Garmin GPS Map Selection Help - Warning, noob.
Just bought a Garmin 810 in anticipation of two trips I have planned for this year. Iím fairly intelligent, maybe thatís an overstatement, but the overload of information on GPS is frying my brain. I wouldnít say the information is, I think the problem is there are too many options and I donít know which option to go with. I donít have the luxury of getting to my destination and then testing various maps and seeing which one works. I want to have everything set up before I get there, so I can spend more time riding. Ideally, I want to get to my destination, have courses pre-programmed into the 810 of the trails I want to hit, so all I have to do is leave the hotel room and follow the directions. Thatís the purpose of an 800/810, right? Thatís how I imagined it.
The other problem is Iím a 100% GPS noob. My only experience is when I went to Central America, no Garmin map was available, so I was able to download and install an Open Street Map to my Garmin Nuvi for getting around in the car. And it worked really, really good. But that was a few years ago, I forget how I even did it. But sure I could figure it out again.
Anyway, alright, Iíll get to the issue. So I have a Garmin 810. For now I plan on sticking with my desktop Garmin Connect. I NEED SUGGESTIONS ON WHICH MAPS TO INSTALL ON MY 810!
Apologies for the caps. Iím looking for 3 maps Iíll detail below. I donít mind paying for the map via Garmin or other sources if theyíre good maps and save some headaches.
Map 1 Ė just a big, good, general road map for north America for my roadie or general purposes. Garmin City Navigator North America, or Openstreetmap, or other?
Map 2 Ė Iím heading to Pisgah National Forest, would like to find a map with mountain bike trails marked. Garmin TOPO, other?
Map 3 Ė Iím heading to Whistler, would like to find a map with mountain bike trails marked. Garmin TOPO, or on GPSfilesdepot they linked Northwest topos that may work, or other?
Any help, direction, correction, mild verbal abuse Ė Iíd appreciate it.
GPS navigation is not a simple subject. A lot of it depends on how you intend to use the device. For how you intend to use the device, it seems like you need a few different things.
1. Street maps are easy. Garmin's maps would be the simplest from start to finish. They have addresses and POI's programmed into them. OSM maps would be my #2 because while they're routable, they don't tend to have addresses and other POI's programmed into them. Free worldwide Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap I would only use them if I could not find a better map source (as I did when I went to Costa Rica a couple years ago) or when you plan to visit multiple countries and purchasing maps becomes cost prohibitive.
2. For topo maps, I cannot recommend Garmin's. They do not provide substantially more information than the ones at GPSFileDepot, and certainly not enough extras to warrant spending as much money as Garmin wants. IF Garmin integrated routable streets and addresses into its topos, then maybe. But as it is, no. Garmin's topos "try" to route you along trails. The problem is that the coverage for this feature flat sucks. LOTS of missing trails. It works fine on the trails that are included in the maps, but if you want to go somewhere else, you can forget that function. Best to ignore it and do things differently.
3. For information about trails themselves, you're going to have to use several sources. Most GPSFileDepot topos have precious little information about trails. The MyTrails map layer My Trails-High Quality Trail and POI Maps Garmin Compatible Map - GPSFileDepot covers most of the eastern US pretty well, but isn't much good farther west. But still, that sort of thing will only show you the trails that are there. It will not help you where to go. For that, you need to download some "rides" that other people have done and you can follow. OR, you will have to hand draw your own intended routes so your GPS can prompt you. Garmin Connect is probably the best source for these sorts of files. You have to browse for them if you want to find them. Your other options include things that people have done for decades: Buy a paper guidebook/map that details particular rides, ask around for local intel on different rides, and use your head to navigate.
I was hoping for a NateHawk reply. Thanks. That points me in the right direction. I'm sure I'll have some more questions down the road, but this should keep me busy for a while.
Loading all of these maps onto the same device at the same time could be tricky. You're going to encounter some challenges there, I expect. Just a tip: When choosing maps to load onto your GPS, you will need to select ALL of the maps to load. If you select a group of maps, then load, then another group of maps, then load, the second maps will overwrite the first. You have to load EVERYTHING you want all at once.
Then, once you get it all on there, you're not going to want all of those maps to display at once. You'll have to navigate on the GPS itself to choose which maps to display or hide at any given time. My Trails will overlay on a topo or a street map, but typically the street maps and the topos are mutually exclusive. IME, the topo usually overlays and hides the street map.
Loading many topo maps
You can load as many maps as the SD card will hold. Load a map and it will be saved in the internal memory, Garmin folder, as an ".img" file type. As soon as you load it open the folder and look for it. [This assumes you show file types on your computer. If not turn it on.] The "date modified" makes it easy to find since it will be a minute or so ago. Rename that map, e.g. Arizona.img, then move it to the SD card Garmin folder. Repeat for as many maps as you like, e.g. California.img, Utah.img, etc.
Originally Posted by NateHawk
However, the more maps on the unit the slower it will start up. This used to be a major problem with the 705 but the 800 starts up very quickly. I assume the same for the 810. I generally move the maps to my computer and only keep the ones I currently need on the GPS. When you select a course the GPS knows which map to use so you should not have to select it.
A few other hints: use 1 second recording and record to the SD card. When uploading to web sites I usually copy the file from the SD card to the internal memory. I assume the 810 has a file called startup.txt in the internal memory Garmin folder? Open it, put in your contact information, and that will be displayed when the unit starts up. Handy in case someone finds it.
Clever little trick that gets around the map loading limit. I believe the default map file is something like gmapsupp.img. Don't mess with gmapbmap.img, since that is the "base map" file on the GPS. You can't get it back if you break it.
Originally Posted by Wherewolf
On my Edge 800, I run the OSM street map for North America (4GB version, usually around 2.5GB in size) then I add a few overlay maps that cover local trails and that works well. Just keep separate names for the .img files and copy them all to the garmin folder on the card (4GB microSD).
The only thing I have not figured out how to do is to get the Garmin BaseCamp application on my PC to load and display the OSM .img file data. Would like to do that to be able to browse the map contents. Like if I am going to some new area, would be nice to see what map detail exists there and if I might need to load an additional map or not. While it is "possible" to do that on the GPS, it is clunky to do so on the small screen.
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