Frequently Asked Questions
What Mac do I need to run MacGPS Pro?
The current version of MacGPS Pro is a Universal Binary OS X application. It will run on any Mac running Mac OS X version 10.4.0 or later, Intel processor or PowerPC processor. The software works very well on both older Macs with limited processor and RAM resources, as well as the newest laptops and desktops running Sierra (macOS 10.12).How do I run MacGPS Pro on El Capitan (Mac OS X 10.11)?
MacGPS Pro works the same way under El Capitan that it does on older versions of Mac OS X. But because of Apple's new GateKeeper security software, the first time you start MacGPS Pro on El Capitan, you will have to go through a one-time procedure to tell GateKeeper that you will allow MacGPS Pro to run on your computer.What about updates to MacGPS Pro?
We are continually adding features to improve MacGPS Pro. We release multiple updates on a regular basis, which are distributed free via email to our registered users. Annually, we release a major upgrade, which is available for a small discounted fee to our current customers.Is there a Demo version of MacGPS Pro?
There is no demo? That's right! A demo either limits the availability of features or the time to try the program. We don't want a crippled version that doesn't give you a full picture of the software, or a demo with a time limit for trying various features that you just can't get to because the clock quits ticking. Through the years, MacGPS Pro has been continuously developed with many features arising from customer suggestions, so it performs a wide variety of tasks today. If we provided a demo, it would be impossible to know which facet of the program that you wanted to explore. And we want you to be able to experience any or all of the many features you desire without the stress of a clock ticking. Take your time and enjoy the benefits! Because we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose. Also, compare our cost with those of other software companies that do offer demos. Truth is, demos cost money for development, and that expense is passed on to you, the consumer. James Associates would rather spend time adding new features to MacGPS Pro than develop a demo and charge you more for our program to cover those extra development costs.Is there an instruction manual for MacGPS Pro?
There is a comprehensive, illustrative, user-friendly, easy-to-search User's Guide for all MacGPS Pro functions under the Help menu.Is there an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch version of MacGPS Pro?
MacGPS Pro is for the Mac only, but James Associates has three great apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch: iHikeGPS, iHikeGPS NZ and iSailGPS. MacGPS Pro can exchange waypoints, routes, and tracks with these apps.
What GPS receivers work with MacGPS Pro?
See a list on our Supported Receivers Page.Will MacGPS Pro work with the Garmin eTrex receivers which only have a USB connection?
Garmin GPS units do not follow normal USB communications standards. MacGPS Pro contains custom code to allow communication over USB with the Garmin receivers. Each Garmin receiver, and even each release of the Garmin internal software for the same receiver, seems to do the USB communication a little differently. MacGPS Pro will work with the eTrex Vista and Legend C, Cx and HCx receivers when connected to a USB port with the Garmin-supplied cable. MacGPS Pro tries to be compatible with as many different Garmin receivers and internal software versions as possible, but there are still receivers that we are not able to be compatible with. MacGPS Pro will NOT work with eTrex Venture C, Cx and HCx receivers or the eTrex H receiver, so purchase an eTrex Vista or an eTrex Legend model instead if you want to use MacGPS Pro with an eTrex GPS.How does MacGPS Pro work with the Garmin GPS receivers which have both a USB port and a Serial port?
When using the USB Port with Garmin's cable:Will MacGPS Pro work with the Garmin Street Pilot and Nuvi receivers?
You must be running Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later. When connected to the Garmin USB port, real-time data uses PVT mode only. The following models require a recent version of Garmin's internal firmware to work with a USB connection:
To use the serial port, you must purchase a Keyspan USB to serial adapter and a PC serial cable for the GPS. Using the serial port, these receivers will run on an earlier version of Garmin's firmware, and provide you the option of using either NMEA or PVT mode for real-time data. PVT mode supplies less information than NMEA mode.
MacGPS Pro is designed for off-road use, not for highway navigation. Nevertheless it will transfer waypoints, routes and tracks, and collect real-time data for some Street Pilot Receivers such as the Street Pilot III. It will also work for waypoint, route and track transfer (no real-time data) with some Nuvi receivers which have a USB interface identical to the Garmin Oregon series of receivers. There are a huge number of different Nuvi models that we do not have access to for testing, so we cannot provide a list of which Nuvi receivers work and which do not. In any case, MacGPS Pro will not load maps into a Street Pilot or a Nuvi receiver. We suggest that for highway use, Mac owners purchase one of the Nuvi receivers which has maps for the entire country pre-installed.How Do I Use Garmin GPSMap 62, GPSMap 78 and Oregon GPS Receivers with MacGPS Pro?
These receivers have two different modes in which they operate when connected to a Mac.Can I transfer raster maps, such as the MacTopos maps that James Associates Inc. sells, into my GPS receiver using MacGPS Pro?
No. GPS receivers use vector-based maps for display on their screens. USGS DRG (Digital Raster Graphics) maps have too much detailed information for the memory and display capabilities of most hand-held GPS receivers. The best use of DRG maps, and the use which MacGPS Pro provides, is to use the map on your Macintosh screen. You can plan a trip by generating waypoints and routes to transfer to your receiver. You can use the map on your Mac screen in real time as you travel with the GPS receiver connected. After your trip, you can transfer tracks from the GPS to view on the DRG map where you went.Does MacGPS Pro work with Magellan GPS receivers?
Users of Magellan receivers that have a serial port can transfer waypoints, routes and tracks as well as show the current position and velocity on the map on the Mac screen. MacGPS Pro will not transfer maps into a Magellan mapping GPS receiver. To transfer maps, you must use Magellan's software, which is Windows-only. MacGPS Pro also supports Magellan eXplorist receivers, which have a USB port. MacGPS Pro does not support the Magellan Triton receivers.Does MacGPS Pro work with screenless GPS receivers that connect directly to the Mac USB port?
MacGPS Pro will work with most Garmin and USGlobalSat receivers that connect directly to a USB port. MacGPS Pro may work with receivers from other manufacturers if they supply Mac OS X USB driver software for their receivers. Or you can try the PL2303 USB to Serial Driver included with MacGPS Pro.Does MacGPS Pro work with Bluetooth wireless interface GPS receivers?
Yes, as long as the receiver provides standard NMEA output. To use a Bluetooth receiver with MacGPS Pro, you must first set up the Mac OS X operating system to pair with the Bluetooth receiver. Step by step instructions to do so are provided under the MacGPS Pro Help menu. iOS-only receivers such as the Garmin GLO are not supported.Can I use my iPhone as the GPS receiver for MacGPS Pro's Real-Time Current Location function?
Sorry, no. The iOS operating system does not provide any way to continuously send the output of its internal GPS chip to an external device such as your Mac.
My GPS receiver's serial data interconnect cables don't plug in anywhere on my Macintosh. How do I physically connect my GPS receiver to my Macintosh?
Transfers to and from the GPS receiver data port work well through a Keyspan USB to serial adapter. The Keyspan adapter requires a Mac OS X driver. We recommend downloading the latest driver from the Keyspan website (click "Support") rather than using a potentially obsolete driver which came on the CD-ROM with the device. If you have another brand of USB-to-serial adapter you would like to use if possible, try using Apple driver we supply with MacGPS Pro, which may work, depending on the specific adapter device. James Associates Inc. sells interconnect cables for connecting a Macintosh to some Garmin GPS receivers.
What map file formats should I look for?
For optimum resolution and seamless map stitching, we recommend our MacTopos Maps series. MacGPS Pro is also an excellent viewer for USGS & US Forest Service Digital Raster Graphic topo maps, BSB versions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 marine charts, FAA flight sectionals, and many other digital maps.How can I import my own scanned maps?
Digital maps come in two different types. Raster maps are a scanned or photographed image of a paper map. This is the type of map that MacGPS Pro uses. Vector map files contain a mathematical description of the lines and areas that make up the map. MacGPS Pro does not support maps in vector format. Garmin "*.IMG" files are vector maps.
Maps and charts in raster-image formats such as TIF, PNG, JPG, PDF, ECW, BSB (".kap" and ".cap"), NOS/GEO, PICT, GIF, BMP, and PSD can be opened or imported into MacGPS Pro. These images will be automatically georeferenced if they are in GeoTIFF format, in ECW format, in GeoPDF format, in BSB format, or if they are accompanied by a "world" file (".TFW", ".JGW", ".GFW", ".PGW", or ".EWW") with a ".PRJ" or a ".FGD" file, a "*.IMP" file (a CompeGPS calibration file), a "*.JPR" file (a Fugawi calibration format) or a "*.MAP" file (an OziExplorer calibration file). OziExplorer OZF2 image files are not supported.
Maps may be purchased, obtained by downloading them from the Internet, or by scanning them yourself. Maps can be calibrated and used on your Macintosh screen with or without a GPS receiver connected. USGS and US Forest Service topo maps, aerial photos from the National Map, and many other maps from diverse sources are automatically calibrated. Maps that do not contain calibration information can be manually calibrated with ease by clicking on a few known points. Check our Digital Map Library to help find maps for your area.
Please note that MacGPS Pro does not upload maps to any GPS receiver; the maps are used on the Macintosh screen. For raster maps on a handheld device, see our iHikeGPS and iSailGPS apps for the iPhone and iPad.
Follow these instructions for importing your own scanned maps:Which maps and charts work with MacGPS Pro?
For high-quality resolution, seamless map stitching, and guaranteed georeference accuracy, we recommend our MacTopos and MacBSB Marine Charts. However MacGPS Pro also works with an extensive list of map resources found in our Digital Map Library.I am importing USGS 7.5' DRG maps for California. Once imported, I cannot get MacGPS Pro to find latitude and longitude coordinates. What should I do?
When the window comes up which lets you pick the Map Projection, it comes up with Transverse Mercator selected as the default when there is no automatic calibration information available, because that is correct for USGS topo maps for most of the USA. However for California maps, you need to select the Albers Conic projection before clicking "OK."How do I see and edit my waypoints, routes and tracks in another program or a smartphone app?
MacGPS Pro saves waypoint, route and track files in a tab-delimited text format, which you can open in any spreadsheet such as Excel or Numbers. It can also save files in GPX format which can be opened by almost all other GPS applications, including Windows programs and smartphone apps. You may edit the list and save it again as a text file or a GPX file which you can then read back into MacGPS Pro.What are the MacGPS Pro formats for showing position coordinates?
MacGPS Pro can show position coordinates in the following user-selectable formats:What are the MacGPS Pro map projections?
MacGPS Pro can calibrate maps in the following user-selectable map projections:What are the MacGPS Pro datums?
MacGPS Pro provides coordinate conversions to-and-from the following 123 user-selectable datums:If I load a Garmin map into my GPS receiver, will the routes, waypoints and tracks transfer properly to and from the MacTopos maps?
Yes they will. The waypoints, routes and tracks are accurate specifications of specific sets of points on the earths surface. These points can be shown on any map of the area regardless of who made the map or what device it is on. There is no conflict or incompatibility between Garmin's maps and our MacTopos maps. In fact using Garmin's maps on your GPS receiver, and the much more detailed MacTopos maps on your Mac is a great way to have the best of both worlds.What is the difference between USGS maps and Forest Service Maps?
United States Geological Survey (USGS) topo maps cover the entire country at two or three different scales. United States Forest Service (USFS) topo maps are only available in the 1:24K scale, and only for those quadrangles which contain Forest Service land.Can I transfer Garmin's MapSource maps into my GPS receiver using MacGPS Pro?
Some USGS topo maps have not been updated since the 1970's. While the topography normally does not change much, man's contribution to the landscape in terms of additional trails and roads has changed considerably for areas covered by some of these maps. The USFS had an internal need for more up-to-date maps, so they started a joint program with the USGS to update maps for the national forest areas. The USFS and the USGS signed an interagency agreement in August, 1993, that calls for the cooperative updated mapping of all Forest Service lands. These updated maps have proved so useful that they have been released to the public and recently updated (none older than 2009). MacTopos 4.0 makes them available to you for use with MacGPS Pro.
Garmin uses a proprietary map transfer protocol. No third-party Macintosh software uses it. MacGPS Pro cannot transfer Garmin's MapSource maps into Garmin receivers. Garmin provides Mac software which will do this. On the other hand, MacGPS Pro provides two-way transfer of waypoints, routes, and tracks. It is complimentary to Garmin's software. While Garmin's software limits the customer to Garmin's maps only, MacGPS Pro allows you to use most other maps on your Macintosh screen,including Digital Raster Graphics topo maps.Can I transfer raster maps, such as the MacTopos maps that James Associates Inc. sells, into my GPS receiver using MacGPS Pro?
GPS receivers use vector-based maps for display on their screens. USGS DRG (Digital Raster Graphics) maps have too much detailed information for the memory and display capabilities of most hand-held GPS receivers. The best use of DRG maps, and the use which MacGPS Pro provides, is to use the map on your Macintosh screen. You can plan a trip by generating waypoints and routes to transfer to your receiver. You can use the map on your Mac screen in real time as you travel with the GPS receiver connected. After your trip, you can transfer tracks from the GPS to view where you went on the DRG map.