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Garmin Overlander - free detailed maps

Started by dessmo, November 21, 2023, 12:20:36 PM

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Is it possible to use free detailed maps like topograpic maps on the Garmin GPS Overlander? I have downloaded maps in the .img format and moved them to the Garmin folder on the GPS but they dont show up on the map page. The Overland runs Android and use the Explorer app for viewing maps when not in drive mode. I have sidled apk-files to use other apps for viewing the maps, but since you dont have the play store on the GPS you run in to problems verifying payed apps with the functionality that ables downloading maps on the GPS. So does anyone know if there is a way around this? I have sidled Gaia, but the gps doses not seem to handle the t app very well, and I also dont find a way to download maps. I would like to be able to use maps from since I live in Europe.


Sounds like Garmin has done something strange with the Overlander. Too bad - but they've been trying to discourage third party maps for awhile across their products. I stopped making Garmin-format maps myself, just got tired of their closed system.

Anyway, you may have already thought of this, but have you tried making a folder named Map and putting your .img file(s) in it? IIRC, some newer automotive devices still recognize maps in the Garmin folder, but others require you to use the Map folder.


Thanks Boyd, I will try that and see if it works. Would you recommend to put the map folder under Garmin or root?


The Map folder needs to be in the root directory. IIRC, Garmin started doing this with the Nuvi 3xxx series sometime around 2009 and continued with the Drive series.I have several of these devices myself, the newest is a DriveTrack which I got around 5 years ago. It works fine with maps I've made myself.

This FAQ suggests that it can be done...

".IMG files must be located in a "Map" folder on the microSD card and/or the device for your device to display them."


Thanks for sharing your expertise Boyd, I will try that. Happy Thanksgiving:)


Happy to help, hope you're having a good holiday weekend as well! Let us know if this works for you, it might help someone else.


Still struggling, got the device is saying it is not able to unlock the map. I have tried a couple of versions, to include what I use on my hunting GPS Garmin Astro 320. Is there an app that I could install (side load) on the Overlander that would make it easier?


Well, there are a lot of Android GPS apps, not sure if they would work on something as locked-down as a Garmin device however. And none of them really work with Garmin-format maps. Orux Maps attempts to open Garmin .img files, but the support was very poor when I tried it (long ago). It used some kind of open source library for displaying the files that basically converted them to raster-format maps on the fly. But you could check it out, there's an APK version

There are other map formats that work better with the app, see this

Othewise, unfortunately, it sounds like you may have chosen the wrong GPS if you aren't happy with the maps that Garmin officially provides for it. I mean, if you want to use Android, you can get a pretty nice tablet for under $300 instead of Garmin's outrageous price! :) I got a 10" rugged Android tablet on Amazon from a Chinese company for around $200 to test a GPS app I'm working on myself, for example.

But just to confirm, have you tried copying the working .img files from your Astro to your computer, then copying them to the \Map folder on the Overlander? The "can't unlock maps" error message is bogus if you're using a free map of some kind, since they are not locked in the first place.


Thanks again Boyd for your patience and expertise:) I bought the Overlander GPS used so it did not cost me that much. I am planning to use it for what is was meant, overlanding. Until now I have used my iPhone and iPad with different apps which works fine, but I was looking for a unit that don't need an internet connection and have all maps you need preloaded. When it comes to the maps that come with the Garmin Overlander GPS I personally think the Garmin Explorer maps are not detailed enough for overlanding here in Europe/Norway. For on-road driving it is fine, but there are maps available with much more details that are useful for off-road driving and camping than what Garmin gives you. To my understanding you can not use a standard Garmin map in .img-format with the Explorer-app. I have already sideloaded some android apps that have very good maps and that works very well on the Overlander except for downloading maps. That requires a small fee, and the only way to verify that service it has to use the Google Play app which is not included on the overlander. I have tried side loading the play app, but it will not work.I think this might also be a problem with other apps, the free version does not allow you do download maps, and only way to verify that you have paid is via the Play-app. I will try to side load Oryxmaps and see if it works.     


My own map-making concentrates on the Northeastern United States, so I'm not sure what might work well for you, sorry. However oruxmaps might be an option, since it does not use Google Play and offers various downloadable maps.

Quote from: dessmo on November 26, 2023, 05:05:42 AMI have used my iPhone and iPad with different apps which works fine, but I was looking for a unit that don't need an internet connection and have all maps you need preloaded.     

You can install maps on iOS devices and use them without an internet connection. I used to make maps for iOS and Android devices but stopped a few years ago because the process was too complicated for most people and used Mobile Atlas Creator - a free open source program that was just too quirky and buggy for me. But you might take a look, it runs on Windows and Macs and allows you to download maps from a number of sources and format them for many different apps on both iOS and Android.

Anyway, if you would like to revisit using your iPad/iPhone, here are apps that I verified as working with Mobile Atlas Creator, the apps themselves probably offer maps that you can download and and use without the internet as well

Guru Maps
Map Plus

Mobile Atlas Creator should also be able to make maps for those other Android apps you have installed but are unable to purchase maps for.

There's also the HERE and TomTom apps for iOS devices. They have the option to download maps and use with no internet, but they're just for on-road navigation.

FWIW, the Guru Maps app for the iPhone also supports Apple CarPlay. Have been using it recently with my own maps installed on my phone - no internet connection needed and it lets me use my maps on the car's built-in screen.


Seems like Oruxmaps works pretty well on the Garmin Overlander. I have so fare only tried it with my Garmin freeman's from, but they seem to work well.

When using iPhone/iPad I have been quite happy with GaiaGPS, but the app did not work very well on the Garmin Overlander. I will play around with the Oruxmaps app and post some feedback on how I think it works. One thing that I already have noticed is that you can not export a waypoint directly to explorer from the Oruxmaps app, it give you the option in the app but when you try it just says Explorer can not import. That would have been a nice feature and would make it easy to switch between the different apps. I think a way around is just to store it and then import it manually into the explorer app.


Cool!  8)

Actually, I was getting the Overlander confused with the Tread, which has a 10" screen and costs $1500 USD

But now I see that the Overlander has a 7" screen for $700 USD, so now I understand how you were able to find a used device at an affordable price.

But tell us more about Android on the Overlander, does it have a regular web browser, such as Chrome?

I use iOS myself, but have a few Android devices for experimenting/testing. I install Termux which gives me a Linux subsystem on Android where I run a local webserver. I can then access maps stored on the SD card using a web app in Chrome with no internet connection.


Quote from: Boyd on November 28, 2023, 02:48:28 PMActually, I was getting the Overlander confused with the Tread, which has a 10" screen and costs $1500 USD

I think that is just to much money for me to spend on a GPS, I have a iPad pro which I guess cost less and can do a lot more. But I like a standalone GPS at least for back up when you dont have a 5G signal available. Last summer it cost med $70 just do using Google map to navigate to a sim card store when we arrived by ferry to Albania last year.

Quote from: Boyd on November 28, 2023, 02:48:28 PMBut tell us more about Android on the Overlander, does it have a regular web browser, such as Chrome?

I think it has some kind of Garmin web browser, it is for sure not Chrome. Maybe you can side load Chrome, but I dont think that would solve my problem which is the lack of Google Play on the device for verifying that you have a paid version of some 3rd party apps.

I also found another app yesterday called Locusmap that actually works very well, and you can buy a voucher on-line to activate all functions of the app without having Google Play on the device. Locusmap have a lot of different maps that you can download via the app which makes it very easy to download different maps for off-line use. I have also installed some Garmin .img maps manually, ant that also works well. They also have log-in and a database so you can synch your waypoints, routs, tracks etc, and you can do your planning on a computer and synch to the GPS. Their menu system is quite intuitive and dont include to many advanced functions I dont need. They dont yet have an IOS app, which I would prefer being a part of the Apple universe. But all in all very good and it works very well on the Garmin Overland GPS. I will keep both the Locusmap and Oruxmaps and see what works best. So fare I am leaning towards Locusmap due to an intuitive not to advanced but user-friendly menu, a lot of maps available in the app for download and a login function which synchronize you data for use on multiple devices. The maps they have is way better than the maps that comes with the Garmin Overlander for off-roading, wild camping, etc. That being said I like the Garmin Overlander, and it synchs its database with a lot of different systems so you have camp spots, POI, like Overlander, Camper contact, Tracks4Africa, TripAdvisor to mention some. What it lacks is Google Play and the option to install apps the normal way. The processor seems a bit slow, but all in all I think it is a useful tool for my traveling and overlanding.


For iOS there are also OSMAND and Cartograph (which has replaced Vectorial Map). But Locus has a much bigger map library. Locus, Orux and Cartograph all accept vector maps in Mapsforge format which give much more detail for a given file size. OpenAndroMaps is a good source of these vector maps.