IQ Booster™: the utilities that Garmin forgot

Enjoy the full potential of the GPS receiver in your Garmin iQue series PDA with IQ Booster.

  • Export waypoints from your iQue 3600 to your desktop computer
  • Keep a log of your trip and map it on your desktop computer
  • Connect your iQue 3600 to other navigation electronics via NMEA

IQ Booster™ gives you the GPS functions you need for serious mapping. Collect waypoints on your iQue3600 and easily transfer them to other GPS receivers. Make a track log that you can use with desktop mapping software. Connect your iQue3600 to radars, chartplotters, and laptops for real-time tracking.

IQ Booster™ can export your waypoints from Address Book format to tab-separated text. Your next Hotsync operation transfers them—latitude, longitude, and name—to your desktop computer. No other conversion software is needed.

IQ Booster™ is free during its test and development phase, and will be priced comparably to our other products when completed. Download it today and give it a try!

IQBooster.prc (62.94 K) (version 1.6 beta, released 17 February 2004)

Waypoint Export

To export the geographic positions of your Address Book contacts that have locations set, tap "Export Waypoints" from the home screen, and then select either "Export to Memo Pad" or "Export to SD Card". Tap "Export". If you export to removable SD card, the waypoints file will be created in the "/TEXT" folder, with the date and time of export embedded in the filename. If you export to Memo Pad, PalmOS will ask you to choose which category to create the memopad records in.

Only the Address Book entries that have a Garmin-specific location will be exported.

After the waypoints are exported, you must perform a Hotsync operation to transfer the new Memo Pad entry to your desktop computer. Then use your Palm Desktop Software or an external flash memory reader to read the exported waypoints. File format is described below. The "name" column in the export file will be either the first and last names, if they are entered, or the company name.

Waypoint Import

If already have a list of positions, you'll need to import them into the Address Book to use them with your iQue. First, create a text file with the waypoints. The file must be tab-separated text, with these columns: Latitude, Longitude, Name, Elevation, Icon number. This is very similar to the file format that Waypoint Export uses (described below), except that an Icon Name column will be ignored on import.

A spreadsheet is a good way to create this file; be sure to save your file as tab-separated text. You can also use the output file created by "Export Waypoints". Place the file on your SD card in the "/TEXT" folder, using Palm Desktop or other tools. The value you enter for "Name" will be stored in the Address Book's "First Name" field.

Perhaps the simplest way to get started is to use IQ Booster to export your current waypoints, and then use that file as a starting point.

Tap "Import Waypoints" and choose your filename from the popup list. Then tap "Import". A new Address Book entry will be created for each point in your file; if you import the file more than once, you will have multiple copies of each waypoint.

After the file is processed, PalmOS will prompt you to choose an Address Book category for your new waypoints.

If IQ Booster comes to a line in your text file that it can't understand, a warning box will pop up, the line will be ignored, and processing will continue. You can take advantage of this feature if you want to place comments or column labels in your text file. The system will prompt you after processing the file to give you a choice of Address Book categories to use for your new waypoints.

Track Logging and NMEA Output

The iQue series can store your track using its internal format, which you can then export in MapSource using a Microsoft Windows desktop computer. If you want more direct access, though, IQ Booster can save the track for you, in either a simple point-by-point file format, or using a full NMEA-0183 compatible data stream. You can also send this NMEA-0183 data stream out the iQue's serial port, and use it to drive other navigational equipment such as chart plotters, radar displays, or even other computers.

You have two choices of data format, "simple log" and NMEA-0183. If you just want to capture your track and map it later, you probably want to use "simple log" format. It is described below.

You can send your track data to the Memo Pad, write it to a text file, and send it out the serial port. Choose any or all of these options. Note that the NMEA data stream generates quite a bit of data, and is likely to fill up your Memo Pad and your device in short order; storing it to an SD card text file is highly recommended.

Your iQue 3600 must remain powered on to capture track data or send NMEA sentences. The "stay on" checkbox overrides whatever powersaver settings you have made in the PalmOS Prefs application. If you don't have an external power source connected, you will deplete the battery of your iQue quickly.

Consult your navigation equipment's manual to see whether IQ Booster generates the NMEA sentences it needs. If they're not generated, please send us a note and we'll look into adding them.

Requirements

IQ Booster runs only on the Garmin iQue series of Palm-powered handheld computers. To connect your iQue to NMEA-compatible navigation equipment, you'll need a Garmin Serial Sync Cable, Garmin part number 010-10410-00. For use in a vehicle, we highly recommend the automobile "bean bag" mounting kit. You can purchase these accessories from Amazon.com using the links below. Software has been tested only with the Garmin Serial Sync Cable; other cables might work too but are not supported.

File formats

Waypoints are exported as follows:

latitude <tab> longitude <tab> name <tab> elevation <tab> icon number <tab> icon name

one line per waypoint, with a header line at the top. Units for elevation are meters; however, the Garmin QMap software doesn't seem to do anything with that value, so the units may not be relevant. The "icon number" indicates which icon is used; the icon name is displayed for convenience. A list of icon numbers, as defined by Garmin, is available at http://www.garmin.com/support/pdf/iop_spec.pdf on pages 32-35.

On waypoint export, "name" gets the Address Book's first and last names. If both of those are blank, then the company name is used instead.

On waypoint import, the value given for "name" is placed in the new Address Book entry's "First Name" field.

The "simple log" track format looks like this:

date <tab> time <tab> latitude <tab> longitude <tab> elev MSL <tab> elev WGS84

one line per second. "Elevation MSL" is elevation relative to mean sea level; "elevation WGS84" is relative to the WGS-84 geoid.

All latitude/longitude coordinates are referenced to WGS-84.

"NMEA log" sends or records the following NMEA sentences: GPRMC, GPGGA, GPGSV, PGRME, GPGLL, PGRMM. HDOP and magnetic variation are not available; null fields are displayed for those values. Multiple memos are created as needed; a single memo holds about 9 seconds of data. IQ Booster uses the iQue 3600's serial port to send data at 4800 baud, n/8/1, matching the NMEA-0183 2.3 specification. You can set IQ Booster's serial rate to 9600 baud, a common extension of the NMEA spec; make sure the device on the other end is set to match.

New memos are automatically created as needed, so that no single memo exceeds the 4K Memopad display limit.

Known bugs or missing features:

NMEA output doesn't provide magnetic variation or HDOP values.

You must keep IQ Booster running in order to log your track. Background logging isn't implemented yet.

No notice is provided when you run out of memory when logging to SD card or Memopad.

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