Creating Waypoints in MapSource from National Grid References

Jan2008 - Based on the original article by 'Ebbo' 2004 (Updated 28/02/05) on his website here 
(Ebbo is also a fellow member)

AndyW - I've added new screenshot images using a more recent version of MapSource and made some changes/updates to the original text

For UK users of Garmin SatNav / GPS systems it's well worth knowing how to use British National Grid references. Just follow the instructions below, it may look a little complicated but once you've done this a few times it becomes very easy!

To get you started we will create a waypoint for Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria.
National Grid Reference: NY291236

Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria - Garmin Waypoint / National Grid reference

Open the Garmin mapping software, MapSource.

From the main menu select Edit and then Preferences (or Ctrl+Shift+P) click the 'Position' tab and select 'British National Grid' > OK

MapSource - Edit - Preferences - Position > and enter National Grid reference

Create a new Waypoint
NB: The map screen doesn't need to be showing the area where the new Waypoint will be located. Click anywhere on the map page with the Waypoint tool selected.

MapSource Waypoint tool

...a new waypoint properties window will open.

MapSource Waypoint Properties

Enter the details below (as in the image above). The National Grid reference for Castlerigg Stone Circle is NY291236:

Name field - type in a description for the Waypint or leave it as a number.

Symbol field - choose a symbol from the drop down menu to suit your new Waypoint.

Position field - enter the National Grid reference as follows noting the format: 
NY 29100 23600
NB:  Ordnance Survey map (OS map) grid references are given as 6 figure 'coordinates' as the system was originally designed for use on paper maps and so the level of accuracy was limited. GPS / Satellite Navigation systems however work to a much greater degree of accuracy hence the 10 figure 'coordinates'. MapSource requires that the three elements of the coordinates are seperated by a space.

Uncheck the 'Unknown' check boxes and complete the 4th through 6th fields if you happen to have that data!!

Comment field - enter any useful information or leave blank.

Display field - choose an option that suits you

Categories field - select an appropriate Waypoint Category
NB: you'll see from the image above that I'm yet to create any Waypoint Categories! Best to have created an appropriate Category prior to the above step:
To create a waypoint category:
1. Select Preferences from the Edit menu. The Preferences window appears.
2. Click the Waypoint Categories tab.
3. Select the text in a Category field, then enter the Waypoint Category name (i.e. "Campsites," "Rest Stops," etc.).
4. Repeat Step 3 as needed.
5. Click OK. Your Waypoint Categories are saved.

Finally, click the 'Show On Map' button and the map will zoom to the waypoint and centre on it. Click 'OK' and you're done!

MapSorce map view showing the new Waypoint

The new Waypoint is displayed on the map and is also shown on the Waypoint tab of the User Data Tabs area of the MapSource window ready to save or upload to your GPS.

MapSource - User Data Tabs


GPS and Ordnance Survey Mapping
Compatibility problems or simply want more information on how to best utilise your GPS? Read our GPS and Ordnance Survey mapping and GPS and Maps sections.

Links to other resources - organisations and recommendations of additional sources of information that might be of interest or use.

Understanding Mapping

Interactive Guide to the British National Grid
Printable PDF
(right click links and "save target as" or just click to open):

Free downloadable GB maps  - Ordnance Survey is now providing a selection of free, downloadable, basic small-scale maps of Great Britain for you to use for your own purpose. GB outlines with and without administrative boundaries are available in EPS, TIF, PDF, GIF and WMF format; download the style and format of your choice to use in your word processing, presentation or graphics application.

GeoFacts from Ordnance Survey - GeoFacts is a resource you can use to search for general map-related information

What is GIS? - GIS stands for geographic information system and is software that displays digital map data and allows users to query and analyse that data. GIS software has evolved from a combination of two well established types of software

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