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Maps for Garmin Etrex Vista HCx

Brian NZBrian NZ Posts: 59
edited May 2009 in Tour & expedition
I am taking delivery of one of the above shortly. Sue and I will be biking from Copenhagen to Geneva and I will be spending 3 weeks in the Alps June through to September.
Does anyone know of a site I can download maps free for Europe?
Cheers Brian


  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Your best bet is to pony up for the City Navigator Europe. If you buy direct from Garmin they're about £80 for the DVD. the mapping isn't wonderful - but still, decent street maps for the whole of Europe for £80 is a bargain. The version on memory card is even cheaper but you can't use it on the PC and it means you can't use the card slot for anything else.
  • UnderscoreUnderscore Posts: 730
    You could always look at for the areas that you are travelling. If it is reasonably complete, you could download a Garmin-compatible OSM map, which would be free.

  • psmiffypsmiffy Posts: 236
    I would agree that the garmin Europe maps on CD are the best bet - maps are not OS standard - but are pretty much spot on - detail varies from country to country - and in conubations ie Paris can be too much - certain countries up to and including cycle paths although it is difficult to tell before you get there - you can keep the download to the garmin small by just picking the area you need - also is updated by garmin fairly regularly
  • Brian NZBrian NZ Posts: 59
    Thanks everyone for your replies.From what you have said it looks like the Garmin EuropeNT V9 is the way to go. If I get it on DVD how hard is it to load it onto a SD card. I thought of one for each country.
    Cheers Brian
  • psmiffypsmiffy Posts: 236
    Dead easy - download the programme to your computor - run the updates - select the maps you want and hit the send to GPS button

    I did hoek of H to Stavanger last year and downloaded the maps I needed plus quite a bit more in about 20minutes - I have a 1Gb mini SD in the garmin

    I am thinking about a very long trip and have not got around to doing the same for it - I suspect the whole lot will go onto one card plus space - maps are vector rather than bitmaps so use less space - when I get around to it I will post again
  • psmiffypsmiffy Posts: 236
    It would seem the maximum number of garmin V9 map units you can download is around 2000 - approx 1.25Gb - stockholm to geneva will be much less unless you are going to go via southern spain

    downloading approx 2000 units is taking about 2hrs - selected all of available maps of europe except Spain and UK/Ireland

    stressed my desktop computer - not responding message comes up when selecting a lot of maps - but left alone it worked - my laptop is a bit newer and no problem
  • psmiffypsmiffy Posts: 236
    It was a very long download more like 8hrs but it seems to be succesful - now to do the same for GB
  • The MechanicThe Mechanic Posts: 1,277
    Word of warning. When you load new map sections into your garmin, it overwrites what is already there. Not sure if this is the way I did it or standard. I discovered this last night whilst trying to load up the Kingdom Come 400 route. It kept telling me that there were no roads where I was going. Turned out the UK maps had been overwritten by the Danish ones when I was in Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago so it was only looking at the base map.
    I have only two things to say to that; Bo***cks
  • psmiffypsmiffy Posts: 236
    [/quote]Word of warning. When you load new map sections into your garmin, it overwrites what is already there. Not sure if this is the way I did it or standard.

    No it seems that this it what it does - only allowed one map folder?
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    psmiffy wrote:
    No it seems that this it what it does - only allowed one map folder?

    Quite possibly, but if it's like the POIs you can rename the files on the card using a card reader and your computer - might be worth trying, to see what happens.
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    Garmin Etrex & 60C(S)x models that use SD cards take their mapping data from a single file called gmapsupp.img, in the garmin folder. Mapsource merges separate .img tiles, which may come from different products (eg Topo, City Nav) into the single gmapsupp.img file before transfer onto the card.
    You can have separate map sets on the card, but only the one that's currently called gmapsupp.img can be used. There is no way to rename the files on the GPS, but you can rename them some other way - eg when connected in USB mode, or by taking the card out and using some other device that can both take the card and rename files (eg a suitable mobile phone).

    If anyone has a newer GPS (605/705 or Colorado/Oregon), let us know whether the same applies.

    City Nav Europe v8 has 212 tiles
    TopoGB v2 has 752 tiles (ish - some appear to be all sea)
    The limit in a single gmapsupp.img file is 2025 tiles (iirc), but I think there's also a file size limit of about 2GB.
    I believe that Metroguide tiles are much smaller than CN, and it's when using this that the limit on tiles comes into play.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856

    Thanks. given that you seem to know about this: is there any advantage in minimising the size of gmapsupp.img? Or does the device load the mapping tile by tile?
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