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How To Open Maps In Garmin BaseCamp


Author: Dan Blomberg | Last updated October 1st, 2011 at 07:14pm

Many of the maps downloaded from this site or purchased from Garmin or other websites can be viewed on your computer via Garmin Mapsource or Garmin BaseCamp.  Garmin BaseCamp (Mac & Windows)  is the current mapping program for use with all Garmin GPS units.  It has replaced Garmin MapSource in recent time.  In this tutorial we will help you decide if the map is easily loaded into BaseCamp and then how to open the map and see it in BaseCamp.

Seeing If The Map Is Loaded In BaseCamp

  1. Download a map from here or another website.
  2. Make sure Garmin BaseCamp is closed during map installation.
  3. If you've downloaded a "PC" map and it is a .exe file it will run an installer that likely looks similar to this:
  4. If the map did install similar to above your life is easy and you can open the map in BaseCamp right away.  Also, if the map is a .kmz file you can open that in BaseCamp as well with ease.  If the map didn't have an installer and is .img files check out this tutorial to install the map into BaseCamp then continue reading.

Opening "Normal" Maps In BaseCamp

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of BaseCamp.  Don't have BaseCamp? Get it here.
  2. Open Garmin BaseCamp.  It should look similar to this (depending on what map you are currently viewing and if you have anything else loaded):
  3. In the upper left corner click on the Map Dropdown menu (if this is your first map it will likely say "No Map")

    If that drop down box does not appear you can click the "View" menu and then "Map Product" and select the map from there.
  4. Now select the map you just downloaded and installed from the list (in this case I selected Arizona Topo)
  5. The map will now display in the main window on both the right and left panes (if map has 3D data).
  6. You can now browse the map freely.  Note that more detail appears as you zoom in.  If you never see any map data regardless of how far you zoom in make sure you are not in Basic Map Mode (check View->Basic Map). Additionally checking and unchecking the View-> Basic Map (CTRL-G) will reload the map so it is updated.
  7. If you want to install the map onto your GPS you can continue and follow this tutorial to install the map onto your GPS.

Opening Garmin Custom (Raster/.kmz) Maps In BaseCamp

  1. Garmin BaseCamp allows you to open and load custom raster maps (formatted as .kmz files).  First, open Garmin BaseCamp.
  2. Now click File>Import and select the .kmz file(s) you would like to load. Open it(them).
  3. On the left side, in "My Collections" your custom maps are loaded.  
  4. Click on one of the maps and it will be loaded/displayed (it may have auto displayed already).  The custom map will appear integrated with your other maps as shown here:
  5. You can now view your raster map and transfer it to the modern generation of Garmin GPS units.

How To Load Maps On My Garmin GPS Unit


Author: Dan Blomberg & Rex Coggins | Last updated March 10th, 2010 at 09:56pm

These days many of Garmin’s new GPS receivers contain built in maps, from the nuvi series with road maps to the Colorado and Oregon with topos.  These receivers can still have maps loaded to them though in addition to the maps that already exist.  This how-to will detail how to load additional maps to your GPS unit with either a Mac or a PC.

Warning: If you bought a micro-SD card that contains maps from Garmin DO NOT overwrite this card, use another card.

Loading The Maps With MapSource on a PC

  1. Open Garmin MapSource (all screenshots from version 6.14.X but the process is similar for all versions)
    If you don’t have Garmin MapSource check out this tutorial on how to get it.
  2. Select the map you want to load from the drop down menu in the upper left corner.
    If the map you want is didn't include an installer follow this tutorial first and then continue to step 3.
  3. Once the map is select let it load in the main window.
  4. Zoom to an appropriate level so you can see what parts you want to load (if you do not want to zoom all the way out you can select what is on screen and then easily move to another part of the map and select those areas as well).
  5. Click the “Map Tool” button
  6. Select the segments you want to load by dragging selection boxes on the map.
  7. The selected areas will then turn pink:

    and appear in the maps tab on the left side of the screen (at the bottom of this area you can see how many segments you’ve selected and how large they are).
  8. Repeat steps 2 through 7 for any other maps you want to load at the same time (such as a Topo map and City Navigator and another topo map).
  9. Now plug your GPS in to the computer or put the memory card from the GPS (or the one you will use on the GPS) into your card reader.
  10. Now click the “Send to Device” button
  11. On the next screen you should see your device (make sure it’s the proper device; here I am loading to my microSD card).  Also, make sure the maps checkbox is checked.
  12. Click “Send”
  13. First it will build the mapset (could take many hours depending on the maps):

    then it will transfer it to the card/GPS:
  14. You will get a success message at the end similar to: “The data has been successfully sent”

Once you have the maps on the GPS you can follow this tutorial to show how to hide and show different maps.

Note: Certain GPS units (60c(s)x,  Legend/Vista/Etex (H)Cx, any unit released prior to the Colorado) have map limits.  They will only read 2gb of maps on a card (even if the card is larger) and will only read 2024 segments.

Loading The Maps With BaseCamp on a PC

  1. Open Garmin BaseCamp (all screenshots from version 2.0.9)
    Note: You'll need version 2.0.9 or higher to load custom maps.
  2. Plug in the device you would like to load the maps to (a microSD card, SD card, or the actual GPS unit)
    For this tutorial I will be using a Garmin Dakota 20 with memory card installed in the GPS; using a card reader will allow for faster map installs.
  3. The device/card should appear on the left side as shown:
  4. Right click on either the card or device and select "Install Maps"
  5. MapInstall should now be running; click Next
  6. Select the map you want to load at the bottom:
  7. Now highlight the segments you want to load (this can be the entire map) to the unit/card by dragging a selection box around the map displayed in the preview pane.  Selected segments will turn pink.
  8. Now at the bottom select another map that you want to load to the GPS.  Repeart step 7 for all the maps you want to load.
  9. Once you have finished selected all the maps you want to load hit next.
    Note: Each time you load maps to the GPS it will erase all maps on the GPS except for the basemap (Navigation map on the Nuvi).
  10. Press "Finish" and it will build your maps and transfer them to your card/unit.
  11. You will get a success message at the end similar to: “The data has been successfully sent”

Once you have the maps on the GPS you can follow this tutorial to show how to hide and show different maps.

Loading The Maps With A Mac

Contributed By Rex

  1. Download and install MapInstall
  2. First off, plug your GPS into your Macintosh and have it turned on. MapInstall will not make it past the second page unless you do this or if you are installing to a card reader, you will want it plugged in and the card mounted.
  3. Open up the MapInstall application. You will get this splash page:

    Click continue
  4. Select your GPS or card reader and click Continue
  5. If you see a screen like the one below you might want to check that you have the correct data card in the reader before you wipe out anything you might need later:
  6. In the upper left of the window you should see a pull down menu where you select the map set you want. In this example, we have chosen Arizona Topo:
  7. You can click on tiles to select them or marquee a selection; here I have selected the complete map. At the bottom of the window shows how much memory you have available and also what you have used. If you want to add maps from another map set, just select the other map set from the pull down menu and add them as above. When you are finished, select the Send Maps button.
  8. MapInstall will combine all the maps into one gmapsupp.img file to send to your GPS. This could take a while, depending on the size of the maps and the speed of your computer.
  9. Once the gmapsupp.img file has been compiled, MapInstall will send it to your GPS or card reader.

Congratulations, you have now loaded the maps to your GPS unit.  If you have multiple maps loaded onto your device use the internal menus to select which map to actively view.

How To Change Which Map Is Displayed On A Garmin GPS


Author: Dan Blomberg | Last updated February 4th, 2010 at 08:58pm

With so many maps to choose from on this website and available from Garmin you're likely to have multiple maps loaded on your GPS receiver and you'll need to turn some on or off to show or hide different maps.  This is most obvious when you have a topo showing and want to show City Navigator, or you have a topo showing and need to see another topo map.

This tutorial will walk you through how to show or hide maps on some of the most popular series of GPS units.  Even if your unit isn't listed specifically it should be very similar to the steps listed for these series:

Changing Maps Displayed on the Colorado, Oregon, and Dakota Series

This section will detail how to change which maps are displayed on the Colorado, Oregon, and Dakota series GPS units.  The process may vary slightly based on which profile you are using and which unit.  The screenshots were taken with a Garmin Dakota 20.

  1. From the main menu screen find the setup button and click it:
  2. Click "Map"
  3. Click "Map Information Select Map"
  4. Click on each individual map to enable (displayed) or disabled (hidden) the map
  5. On the Dakota its as easy as clicking "Enable" or "Disable"; in this case I'm clicking disable (thus why its blue.
  6. Repeat this for any maps until you have it configured how you would like.  You've now shown/hidden maps on your GPS unit.

Changing Maps Displayed on the GPSMap 60C(S)x, 76C(S)x, and eTrex Series

This section discusses how to change maps on the GPSMap 60CSx, 60Cx, 76CSx, 76Cx, eTrex and similar units.  Showing/hiding maps in this case is not as easy as it is with the Colorado/Oregon/Dakota series.  This screenshots were taken at night with a Garmin GPSMap 60CSx

  1. Hit the "Page" key until you are viewing the map.
  2. Press "Menu" and scoll to "Setup Map"
  3. Press "Enter"
  4. Scoll right/left until you get to the "I" (Map Setup - Information).  From this page you can enable or disable single map segments; this is not reccomended.
  5. Press "Menu"
  6. Here you can scoll to any option and hit enter.  You can Show All or Show None from this screen.  By pressing enter when it says "Hide [Map Name]" it will hide the map and the text will change to "Show [Map Name]".
  7. Show/hide maps from this screen until you've setup your map how you'd like.  Then hit "Quit" twice to get back to the map.

Changing Maps Displayed on the Nuvi Series

Although these maps are normally displayed on handheld units they can be installed on the Nuvi automobile and turned on and off.  There are many different Nuvi units but these directions were tested on both a Nuvi 2x5 series and Nuvi 250W.  The screenshots are from the updated 2x5 series Nuvi.

  1. From the main menu screen press the "Tools" button
  2. Press "Settings"
  3. Scroll until you see "Map" and click it.
  4. Click "Map Info"
  5. Check maps you want to display and uncheck those you would like to hide.
  6. Hit back a few times and you'll be back at the menu; now you can view the maps configured as you would like.


There are many other Garmin GPS units out there.  If you're willing to provide directions and/or screenshots for how to turn maps on and off with your unit we'll be more than happy to add them here.  Just contact us or post in the forums.