Converting Raymarine FSH files to GPX

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.

Tools needed:

  • 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

Steps:

  • 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.

7 Comments

  1. Jan Norlin says:

    Hello,

    Even more simple is to use GPS Utility (http://www.gpsu.co.uk/index.html), which makes the conversion in one single step, in both directions.

  2. Alex Wetmore says:

    GPS Utility is a commercial product that costs $60 for a single license. It is even more expensive than just buying the Raymarine Voyager app, which does this in one step as well. I found both of those options in my investigation, but was looking for something free or cheap, which is why I documented this way of doing it.

  3. lemmiwinks says:

    There’’s a gui for GPSBabel (at least on my Mac there is) but it’’s neither here nor there really. Nice that all these neat tools exist.

  4. Has anyone experienced any problems when running parsefsh? I”ve got an 8 meg archive.fsh file and when I run the parsefsh command it scrolls a bunch of data across the screen but only creates an archive.osm file of 1K. I must be doing something wrong but I can”t see what it is.

    Any help is appreciated.

    James

  5. Alex Wetmore says:

    Sorry, I can”t help you with that issue. You might email the author and see if he can provide any assistance. I used it with an archive.fsh of about 2mb (roughly a month’’s worth of sailing tracks).

  6. Bernhard says:

    Hi!

    Parsefsh now supports GPX as well. Also waypoints are now decoded.

    @James: FSH files have a fixed size of 1M or 8M, independently of how much data it includes. This is, that the file size if 8M in your case even if you store just a single waypoint. But if you are in doubt, simply contact the author of parsefsh.

    Bernhard

  7. Alex Wetmore says:

    In even better news Raymarine is switching to GPX as their standard track, route, and waypoint format in Lighthouse II. That comes out in December 2013.

Leave a Reply