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Choosing a Nuvi to use with Garmin 24k topo

Started by bigbair, March 28, 2012, 06:23:55 AM

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I have loaded Garmin 24k Topo to a couple different Nuvi models- 200, 1300, 40LM, and an old Street Pilot c330

Observations- the 24k topo display "cleaner" on the 200 and c330 than the newer 1300 and 40LM.

Things I dislike on newer models- shading, labeling contours, multiple colors of topo lines. I know these features are probably welcomed by most users. For my use these features are clutter and a distraction.

On the older models the topo maps are simply high contrast lines, without labels or shading or anything special. Myself and the other users are very accustomed to topo maps and have 0 problems with displaying only the lines and actually prefer it that way.

Apparently there was a major change in the way the units handle maps between the older units and newer units. I'm planning to purchase some units and want to make sure they are the older technology. I am hoping that someone here knows what the difference is and which models would display similar to the Nuvi 200 and c330.



According to Wikipedia the Nuvi 200 was released April 2007

The oldest widescreen unit available on Newegg is the Nuvi 765T (August 2008) and it is available for $99.

Any thoughts on whether it would display like the older units or the newer units?


You're absolutely right. Newer Nuvi devices do a very poor job displaying topo maps. If you want one device for both the car and trail, the Montana is the way to go. It makes everything look great. I have stopped using all my Nuvi's (205, 5000 and 3790) and use my Montana for everything.

The Montana (and other new Garmin handhelds) have a menu option to turn off shaded terrain. None of the Nuvi's can do that.

If you *must* use a Nuvi, I've found that my 3790 isn't too bad. Here's a comparison of US Topo Northeast 24K

In this example, shaded terrain has been turned off on the Oregon, but of course it cannot be disabled on the 3790. Also notice how the Oregon displays map POI but the Nuvi does not.


Boyd, great demonstration.  My Colorado is dying and I was thinking about the Montana as replacement.  Call Garmin and ask for you commission.


Haha, let me see where I put those commission forms they mailed me.  ;)

You know, it's possible to make topo maps look much better on the Nuvi series with a few very small (I would say even trivial) tweaks. Just reducing the width of the contour lines using a bitmapped custom type makes the map more readable and consistent across a variety of devices. I have spent a lot of time tweaking my own maps for this, such as:

I've also suggested that other mapmakers consider using the contour lines tweak to improve appearance on the Nuvi. But I don't really think there much interest in making topo maps look good on the Nuvi. Garmin certainly wants you to buy an outdoor GPS and another for the car. The Montana changes that to some degree, but you don't have traffic service, junction views, trafficTrends and a few other things available on the Nuvi.

It has a dashboard that looks just like the Nuvi screen, but the similarities end after that. You still have all the Montana's advanced menus and functions and not the Nuvi interface.


So I can tweak the Garmin 24k topos using SOFTWARE? I thought it was protected and we couldn't discuss altering a published map? If its fair game I'm all ears though. It actually seems that the newer Nuvi's could be using a different .typ file than the older ones when loading the 24k topos. Is that possible?

I took some screen shots of the Nuvi 200 for comparison. I'll try to post them up in a bit.

I'll let you know a little more about the use and purpose of these units. We actually use separate units outdoors and are in the process of introducing the Nuvi's in the vehicle company wide. My purpose for the Nuvi is to overlay custom property ownership maps (thanks for the advice on them) over the garmin topos. This will make the Nuvi's work great to recon areas we are unfamiliar with- much easier and convenient to use a Nuvi and drive than linking a laptop to a GPSr and using ArcGis to do realtime tracking. We plan to keep separate GPSr to use in the vehicle and out because the outdoor units are more likely to be lost/broken hence we try to use the cheapest units that will serve our purpose- currently Legend HCX.

I realize this is probably a unique need but we manage 7 properties that exceed 600k acres combined. Once I have the maps on the Nuvi's it will give me turn by turn directions to tracts of timber hours away and on roads that I've never traveled. Adding topo maps that are easy to read in a glance and you can drive around a tract observing topography and access points before ever stepping foot on it and saving hours of ground work. Days of research and trial/error- I have this fully functional on my old faithful Nuvi 200. Some of my guys are spending hours at a time to locate tracts that are 2 and 3 hours away from them. Some of my guys are technoligically impaired while others are a black cloud for electrical devices so I have to make this as simple and cost efficient as possible.

I actually went ahead and ordered a Nuvi 765T for a pilot unit. I will update once I have tried the unit for anyone else that is interested.

Indrid Cold

Quote from: bigbair on March 31, 2012, 04:46:32 AM
So I can tweak the Garmin 24k topos using SOFTWARE? I thought it was protected and we couldn't discuss altering a published map? If its fair game I'm all ears though.
From Garmin's 24K TOPO EULA:

(a)  You have no rights with respect to the Software or any portion thereof and shall not use the Software or any portion thereof except as expressly set forth herein. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, You agree not to (i) reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, modify or create derivative works of the Software; (ii) sublicense, lease, rent, assign, distribute, repackage, rebrand, or otherwise transfer or disclose the Software, any portion thereof or any accompanying documentation to any third party; or (iii) cause, assist or permit any third party (including an end-user) to do any of the foregoing.
Simple answer is no.


Here are the images I promised from the Nuvi 200 with Garmin 24k Topo installed. I took images from 3 different zoom levels for comparison.


I haven't tried this, but is it possible to stack multiple transparent maps over each other?  What would happen if bigbair downloaded a transparent overlay from GPSfileDepot and then overlaid his own custom map on it? He could create a single gmapsupp.img with both maps and probably use the routing features from his Nuvi.

bigbair, can you find your logging roads on the Nuvi?  If not, and you have a suitable data source, there are also ways to make a routable map.


Seldom, I believe stacking transparent maps will probably work- I believe I am stacking transparent maps already. I made a single transparent ownership map for each property that included a polgon (all polygons merged) and a polyline (converted from polyline). I exported each ownership map separately. After I finished all 7 properties I installed them into Mapsource- now I select all 7 and load to GPSr and it combines them. I say they are stacked rather than combined because there are a few places they overlap (a few known areas on my .shp files I used to make the maps have errors and overlap). Would this be considered stacking?

I am still hoping that the Nuvi 765T will display like the old Nuvi 200. If it doesn't display the Garmin maps satisfactorily I will have to look more into the transparent topo maps available here or possibly making my own with the guides available here.

Also, I have not loaded haul roads on the Nuvi at this point. I'd mentioned considering it in another thread but that will be at a later date. That will be if/when things slow down some.


I think you will find some differences on the 7x5 series. For one thing, it will show the shaded terrain. But the 7x5 series was the first to exhibit some very different map rendering where almost none of the roads have labels and not all the POI's show. This was discussed extensively  at GPSPassion and GPSReview when the model first came out and there were a number of screenshots comparing it with the 7x0 series.

Let us know how it works for you.


Boyd, so if I had been able to locate a 7x0 it would have been more likely to render like the older units? This is exactly the kind of input I have been hoping to find- the turning point(s) and what series to look for...I'm not dedicated to purchasing more of the 7x5 series so advice/input about turning points in the Nuvi devices is still greatly appreciated.

I'll be sure to post up some screen shots from the Nuvi 765T for comparison.


Yeah, I think the 7x0 series had more "classic" map rendering and didn't render shaded terrain. The 2x5 series isn't too bad either, but you will have shaded terrain showing. One thing is for sure, the 13x0 and 14x0 are the worst I've seen at rendering topo maps. They have huge fat contour lines and don't show wetlands correctly. It showed them the same as water, giving the impression there are huge lakes in areas that are just seasonal wetlands.


I am still looking at different Nuvi models and realized My Nuvi 200 is the later model with Micro SD and the serial starts with 1GF. So it was once referred to as the Nuvi S 200 and is actually a Nuvi 205 in a Nuvi 200 case. This would mean that the maps are displaying properly on the 2x5 series and should be comparable on any of the 2x5 series?

I haven't received the Nuvi 765 yet and will be next week before I do, just doing a little more research in my free time.


Boyd, my Colorado died and I just got my Montana, what a fantactic unit.  Garmin said your commission check was in the mail.