How to Create Garmin Maps

Written by rachael smithey
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GPS maps allow you to plan trips in advance for export to your Garmin GPS device or for printing. Maps include waypoints (start, turn and end points), tracks (turn-by-turn paths) and routes (direct lines between waypoints). Garmin devices typically include Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager software for creating on-the-road and trail maps and/or Garmin BaseCamp software (offering geocaching tools) for trail maps. Garmin devices also typically include basic maps. Additional maps, such as detailed topographical maps, can be purchased from Garmin's website or other retailers.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager or Garmin BaseCamp software (included with Garmin GPS)
  • Garmin GPS

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Instructions

  1. 1

    To locate a map section, open Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager or Garmin BaseCamp. Display the desired map area on the screen by selecting the zoom level, then clicking the "Pan (Hand)" tool and dragging it across the screen to reposition the map.

  2. 2

    Set waypoints (points of interest) where you start your trip and where you end your trip. Set as many additional waypoints as needed, particularly at turns and other areas that may be difficult to navigate. To add waypoints to your map, click the "Waypoint (Flag)" button and click the desired locations on the map. In the Properties window, modify the waypoint properties, if you wish, and click "OK." Continue to add waypoints as needed.

  3. 3

    Select the "Waypoints" window/tab. Press and hold the "Ctrl" key and left-mouse-click to select the desired waypoints. To create a map route in Garmin BaseCamp, select "File," "New" and "Route Using Selected Waypoints." To create a map route in Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager, select "Edit" and "New Route Using Selected Waypoint(s)." Change the waypoint order as needed in the Route Properties pop-up window by selecting a waypoint and pressing the "up" or "down" arrow. Click "OK."

  4. 4

    To save your map, waypoints and routes in Garmin BaseCamp, select "File," "Export" and "Export Selection." Name the file and save it as Garmin GPS Database Files (.gdb). To save your map, waypoints and routes in Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager, select "File" and "Save." Name the file and save it as Garmin GPS Database Files (.gdb).

  5. 5

    To send your map, waypoints and routes to your Garmin GPS using Garmin BaseCamp, select "Edit," "Send to" and select your device. To send your map, waypoints and routes to your Garmin GPS using Garmin Trip & Waypoint Manager, select "Transfer," "Send to Device" and select your device.

  6. 6

    To print your map, select "File" and "Print Preview" to preview the printed map. Adjust "Page Settings" and "Print Options" if needed. Click "Print" to print your map.

Tips and warnings

  • If your computer does not recognise your GPS, you may need to install the device driver for your GPS. Install the driver on your computer using the CD included with your GPS or from the manufacturer website.
  • If you are unable to locate your Garmin Trip & Waypoint or BaseCamp software, use the free software EasyGPS (see Resources section).

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