Garmin and map updates..


  1. Install map update to computer using Garmin Express.
  2. Install core region to GPS using Garmin Express.
  3. Use MapInstall to install additional maps onto GPS.

Adventures with Garmin Map Updates

Garmin may make reasonable hardware, but their software absolutely sucks.  It takes hours and hours to download, configure, and install their maps, as I just found out again today when updating my Zumo 660 to the latest City Navigator Europe maps (2015.20).

Garmin Express, their current software to manage updates and maps across their product range, has some very strange logic.  First, it downloads the entire update, which takes hours. It then “prepares” the maps, which takes more hours. Finally it gets to install them on your device, at which point it decides that there isn’t enough room, and offers to install one of a selection of reduced map sets, grouped into Regions. Which it then proceeds to download, configure, etc etc etc again. Argh!

Always download and install to your computer first! It’s a semi-hidden option tucked away in the interface.  This way if things go wrong, at least the files are sitting on your harddrive.

Garmin suggests that you should buy a large enough SD Card for your maps, so basically wasting the built-in memory of your GPS. Alternatively you can switch Regions by re-running Garmin Express whenever you need to. Presumably again wasting hours and hours in the process.

In my case the Region options were the UK and Ireland, the Nordic Countries, or Eastern Europe.  None of these is a good selection for me, since I often ride from the UK to Germany and back, so irrespective of which Region I choose, I’ll never have a complete selection for my journey.  Nevertheless, I went ahead and installed the UK and Ireland Region.

I then downloaded Garmin’s MapInstall tool, which allows me to select individual map tiles from the maps installed on my computer and install these as supplementary maps onto the Zumo.  Et voila, after yet more hours I have a somewhat complete install of western Europe maps on my GPS!

Quite a task, considering back in the day with my old Garmin 2610, it was a simple case of installing the maps and MapSource onto your computer, and you could then select which maps you wanted on your GPS. Installation was not hours, and there was none of this Regions bollocks..

One Response to Garmin and map updates..

  1. Pingback:Just a shout-out to my Garmin Map Update HOWTO from last year | Micha's Blog