Exporting Map Projects and Layers

Map projects consist of a set of map layers, which can be exported in a range of formats either individually or as a complete map.


·To export the entire map project, click the Export button in the project menu bar and select the option Export Map Project:




·Map projects can also be exported from the right-click menu in the Asset Library. It is possible to export multiple map projects at one time by selecting the required projects in the asset list.


·To export one or more selected layers, select the required layers in the layers list and choose the right-button menu option Export Selected Layers:



Exporting Map Projects versus exporting Map Layers

·When exporting an entire map project, the map is exported as configured in the Map View of the project. Layers that are not visible will not be exported.

·When exporting selected map layers, all selected layers will be exported, regardless of visibility. It is assumed in this case that any layer that has been specifically selected for export is required.

·Other export options are the same when exporting either layers or the entire map.



Export Map Using Preset Style

Another, simpler, way to export a map project is to use one of ReefMaster's preset map styles. Preset map styles are available for a range of Lowrance AT5 and Google Earth formats and can be exported in a "one-click" operation without any further settings being required. See Exporting Preset Map Styles.


The Export Map Project Window

A window is shown offering a choice of export formats, with further options available for each format:



1. Export Format

Select the required export format from the list on the left of the window.


2. Format Options

Some export formats have further options that can be set prior to export. See below for more information.


3. Save

Click the Save button once the required format and options have been set. A further window will be shown where the required output filename or location can be specified, and the export will begin.



Export Formats



The AT5 map format is a Navico map format supported by a wide range of Navico GPS devices and is the preferred format when targeting these units.


Generating AT5 Maps: The Insight Map Creator


·AT5 maps are created using the Insight Map Creator tool from Navico. This tool is free, and can be downloaded from the Navico Insight Store, on the Insight Planner tab.


·ReefMaster generates the required files and runs the IMC automatically during map exports. In order to do this, the location of the InsightMapCreator.exe program file must be provided to ReefMaster using the Locate IMC option in the Global Settings.


·ReefMaster copies all of the resulting AT5 files into the correct directory structure for use in a memory card on a Navico unit. To write the files directly to a memory card, insert an SD card into your computer's card reader, and select the root folder of this card as the output directory in the save file window. Note that any existing AT5 map files will be overwritten.


·The IMC will be launched, and the raster and vector layers created for the map. Note that this process may take some time. You can observe the progress of the operation by clicking on the IMC icon in the Windows task bar, which brings the IMC application to the front of the screen.



·Vector and raster files are written to the files at5.xml, Large.at5  and a folder ShadedRelief. These files should be located at the root of a memory card, and inserted into a GPS device. Note that when using the Project Based Naming option (see below), the large.at5 file may have a different name.


·In order to see AT5 maps on your Navico device, you must select the option Settings/Chart/Chart data/Lowrance.

·To see the raster background, select the option Chart options/Imagery/Shaded relief.

·ReefMaster map exports require IMC version 0.7.4 or later.



AT5 Options

A set of further options are shown once the AT5 format has been selected:



1. Insight Map Creator Options

Options that apply to both raster and vector exports.


Atlas Version

Atlas version refers to the AT5 map version that is targeted in the exported map. Later versions have more features, but may not be compatible with some earlier Navico units. The default of version 12 is widely compatible with units from the HDS generation 1 onwards, however if maps are not showing successfully on earlier units, try re-exporting with an earlier version such as 10 or 7.


Project based naming

By default, the IMC will create map files with the fixed name large.at5. Project based naming changes this filename to <specified_name>.at5 and means that multiple AT5 maps can be stored in the same disk location. It is a good idea to leave this option checked.


Atlas Description

Provides an internal name for the exported map that can be referenced in the target unit. Note that when using an atlas description, compatible units will show the atlas description as a map manufacturer, which makes it possible to switch between multiple maps on the same memory card simply by assigning each map a unique atlas description.


Vector and Raster Options


Raster versus Vector

AT5 maps can display a combination of raster and vector components.

Vector components include contours and isobaths, and create maps with a small file size that can be scaled to look good at any resolution:


Isobaths and contours on a Lowrance HDS 5


Raster map layers behave like images, and can be useful for providing background satellite or shaded relief imagery:


Shaded relief map layer with vector contours on top


·Vector maps are much faster to generate and result in much smaller map files.

·Raster maps are slow to generate and result in large map files, but can be useful for providing background information.

·Vector components can be displayed on top of raster layers.



2. Vector Options


Depth Highlight

A depth highlight layer enables depth-ranges to be highlighted in the selected colour. Any depth range or combination of depth ranges can be highlighted by configuring chart categories on the unit, giving the ability to change the highlighted range whilst on the water.


To add a depth highlight layer to the map, check the option Add depth highlight layer, select an existing isobath layer and a colour for the layer from the drop-down list.


Using the depth highlight layer

The depth highlight layer works by creating an extra set of isobaths that are all set to a single, configurable colour, and layered underneath the existing depth map. Individual depth ranges can be highlighted in the selected colour by de-selecting the category for the required depth range in the minor category  section of the Depth Area chart category. Hiding the standard depth area in this way allows the highlight layer to be seen, whilst also being hidden by default.


·With the map loaded onto the target unit, select the menu option Chart options/Categories:




·Deselect the depth range that you wish the highlight in the category (Area) Depth Area. Deselecting a depth range allows the depth highlight layer, which is underneath the depth areas, to be seen:



The depth for the selected range is now shown in the depth highlight layer colour. Any combination of depth ranges can be highlighted in this way.




Add OSM Base Map

The IMC can process Open Street Map data files to produce a vector base map that will be included as part of the map export.

Open Street Map data can be downloaded from http://download.geofabrik.de/  - the .pbf format is required. Select the smallest region that covers the required area, to keep map generation times down. Once a suitable OSM data file has been sourced, check the Add OSM Base Map option and locate the file on disk by using the Browse button.

Note that OSM basemaps can take a long time to generate. One option is to generate an OSM base map separately and combine this with separate ReefMaster map exports on disk.



3. Raster Options

·Raster map layers, including Flat Raster, Shaded Relief and Image layers are exported as AT5 raster maps.

·When exporting to raster, all visible raster layers are combined into a single image for processing by the IMC. There is no concept of separate raster layers in an AT5 map.


Raster backgrounds are only compatible with more recent Navico units (Elite HDI units, all HDS generations). Maps for older units such as LMS and LMX should be exported as vector-only maps.



By default, raster map layers are not included when exporting AT5 maps, due to the longer generate times required. To include raster layers, first check the option Export Raster Layers.


The raster type (1) indicates the type of the map to the target unit.


Min and Max Resolutions (2) are represented in metres per pixel. Lower Min Resolution values create higher resolution maps, with correspondingly larger file sizes and generate times.


Raster layers do not support transparency, so any "empty" areas will be rendered in black on the target unit. Choose the Fill Background (3) option to choose another colour in preference.


Include Vector Layers as Raster (4)

This option renders the entire map, including any vector layers, as a single image before being processed by the IMC.


Google Earth

Maps are exported to Google Earth as KML or KMZ files. Both vector and raster layers can be exported; raster layers are represented as ground overlays, whilst vector layers form polyline or polygon component layers.



Vector map layers can be exported in the ESRI Shapefile format. Layers are each exported to a single shapefile.



CSV is a simple text file format that contains a list of positions and depths, in the format Latitude, Longitude, Depth.

The CSV export format can be used to export vector map layers, and is useful for transferring track-point data between ReefMaster projects or other GIS applications.



The GPX format is an XML based format that can be used to export tracks, waypoints and vector map layers. The GPX format is compatible with a wide range of GPS devices and GIS applications, and is particularly useful for transferring waypoints to Lowrance™ and Humminbird™ units.



Waypoints, tracks and map contours can be exported in the native Humminbird™ waypoints and routes file format (.HWR) and track format (.HT).


Vector map layers are exported as tracks, with each separate component being written as a separate track "segment" and each separate layer written to a separate .HT track file. Exported map layers can be viewed on Humminbird GPS devices by styling the imported track as a solid line.


Image File

Export the map or selected map layers as a single image.



1. Pixels per Metre

The image size is determined by the pixels per metre setting. Higher values result in a larger image size, with the resulting image size being displayed to the right of the pixels per metre field. Note that very large images may be unusable in other applications, so consider using the Tile Image (4) option to produce a set of smaller images if the required resolution is very high.


2. Include Waypoints

To include waypoints in the exported image, check this option.


3. Background Colour

By default, the background is transparent. To set the background to a specific colour, unchceck the Transparent check box and choose a colour from the colour selector.


5. Show Frame and Scale and Grid Lines

Adds a frame, compass rose and scale to the image, and insets the map within the frame. This option is useful when creating a map image for printing. The frame is proportioned to fit standard printing paper, either portrait or landscape depending on the relative dimensions of the map image.


Show Frame and Scale selected




The MBTiles format is a tiled image format that consists of a set of multi-scale image tiles stored in a SQLite database. This format can be used in an ever increasing number of GIS and mobile mapping applications, and also within ReefMaster as background images and map project image layers.






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