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Keep my GPSmap60csx or upgrade?

Started by ztrede, July 06, 2016, 07:50:35 AM

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I am new to the forum, and very new to using gps maps.  I have experience with navigation, but not with these particular devices.  I have a gpsmap 60csx that I inherited, but it does not have any maps uploaded on it other than the basemap. 

I found this site, and am planning on using the texas, new mexico, colorado, and wyoming topo maps, and some trail overlays, but am not sure if that is possible with the 60csx due to the map size limitation.  Do I need to put each map on a separate sd card and switch cards when i go into different areas?  Or do I have to load different maps with mapsource or basecamp every time I want to use a different map?

Is it possible to load the US OSM Auto map alongside the topo maps, and select which map I want to display on the device, so i can navigate on the road, or trail?  I want to try and use this gps, but if it is too much of a hassle I may get a different one. Is this worth keeping?

I am looking at the etrex 30, gpsmap 64st, or oregon 700 as alternatives.

I would appreciate any advice/input from other 60csx owners.  Thanks!


I still have my 60csx but don't use it often. It is still highly respected for its SiRFStar chipset and unique quad helix antenna however. I did some accuracy tests comparing it with some newer devices a couple years ago and the 60csx holds up pretty well

The screen quality is a real drawback IMO, compared to today's standards. Very low resolution and only 256 color. It is highly visible without the backlight however.

Older devices like this are limited by the number of map segments they can access. These are the small tiles that make up a map. There are no standard sizes for segments - they could cover a whole state or just one town - it's up to the map maker. But the 60csx can only access about 2000 segments. That will prevent you from loading the whole US certainly. I don't use OSM so I can't be specific.

You should use Mapsource, Garmin's older (discontinued) software with the 60csx. There's a tutorial on this site. Download Mapsource here

Then you will need to use GMTK to prepare your computer before installing (unless you already have Garmin maps on your computer).

This explains how to install maps.

Pay special attention to step #8. Your 60csx only recognizes one map file - gmapsupp.img. Therefore, when installing multiple maps, they must all be encapsulated in a single file. This is done by repeating steps 2-7 for each map you want to install on the GPS.

Look at the Maps tab on the left in Mapsource. It will show the total number of map segments as well as the size. Make sure that you have not selected more than 2000 (IIRC the actual number is 2025?) segments.

Since the segment size is not consistent between maps, the only way to answer questions like "how many maps can be installed?" is to actually go through this process.

Newer Garmin models are better, but not as much better as you might expect. They can access between 3000 to 4000 map segments, depending on the model. Another big plus to the newer models is that they can use raster imagery - such as aerial photos and scanned paper maps. The 60csx can't do this. Garmin sells this kind of imagery under the "Birdseye" name, and you get unlimited downloads for a year for $30. Some current Garmin models include a one year free subscription.

You really should go to a store where you can see and hold the different models, you really can't appreciate that online. REI and the big sporting goods stores should have them.

The other thing you must consider today is... do you really need a dedicated GPS at all? After owning over a dozen and spending thousands of dollars over the years, I think I have bought my last one. I still like my Montana 600 although it's almost 5 years old. BUt I don't see anything compelling in the new devices.

I really like my iPhone 6s Plus in an Otterbox with a few different apps. I make my own maps, and these work well on the big screen. But I don't do any "serious" hiking, just a few hours here and there.

Have fun with th 60csx, it's a real classic. There has always been something about the look and feel of it that appealed to me. Feels solid and professional. The map limitations, awkward pushbutton interface and low resolution screen make it more of a nostalgia item than a tool that I regularly use though.


Thank you for the help! I will try and revive this old gps and see if I can get some good use out of it.  I will be hiking a few peaks in colorado at the end of the month, and doing a 6 day trip through the wind river mountains in wyoming the first week of august. Some good topo maps on the gps would be a big help compared to using a map and compass the whole way. (although I will carry those as a backup)


Give it a try and see what you think. Also see this thread, the 76 and 60 series are the same GPS in different housings. Make sure you have the newest firmware installed on your 60csx.


Quote from: ztrede on July 06, 2016, 07:50:35 AMIs it possible to load the US OSM Auto map alongside the topo maps, and select which map I want to display on the device, so i can navigate on the road, or trail?
60csx supports multiple maps, you can select which maps are visible in menu. But US OSM Auto is a map designed for nuvi, not quit suitable for 60CSx. It is a single file for GPS, which is too big to work in 60CSX, and it can't be split without losing some functionality. Better look at my US OSM Topo Routable. These map are for PC and after installing you can send only selected parts to GPS. Routing should be similar to OSM Auto.

One advice about 60CSx: If you want to configure something and you can't guess how to do it, press "menu" key ;)


This is all great help! thank you so much!

I am working out of the country for another 2 weeks, but when I get back home, I will be sure to update the firmware and try and load some different maps.

According to the garmin site, I can use a 4gb sd card after updating the firmware right?


I think the main issue is that older firmware does not recognize SDHC cards. And today, you would be hard pressed to find any plain old SD cards. IIRC, the max size for the old SD cards was 4gb, but 2gb and smaller cards were much more common back then.

But according to this FAQ, 4gb is the largest card size supported. Due to the previously mentioned segment limits, I'd say it's highly likely you will hit the segment limit long before installing 4gb of maps.

Also note that Garmin uses the FAT32 filesystem for the card, and 4gb is the largest file size supported on that system. Since the maps must all be encapsulated in a single file, that also limits you to 4gb.


I have no problem formatting to the fat 32 file system.

I found this site: and considering installing all of the maps I want on the 2gb card, but only naming the mapset I want to use gmapsupp.img and keeping the rest of the maps labeled as something else, so that If I do want to switch mapsets, all I have to do is rename the file I want to use to gmapsupp.img instead of using mapsource every time to re-load.

Has anyone had any luck using this method?

Either that or I will just use a few different sd cards instead.


I think you need to download some maps, then send them to the GPS to see just how much coverage you get with 2000 segments. It may be all you need. There is no problem installing multiple maps and enabling/disabling them individually on the 60csx. You just need to stay within the 2000 segment limit.

Sure, you can put additional files on the card and then rename them to activate. It's a pain in the butt, since you still need a computer to do that, but it works. Eventually you will ask yourself if this is how technology should serve you in 2016 though, LOL.  ;D


I was just looking at the specs for the new Oregon 700 series:

Garmin has increased the segment limit on these new models, setting them apart from their other handhelds. According to the specs (see "additional information" on the Specs tab). the Oregon 700 series supports 15,000 map segments. This is quite a difference from other recent models that only support 4,000 segments.