Shapefile to old Garmin GPS

07-06-2011 01:55 PM
Occasional Contributor III
A field crew just brought me a Garmin Etrex that they just bought. Why they picked such an old model, I don't know.  I suppose it was because it was cheap and water proof.  Anyway, they are hoping that I can install a bunch of waypoints from a ESRI point feature class I made into their GPS so they can use the GPS to guide them to their sampling points.  In the past, I've always been able to get points out of a GPS, either with DNR Garmin or just by downloading CSV files from a GPS.  But today I have these two main problems. 1. I'm now running ArcDesktop 10 and DNR Garmin doesn't yet run on Arc10. Or does it now? Which brings me to my next dead end: 2. I can't find a download source for DNR Garmin because of the Minnesota government shutdown. Is there another download source?

I was lucky to have a cable for this old Etrex. It connects to a PC via a 9 pin serial port. I was lucky to still have a couple PCs with 9 pin com ports. 

Some in these forums say they now use GPSGate. I downloaded a copy, got it running, but haven't come close to figuring out how to use it for this simple task of going from shapefile to waypoints.  Most seem to use GPSGate to connect live GPS to web apps.  But at least I was able to verify a connection from the GPS to the 9 pin serial port.
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Esri Notable Contributor
I don't think you're going to be able to load the shapefile itself, but will have to dump out the points into another format first. Some people on other sites were recommending

Easy GPS


I checked and I don't have a copy of DNR Garmin (any version) available locally. The last I heard, it had not been updated for ArcGIS 10.

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Frequent Contributor
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Occasional Contributor III
I tried at GPSBabel, Convert GPS Files (KML, GPX, WPT, PLT) to Shapefiles toolbox, GPSInfo,  but they all seemed to do only the GPS to ShapeFile step. 

EasyGPS from Topografix could communicate with the Garmin Etrex on the 9 pin interface, but couldn't do the file translation.  That lead me to Topografix commercial product, ExpertGPS and that worked pretty well.  Showed me a background image of my location, converted directly from my shapefile, and stuck the waypoints into the Etrex. The Etrex format is set on "Garmin" so apparently that means GPX.  Other I/O formats mentioned, but not described, in the thin owners manual include "Text out", so I presume I could have got the waypoints in there in some kind of ascii format if only they'd told me what that was. 

ExpertGPS ran with a 30 day trail period. I think I like it and will go ahead and buy it. 

I liked GSAK and its Google Maps display, but didn't see a converter for ESRI formats to GPX.  Still, I'll give it to my field crew to help them manage their waypoints. 

I tried Franson GPSGate, but I was puzzled by it's purpose. It seems more like a tool to channel real time position info from a GPS to web apps.  I couldn't figure out how to use it to stick shapefile points or any file into the GPS.  GPSGate actually confused me more by grabbing my first upload from ExpertGPS with it's GPS Simulator.  I had to get GPSGate out of my tray to continue with ExpertGPS.

A member of the field crew is coming back this morning to pick up their GPS, so I figured this out just in time. Couldn't bare the thought of these guys wandering around for days lost in the desert because I couldn't get them their points.
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Occasional Contributor III
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