Garmin Releases Bobcat Software for Mac OS X

Discussion in 'Macworld San Francisco 2008' started by MacRumors, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    After dropping hints at the launch of a new Mac product in the days before the keynote, Garmin announced the release of Project Bobcat version The beta software allows Mac users to interface with their existing Garmin GPS devices.

    - Bobcat allows you to transfer waypoints, tracks, and routes between your Mac and Garmin device and manage your data using your Garmin maps.
    - Bobcat provides the ability to search for points of interest from the convenience of your Mac and then send the locations to your Garmin GPS.
    - Bobcat also serves as a backup tool for your Garmin GPS. You can receive all your waypoints, routes, and tracks from your GPS and Bobcat will save them automatically.
    - MapManager copies maps and unlock codes into the right place to be accessible by Bobcat and MapInstall.

    Article Link
  2. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    This is fantastic news for any Garmin user with a Mac. Up until now it's been a pain for Mac users to even use their Garmin devices, hopefully this will change all of that. :D

    Although personally should lead to their Mac software section, which is pretty difficult to find as it is just scattered with all their other software. As of now it leads to a lame 404 page. I sent them an e-mail about it months ago, and they said they'll pass it along. Let's hope they do! (A few more of the same e-mails may help too) :)

  3. John Purple macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2008
  4. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    I've been waiting for this for a long time, Garmin rox! And one more thing to convince my dad to buy himself a Mac Mini and leave windows with no regrets! (Yeah I've shown him Parallels and Bootcamp Windows XP and that still doesn't give him enough incentive to switch)

    It's too bad this is a preview built (hopefully the final version will not cost money) so not everything works. The "find address" feature doesn't work so it makes it near useless for me.
  5. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    It works for any Garmin map set as long as you have the CD. I just converted, City Navigator North America V8, and Topo maps.

    What this does is basically converts a Windows map CD/DVDs to work with Mac, and the 25MB Bobcat software is the front end for OSX.
  6. Maui19 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    Wow the Garmin site is LAME. Go to and do a search for "Bobcat" and you get...nothing! Good thing Macrumors provided a thread. BTW, the documentation says that an Intel processor is required. Rats.
  7. jaknudsen macrumors member


    Jan 25, 2005
    Oslo, Norway
    * Bobcat allows you to transfer waypoints, tracks, and routes between your Mac and Garmin device and manage your data using your Garmin maps.
    * Bobcat provides the ability to search for points of interest from the convenience of your Mac and then send the locations to your Garmin GPS.
    * Bobcat also serves as a backup tool for your Garmin GPS. You can receive all your waypoints, routes, and tracks from your GPS and Bobcat will save them automatically.
    * MapManager copies maps and unlock codes into the right place to be accessible by Bobcat and MapInstall. To migrate the maps from your Windows PC, download MapConverter onto your PC and follow the instructions.
    * Download and install MapConverter for Windows to convert your unlocked PC maps for use on your Mac. For more information please read this document. (PDF file- 245KB)
    * System Requirements:
    Intel-based or PowerPC G3 or later Mac
    OS 10.4 or later
    512 MB RAM
    USB port

    * Please email us if you experience any issues at
    * Although this software is believed to be reliable, it has not yet been released for production and should be used at your own risk.
  8. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    I'm loving this, especially the ability to use nautical mapping. :D

    Sailing + Macs, what a combo :D
  9. Orng macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    Finally I can get some use out of that thing.
    No Mac support has made the GPS closed and useless. I can't wait to be able to upload maps and routes and waypoints.

    I know I had a whole bunch of reasons for wanting to be able to do this. Just because I can't remember them right now doesn't mean they aren't valid! :)

    I'll put new batteries in it and see if I can remember.
  10. tarkeybear macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Claremont CA
    And I just bought at Tom Tom, grrrrrrrr

    I have a couple hand held Garmin devices and was excited a couple years ago when Garmin announced that they would be releasing software for the Mac.

    Almost 2 years went by with nothing but vapor.
    I was really looking forward to buying the Nuvii, but decided to go with TomTom, becuase TomTom had a Mac software interface (its half baked, but at least they had a deliverable).

    I will have to upload my old Mapsource North America disc into "Bobcat" and see how this works on my Garmin devices. If it works well, I can delete my bootcamp partition that I have kept alive for the old kludgey Garmin PC software, so that I could upload maps to, and download waypoints from my Garmin handheld (hiking-style) GPS.

    I guess Garmin couldn't ignore the growing Mac market share and the whiny Mac users that come with it! ;-)
  11. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    So, what does Bobcat have that I wouldn't find in their MapSource Trip & Waypoint software?
  12. theboyk macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    First off, for anyone looking for advice on buying a GPS, especially if you're a Mac user, as a long time user of both Garmin and Macs, DO NOT BUY A GARMIN GPS! For the last two years they've been roping in Mac users with the promise of their software and hardware being Mac-compatible. Two years later, until yesterday, we were STILL waiting (well, they released a couple useless Mac betas [POI loader, Web updater - neither of which worked]) even though they set their target for Mac-compatibility to the end of 2006. I highly suggest looking elsewhere for you GPS needs. TomTom have some really nice units and some really nice Mac-based software for using them.

    That being said, let's talk about Bobcat. For those who don't know anything about Garmin GPS systems, to utilize your GPS and your maps, you need to use the Garmin software "MapSource". Unfortunately, MapSource is a PC-only application. For years I had to use GuestPC (as Virtual PC didn't support the Garmin devices because of bad USB drivers) to use this software on PPC-based Macs. It was very slow, you could only use older versions of it, but it worked enough to at least be able to use the GPS.

    Then along came Intel-based Macs. Things got better because you could run Parallels (or other VM software), but even then it was "unsupported" by Garmin and very prone to crashing and general instabilities (which I personally feel is just the way their software is having seen the same things happen on native Windows PCs).

    So I, along with many Mac users have been waiting and waiting for Mac support! Again, in very early 2006 Garmin announced Mac support was coming and MapSource would be Mac-ready by end of the year. The end of 2006 came and went. Nothing. 2007 came and went. Nothing. Finally, early 2008, two years later, Garmin post on their blog about "Bobcat" coming, but no solid information.

    Well, "Bobcat" has now come...and gone. Anyone familiar with Garmin/MapSource and finally being able to run it on a Mac must be very disappointed in what "Bobcat" was. I know I was/am. It's one little tiny piece of what MapSource is. Basically, it allows you to mark waypoints, view/store tracks & routes (and possibly make routes?). You can't transfer maps from within the program (to transfer maps on the Mac, you have to go through a very unstable 2+ hour process to convert your PC maps to Mac maps, then use other programs to load them onto your GPS). Anyone who's used MapSource must know how frustrating this would be because you want to be able to use the same program you manage your watpoints, tracks, routes, etc. to manage your maps (as you want to select your maps based on your waypoints, tracks, routes, etc.). Having to go through numerous different applications just doesn't work. Why Garmin decided to go in this direction, I have no idea? And why, after so long in development, "Bobcat" (which again, is only a fraction of what MapSource is) comes out, and comes out in a very unstable (and pretty much unusable) beta, well, it's a complete let down. In my opinion, there's absolutely no point in using this software on a Mac if you have access to the PC applications (whether that be a "true" windows Machine, or a VM machines - either way, you're better off than running this Mac software). The only people I can see benefiting from this Mac release are people with Macs that can't run any sort of Windows. And even then, it's still kinda useless because you can't use your maps as you NEED a PC to convert them for use on the Mac (why Garmin couldn't just write the Mac software to read the PC maps, I have no idea).

    Anyway, long story short, don't waste your money on a Garmin GPS if you're a Mac user (or, in my opinion, a PC user). Garmin make some nice systems, but their software is terrible (and their maps are overpriced, but that's another story). If you're looking for a GPS system, as a long time Garmin user, I suggest looking at other makers. Garmin has become the Quark of the GPS industry. Like Quark, they had a stronghold on the industry, then others joined in the game and blew them away. As someone recently posted on another blog, for a GPS maker, Garmin is LOST.

  13. liketom macrumors 601


    Apr 8, 2004
    i'm liking the software - for what i bought my garmin for it's great,

    for you cyclist's out there in the UK halfords has the Garmin 205 for £89.99
    and the Garmin 305 for £139.99.

    which is all great but remember the new stuff from garmin will be here soon:p

    Great app, great device that works with my mac:cool:

    But i also say if you have one of these , then upgrade to google earth plus as it works on the mapping side very well -

    There online website Motionbased also works well with Mac's not all the feature but most of it , not really sure why Theboyk thinks the mac support is so rubbish - maybe before but not now IMO
  14. jegeorge macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    Garmin GPS Serial

    Unfortunately, I've been unable to get any of the serial to USB cable/converters to work on Leopard, and the one Garmin sells is not
    Mac compatible and has only Windows drivers. I know of no way to hook any of the "serial" Garmin devices to a Mac!
  15. iwood macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2007
    nice info but what do you recommend we use for us mac users? (instead of garmin?)

  16. johncallen macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
  17. Sondergaard macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    MacGPS Pro

    Dunno what the fuss is about. I've been using MacGPS Pro with PPC (and more recently Intel) architecture for over 5 years. Mine is a professional marine application in a more or less featureless area of the Beaufort Sea, so my primary use is as a science nav display for the vessel captain and as a means of backing up and manipulating waypoints, routes and tracks. I use a (now old) Garmin GPS 12 Map and a Keyspan USB/Serial adapter and the whole setup does exactly what I need.

    MacGPS Pro also has extensive support for viewing waypoints/routes/tracks on top of maps and charts, and for the newer USB-based Garmin units, but that's not my usage profile so I can't really comment there.
  18. Snide macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2005
    Who makes handhelds as good or better than Garmin?

    I checked out the new Colorado units at Macworld, and they are pretty sweet.
    I am still using my GPS-III (not III+) from 1997. I've always liked Garmin,
    but the software situation is inexcusable. I was at MWSF '06, and was given the
    End of Year™ story. Can anyone recommend a good handheld that compares
    to the Colorado units?
  19. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    I recieved a TomTom for Christmas and it's *****. Mine had a hardware problem where it would hang on bootup 90% of the time. Calls to technical support were choked with post-Christmas traffic (maybe with the same issue?) and they failed to solve the problem. I returned the unit.

    Can anyone suggest a good Mac-friendly GPS?
  20. Dinski macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    I have been using LoadMyTracks which is FREE and incredibly simple, to get my GPS data into Google Earth, also free. KML files can also be uploaded to Google maps and shared across the web as well (Such as on I use this method to share my mountain and road bike routes with friends. I have not tried uploading information to my GPS in this way, but it seems to be supported.

    Garmin has essentially offered nothing that hasn't already been offered for free for quite some time.
  21. Sabon macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    They've actually restarted on the Mac versions 3 times

    I had a problem with my Garmin unit (fixed under warranty). When I called I got escalated up and talked to a hardware guy that knows several of the software people working on the Mac version. Sorry but I don't have a live link with this guy.

    About a year before Apple went from PowerPCs to Intel, Garmin started a small group of people working on a Mac version and apparently had it way past this version but there was still a long ways to go to get to MapSource level.

    Then they found out about Apple changing to intel so they shelved what they were working on until Intel Macs came out and started working on it again once they knew Macs were going to have Rosetta.

    Then they found out that Rosetta doesn't work that good with hardware.

    So they restarted again from almost scratch because it was different enough on code (I think they started out with Code Warrior so they had to learn Coacoa or whatever the new programming interface is for Apple) that they pretty much had to learn that and start from scratch.

    Now they are finally back to where they feel comfortable releasing a beta. No it's not like MapSource. But then it isn't even their first "official" release. It is a Beta and they know it isn't where they or we want it.

    I'm not apologizing for Garmin. BELIEVE me I'm not. I started bugging them back in 1998 about getting a Mac version. At that time they thought Apple wasn't going bankrupt. Obviously that changed and once they were sure of that they started working on a Mac version and then all these changes...
  22. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    I don't think there really is a true mac friendly GPS company, Lowrance, Magellan, Garmin, TomTom, none really offer a true Mac solution yet, of course we know Garmin is getting there.

    GPS + Mac = SOL
  23. Sondergaard macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    Maybe so, if you don't want to spring for the third-party software I mentioned in an earlier post. But with that software I've been using GPS + Mac for years and I am not SOL :p
  24. IzzyJG99 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    I hope the final release has satellite/hiking/road map support so you can look at a detailed map and make your own tracks. There are other apps out there that do that, but they're just crap and never work right.

    Also...this Bobcat preview is FULL of bugs. Puts waypoints up to 5 miles off course on the GPS. Need I remind everyone that Garmin STILL is 4 years (They said in 2004 they'd have all Mac software) behind with their support for Macs.
  25. Parsa macrumors member


    May 6, 2003
    The lesser of the evils

    As was stated by Rev, none of the companies has been courting Mac users. In fact, Garmin is the only company to even say they are, and the only one to develop any software for macintosh.

    Bobcat is not mapping software.
    You still have to make maps on a PC. However, the Garmin OS X web site states the following:
    "We're pleased to announce that Garmin will be releasing all of our new map products in native Mac format, starting with City Navigator North America 2008 and City Navigator Europe 2008."​

    Yes, it's been over two years since they declared Mac support. However, they are at least doing something.

    Magellan just went backwards with their new Triton series. The new units require a PC software app to do everything now. Previously, you only needed the PC to make the map files. The map files, the POI files and the Geocache files were all simple text files, so you could easily put them onto your Mac, then onto your SD card. You can't do that anymore. :mad: Even the PC users are not happy that waypoint files can no longer be dragged onto an SD card with a card reader.

    I was always hoping for an Apple GPS receiver though. :rolleyes:


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