Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Garmin GPS - How to Load OpenStreetMap (OSM) Maps into MapSource/ BaseCamp

This procedure has been tested on the MapSource software application that came with my Garmin etrex VISTA HCx GPS device.

I wanted  to get started with managing tracks and routes, so these are the steps I took to load the MapSource application and to upgrade it with the OSM maps.

The process is easy and straight forward, so I would really recommend it - you'll end up with much better maps.

1. Have a look in the GPS original box - you'll find the CD labelled 'Trip and Waypoint Manager'. This is the software to install on your computer to help transfer files from and to the GPS device and to manage waypoints, tracks and routes.

2. The 'Trip and Waypoint Manager' CD has an 'autorun' facility - it will start installing the software once the CD is in the CD drive. Otherwise locate and run the setup.exe on the CD.

3. At the end of the installation process I ended up with an application called 'MapSource'.
(How good is that ? Having different names, one on the CD cover and another one for the application itself ? Confusing at best...anyway from now on we shall call it MapSource).

4. Right, now launch MapSource and have a look at the map that came with it.
If you share my thoughts that the MapSourse map is pretty basic (I'm trying hard not to use another adjective for it) you might decide to replace it.

In the end I went for the OpenStreetMap (OSM) maps, mainly because this was the advice I found on various websites and 'walking' forums. If you want to do the same, keep reading.

5. Go to http://talkytoaster.info/ukmaps.htm, this website provides both the OSM UK maps and the installer (in the form of a .bat file). 
The  website's main page will give you the generaloverview; following that, read their FAQ page for important and step by step instructions (covers various Garmin GPS models).

6. I assume you have now understood you need a specific map file for MapSource (and it's not the same with the map file you'll be using in your GPS). So try to download the correct .zip file.


OS 1:50K Look and Feel Mapset For Use With PC ONLY (MapSource or BaseCamp)
File Name:RequirementsDescription:Download Link:
121228-British-Isles+Contours-Routable-OS50tt-MapSource.zipWindows XP or Later & MapSource or BaseCamp. British Isles Map (With Contours) - Routable.See the Mapsource-British-Isles+Contours-OS50.txt file in the zip file for instructions.HTTP:121228-British-Isles+Contours-Routable-OS50tt-MapSource.zip 

The HTTP link stoped a number of times with me, and you can not resume downloading, so I ended up installing the Torrent client and it worked like a treat.

7. Unzip the archive .zip file: a new specific folder will be created.
Mine is called '121214-British-Isles+Contours-Routable-OS50tt-MapSource'.
Don't change the name of the folder.
Open this folder and read the '....txt' file, it might be called Mapsource-British-Isles+Contours-OS50.txt, it contains instructions of how to proceed further.

8. So copy this folder under the c:\Garmin\ folder, as specified.

8. Locate and run (double click) the 'install.bat' file.
This file will alter your computer 'registry' file (you'll need admin rights in order to be able to do this operation.)
Also be aware that altering a system file comes with its risks, make sure you know what you're doing !

9. Monitor the installation messages on the screen - if the installation went OK, restart your computer to get the new 'registry' file loaded in the computer memory.

10. Start MapSource, locate and select the new OSM map (the map should now appear in the dropdown list, right under the Menubar) - see the red circle on the screenshot below. And voila !

11. Make a donation to talkytoaster on their website !

If you'd rather install BaseCamp instead of MapSource, download it and install it from Garmin's website, then continue at step 5.

I've installed MapSource, then the OSM maps, then BaseCamp and the OSM maps are available in Basecamp - didn't require any further installation.
What I'm trying to say is that if you install the OSM maps once they'll be available both in MapSource and BaseCamp.

I've also installed BaseCamp because the Elevation Profile in MapSource is throwing an error, otherwise MapSource simplicity would win me over.

The next blog post is about loading and using the OSM maps in the GPS on a microSD card.
If you don't have a micro SD card already you might want to order one - they are quite cheap on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Just think of all the time, money and effort you could save by just buying a map and learning to read it ;)