Navigation Software Release: MacGPS Pro (Version 9)

Do you own an Apple Mac? Want some outstanding mapping/navigation software that is fully supported by a Mac enthusiast? Want to be able to view EWC maps such as those provided free of charge by GeoScience Australia (250K) and stitch them?

I have just updated to version 9. (Update: Version 9.2 was released in November) I have been using MacGPS Pro for almost 20 years and can highly recommend it as the best mapping and navigation software for Mac owners. The developer, Dr James Lawrence, continues to take a personal interest in this software which continues to grow in capabilities and user interface. New features are added regularly and the developer is receptive to new ideas such as inclusion of ECW  and the import of some OziExplorer format maps for Australians.

Attribution: The text below is taken from the MacGPS Pro website with minor modifications to make it more relevant for Australians.

Features of MacGPS Pro™ navigation software


Link your Mac with GPS receivers. Whether it’s a daylong hike, 4×4 excursion, geocaching quest, ski trip or sailing voyage — you’ll always know where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going.

  •  Flexibility: Support of open-standard format maps, aerial photos and charts, scan-your-own maps, as well as our own maps and charts.
  •  Real-Time: Connect to NMEA 0183 from Serial port, Bluetooth, and USGlobalSat USB receivers. View your position on a wide variety of moving digital topo maps and marine charts on a Mac.
  • Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks: Create and edit. Use on the Mac. Transfer to and from many Garmin and Magellan receivers. 

New features for version 9.0:

  • Edit Track Points. Split and Join Tracks.
  • Hide individual Waypoints, Routes & Tracks.
  • Color Waypoint Icons match Newest Receivers.
  • Auto-Open, Margin Removal, Map Stitching, Find, and Guide Maps for NOAA charts, New Zealand, Chatham Islands and Australia Topos.
  • Map Stitching for EWC maps & BSB charts.
  • Revised Help & Alert Messages. New Shortcuts.

For Australia and New Zealand:

  • Geoscience Australia 250K topo maps: remove map margin, stitch together, auto-open, find by latitude and longitude, map name, or click on provided guide map.
  • Land Information New Zealand 50K and 250K topo maps: remove map margin, stitch together, auto-open, find by latitude and longitude, map name, or click on provided guide map.
  • Chatham Islands: Transverse Mercator 2000 map projection and grid coverage.

Other must-have features that make MacGPS Pro navigation software one-of-a-kind.

  • Works with many types of maps—even those you scan in yourself—in the most popular file formats, including GeoTIFF, JPEG, PDF, ECW and BSB. For full List
  • For optimum resolution and seamless map stitching, we recommend our MacTopos Maps series. MacGPS Pro is also an excellent viewer for USGS Digital Raster Graphic topo maps, NOS/GEO and BSB versions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 charts, FAA flight sectionals, and many other digital maps.
  • Digital maps come in two different types. Raster maps are a scanned or photographed image of a paper map. This is the type of map that MacGPS Pro uses. Vector map files contain a mathematical description of the lines and areas that make up the map. MacGPS Pro does not support maps in vector format. Garmin “*.IMG” files are vector maps.
  • Maps and charts in raster-image formats such as TIF, PNG, JPG, GIF, PDF, BSB, and ECW can be imported into MacGPS Pro. These images will be automatically georeferenced if they are in GeoTIFF format, in ECW format, in GeoPDF format, in BSB format, or if they are accompanied by a “world” file, a “*.IMP” file (a CompeGPS calibration file), a “*.JPR” file (a Fugawi calibration format) or a “*.MAP” file (an OziExplorer calibration file). OziExplorer OZF2 image files are not supported.
  • Maps may be purchased, obtained by downloading them from the Internet, or by scanning them yourself. Maps can be calibrated and used on your Macintosh screen with or without a GPS receiver connected. USGS, TVA and Teale (California) DRG maps, DOQQs, and many other maps from diverse sources are automatically calibrated. Maps that do not contain calibration information can be manually calibrated with ease by clicking on a few known points. Check our Digital Map Library to help find maps for your area.
  • Please note that MacGPS Pro does not upload maps to any GPS receiver; the maps are used on the Macintosh screen.
  • Seamlessly stitches maps and charts together for USA, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand topo maps, and world-wide BSB-format marine charts. How It Works
  • If you have a map file already open in MacGPS Pro and open another map file with the same map projection and standard coordinates, then both maps will appear in the Map Window. Under the View menu, check “Remove Map Margins” so the margin of one map does not cover part of the adjacent map. With the margins removed, the two adjacent maps will automatically appear stitched together.
  • Calculates your speed and travel direction based on track log locations and times.
  • Capable of handling up to 65,000 waypoints, 250,000 track points, and 50 routes with 300 waypoints on each route.
  • Graphically edit waypoints, routes and tracks. Split or join track log segments.
  •  Link photos, websites or any other files to GPS waypoints.
  • Hide individual Waypoints, Routes and Tracks.
  • Optional large real-time position display makes for easy viewing at a distance or a quick glance.
  • Save GPS data as editable, tab-delimited text files for exchange with spreadsheets such as Excel, database software like Filemaker, and text-editing applications like BBEdit.
  • Elevation feature allows you to plot the altitude profile for track logs and routes.
  • Almost anything can be used as a map. Just scan it, save it as a TIFF or JPEG file, and georeference it with a few known points. Full Instructions

      Follow these instructions for importing your own scanned maps:
         1. Scan in any paper map.
         2. Save the scanned image as a TIFF, PNG or JPEG file.
         3. From the File menu, choose “Import…” and select your file.
         4. The software prompts you to enter map data, including projection and datum. (This is typically found along most outer margins of a printed map.)
         5. The scanned image is then displayed in the map window.
         6. Click on a known point and enter its latitude and longitude. (Refer to the MacGPS Pro Help menu).
         7. Repeat with at least one other known point (four points is ideal).
         8. Click “Done”.
         9. Your map is now georeferenced and ready to use.

  • Coordinate conversions to-and-from 123 user-selectable datums and 25 map projections plus user-defined datums and grids to support maps for a broad range of countries. Full List
  • For Australians:  Australian Geod ’66    Australian Geod ’84    GDA94     WGS 84
  • Sky chart shows current and projected Global Positioning System satellite overhead positions at any specific location and time.
  •  Includes Maptech® World Marine chart and NASA Blue Marble World Topo Map.
  • For those new to GPS, MacGPS Pro includes its own easy-to-follow, comprehensive illustrated tutorial in its Help menu.

For more information visit the MacGPS Pro website

2 thoughts on “Navigation Software Release: MacGPS Pro (Version 9)”

  1. I am using the MotionX GPS HD software on iPad and recording tracks. I am fairly new to all this software, but not new to GPS. I understand that I am able to export recorded tracks from my iPad as GPX and KMZ files. Am I able to import these into MAC GPSPro and extend the track (as it was only partly recorded) greg@ghavalas.com

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  2. Yes you can import GPX and KMZ files into MacGPS Pro from your iPad using the File/Open menu item. I would expect that during the import it would be added to any previously loaded tracks and could be saved as a combined track, but I have not recently tested this.let me know if this works for you.

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