garmin mapsource detail

I just started looking at the downloads for the topo maps from mapsource and I’m wondering if anyone else thinks the detail isn’t that great.

I checked some areas I’ve paddled in the past and compared it to regular topo maps and I’m about ready to return the software. It seems to be completely void of good detail and accuracy with certain land features/landmarks.

Am I doing something wrong or do others notice the same thing?

Garmin Topo
Hoping it is something as simple as using the Declutter function. This is when you are in a populated area with to many features,it clears a lot of it out of the way.Go to the map page , hit menu, go to declutter,on,or, off. Not sure this will be the problem, but if you are like me, it could be a simple oversight.

US Topo Mapsource maps…
…are 1:100K so the detail is no where near what you get from 1:24K USGS topos. I think Magellan has 1:24K software or something close to it. I’ve seen and used both and what I’ve found is that there is too much detail for the small screen of a GPS unit (for my taste–maybe the new screens are better now) with the Magellan software.

I was a bit skeptical at first of the 1:100K US Topo detail but have found that when I carry a USGS 1:24K map and the GPS unit with US Topo on it, I rarely if ever, pull out the 1:24K map. That is to say that I can find my way around just find (hunting, climbing, kayaking) with 1:100K. The screen on the GPS is much less cluttered (in my experience) and easier to read.

The US Topo program has Aids to Navigation built into it, which is a nice.

All this to say, US Topo has worked just fine for me in a number of situations.

Mapsource detail…
As Jmden has said, Garmin Mapsource topos are 1:100,000 scale, which is not very detailed. They are little better than Delorme’s Atlas & Gazetteer series which are 1:150,000. Compare this to the detail found in standard 1:24,000 USGS topo maps. The only Garmin 24k maps available are for National Parks and Forests. For example, here is the 24k coverage for the Eastern US:

National Parks, Eastern US info:

If you want more detail for use directly on your Garmin gps, there are ways to import your own custom maps. Slightly complicated, but many people have been successful with this method (I have not tried it yet):

Some users have uploaded maps they have created here:

And here is a site with Oregon maps:

If you want 24k detail to map/create routes, etc., National Geographic has topo maps available for each state. These can be used in the field with a GPS/computer hookup:

Another option for route-making and laying down routes from your GPS is USA Photomaps. This is a great, free, fun little program that allows you to overlay routes and waypoints from your GPS directly on to aerial/topo maps:

It’s short on instructions and doesn’t have a slick GUI, but hey, it’s free : ) Here are the basics. Run the program, then use the GoTo menu to choose a location. You’ll be presented with a bunch of empty gray blocks. Press the “F” key to fill with data. Press the “T” key to bring up the Topo map option. Again, you may see the empty blocks. Press the “F” key to fill. Now you can switch between aerial and topo by toggling between the “P” and “T” keys. In short, if your screen isn’t filled with map detail, hit the “F” key. Use your arrow keys to move about and the “-” and “=” keys to zoom. That’s basically it. You can also save maps as jpg files to print out.

Hook up your GPS, download your latest paddle route, and see where you’ve been in glorious 24k detail.

Garmin Topos

– Last Updated: May-20-06 9:49 AM EST –

Here are three examples of the Garmin Topos I use.

Verify map detail setting is highest…
I live in New Mexico and in my area I’m impressed with Garmin US Topo points of interest (POI) data - landmarks/features, wells, mines, etc. Garmin Topo data lacks resolution compared to DeLORME Topo6. Roads are also not that good. To see the best topo resolution & POI data in mapsource make sure you have map detail set to highest. If you’ve downloaded the topo data to a GPS unit, set details to highest (on the GPS) and you may have to zoom way in to see all details.

Garmin also has a free downloadable update to mapsource (ver 6.10.2) that will be useful to you especially if you plan to make/edit tracks in mapsource.

Thanks for the info…definitely some things to look into.

I guess when I bought the US topo, I thought I was getting the same detail in the National Parks topo software. Oh well.