Using Garmin GPS II Plus with Mac OS X
January 28, 2009 2:07 PM   Subscribe

It is possible to transfer waypoint data from an old Garmin GPS II Plus model to a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.5?

I was given this old GPS. I don't have the data cable. I want to be sure I can transfer data to my MacBook Pro running OS X 10.5 before I go in search of the data cable. The specs say the cable only works with a Windows PC with an open Comm Port. See:

But a lot of products *say* that but work just fine on a Mac - they just aren't "supported" on the Mac. If the Mac sees the Garmin as a drive device and can copy the .gpx file I'm good to go. Does anyone know if this is possible?

Also, the Garmin cable has a serial port connection - what connector/adapter will I need to connect it with a MacBook Pro?
posted by jcdill to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
The Mac will not see the Garmin as a drive device. It's just a serial device that has to be talked to with certain software that knows how to speak Garmin. In order to connect it, yes, you will need a serial-to-USB converter with Mac drivers. Then you will need to find the proper software; it looks like GPSBabel, mentioned this howto will do the job.
posted by zsazsa at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I came here to mention GPSBabel as well. Not sure about off-the-shelf stuff, but it looks like there's a port of gpsd to OSX, which means that, properly attached with a usb-to-serial cable, you might be in luck.

This means that at a low-level, you'd have it attached to your Mac to /dev/gps or somesuch. Other ported apps (like kismet, for example) would know to poll gpsd for their data, and you'd be set. Whether or not this means you'd be able to use nice graphical tools, however, is not at all certain.

Failing that, maybe some sort of emulation angle?
posted by jquinby at 3:20 PM on January 28, 2009

From personal experience, do not buy just any cheap USB-Serial adapter, but pop for the Keyspan model. Most of the cheap ones have the same guts (made by Prolific) in them and they will either not function at all with a GPS or will function sporadically at best. The one I have quit working entirely, doing me a favor since it gave me the excuse to buy the Keyspan.

I have used LoadMyTracks with a newer Garmin, but it's my understanding the communication protocol was unchanged between the GPS-II+ and the model I have.
posted by fedward at 4:31 PM on January 28, 2009

MacCaching might work, although GPS II Plus isn't on the supported list, it might be worth a try. It's definitely the best way to move gpx files to a GPS on the mac, much like an itunes for a gps.
posted by Jomoma at 7:45 AM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, thanks everyone for your GREAT suggestions. MeFiers are the best! I'll let you know which one(s) end up working best for me and post back with the results.
posted by jcdill at 11:42 AM on January 29, 2009

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