Note: This page describes an obsolete version of GPSBabel that may substantially differ from the current or development version.

Magellan serial protocol (magellan)

This format can...

  • read and write waypoints

  • read and write tracks

  • read and write routes

This format has the following options: deficon, maxcmts, baud, noack, nukewpt .

GPSBabel supports the following Magellan receivers:

310Meridian Color
315Explorist 100 (with aftermarket cable)
Map330Explorist 200 (with aftermarket cable)
SporTrak Map ColorExplorist 300 (with aftermarket cable)
SporTrak MapExplorist 210
SporTrak Map ProExplorist 300
SporTrak Map TopoExplorist 400
Meridian (green or yellow)Explorist 500
Meridian GoldExplorist 600
Meridian PlatinumExplorist XL

The RoadMate family of products is not supported.

This format is used for both the serial protocol used on the devices with serial ports such as Map330 and Meridian and for the files stored either in either the unit's internal memory (Explorist 210, 400, 500, 600, XL) or on removable memory.

If you specify a serial port for the file (.e.g. "COM1", "/dev/ttyS0") to be read or written, GPSBabel will use serial protocol. Specifying a file, either on local filesystem or on a mounted flash card reader, will result in the file-based format being used.

Users of the Explorist generation of receivers should probably prefer to use the magellanx format over this one.


This module does not support the units that do not follow Magellan's documented communications protocols including:

Maestro 3100 RoadMate 800
Maestro 3140 RoadMate 860T
Maestro 3200 RoadMate 1200
Maestro 3210 RoadMate 1400
Maestro 3220 RoadMate 1412
Maestro 3225 RoadMate 1430
Maestro 3250 RoadMate 2000
Maestro 4000 RoadMate 2000
Maestro 4040 RoadMate 2200T
Maestro 4050 RoadMate 3000T
Maestro 4200 RoadMate 3050T
Maestro 4210 RoadMate 6000T
Maestro 4220 RoadMate AAA
Maestro 4250 Triton 200
Maestro 5310 Triton 300
RoadMate 300 Triton 400
RoadMate 360 Triton 500
RoadMate 500 Triton 1500
RoadMate 700 Triton 2000
RoadMate 760 

deficon option

Default icon name.

This option specifies the icon or waypoint type to write for each waypoint on output.

If this option is specified, its value will be used for all waypoints, not just those that do not already have descriptions. That is, this option overrides any icon description that might be in the input file.

This option has no effect on input.

maxcmts option

Max number of comments to write (maxcmts=200).

The maxcmts option allows you to specify the number comments that will be sent to the unit.

Magellan receivers allow a maximum of 200 waypoint comments. Unfortunately, DirectRoute uses waypoint comments to provide next turn directions for navigation pop-ups and that comes from that pool of 200 comments. It is therefore sometimes convenient to limit the number of waypoint comments written to the receiver. For example, a geocacher might want to upload 400 waypoints, but only 190 with comments so that DirectRoute could provide driving directions for the next ten turns.

baud option

Numeric value of bitrate (baud=4800).

This option causes GPSBabel to use the given baud rate for serial communications. It must match the given baud rate on the receiver. The default value matches the default on the receiver, 4800.

Valid options are 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 57600, and 115200.

noack option

Suppress use of handshaking in name of speed.

Magellan's protocol specification strongly encourages the use of software acknowledgments on every packets. This is a simple "this is what I think I heard. If you agree that I heard it correctly, let's go to the next packet" handshake that is used to ensure the integrity of the data transfer.

Certain firmware versions have problems handling this which makes transfers unnecessarily slow. Transfers on all units at high serial speeds are also severely restricted by this process.

In controlled environments (good cables, low electrical noise, receiving from the unit, not doing donuts with the unit set to "track up" at a 150 mile scale with 500 waypoints on the screen) it is sometimes useful to release that safety belt by using the "noack" suboption.

nukewpt option

Delete all waypoints.

This option erases all waypoints in the receiver before doing a transfer.

This is a convenient option to use in automated processes where you want to ensure the units starts with a clean state before sending waypoints to it. Using this option on transmit is a better idea than doing it on receive since the latter would erase all the waypoints before asking the unit to send all the waypoints.