The Lowrance Elite 7 HDI is a cracking piece of kit and it’s capable of storing up to 3000 waypoints. Now as much as that’s impressive, all my waypoints are currently stored on my handheld Garmin 60Csx. If was was just a handful of waypoints, I’d have manually transferred them over, but there’s over 400 of them, so that option was a non-starter!
I’d assumed that there must have been a fairly easy method of achieving this, though after spending a couple of hours reading various threads on the internet, I found myself getting rather frustrated. This clearly wasn’t going to be the simple process that I’d envisaged.
As it happens I was in Lowrance Head Office a couple of days later discussing Insight Genesis (more on that in a later article), when I took the opportunity to bring up this waypoints issue with Craig, the Lowrance guru. He’s also very familiar with Garmin products, though he didn’t have an immediate solution to hand. He did suggest that I go into Mapsource on my computer and save all the waypoints as a GPX file and send the file back to him where he’d endeavour to find a solution.
I continued to do some research and it transpired that the Lowrance Elite 7 unit would accept data that was saved in a USR format and this quickly resulted in a solution being found. It basically goes as follows:
STEP 1 - If needed plug your Garmin GPS into the PC and import all your waypoints from the the Garmin unit to the Mapsource software on the PC. When all waypoints have uploaded they will be visible within Mapsource.
STEP 2 - It’s then a case on selecting FILE/SAVE AS, selecting the file type as GPS eXchange (GPX) and naming the file to suit yourself. With the file saved to a known location is can then be converted into a USR file.
STEP 3 – Converting the GPX file to a USR file is actually very easy indeed. Whilst surfing the internet for a solution I came across a GPX to USR application for geocaching, as it happened, produced by Lowrance. Could it really be this easy?, yes it is!. You need to download the program from the Lowrance website and install it.
STEP 4 – Go into the PC program menu and a ‘Lowrance Electronics’ folder will have appeared. Within this is the ‘GPX to USR utility’. Open this program.
STEP 5 – Select the file icon next to the Input (gpx) box, locate and select the GPX file that was saved at STEP 2. The USR output file location will automatically generate, this location should be the same as the input file, though it is worth noting before you proceed any further.
STEP 6 – With the file now saved to a USR file type, transfer the USR file to a memory card that will fit into your Lowrance unit. Insert the memory card into the unit and go to the Waypoint screen via the MENU options. Press the MENU button again and select the ‘Load from card’ option and it automatically detects any USR files that are present. Select the USR file you want and all waypoints will then transfer from the card to the Lowrance unit.
STEP 7 – Step back and admire your handiwork!