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Maps on Garmin eTrex Vista H

Started by dhudsmith, January 18, 2011, 03:12:09 PM

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Is there any hope of getting any of the GPS File Depot maps on my Garmin eTrex Vista H? It has 24MB of data but no memory card slot. Will I have to buy the garmin maps?


It has to do with how large the individual tiles are that make up the map. Older maps probably use smaller tiles so they are compatible with models like yours. Using Mapsource, you would select only as many of the tiles that fit.

You'll need to look at the different maps and experiment to see what will fit. Tile size can be just about anything that the map author chooses, there are no standards. If you purchase the DVD version of Garmin's US Topo 100k, you'll be able to load a reasonably sized area. I had an eTrex Legend C a number of years ago which also had 24k memory and no card slot. I used US Topo 100k and was able to load several counties in my state - enough for a day's outing certainly.

The whole US Topo 100k is a little under 3GB and it contains about 6,600 tiles. Do the math and you will get some sense of how big each tile is.


There is always hope.  We could better advise if you indicated for what area and what type of map (detailed topo, planimetric - no contour lines, very basic transportation and hydro, etc).

My earlier mapsets varried the quad/tile size so the average in a mapset would be about 1Mb; I have been increasing that to about 2Mb.  This was done on purpose so that it would be highly likely that any area of interest in the corner of 4 adjacent quads would fit on the GPSr's with little internal memory.


use Mapsource or Basecamp to download a map area that will not exceed your internal memory.  you will have the same issues with any Garmin brand maps.   Not having a SD/micro slot really limits the GPS for added map data  (bad Garmin!!!). 
GPS's: Garmin Nuvi 255wt, Garmin Colorado 300, Garmin Oregon 400t, Garmin 60csx, Magellan Triton 500, Garmin Birdseye Subscription


Quote(bad Garmin!!!)
??? Why ???  Is not that model nearly a decade old?  That was the state of the art back then; and still makes for a good low priced entry level GPSr.


Thanks for the comments!

I am looking to download detailed topo for the South Carolina area.

Also, there are times when I'd like a little more road detail.


I have an eTrex also (as a backup now, but it was my main GPSr for a long time.)

Using the Michigan Topo map from this great site and map tool in MapSource, I grabbed the map tiles from lower Michigan to the Mackinaw bridge along the route I was going to drive AND then added the tiles that lead across the Big Mac all the way to the Porkies.  I was under the 24MB limit.  Unit worked great!  The eTrex is limited, yes.  But, I have lots of happy trails with it nonetheless.

Hope this helps you enjoy your eTrex!

The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.


I appreciate it, Mike. I love my little vista. I look forward to tapping into the awesome maps on this site. At first, I thought I was stuck between the feeble basemap and the expensive garmin maps. I'm excited to learn otherwise.


Quote from: maps4gps on January 18, 2011, 05:49:06 PM
??? Why ???  Is not that model nearly a decade old?

Nope, it's a fairly recent model - believe it or not. I think it was released within the last two years. The Legend H, Summit HC, Venture HC, Vista H and GPSMap 76 are all pretty recent models with 24MB memory and no card slot. The GPSMap 76 is probably only a year old and only has 8MB memory! They also continue to carry the GPSMap 60.

I have to agree: (bad Garmin!!!)

There is absolutely no excuse for this with flash memory prices so low. If they want to have cheapo models, how much would it add to the cost to include 256MB memory? It would have to be in the neighborhood of $5. My conspiracy theory is that Garmin figures people will buy them because the price is low, and then within a year they will want to upgrade to something with a card slot. The result will be that they end up buying two units in the end: the cheap one, then a more expensive one that actually does what they want.  ::)


  Thanks for the correction.  I agree with your analysis of Garmin's reasons.


Corporate conspiracy aside, I'm happy with the little guy--perhaps only because I don't know any better. I did buy it new for $80.00 w/ free S&H off eBay...

Furthermore, I successfully loaded some high detail topo/road/hydro onto my vista.

Thanks for the help!


This got me thinking, so I looked back through Garmin's releases. The eTrex Legend H and Vista H were announced exactly two years ago:

QuoteOLATHE, Kan./January 14, 2009/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, announced today the eTrex Legend H and the eTrex Vista H – low-cost handheld navigators that include several new features considered vital for today's outdoor adventures.

First and foremost, the units include a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, which makes satellite acquisition faster and helps ensure a solid lock, even in dense tree canopies or vertical canyons that hikers, hunters, and geocachers often experience.  The eTrex Legend H and eTrex Vista H also feature a fast USB interface and 24 megabytes of internal memory for loading detailed topo maps from a computer.  The eTrex Vista H includes an electronic compass and barometric altimeter as well.

"The eTrex Legend and Vista models have long been considered standard equipment for anyone who wants to make the most of their outdoor excursions," said Dan Bartel, vice president of worldwide sales.  "Now, entry-level customers can get some of the latest features for the same price as the previous versions, making the units attractive for those wanting a rugged and reliable GPS for under two hundred dollars."