How to Configure User Maps for Display on a Humminbird Unit

Contours generated by ReefMaster are exported to Humminbird units as one or more Humminbird tracks. To make the imported track(s) appear as a contour "map", the line style of the tracks needs to be modified within the Humminbird unit such that they are styled to appear as continuous lines. Different map components, such as shorelines or major and minor contours, can be styled in different ways (e.g. line thickness and colour) so that they can be distinguished when viewing the map.


Each track can contain a number of individual contours, and up to a total of just over 21,000 track points. Exported maps that contain more than the maximum number of track points for a single track are split into as many tracks as required.


This tutorial walks through the process of exporting a user map from ReefMaster, importing the tracks onto a Humminbird unit and styling the contour and shore lines for the map display.


Exporting the Contours from ReefMaster

This tutorial assumes that you have created a User Map using contours generated in a Map Project.



It is also possible to write contours directly from the map project, by right-clicking in the contour view and selecting Write All Contours to File.



Right-click the user map in the Asset Library and select the option Write to File.


The Export to GPS window will be displayed. Select Humminbird as the export format.



The option Track for Shorelines will produce a separate track file for shorelines.

Colour Cycle Contours creates three separate tracks for major contour lines. Contours are written in in depth order, and each group of three consecutive depth levels is split over three track files. For example, if a map contains contours with depths 1 through 6m, track one will contain 1m and 4m contours, track two 2m and 5m and track three 3m and 6m. Styling each of the three generated tracks with different colours in the Humminbird means that the direction of depth change can be determined from the colours of the contours.

Track for Minor Contours generates a separate track file for minor contours.


In this tutorial, we are going to select all three of the above options.


Hit the Save button and select a destination folder. For import into a Humminbird device, the files need to be placed in a folder called MATRIX located at the root of an SD memory card.


Importing the Tracks onto the Humminbird Unit



Make sure your tracks are in the MATRIX folder that is located at the root of the SD card. Turn on your Humminbird unit and, once the machine has finished initialising, insert the SD card. You should be prompted to upload navigation data. Select Yes.


Configuring the Tracks on the Humminbird Unit



Bring up the Nav menu on the unit, and select Waypoints, Routes, Tracks. Note that this menu option may be located in a different menu position and/or have a different name, depending on the model and firmware of your Humminbird unit.



The waypoint, routes and track edit screen is displayed. Scroll through the asset list until you find the tracks that you imported in the previous step. They will have the name of the User Map that you exported from ReefMaster, with suffixes denoting whether they are major contours (CN), shorelines (SL) or minor contours (m).



With the first track selected, hit right to bring up the Edit screen for the individual track. This is where you select the line style and colour for the contours. In the example above, we are setting the style for a set of major contours, and we have selected a thin, solid line-style, and a black colour. For subsequent major contours, we choose different colours so that adjacent contours in the finished map are displayed in different colours. This means that the direction of depth change can be discerned. There are three sets of major contour lines.



The shoreline track is set to a thicker style.



Minor contours are given a dashed style with a lighter colour. All line styles are down to user preference. A light, solid style can also work well for minor contour lines.


Viewing the map and Configuring Humminbird Chart Settings



Navigate to the chart view on the Humminbird unit, and pan and zoom until you your find your contours. Our example lake is shown above, where you can see that the Humminbird base map conflicts with the displayed contours. In this case, the contours would look better without the base map display.


Turning off the Humminbird Base Map Display


Note that this step is only required if the area of your map conflicts with the inbuilt Humminbird base map.



In the Chart menu, find the option Chart Detail Level and select the option Custom.



Find the option Custom Chart Layers. In the sub-menu, find option Other Elements select the option Off.



When you return to the chart screen, the base-map lake background is no longer visible. To get a white background, set the Coastlines visibility to Off in the Custom Chart Layers menu.


Other Considerations



Sometimes "less is more" when exporting contours for display on your GPS unit. Using fewer contours can still convey plenty of information about the structure of the lake or sea bed beneath you, and provides a less cluttered screen. The image above shows the same lake as we used in the example, with no minor contours and major contours spaced slightly closer together (3 metres, versus 5 metres in the first example).

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