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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Best FREE Topo Road Map For My Handheld Garmin

This discussion is for those of us who could use a really good topo map for geocaching which can be loaded on their Garmin GPS hand units.

For me when I purchased my Garmin 60CSx the base map which is included seems a bit lacking. It contains the main interstates but does not include simple highways let alone standard streets. I found this unusual because my Garmin Vista's base map had more than the 60CSx.

Either way the purpose for my 60CSx GPS was for geocaching and overall it works great. Yet sometimes I really wanted to have a topo view that showed if a geocache was on this side of a stream, river, pond or that. Sure you can fork over $80 - $100USD for one of Garmin's North America maps but I was looking for a more inexpensive solution and I believe I found it.

If you go to GPSFileDepot and select your country and/or state several options for free map addons become available to you. These add ons work with the MapSource software that should have come with your GPS unit. Once loaded on your PC you can select the map areas you want and load them onto your GPS. I highly recommend you purchase an SD card for the advantage of extra storage space for the saved maps on your GPS.

One of the free street maps that I liked is called Ibycus USA Map. It works well with the Garmin 60CSx but the auto road features do not. It is more of a template that rides on top of the original base map.

For US topo maps and depending what part of the country you are in is a set of maps from different parts of the Unites States. For North Carolina was South East United States. It will be renamed for what ever state you choose. The reason I liked this one so much was because it shows all the water marks. Right down to the small streams, ponds and other water areas that sometimes get missed. Again it is an overlay that rides on top of the base map but it really makes the difference while geocaching.

So the choice as always is yours. You can fork over the money and get fine maps from Garmin or if you would like a nice solution that costs you nadda. This is a great way to go.

See you out on the trails.

Please don't forget to visit our GeoSnippits Geocaching Tutorial Videos Website at http://www.geosnippits.com

3 comments:

ldrain said...

I do believe these caused problems for me.
http://ncgeocachers.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=2796
Please post your findings there.

HeadHardHat said...

As always, your results may vary. Please contact a geocacher before doing any gps interaction.... Okay just kidding. What issues did you have and we can post them just in case. With all electronic gizmos, stuff happens.. I just want to give solutions that can help.
-HHH

D. Gudger said...

Does this free map software interface with a Mac? Garmin's handhelds (the vista HCx) software is PC only. I couldn't download the software from the CD onto my computer. Groundspeak was able to bridge the "download to GPS" gap for me.

Is anyone reviewing/testing geocaching/Mac interfaces? No one could pay me enough money to go back to a PC :) Macs rule. IMHO, of course.