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Author Topic:   GPS Babel: Generating GPX for Lowrance HDS
jimh posted 06-02-2014 03:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The application GPS Babel can read from files of many formats and translate the data to many different formats. A popular output format for GPS Babel is .GPX, the GPS eXchange format. In working with GPS Babel it was noticed that files exported from the application in .GPX format could not be imported to the Lowrance HDS-8 chart plotter. Upon attempting this import, the HDS would give an alert message:

"Import failed: File version 1.0 not supported"

Upon some research and experimentation, it was found that GPS Babel could be configured in its output options to write a GPX file in GPX version 1.1. This option is configured in the GPSBabel window, in the lower pane called OUTPUT. With the OUTPUT configured for FILE and Format=GPX XML, click on the OPTIONS button. A new dialogue box appears, the GPSBABEL OPTIONS FOR GPX. Place a checkmark in the box for the option "Target GPX version for output" and type "1.1" into the data entry box associated with that option. Click OK. The dialogue box window closes.

In the GPSBabel window, you should now see the text field next to the OPTIONS button contains:


This will generate an output file with a header that says:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<gpx version="1.1" creator="GPSBabel -" xmlns="">

A generated GPX file with this header was succesfully imported to an HDS-8.

jimh posted 06-02-2014 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the process of using GPS Babel, I was momentary confused by the very limited number of file formats offered for conversion. I found a remedy for this problem, too. The GPS Babel application has a PREFERENCES option (typically found in the FILE menu of the graphical user interface version). In the PREFERENCES window there is a FORMAT tab. The FORMAT tab presents a very long list of possible formats, and each format can be checked to be enabled or not enabled. In my application, only a few formats were checked.

I don't know for certain why only a few formats were checked. It might have been due to some sort of stored preference setting that was from a much earlier version of GPS Babel which most likely did not contain so many options. It is also possible that at some point I shut off most of the formats, and now had just forgotten about them. In either case, the capabilities of GPS Babel were being limited by this setting of the formats enabled preferences. If you are using GPS Babel and don't find the format you want as an option, check the PREFERENCES menu.

For most convenient operation of GPS Babel it is handier to turn off the dozens of formats you will never use, but be sure to remember how to get them back. You may need one of the obscure ones at some future date.

jimh posted 06-03-2014 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The GPX format evolved to the v1.1 development in 2004. This suggests that version 1.1 has been the current version of GPX for about ten years. With that consideration, it seems reasonable that the GPX parser in the Lowrance HDS might complain about using the ten-years-out-of-date v1.0 format and refuse to process the conversion.

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