Garmin Opens up to Custom Maps

Thursday, 19 November 2009
Garmin Custom MapPeople who use GPS maps know that Garmin’s proprietarily maps are pretty good. The only problem is that it can be limiting as they only allow their maps to be loaded on the system. They have changed the game slightly as they have opened up their operating system for your Oregon, Dakota or Colorado handhelds to allow the import of maps you currently own (paper or digital) directly into your unit.
Getting the maps into your unit is a couple step process. After making sure that your GPS has the latest firmware (the operating system) installed, you scan your paper map and save it as a .jpg file. Once done, you just need to georeference your new image via Google Earth by matching key landmarks on your map with those on google earth so the GPS will know where on this planet your map is supposed to represent. The final step is to import the image and georeference information directly in to the unit itself.

Garmin GPSI think that it is a really interesting idea. The limitations of it is that you would want to test the process with a map that you are familiar with to make sure that you have the process down and you were accurate before heading off into the wild blue yonder. It’s a great idea though and greatly expands the information that your handheld can give back to you.

I’m not quite sure if this would replace the need to go out any buy Garmin’s digital maps or not. My guess is that with all the extra work necessary to make sure your own maps are accurate on the system, it isn’t but it’s an interesting step in the right direction for Garmin.

Have you tested the new map import feature on your Oregon, Dakota or Colorado units? Give us a report back of how it went.

More info:
Image Credit:

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo