GSAK & Garmin - Custom Icons

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When loading a large number of waypoints into your GPS, the jumbled view of the same default geocache icon found in Garmin GPS receivers may be overwhelming.

Certain Garmin GPS receivers are capable of loading custom Points Of Interest (POI) icons.

This tutorial will show you how to create a set of icons that you can associate with certain types of geocaches with GSAK and then load onto your Garmin GPS receiver.

First thing is to download the free application from Garmin called xImage .  xImage allows you to retrieve and send images on your GPS such as custom icons & taking screen shots of the GPS unit.


After installing the program, we'll start by downloading onto our computer the set of custom icons we can customize. For this tutorial, we'll use a Garmin Legend C.

When opening xImage, we are greeted with the welcome message, click Next.
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Next we'll select the GPS that we want to send & receive the icons, if you only have one GPS attached to your computer, it should come up by default. Click Next.

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We'll select "get images from GPS", click Next.
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From the dropdown box, we'll select "Waypoint Symbols" and select all. Click Next.
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Finally we'll choose a destination path, by default it should copy files into you’re my Garmin folder. Click OK.
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Now we are ready to create custom icons. The important thing to note that we will be opening one of the files that we have just downloaded from the GPS, which is a 16x16 pixel BMP. So you can use paint, photoshop, photo-paint or other image editing programs.

The other thing to note is that we need to create a transparency, otherwise the icon will have the white border around it. In order to create a transparent background, Garmin uses the following RGB color (255,0,255).

Here we have a zoomed in image of the traditional cache icon found on geocaching.com. We used the color value to paint around it. We'll overwrite one of the custom waypoint files that we downloaded. In this instance, we'll overwrite Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp with this traditional geocache icon.
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After creating six similar icons, we are ready to upload the images to our GPS. We repeat the same process as the above for downloading, but this time we'll send the icons to our GPS.
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If we are successful, we should see the new customs icons on our Garmin GPS.
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But we are still not done. What about when we use GSAK to load waypoint to our GPS? We need somehow to tell it to use a custom icon for each of these geocache types.

This is rather easy, as compared to the image editing. First thing we need to do is let GSAK know that we have customs icons on our Garmin GPS. To do this, we need to create a text file and list the custom icons we want to use.

Open the folder C:\Program Files\GSAK
Create a text file called GarminOther.txt. Copy & paste the following:
Custom 0 ; traditional
Custom 1 ; multi
Custom 2 ; event
Custom 3 ; mystery
Custom 4 ; virtual
Custom 5 ; cito

Save the file and open GSAK.

 Once you are ready to export waypoints to your GPS using GSAK, click GPS | Send Waypoints. Click on the Change button to change the GPS Symbols.
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At this point, you can customize each cache type with a custom icon (provided that you have created it) by selecting the Cache type and corresponding icon. Our custom icons from the GarminOther.txt comes into play here.
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After you've sent your waypoints to your GPS, you should have something like this instead of the standard geocache icon.

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Parent Category: Geocaching