Web Maps To Garmin, Custom Map Converter

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 4, 2011
Google Maps, Software, Windows

Garmin is probably best known for their GPS-powered devices and applications. Up until now it was not that easy to integrate maps of web map services, like Google Maps, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps or Open Street, as custom maps into Garmin devices and applications.

The first public release of the free Windows software Google Trail changes this. The application offers functionality to create custom Google Earth maps from web mail maps, which can then be imported into Garmin devices that support custom maps. This is done intuitively in the default web browser of the system.

Users should note that the application uses Microsoft's Silverlight technology, which means that Silverlight needs to be installed at least for the default browser to make use of the app.

The application itself launches in a command line window which loads a local web page that displays the application interface in the default browser. This web page displays a web map with controls.

bing web map

The map provider is available for selection at the top left corner of the screen, as are the available display modes. Normal is selected by default, which can be changed to Satellite, Hybrid or Terrain. There are controls to change the zoom level and pan the screen. Zooming and panning can also be done independently with the mouse and mouse-wheel, which most users should find more comfortable.

One interesting option of GoogleTrail is the ability to add maps from other map providers on top of the currently displayed map, which basically can be used to merge multiple maps into one. The opacity of each map that is added as an overlay is individually customizable.

The View menu holds options to create a custom map which can be saved in a Garmin compatible custom map format, and to draw track information directly on the screen which can later be saved as GPX files.

A custom map is created by selecting custom map from the menu first. It is then necessary to zoom in on the area that should be included in the custom map. A click on Draw Area enables the draw mode which can be used to draw a rectangle around the area that should be part of the custom map.

Select highlighted area saves the information. It is furthermore possible to activate the buttons is first tile available and is last tile available to check if all map tiles are available so that they can be downloaded later on.

A click on build map starts the build process which displays the approximate kmz map size. Save map finally saves the map as a map project.

It is then required to start the map downloader which is linked from the start menu and the application directory.

The kml file can be generated after the tiles have been downloaded. This is done by switching to the Generate KML tab in the application. The last map tile download directory is automatically selected, and all that's left is to enter a name for the KML file. This file can then be imported into a Garmin device, or any other device for that matter that supports the KML format.

The second available option is to create gpx files. This is done by selecting Draw Track from the selection menu.

gpx track data

Here it is possible to load, save and edit gpx files. Track data can be imported via GPX files which are then shown on the map. Tracks and waypoints can be edited with the application before they are saved to the local system.

Google Trail is available for download at the official CodePlex website. The developer has posted Word documents that explain the core functionality of the program. Users who are stuck should take a look at those to understand the workflow. The application is compatible with the Windows operating system, it tested fine on a 64-bit Windows 7 system.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

    1. Tweakmaster said on September 29, 2023 at 9:57 am

      U are just * [Editor: removed] thats the problem ;p first of all u shall always debloat windows u shall have max 65 services with your drivers for pc and windows own servs. You didnt know what that script did

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved: https://thegeekpage.com/disable-windows-defender-smartscreen/#How_to_disable_the_Windows_Defender_SmartScreen_via_Local_Group_Policy_Editor

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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