Updated January 2021
Importing and Exporting
Part 6 of this parallel user’s guide covers the importing and exporting of data from MM. Something you will inevitably need to do.
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.
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.
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.
Google Earth has mostly been replaced by Google Maps and if you want to create a new map in Google Maps you can import a GPX file, so the need to convert MM overlays into KML format is almost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.
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!
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, or check out WayPointWorkbench, which provides an Excel sheet for bulk conversion.
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
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.
The next part of this guide can be found here: Part 7 – Working with the Mobile Version