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.
What 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 (www.gpsbabel.org). 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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