Hello regular readers. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted in a long time. I’m now one month into a three month vacation, and part of my plan is to get the blog up to date with both sailing and non-sailing activities.
This is going to be a boring post for most of you, but it’s going to really help someone down the line. The next blog post will be about a big sailing trip that I just returned from. There will be a couple of bike and framebuilding posts after that related to some delayed projects.
Raymarine makes a popular line of electronics for boats. I have a Raymarine e7D chart plotter (fancy name for a GPS) on my sailboat. I just finished a great 4 week sailing trip and thought it would be nice to get the route that we took as an online map. It turns out that Raymarine can only save their routes in an undocumented file format called FSH. A few nice guys have reverse engineered it, but it is hard to find their tools online.
I wanted to document the steps to go from having data on your Raymarine GPS to showing it on a Google Map. All software involved is free, so you don’t need to spend $50 on Raymarine’s Vogage Planner. The software is also cross platform and will work on a Mac running OS X, or a PC running Windows or Unix. This is all command line stuff though, so it’s not very user friendly.
- parsefsh – This tool can read the proprietary FSH file format and convert it the OSM format. Documentation is on a wiki.
- gpsbabel – This can convert the OSM format to GPX
- Export your tracks from the Raymarine MFD to a SD card. This is done under the My Data menu.
- On the SD card you will find a single file called “archive.fsh”. This will have all of your tracks.
- Run “parsefsh < archive.fsh > archive.osm” to convert the FSH to a OSM file. This also converts the tracks to routes, but we’ll convert them back in the next step.
- Run “gpsbabel -i osm -f archive.osm -x transform,trk=rte -o gpx -F archive.gpx”. This produces archive.GPX which contains waypoints, routes, and tracks for everything that was in the FSH.
- You can now edit the GPX with your normal tools (I used Garmin Basecamp)
And finally, a link to a map that I generated this way. Sadly the FSH format doesn’t contain point by point times, so you don’t get speeds and can’t where where I was on which day.
If I were buying a new boat GPS I’d give serious consideration to a Garmin instead of a Raymarine. There is no reason for a manufacturer in 2013 to be using a proprietary format for GPS track data.