villages!

Advanced Importing

I produce a lot of hill lists and tick lists for MM. For example I’ve created MM files for all the trig points in the three National Parks close to me; Peaks, Dales and Lakes. I use these as a focus to create new walks or multi-day paths. They require quite a bit of file manipulation and import/export expertise. I will try and cover the basics in this section.

The two main import file formats are GPX and CSV. Think of these as follows: GPX files are downloaded from websites that share routes and tracks and have probably been created by a mapping program of some kind. The structure of a GPX file makes it difficult to create manually. CSV files on the other hand are easy to create and so these are best used to import data of your own, or from someone else.

First of all we need to look at CSV files. This is the method I use for importing large amounts of my own data into MM. CSV stands for “Comma Separated Variable” and it’s basically a text file with values (variables) separated by commas. MM expects to see a CSV file in a particular format, so don’t expect to be able to import any old CSV file – it’s not going to work.

The best way to understand MM’s CSV file format is to export a file to CSV and open it up in something like Excel or Notepad. Excel is going to be easier to manipulate the content, but Notepad will allow you to see how it’s made up. Below is an example of the first few lines of my Dales Trig Points files exported to CSV.

CSV Example Export

CSV Example Export


MM uses a different format CSV file for different collections of content. I’ll be looking at the format used for Waypoints and Marks – the most commonly used type of content for importing and exporting. It’s not a good idea to mix and match your file formats for importing (i.e. Routes, Tracks and Marks in the same CSV file), although you can do it, it’s really hard to keep track of what’s in what column. The file shown above is a collection of Marks – all the trig points in the Dales.

We can see MM is using columns A to O to hold data, each line is a separate Mark – or it could be a Waypoint if this was a route we’d exported.

I’ll explain what each column means:

A)    Two letter and two number code for the type of point (WP for Waypoint or Mark, TK for Track, RT for Route)
B)    Latitude – in decimal degrees (using the WGS84 datum)
C)    Longitude – in decimal degrees (using the WGS84 datum)
D)    Symbol – a number identifying the icon type associated with this point (you’ll need to experiment to find the correct combination, but 10 is a little flag)
E)    Name – is the name of the Mark, which may be shown on the map
F)    Comment – is the comment shown in the properties
G)    Linked File – is the full path of a linked file or location associated with this Mark (can be a URL or a file on disk)
H)    Circle Radius – is used to provide a proximity alarm for the point – in meters
I)    Show Name – a flag to determine if the name is shown. Bizarrely; 1 hides the name and 0 shows it.
J)    Unique – a unique name used to assign to GPS points – which must always be unique, or empty
K)    Visible – a flag to determine if the point is shown or not – 1 = shown, 0 = hidden
L)    Locked – a flag for locking the point – 1 = locked on the map, 0 = movable
M)    Category – allows for categorisation of Marks – a new category will be created using the name in this field – sub categories can be created using a colon, for example Category:Subcategory:Subsubcat
N)    Circle alarm – used in conjunction with (H) to determine the type of alarm sounded
O)    Colour – assigns a colour to the Mark (uses the hexadecimal colour codes)

Using these fields you can create – with practice (and lots of importing and deleting and reimporting) quite detailed groups of Marks. My Wainwright hill lists for example, include lots of detail in the Comment field, where you can add carriage returns to separate detail.

I’m including two links here, to CSV templates for MMv5 and MMv6 (v6 added the colour column). You can use these to create your import files. Just remember to delete the template lines at the top of each file before you run the import.


MM v6 CSV Import Template

One thing you may have noticed is that the position format used for the CSV format is Lat/Long decimal degrees. Not something walkers tend to use – we’re normally much happier with OSNG. In order to convert from one to the other you need another great free utility called “Waypoint Workbench”, which is basically an Excel spreadsheet with macros to help do the donkey work. It can be found here:

It’s very simple to use once you get the hang of it, but again I won’t go into detail in this document.

The next part of this guide can be found here: Part 7 – Working with the Mobile Version


Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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12 Responses

  1. John Brian Clough says:

    I’ve made a few custom icons for tracking my progress through the Scottish highlands – quite basic for example an “M” and a “C”. When I import the icons they seem to be given a custom number, that changes each time they are imported. If I want to export the csv and import it onto another computer to which I have already added the icons – it all goes pear shaped – just little blue dots everywhere. This is then followed by lost of exporting, copying, pasting, reimporting and all night sessions on the computer.
    Do you know of anywhere within the program where you can fiddle with numbers of custom icons?


    • lonewalker says:

      Brian – this is something I too struggle with and never found a satisfactory solution to. It’s one of the main reasons I use CSV as an absolute last resort – which obviously doesn’t help you much – sorry.

  2. Frank Hollingworth says:

    I could not agree more. Why the upgrade when all it entailed was tidying up a few bugs of their own making!
    It still doesn’t follow MS guidelines on file management.
    They’ve adopted GPX as the default format.
    When saved in MMO the file is not backward compatible with version 5; even if saved in GPX, still won’t open in version 5.
    Still cannot edit a track. (as in Tracklogs)
    I could go on but you could probably add to this list considerably.
    Always glad to read your posts.

  3. Adam says:

    Hello, thanks very much fpor your blog, it’s very helpful. I am just trying to cponvert KMZ to QCT or QC3 files. I have downloaded Bable and a trial version of Global Mapper but can’t find the file formats in the lists when trying to convert or export in a different format. this is so I can use with memorymap and my advernturer 3500. Can you advise? Thanks

    • lonewalker says:

      Adam – QCT and QC3 are map tile file formats, not something you’re going to be able to create from a KMZ file. You really need to be creating GPX or MMO format files. GPX are generic track files and MMO are Memory Map specific track files. either format will do, but personally I’d aim for creating a GPX from the KMZ, which will then open in all variants of MM (including PC, Android, iOS and I think, Adventurer). Hope that helps.

  4. Rob says:

    Part 6 is titled Importing and Exporting however there is nothing on exporting data. When do you propose to write that section?

    • lonewalker says:

      Rob, there’s not much in the way of exporting options. There’s only a few filetypes available in the new v6 edition, a lot fewer than in v5. You can export a single item by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Save As’ or you can export Visible Items or All Items.

      That’s pretty much it 🙂

  5. Jim McIntosh says:

    Have you any experience of importing GIS shape files into Memory Map? I’d particularly like to know how to use the filter to only import polygons with particular characteristics.

    • lonewalker says:

      Jim – sorry to say I’ve never needed to import anything like that into MM. If you send me the file in question, I could have a look at it though, no guarantee I’ll be able to do anything with it though. Let me know what you’re trying to do as well. Happy to help if I can. email me using this address (replace the words with the appropriate symbols) stuart at walkingplaces dot co dot uk

  6. angie mcgough says:

    I’ve had the memory map a number of months and I’m struggling to get to grips with it. My PC doesn’t seem to want to ‘talk’ to the GPS. I’m at my wits end. I want to download some trig points from the T:UK site before weekend and transfer them to the device but I can’t seem to do it. The file format is mxf. Do you know how to do this? BLACKCATWHITEFEET

    • lonewalker says:

      Angie. The MXF file that T:UK provides imports just fine into my Memory Map, I’ve just tested it. So if that bit isn’t working for you then perhaps there’s a file corruption problem or something.
      Failing that you could try a different file format from T:UK and try something like GPSBabel to convert the file format to something that MM can import.
      The GPS not talking to the PC is another issue completely and as I don’t use a traditional GPS unit I may not be able to help at all with that one. Is it talking to the PC at all? Did the GPS come with some software, if so, is that working on the PC and connecting to the GPS?

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