Mapping and GPS? USAPhotoMaps...

Good day folks,

Well in the last few days, I’ve been exploring mapping and GPS sites and

software. I’ve added a bunch of really cool links to the page above under

the subtitle of “mapping and GPS”. They’re worth a look.

I’ve been very impressed with the JDMCox software titled “USAPhotoMaps”.

This FREE software is amazing and I’m only scratching the surface. It’s

kind of cool to zoom in on Illwaco, Fort Canby, Willamette Falls, Space

Needle, Old Faithful (Yellowstone), my lot (before they built my home)

and… well you get the picture.

Software is amazing, but now I want to put it to practicle use. I’ve

figured out how to pull the waypoints out of my GPS (old Magellan 315) and

import them to USAPhotoMaps. I can use the waypoints to go directly to an

aerial photo or topo map of the point. I have not been able to get it to

import the “routes” from my Magellan. Has anybody been successful using

USAPhotoMaps to show the routes from their GPS unit? Any words of wisdom?



a bit off topic
I have been downloading waypoints from gps to cpu for years. Never tried it with this program.

GPS chartplotting is awesome. I’ve been using handheld gps units, Garmin’s software, Jeppesen’s MarineMap and more recently Nobeltec’s software. This has been primarily for coastal and offshore navigation via sail. But also enjoy the benefit of the gps street capability when in unknown turf.

Now, I think the handheld units have good enough visibility and power to go back (primarily) to handhelds. In april Garmin will be launching their new handheld 276c, which is an awesome little unit that handles both chartplotting and street navigation. It uses their tested bluechart system. I can’t wait.

off topic or not…
I am fascinated by GPS and would love to know if you get the routes to work. Please let us know your progress. I have a SporTrak Pro and use Magellan’s software. I have downloaded the other program but have not installed it yet…having some PC issues and don’t want to complicate that.


Successful use!!
I’ve been using Doug Cox’s software successfully to upload routes and waypoints from my Garmin Legend and displaying them on terraserver satellite pictures.

If I recall correctly, you first go to file/download/mapdata or fill screen. Type in the lat/lon of the center of the terraserver photo you want the route to be displayed on. This will cause the photo to be overlaid on a grid, which will take several minutes to fill, even with a broadband connection. Then on the main menu, go to GPS/Routes/Recieve and follow the instructions and the route will be uploaded overlaying the terraserver picture.

My instructions above are not very clear, but good instructions are in the help section of the software. I would download a picture and upload some GPS data now to make sure I am correct in what I’m telling you, but I lost my GPS last weekend in the river :(. One detail I remember is that your GPS and the software’s communication (comm, port, protocol) have to match exactly, or uploading and downloading will not occurr.

If you really like Dougs software, send him a donation! I did, and he emailed me back a file that removes the “I would really appreciate a donation” text box that appears when you close the software.


Yes, works great
I don’t recall who posted the link to try it a couple of months back but I wanted to thank them.

I’ve got a Garmin Venture and have used the software to pick and upload waypoints as well as to display my tracklog on an aerial. Very nice. Will be sending a donation.

I’m getting closer…
Well I at least have my Magellan and GPSPhotoMaps talking to one another. I can send/receive waypoints and I even have it working with “show location” on the aerial or topo map.

I’m still have problems with the routes though. I continue to shuffle through the help files, but it appears this would be an easier process with a Garmin than with my old Magellan.

I’ll keep everyone posted…

Thanks for all the great ideas!!


I’m having a little trouble
when I upload a track from my SporTrak to the program. Once the track is displayed over the photo, NOTHING else works. I can’t zoom, I can’t export to jpeg, nothing. Any ideas there? I emailed Cox and he said “read the help file”…duh! Did that, nothing there.



Keep working on it…
I was having the same problem a couple days ago. I had to keep altering the configs. I’ve now got it working and will confirm it a bit later today. I need to go drive/walk around the block and save it as a “route” and then pull the route into the program.

Aside from that final test, it appears to be working. I’ve been testing the system with the GPS in “simulate” mode. It draws the path on the Topo or Aerial photo.

When I was having the problem you report, I found I had to play with the baud rates (both GPS and mapping software) as well as the NMEA settings.

Good luck!


It Works… It Works…

I’m thrilled I got it all working. This is pretty amazing stuff. I’m speaking about the software USAPhotoMaps program from JDMCOX (link on the URL above).

I can save a route from a paddle trip and then receive it in USAPhotoMaps and display it on an aerial photo or a topo map.

I confirmed it using a track from my car, so now I want to paddle this weekend and see what I come up with.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks to those that offered assistance!


It’s weird…
sometimes it works fine and sometimes it locks up like I said before. It seems that if you load the track first, it does better. Sometimes I have to reload the track and then the photos. Either way, it does work pretty dang well. It’s cool-tech for sure.

I’ve finally made it…I’m a red-neck-geek.


It’s slow…
I found that I need to use the:

“GPS” “Route” “Receive”

Options and then wait. The PC churns away for quite a while before starting the count.

After it’s done, and I save it as a txt file (I don’t understand how it could be txt but I’m not going to figure it out ).

I click on:

“Route” “Display”

It works great now…