Welcome to GPSFileDepot!

Main Menu

Buying advice for custom trail maps?

Started by johnsm, August 24, 2010, 04:47:46 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Hi all;
I'm new to this forum and the gps world and will be doing some hiking in the San Francisco Bay area.  I just bought a refurbished Garmin Colorado 300 and want to make custom trail maps for it using county park maps. I have gone through lots of forum posts and the more I read, the more confused I get as to what I need to buy or get before I make them. The unit comes with no topo maps; should I get the Garmin 24k maps and then do an overlay? If so, do I need to buy the maps on CD, SD card or download? Are there better trail maps out there than the Garmin 24k that I should get instead? I am pretty strapped for cash so I don't want to buy the wrong thing; hopefully the Colorado 300 wasn't the wrong thing to buy either :)
Thanks in advance for your help!


A word of caution - Garmin's west coast 24k mapsets were the first ones out and there were many reports that they included few if any trails despite Garmin's advertising.  You can preview areas of your choice for many of Garmin's map products on their website.

Generally the CD/DVDs are the most flexible, unless you are getting a locked mapset like City Navigator and might want to use it on more than one GPSr.

The gpsfiledepot offers many free mapsets.  There seems to be no source for nation-wide trail data for us to add to our mapsets.  There are a few sites offering trail data submitted by users.


Before you spend your money on Garmin topos see if there's anything here for your area of interest.


Thanks for the replies.  I looked on the Garmin website and I can't see any way to preview maps so I don't know if their 24k is any good or not. Where on the website is the preview?  I looked on this site and there is a california topo map and a good trail map (OSM); I assume if I make the trail map transparent and load them both into the GPSr the trails will be overlaid on the topo map? Sorry to be such a noob, this is a new (and confusing) world to me  ???


If the map's compiled transparent you won't have to do anything to it.  It will appear on top of any non-transparent maps.  Which California map are you looking at?  I don't have any maps of CA, but folks have reported problems using one that has the contours and roads on separate maps.


Garmin's site:

From :maps / buy maps / on the trail maps / us topo west / view map

My trail mapsets are transparent (overlay). As seldom_sn posted it will work without you having to do anything besides loading the mapset as you would any other mapset.

See the tutorial on loading maps to the GPSr:


I looked at the tutorial, my impression is that if I bought the Garmin West 24k on SD card, I would NOT be able to use it to combine with a transparent trail map, I could only do that if I bought it on the DVD, is that correct?
Also, I looked on the Garmin site, and don't see any way to preview specific areas of the maps; when I select the view tab it only gives a couple of random screen shots, I can't take a look at a local area to see if it's covered. Is this what you meant?


Try this link - it works for me:

Use the controls on the right to zoom and pan. If it doesn't work for you, then possibly it's a browser issue.

If you purchase the map on a pre-loaded SD card, it can still be combined with a transparent overly. However, the overlay would have to be loaded into internal memory on your Colorado (space permitting) since you can't add maps to the Garmin cards (or at least you shouldn't add maps to a card).


Odd.  That was the url showling when I was one screen deeper.
Click on view map.  A screen opens with some of the western States and a purple line around the four on that DVD.  Click on the approx location of interest and another window opens with a partial map of North American 'centered' on where you clicked.  Then just keep clicking on your location and the map will keep zooming-in.  Use the pan buttons when needed.

Boyd's url is going to that last mentioned window.


Wow, that did the trick, thanks!  For some reason, that view box wasn't showing up in my browser until I opened and closed it multiple times since now I knew it had to be there.  Now I can see it and most importantly, when I zoom in on the areas I need trails for, the map isn't anywhere near as good as the osm trails map.  So you guys just saved me some serious dollars, I would have been very disappointed; many thanks for all your help!