Better maps for your GPS

rweait's picture

Do you want a better map for your GPS? You can use a map from OpenStreetMap on your Garmin GPS depending on the model of your device. You'll find several devices listed on the OpenStreetMap wiki. I'll demonstrate with a Garmin etrex Vista HCx, other models may vary.

Garmin made the unfortunate choice of using a proprietary data format for their maps. There are several ways to convert map data to Garmin format.

    It can be this easy for you:
  1. Acquire the map file you want
    1. Locate the file. OpenStreetMap contributors have premade garmin format files for you of OSM data in several places. Select the continent, country and possibly the region that interests you.
    2. Download the file to your computer. There may be several files from which to choose. Select the file with the extension, or similar.
    3. Unzip the file using the unzip utility provided by your operating system.
    4. Use the correct file nameChange the name of the file to gmapsupp.img if it has a different name.
  2. Connect the GPS to the computer
    1. Connect a USB cable to the GPS and computer.
    2. Put the GPS in USB transfer mode by selecting >> Main Menu >> Setup >> Interface >> USB Mass Storage. This will connect your computer to the memory card in the Garmin.
  3. Transfer the file to the GPS
    1. Copy gmapsupp.img to the Garmin directory on the memory card. Create a Garmin directory on the memory card if one does not already exist.


This article was originally published on Mon, 06/29/2009 - 20:10.