Free Topo Maps for Garmin GPS

I posted this as a response to the gps thread below, but thought that it deserves its own thread for those not following.

You don’t have to buy Garmin’s topo maps for your GPS unit, because topos that will work with your Garmin are available for free online.

GPSFileDepot has most of the US states and some other places in the world like Iraq, UK:

Ibycus Topo Canada:

I haven’t found any free marine charts yet, but I have found inexpensive marine charts for Garmin from Navimatics: The Great Lakes run only $150 vs. about $1500 from Garmin.

I’ve loaded these into Garmin’s GPS program and they look very good.

If anyone knows a link to free marine charts, I’d be very interested.

Have to check it out
I have to check it out and see if it will work with my GPSMAP 60CSx

great info
Thanks for the info, I’ll be following this closely - please add anything else you discover.

I’ve been using a PDA-based system that uses the free maps from Terraserver, but it has certain limitations. I’ve been planning to buy a base level Garmin unit as a back-up and to keep in touch with their technology, but this news might justify going up the price curve to get a more expensive model.

Nautical Charts
Check the NOAA site for free downloadable nautical charts.

But they don’t work with Garmin GPS units when you download straight from noaa. Unless you know a way?


– Last Updated: Mar-25-09 10:15 PM EST –

Thanks for the info.

What happens if I try to load the Texas topo map on my basic eTrex GPS? Tried this tonight and I get an error message saying the device won't support the transfer. Bummer!

garmin 76 maps
Frist try it worked downloaded onto mapsource


Did you
Did you load it into mapsource first?

I sure did.
I was able to successfully load the Texas data and highlighted the sections I wanted to move to my eTrex, per the instructions on, and then tried to send it to my GPS. It finds the device but gives the error message when I try to actually send the data. Something about the GPS device not able to recognize the data or not being compatible with that device.

I seem to be missing something

– Last Updated: Mar-26-09 12:24 PM EST –

I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx with a 2gig MicroSD card and use Mapsource version 6.13.7 on a Windows machine. Have a registered copy of BlueCharts installed.

To try something small first, I downloaded the Yosemite Topo map. It contains 4 files:
- 54880637.img
- uninstall.exe
- YosemiteTopo.img
- YosemiteTopo.TDB

It looks like I can stick the MicroSD card directly into the laptop card reader and copy the 54880637.img file there to get access to the maps on the GPS. Would this work?

But I would prefer to learn how to load it into the Mapsource program first, and transfer the maps from there to the GPS (this will be important when I go for larger maps, like CA's, which contains many IMG files).

I have searched the tutorials and the bullet boars on the GPSFileDepot site, but haven't found the info yet.

Any suggestions on how to load it directly in to Mapsource?

Great free resource
I have the Garmin US Topo maps on CD but these contain much more detail. I loaded both the Garmin maps and these free maps on my 76CSx and the detail is great. Worked like as charm to download from Mapsource and the directions on the GPS free site were spot on!

Even worked on my old Rhino 120…
…I use for hunting, but at only 8Mb memory, with the 24K detail, it couldn’t hold enough to be worthwhile. The Map76c will hold a fair amount, but then I use BlueChart for that.

One thing I noticed as I was looking at detail of the mouth of the Columbia River is that the 24K stuff didn’t appear to have any marine/ATN info. Garmin’s US TOPO does–at least the old version I have does. That marine info could come in handy for a sea kayaker.

Dovetailed seamlessly into MapSource. Pretty cool. Thanks.

Downloaded the Map Source but get this error


got it all handled NM

What did you do to figure it out?

Noaa Charts
I’ve figured out how to turn NOAA charts into tif and jpegs, which I could geo-reference and turn into maps for Garmins, but it’s a ton of work. If there was a way to automate the process, I’d really consider doing it for the whole Great Lakes.

Still hoping to stumble across someone that has already done this.

Here’s how to get around that error msg
Easy steps to get around that error message:

Download MapSource ver 6.15.4 here:

Download WinRAR from here:

Install WinRAR

Run WinRAR and use it to unpack MapSource_6154.exe

Double-click on MAIN.msi in the list of upacked files.

Give it a bit to run

Run Setup.exe from the list of unpacked files.

MapSource is now installed w/o the error message.

You might
You might pose that question over at the GPS File Depot forum. They may be able to help you.

a bit of my stupidity
Seems what I needed was right in front of me, but it did take me loading the latest version of Mapsource and reloading the maps before it all worked out.

European Waterways Map