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Use a virtual device with Basecamp

In the past MapSource could only use on the computer installed maps, but BaseCamp has the possibility to use the maps directly from the device some time now. This isn't for our convenience only; there is clearly a trend to distribute maps on the device or SD card only.
The map updates with Garmin Express are a clear example: when you have a device with sufficient space, you won't even get the possibility to install the maps on your computer too.
This certainly has some advantages: plugging in a SD card is a lot easier than the process of installing and unlocking maps. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks too: first of all the USB interface of many (all?) devices is slow, with the result that loading maps takes a lot of time. Secondly, it is rather unpractical to have to connect the device everytime when you want to use BaseCamp.

These problems can be circumvented by creating a copy of the device and/or SD card, which will act as a virtual device. This can be done by copying the contents to a USB stick or a SD card in a high speed card reader, but it is more practical to create a virtual USB device that resides on the hard disk of your computer. This way it will work a lot faster than through the USB port of your computer. Below you can read how to create a virtual USB device. Copying files from your real device can be cumbersome because of hidden folders; better use JavaWa Device Manager for this task.


Windows doesn't have a provision for creating virtual devices by default, but there are several free tools that you can use, like:

It is mandatory that the virtual device is recognised as a removable USB device; if it isn't, BaseCamp won't be able to use it. Dekart Private Disk Light creates removable devices by default, the other two solutions require a setting in the options of the program.

Dekart Private Disk Light and TrueCrypt are actually meant to store data safely; when activating such a device you will have to enter a password. This isn't the case with ImDisk. The first two programs have a shortcut in the Start Menu and/or on the Desktop; ImDisk is controlled through Windows Control Center.

If you choose to use ImDisk, you can download a batch file below that will ease the process of creating a virtual device.
Place Create virtual device.cmd in the folder where you want to put the virtual device in and execute it by double clicking the file. You will be asked to choose the desired size and a file name; when the script is finished you will have a new batch file you can use to activate the virtual device. Create a shortcut to this new batch file and put the shortcut in the Startup folder of the Start Menu; this way the virtual device will be activated automatically every time you start Windows.

The second file is the same as the first one, only zipped; download this one instead of the other one when your browser isn't happy with .cmd files.

Create virtual device.cmd
Create virtual device_win.zip

Did you create a virtual device? Use JavaWa Device Manager to copy the maps from your real device to the virtual one.


On the Mac a a provision for creating a virtual USB device is already available: it is possible to create an empty disk image with Disk Utility which will be recognised by JaVaWa Device Manager and BaseCamp. Below you can download a tool to ease the process.

Create virtual device_mac.zip

Did you create a virtual device? Use JavaWa Device Manager to copy the maps from your real device to the virtual one.

Last updated: 2024-01-08
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