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How do I download waypoints and other data from other GPS units?

What follows are not detailed instructions since I do not have access to these other units. However, following the same steps as written for the Garmin receiver, I can point you in the direction of resources that will prove helpful.

Step 1: Connect the GPS unit to the computer

You will need a cable. Here are links to a couple of manufacturer websites where you should be able to find cables if you need them:

For other receivers, there are two things to try other than looking through the materials that came with your GPS. The first is going to the website for your manufacturer and looking around there. The second is a full Internet search using an engine like Google or Lycos. When searching, try the term 'pc cable' along with your receiver maker and model.

Step 2: Configure the GPS receiver

Consult the manual for the receiver and any help files or documentation for the software you are using to make sure that you have the receiver configured correctly for downloading waypoint information to your computer.

Step 3: Start the download software

There are many software solutions available for downloading waypoints from your GPS. Here are several links that will probably help you find a product that works with your receiver:

  • GPS Utility is a shareware product that downloads from many Garmin and Magellan units as well as some MLR, Furuno, Simrad, Raytheon and some other NMEA-compatible receivers.
  • Eagle has a product called GPS Data Manager for uploading and downloading data from your Eagle GPS receiver.
  • Trimble has a Data Transfer Utility that works with many of their receivers. There are also links here to other Trimble software products.
  • GPS Trackmaker is a free program that allows downloading of some data from a variety of receivers.

As with cables, if you cannot find a product that works here, search the Web using keywords like 'download', 'import', 'waypoints', and 'GIS' along with the make and model of your receiver.

Step 4: Download the waypoints

Step 5: Save the waypoints

These two steps are very dependent on the software you are using. If there is no way to get something that is directly ready for ArcView, try to export a text file. Once you've done that, you can use Microsoft Excel to create a .dbf file to use in ArcView.