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Author Topic: Garmin Topo 24K: MicroSD Card or Download?  (Read 4661 times)

spillenger

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Garmin Topo 24K: MicroSD Card or Download?
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:48:57 AM »
Greetings.

I'm once again in the middle of my love-hate relationship with Garmin topo maps. It's tough when you love the hardware, hate the software, but determine that Garmin's proprietary maps are actually the best of a bad lot for a Garmin handheld. Argh.

My fantasies this time around are two:

1.  I'd love to be able to put a number of different maps on a single 64gb SD card, so I'm not always changing out cards. I seem to recall this being impossible or extremely difficult with the Garmin maps I purchased.

2.  I know Basecamp is unsatisfactory in many respects, but I would like to be able to make the most satisfactory use of it possible, which includes easy ways to transfer maps, waypoints, routes, etc., to and from my Oregon 600.  Can I actually transfer my Topo 24K map to my computer so I can use it in Basecamp without having to have my Oregon 600 connected?

Given these crazy fantasies, should I purchase the Garmin Topo 24K (Southeast) map in download or SD card format?  They seem to have discontinued the DVDs.

Thanks,
Paul
 

Boyd

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Re: Garmin Topo 24K: MicroSD Card or Download?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 08:05:06 AM »
Garmin has made it tough now. They used to sell these maps on DVD but no longer do (you might still find some at a third party vendor though). These were always the best deal because you could install them on all the Garmin devices you own, there was no copy protection.

The sd card version can be used in any GPS, but you must use the original card, copy protection will prevent it from working if you copy it to a different card or internal memory. So it will tie up your card slot with just that one map. There isn't much free space on those cards (I have one) and it's a bad idea to try to add anything to it.

The download version can only be used on the original unit that you downloaded it for. It is locked to that device when you do the download. However you can copy it to another card or internal memory.

So it's a trade-off. Get the card if you want to use it in different devices or if you might want to sell it later. Get the download for more flexibility in where to copy the file, but it will be useless if you buy a new GPS or if your current one is lost/broken.

You need to format cards as FAT32 to work in a Garmin device. Can this be done with a 64gb card? I didn't think so. But you will never need that much space because of other limits to their map format. The GPS can only access a maximum of 4000 map segments. These are the smaller "tiles" that make up the full map. So the size of the card is pretty irrelevant, you can hit that segment limit with 4gb worth of maps in many cases.

My own experience is that you will be over the segment limit if you load two of the Garmin 24k topos. IIRC, my Northeast  24k Garmin topo has around 2,000 segments.

The DVD versions of the maps are permanently installed on your computer, the SD card and download versions are in the wrong format for that, so you're kind of out of luck there. You can, however, copy the contents of either the SD card or download version to a USB flash drive and  Basecamp will read the map from it just as though your GPS was actually connected.

On the Mac, you could also create a disk image file and Basecamp will access that. Windows doesn't natively support that, however you could use a RAM disk. See this: http://www.javawa.nl/virtualdevice.html