Garmin GPS and MapSource Tutorials

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  • #8499

    Webmaster

    Introduction to the Garmin MapSource and GPS Tutorials

    The Garmin GPSes and associated MapSource mapping program have some remarkable capabilities that Garmin has either documented poorly, or not at all. In addition, there are some third party apps that extend the utility of your Garmin GPS. This topic makes available a number of tutorials that can assist you in learning how to use some of these extended capabilities to further enhance your enjoyment and use of your Garmin GPS.

    The tutorials are presented as videos, demonstrating the techniques used for a particular topic. You can view a video, pause it to perform the demonstrated operation on your own GPS or in a copy of MapSource, or back up to replay a particular point.

    The tutorial videos are in the Windows Video Media file format. They can be viewed on a Windows system in the Windows Media Player. On Macs you should be able to use the Flip4Mac QuickTime player add-on to view these videos.

    On Windows systems you can click on the tutorial video file link and play the video right from within your web browser. Alternatively, you can right-click the link, then choose Save Target As… from the pop-up menu, and the save the tutorial video file directly to your PC’s hard drive, and then subsequently view it with the Windows Media Player directly on your system.

    A note on viewing these tutorials. There is a widely experienced and reported problem with many Windows systems having troubles with very low microphone recording volume. There has never been a definitive solution. Most annoying, and my system is affected with this irritant. Consequently, the recorded volume level on the tutorials is low, and you’ll likely need to crank up the volume level control in your media player, and maybe your speaker volume control as well, in order to hear the audio clearly. And excuse the explosive ‘P’s – a side effect of having to speak too closely to the microphone in order to get even an acceptable volume level. Bah.

    I hope these tutorials help you expand your use of your Garmin GPS. Amazing technology, this GPS stuff. Oh, and a shout out to Jim Creighton, who generously allowed me to borrow his Garmin Zumo 550 GPS for a week so I could figure out how to perform several operations on that device.

    How to Use MapSource to Build Additional Maps for your Garmin GPS

    Many of the Garmin mapping-capable GPS products can work with more than one map product, letting you choose a map to display that’s appropriate for your use. When using your Zumo GPS, for example, you could switch between the Garmin City Navigator North America maps that come preloaded with the Zumo and Garmin topographic maps. Unfortunately, Garmin’s documentation for how to accomplish this is woefully inadequate.

    This two part tutorial shows you how to use Garmin MapSource program to build a mapset of the additional maps you’d like to use, then write that mapset out to a memory card to use with your GPS. The first part of the tutorial walks you through how to choose the map product within MapSource that you’d like to use, and then how to select the maps from that product you want. The second part of the tutorial takes you through the steps in MapSource to build your selected maps into a mapset and write that mapset out to a memory card. The tutorial is directed at providing additional maps for the Garmin GPS devices that get their supplemental maps from an external memory card – the Garmin Zumo and 60CS series GPSes are two examples of this type of GPS.

    Tutorial: How Create Additional Maps for Your GPS – Part 1 (click to play directly, right-click to save to your PC)

    Tutorial: How Create Additional Maps for Your GPS – Part 2 (click to play directly, right-click to save to your PC)

    How to Switch Between Maps on Garmin Zumo and 60CS GPSes

    Okay, you’ve viewed the tutorial on how to use the MapSource program to build a supplemental mapset of additional maps for your GPS. And you’ve inserted the memory card with your additional maps into your GPS. So now how do you make your GPS use maps from those additional maps that you’ve provided it?

    Again, Garmin hasn’t made it crystal clear exactly how to do this. If you’re working with a Zumo or 60CS series GPS, you’re in luck – the tutorials below will show you how to switch between available maps on those two products.

    If you’re working with some other Garmin GPS product, you’re on your own; you’ll need to refer to your GPS user manual to figure out the specifics for your GPS. Viewing these tutorials, however, may still be helpful, as they will give you a feel for how this function is accomplished, and may point the way to how to do this on your GPS.

    Tutorial: How to Switch Between Maps on the Garmin Zumo GPS (click to play directly, right-click to save to your PC)

    Tutorial: How to Switch Between Maps on the Garmin 60CS Series GPSes (click to play directly, right-click to save to your PC)

    How to Use Tracks with the Garmin Zumo GPS

    There are occasions when using a track to navigate a particular path is a better choice than using a route. Tracks won’t unexpectedly change their path, as opposed to routes, which can recalculate on the fly and dynamically change the path over roads. Not good when you want to follow some predefined path without deviating from it. And tracks, unlike routes, can navigate you along paths over roads or trails that are not depicted on your GPS’s maps – something a route cannot do.

    The Garmin Zumo GPS can download tracks from the Garmin MapSource program and utilize them as tracks, not routes. Unfortunately, Gamin has completely failed in the Zumo documentation to discuss the differences between tracks and routes, or how to use tracks in the Zumo. This tutorial shows you how you can utilize tracks for navigating with your Zumo.

    Tutorial: How to Use Tracks with the Zumo GPS (click to play directly, right-click to save to your PC)

    #9586

    dancogan

    Wow, what a great job, John. I had no idea about the right way to use tracks, but I understand now why it has never worked for me in the past. Very professional, understandable. Really a great job!

    #9587

    Anonymous

    @Dan Cogan wrote:

    Wow, what a great job, John.

    Aw, shucks… 😳 Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Sounds like my work produced exactly the intended results for at least one user. And a tip ‘o the hat to Bill Gregory, who originally figured out the magic trick for importing tracks into the Zumo (by disabling maps before importing the tracks).

    I had no idea about the right way to use tracks, but I understand now why it has never worked for me in the past.

    Actually, a number of other Garmin GPS products do a much better job of working with tracks, particularly those that are oriented towards trail and hiking use. My beloved GPS V (still the gold standard for functionality and versatility IMHO) navigated tracks very well, with specific menu options for working with them. The GPSMAP 60CSx I currently use also has specific provisions for working with and navigating tracks.

    The problem with the Zumo is that Garmin never envisioned that Zumo users would want to work with tracks – I think the marketing assumption that drove the product design was that Zumo users would be exclusively road oriented, and therefore only interested in routes and auto-routing. Interesting that the product includes this sort of ‘back door’, undocumented method for, as it turns out, actually being able to work with tracks. But this does seem to explain the somewhat quirky and non-intuitve techniques for working with tracks on the Zumo.

    Regards,
    John

    #9588

    pjm1128

    Awesome! I think the lightbulb has finally gone on! 😀

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