Updated January 2021

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.

Exporting

Let’s get Exporting out of the way, because it plays such a small part in this guide. In order to export data out of MM, all you need to do is use either the Overlay Export options, or the Save As.. options provided.

From the menu, select Overlay > Export All to export everything in the app. You will get the choice of changing the file type from the default of GPX to one of the other supported types (see below), if you wish.

The other export option is Overlay > Export Visible, which will only export the items that are shown on the screen, and will exclude any ‘hidden’ marks, routes or tracks.

As well as using the Overlay menu, you also have a couple of more selective methods of exporting data.

Firstly, if you right click on any item in the MM map pane a context menu appear, on that menu will be an option to Save As.. This will only export that specific item, and again you can choose the file type you want to save it as.

Secondly, in the Overlay Objects panel, you can right click on any individual item and produce the results above, or more usefully, you can click on any category heading and select Save As.. and that will export the items in that category.

Importing

Initially it appears that importing data into MM has fewer options than exporting. The only way to import data is to use the Overlay > Import option from the menu. You can ignore the Import NMEA option unless you’re importing from a Marine GPS device!

Although this is the only method of importing data into MM, the subject of ‘what data’ takes up the rest of this part of the guide, and that is much more involved.

It goes without saying that you can of course import MMO and GPX files that have been generated by MM itself, either your own files, or those from other MM users. It’s the importing of third party file types, specifically CSV that we cover in more detail here.

New in v6.4.0: You can now use the CTRL+I keyboard shortcut for Overlay Import. As mentioned earlier, the file type shown will be whatever you last selected, rather than defaulting to GPX as previous versions of v6 did.

New in v6.4.0: This major MM update added another feature that affects imported overlay, especially those with Routes in them. MM will now only show the waypoints in a route, when that route is selected. This applies to all routes that have more than 50 waypoints in them. This significantly increased the refresh performance of some of my large overlays and also makes right clicking on a route easier, as you are no longer clicking on waypoints by accident. This was a particular problem when zoomed out on a map display and the waypoints made up nearly all the clickable space on a route. When you click back on the route, the waypoints appear and you can work with them as usual.

In the beta version I’m using (as of 27-01-2021) any existing overlay with routes will continue to display the waypoints until you click the route then click off it. This may get ‘fixed’ before final release, but worth being aware of it.

Supported File Types

As mentioned earlier in this guide, the proprietary 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.

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

The currently supported list of file types is shown on the left.

What I think we are missing most is Google Maps format files (KMZ and KML). In the previous version of this guide I looked at ways around this, but I think this is mostly irrelevant now.

Google Earth has mostly been replaced by Google Maps and if you want to create a new map in Google Maps you can import a GPX file, so the need to convert MM overlays into KML format is almost irrelevant.

If you do need to manipulate MMO, KML or GPX maps, the best way is to use a third party file conversion program, something like GPSBabel (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 GPSBabel 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 Maps

MM integrates nicely with Google Maps, directly from menu.

Centre your map on the place you wish to view, for example a village 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 zoom down into more detail. If you got the centre-ing right you will zoom down to the same point.

Once you have a Google Maps screen open, it’s easy to switch into Google Street View, which is absolutely the best way to find parking spots down country lanes and in little villages!

Advanced Importing

The two main third party import file formats are GPX and CSV. Think of these as follows:

GPX files are mostly used for individual routes or a small number of routes. If you download a route or a track from a website it will probably be in GPX format.

CSV files are mostly used for long lists of data such as a hills database or another large group of marks. Each line in the CSV file represents a single item, such as a hill.

I produce a lot of hill lists and bagging lists for MM. For example I’ve created MM files for all the trig points in the three National Parks close to me; the Peaks, Dales and Lakes. I use these as a focus to create new walks or multi-day routes.

The hill lists are available from the Database of British and Irish Hills and lists of trig points are best acquired from TrigPointing.UK. The problem is that these lists will be provided in CSV or Excel format and they won’t import straight into MM unless the CSV file format is changed to what MM is expecting.

Importing CSV Files

CSV stands for ‘Comma Separated Value’ and it’s basically a text file with values 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 you’ve downloaded, 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 and displayed in Excel.

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.

I’ll explain what data MM is expecting to see in each column. It may be useful to view this in the context of the Mark properties dialog, so the image below shows which column aligns to which element.

Col A: A two letter, two number code for the type of point (WPxx for Waypoint or Mark, TKxx for Track, RTxx for Route)
Col B: Latitude, in decimal degrees (using the WGS84 datum)
Col C: Longitude, in decimal degrees (using the WGS84 datum)
Note: You may have noticed that the position format for CSV files is Lat/Long decimal degrees and not OS Nat Grid, which UK walkers are more used to working with. There are places online that will convert between the two for you – my favourite is GridReferenceFinder.com – not least because of how fast it is. Alternatively, if you prefer something offline, check out WayPointWorkbench, which provides an Excel sheet for bulk conversion – although I have found this to be a bit out of date now and will take a long time to convert a large number of references!
Col 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)
Col E: Name, is the name of the Mark, which may be shown on the map
Col F: Comment is the information shown in the comment area in the Overlay Properties of the Mark. We can get quite creative in this field. More information below.
Col G: Linked File is the full path of a linked file or location associated with this Mark (can be a URL linking to an external website, or a local file on a disk)
Col H: Circle Radius, this is used to provide a proximity alarm for the point, in meters when your are following a route on a mobile device.
Col I: Show Name, this is a flag to determine if the name is shown. Bizarrely; 1 hides the name and 0 shows it.
Col J: Unique, this is a unique name used to assign to GPS points, which must always be unique, or empty
Col K: Visible, this a flag to determine if the point is shown on the map or not, 1 = shown, 0 = hidden
Col L: Locked, this is a flag for locking the point on the map, 1 = locked on the map, 0 = movable
Col M: Category, this allows for categorisation of Marks. A new category will be created using the name in this field and sub categories can be created using a colon, for example Category:Subcategory:Subsubcat
Col N: Circle alarm, this is used in conjunction with Col H to determine the type of alarm sounded
Col O: Colour, this assigns a colour to the Mark (uses hexadecimal colour codes, e.g. #FFFFFF for White and #0000FF for Blue)

Comments Field Options

As you can see from the screenshot above, the ‘Comment’ field in the dialog box supports multiple lines, which can be useful for separating information about a Mark. In the example above, I’m showing different types of information about the Trig Point, each separated by a link break.

When you import your data into MM using a CSV file, you can enforce this multi-line data style, using a special code: %0d%0a

For example, ‘Historic Use: Fundamental Benchmark%0d%0aCurrent Use: Passive station%0d%0aType: FBM’ in column F will produce the following comment:

Historic Use: Fundamental Benchmark
Current Use: Passive station
Type: FBM

CSV Import Template

I’m including a link here, to a CSV import template for MMv6. You can use this to create your own import files. Just remember to delete the template lines at the top of the file before you run the import.

Importing GPX Files

A GPX file is fundamentally different to a CSV file. Although they are both text files and can easily be edited in a Windows app like Notepad, the structure of a GPX file is much more complex and almost impossible to create or manipulate in the way we can work with a CSV file. The screenshot below shows the GPX file export for the same trig point we were looking at above.

A GPX file for a Track or a Route has additional xstyle: information for things like opacity, width and pattern so are even more difficult to manage.

As such, use GPX files that have been generated for you and rely on CSV files for any importing you wish to do yourself.

Importing and Calibrating Maps

Not an every-day activity by any means, but you can scan your own maps and load them into Memory-Map. This is not something I’ve ever tried, or indeed ever thought about doing, so I’m going to link to a resource that covers this, rather than try and cover it myself.

Thanks to Hanz Kok for going through the process and trying to bring together all the information scattered around the Memory Map support area and adding significantly to this knowledge with his own experience. You can find his helpful information on this page: Map Calibration with Memory Map

 

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

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14 thoughts on “Memory Map User Guide Pt. 6”

  1. Micheal McDonnell

    Hi. Im wondering if you can help me, I have MM on my andriod smartphone and all was fine untill just after xmas when I dicovered that I can no longer load tracks/routes via the Load saved data link it seems to go through the process but the route does not appear in MM, Ive also just realised that I have a similar problem with Save all tracks link, again it goes though the process but nothing happens.

    I’m enjoying the blog and I’ve found some very helpful info

    Cheers
    Mike.

  2. John Brian Clough

    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?

    Brian

    1. 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.

  3. Frank Hollingworth

    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.
    Frank

  4. 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

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

    1. 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

  7. angie mcgough

    Hi,
    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

    1. 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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