How to Display Tiff Maps on a Garmin GPS

Written by kyle fiechter
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How to Display Tiff Maps on a Garmin GPS
Sometimes a directory is more detailed than a typical Garmin map. (letrero rutas image by paulaok from

You can create a custom map for your Garmin GPS from a TIFF image for use in your Garmin device. You first need to convert the image to JPEG image, then overlay the JPEG image on a satellite image using Google Earth. You will then be able to upload the custom map to your Garmin, and the map will display as a part of the Garmin map on your device. This is especially useful when hiking, or when a more detailed map than the default Garmin maps is needed.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Garmin software
  • Google Earth
  • Photo editing software

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  1. 1

    Convert the TIFF image to a JPEG image using graphics software (e.g. Photoshop, CorelDraw or the open source, freely available Gimp). Open the map in your preferred graphics editing program, then click "Save As" from the "File" menu. Delete the ".tiff" file extension from the file and add a ".jpg" or ".jpeg" file extension in its place.

  2. 2

    Open Google Earth. Locate the appropriate position of your map in Google Earth, then click "Add" from the top toolbar. Click "Image Overlay" to open a dialogue box.

  3. 3

    Link the JPEG map to Google Earth. In the dialogue that appears, enter the necessary information, including a name for the map, the link location of the JPEG image and enter a draw order of 50 or higher so the custom map will display on top of the default Garmin map.

  4. 4

    Adjust georeference (an object's existence in physical space) of the JPEG image to match the satellite image under the image overlay. Do this prior to closing the New Image Overlay dialogue box. Adjust the edges, centre or rotation of the JPEG image by moving the green marks in Google Earth. Click "OK."

  5. 5

    Connect your Garmin to your computer, then right click on your custom map in Google Earth (on the left side of the screen.) Click "Save Place As," then find Garmin in the dialogue box that appears. Save your custom map in the /Garmin/CustomMaps/ directory in the KMZ format.

Tips and warnings

  • Only create use maps that are in the public domain or that you have permission to use from the copyright holder.

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