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Couple questions regarding my new GPSmap62s

Started by Bferg, October 23, 2020, 08:46:53 PM

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I'm coming from a Garmin ETrek Legend (8mb Blue), now I have a GPSMap62s and need a bit of clarification regarding the new capabilities, how to tame this thing.

I have basecamp running, no Garmin dedicated maps, just maps from this site I believe.
Mainly use the GPS while hiking or skiing on trails I've not been on before, but have been trying things out in the city before actually relying on it in the backcountry.

What in you experience is the best method, pro's/cons of each for traveling on unknown trails
1) waypoint to waypoint
2) create a route or a track then follow that

3) The unit has different profiles, some give a calculation error when trying to navigate to a waypoint.
(At first I thought it might have been due to the maps not being routable, not exactly sure what that is, not familiar with this option from the older eTrek Legend)

4) I see within the Maps I have, the Southern Alberta Trail Map is routable, what does that mean and what does that allow me to do over the non-routable Ibycus maps v4?

5) Any idea if these maps are routable?
Worldwide DEM Basemap,NR
OpenMapChest Canada 2020.04.17

6) If a map is transparent what does that help or do?
How can I tell if a map is Transparent?
If two maps are transparent, which map is displayed?

Thanks in advance for your responses, this site is really helpful,  :D
Thanks again  :)


Routable maps contain information about the roads that allow the device to calculate turn-by-turn directions from a start to finish point. In other words, your route will choose the best roads to use and guide you on them. Non-routable maps don't have this info and cannot calculate routes, they will only show your position on the screen and a route will just be a straight line from the start to the finish that doesn't follow the roads. Most of the maps on this site are not routable.

Some of the GPS profiles will use this routing information, others will not.

The Worldwide DEM Basemap NR is not routable - "NR" means "Not Routable". This is a very crude map that is included on the GPS and only shows major features. It is not useful for anything except showing some major features when zoomed way out. If you zoom in, you will see how crude and inaccurate it is. DEM means "Digital Elevation Model", this data is used to provide shaded terrain but it is also very crude (low resolution). Garmin's own topo maps have higher resolution DEM data but maps from this site will not have this.

Transparent maps are intended to be enabled at the same time as another map. They will only have selected features, such as trails for example. So when you enable the transparent map, the trails will be added to another map that you are using.

Sorry, not familiar with the maps you mention.


Thanks for your explanation regarding Routable and Transparent maps.
I see now a variety of configurable options within each profile and with the activity option, I need to ensure this is setup properly.

Hum, I noticed within the profiles, there are various screen layouts, colors and sounds which are again different between the profiles. Could I select a profile that looks what I like, then copy and rename to My Profile, then review and change as needed to help get me a profile that I like or would that not be a good idea?

Also do you know if the unit consumes more battery power if more maps, waypoints or routes are available within its memory or if that does really impact its use?


Yes, that is pretty much how I have used profiles. To be honest, have not been using my Garmin handhelds much recently, power button broke on my Montana 600 and with the pandemic I'm just keeping to my own property and adacent state forest.

I don't think it could consume more power to store more maps and data on the GPS, the backlight for the screen is probably the biggest draw. Now, if you are enabling multiple maps at the same time, the processor has to work harder and that might affect battery life.

There are some limits regarding how many maps can be installed at the same time, due to the number of segments (tiles) they contain. Would have to look it up, but most Garmin handhelds have a limit of something like 4000 map segments. Hard to get a handle on what that means, because there is no standard size for a segment. My experience is that if you load two or three of Garmin's own 24k maps, you will hit the limit. If you exceed the segment limit, some maps (or parts of maps) will not appear.

But some people get the idea they can use a 32gb memory card and fill it with maps from GPSFileDepot. That is not going to work, and it doesn't matter whether the maps are enabled or not. You will likely hit the segment limit before filling a 16gb card with maps.


For hiking, routes are not very useful as it's generally just the roads that are routable depending on the map you're using.  A route will tell you to keep going until you get to the next junction or waypoint the route knows about, then tell you which way to go next.  So for off road hiking, with all the twists and turns and side trails, routes are useless.

I would try finding a GPX file to download of the desired trail (which can be edited or adjusted to your needs) or plot the trail as a track in Basecamp yourself if you have a detailed map and send that track to the 62s.  You can then follow the track on the 62s screen - although that might be tricky if you are skiing !!!  If you have to deviate from the track for whatever reason (rockfall or flood) you can still see where your intended path was and how far away you've deviated.  You can have extra waypoints so that you can navigate to one if you need to.

Yes, configure any profiles to your preferences and save it with a meaningful name.

I use rechargeable batteries (don't forget to set the correct option for the type in the System Menu) and two batteries will last all day (8 hours +).  But always take some spares.

When I first got the GPSMap62s, I was disappointed by how slow the map redraws on screen when you scroll around. I'd had an older Micro SD card in the device from when I first got it about 8 years ago.  A couple of years ago I replaced the Micro SD card with a newer one and transfered the maps I mainly use from the internal memory to the card and the redraw speed improved dramatically.  No need to get the highest spec card as the 62s can not make use of them - a mid range card will do.  I'm not sure if the 62s will only read up to 16gb, which is what I have, but you could try a 32gb card and format it in the 62s and see what does.  Note BOYD's comments about the number of map segments you can have.  For here in the UK my main maps are Garmin's "Birdseye Select" .JNX maps so that's not an issue for me.

Another peculiarity with the 62s that took me ages to figure out - if you have several tracks on the device, it does not matter how you name them, they appear in the track list in a seemingly random sequence.  That's because, unlike some of the eTrex models which do list in alphabetical sequence, the 62s lists lists tracks in order of how far away the first point of each track is from your current location.  So if you move to a different place the tracks will list in a different sequence.


Quote from: Cheese_Spread_Butties on October 26, 2020, 10:00:38 AMNote BOYD's comments about the number of map segments you can have.  For here in the UK my main maps are Garmin's "Birdseye Select" .JNX maps so that's not an issue for me.

Yes, .jnx files are raster imagery (pictures) and the tile limit is much higher, but it does exist. IIRC, it is supposed to be 50,000 tiles. Now, that sounds like a lot, but if you are trying to cover a whole state at high resolution (such as a 1-meter /pixel) it might be an issue.

As you said, they are used by Garmin for Birdseye imagery but Garmin does not support 3rd party .jnx maps. You must load them on the GPS with Basecamp and Garmin will "phone home" to check if you have an active birdseye subscription. If not, the .jnx files will not be authorized for your GPS and will not work. Birdseye subscriptions are tied to a specific GPS, so if you give them to somebody else, they won't work.

Now, there are work-arounds to trick Garmin into authorizing home-made .jnx files, but you still need an active subscription for the GPS device. This all gets rather complicated, but I have documented a way to do this with Mobile Atlas Creator in section 6.6 of my tutorial which you will find here:

I have moved away from making Garmin .img files myself. The format still has advantages and is widely used, but in many ways it seems like a relic of the 1990's from a technical standpoint. One quick example is that polygons cannot have borders - if you want a square with a white outline, you just can't do that. There are many other things about the format that seem very dated in the year 2020.

I mostly make raster-based maps because they are compatible with such a wide variety of devices, operating systems and apps. And Mobile Atlas Creator (free, open source) is a convenient format for distribution. When I devote the effort to create a map, I want to have the largest possible audience. Garmin handheld devices are a dying product category. All the other companies (Magellan, DeLorme, etc) are gone now and only Garmin remains. Their GPS devices aren't going away anytime soon, but the number of users is shrinking.

I'm actually moving away from any type of downloadable maps and find that much more people are interested in maps that can be accessed "live" in a browser, such as

Am just beginning work on a mobile version of my site that will have a user interface similar to a GPS. I think this will reach the largest audience - nothing to download or install. My work is focussed on the region where I live -  Southern New Jersey and also the larger Mid-Atlantic US. This gives me a chance to serve my own community and also create unique maps that aren't available anywhere else.

Anyway, it's good to see more people making their own maps. It's a steep hill to climb at the start but it gets easier as you go. And there is a special thrill about heading off on a drive or a hike while viewing YOUR OWN map on the gps screen.  :)


The KMZ tile limit (100/500) is per device but the JNX limit (50,000) is per map so the limit will be storage.

I don't recommend it but - for completeness of the discussion - there is a non-Garmin firmware patch that allows JNXs to be used without Birdseye.

The guy - Alex Whiter - who did much of the work on JNX and the patch died suddenly last year.


Thanks for the update, that is sad news about Alex. I was aware of the firmware hack but decided not to mention it, because GPSFileDepot does not allow discussion of that topic and has deleted previous posts on the subject. :)


I found a couple individual rechargeable AA's that had gone bad, they didn't hold a charge like their mate (have kept them as pairs for a few years now). I pulled them out and have mated the good ones into a pair as third string backup. And yes the backlight, found it with a long push on the power button, now have it displaying at about 25% brightness rather than 100%, that will help conserve some juice.

I find the GPSmap 62s (2011 era) faster to display maps than the older eTrek (2005 era). The eTrek was a great compact unit, displaying 4 levels of grey but was only soso in deep forest; it worked ok as a trail head locator or for navigation in a whiteout or thick fog. I picked up the 62s used and it will be easier to keep the collection of maps I have available and ready to go. Prior to this, the Etrek's 8mb of internal only memory wasn't quite enough and I needed to switch maps between a winter and summer use (Backcountry skiing, Mtn Biking/Hiking). I used IMG2GPS to transfer .img files to the GPS, com/rs232 port and a baud rate of 57600, it would take 30 minutes to transfer 8mb. Basecamp works better, so much better with the 62s.

The ease of enabling map sets I'll try to keep only loading the specific map for the task at hand (32mb on the gps and 16gb card is lots now). I like the GPS unit for its ability to navigate while out of cell phone coverage. I live in Alberta Canada and enjoy adventures in the local Rocky Mountains, some areas don't have cel coverage. I also have an older Garmin 301 that I used for fitness with a heart rate monitor, it outperforms my Fitbit watch as it's a bit bigger so I notice it more and make a conscience effort to turn it on at the trailhead, where the watch at times I forget, plus the watch then also needs an app to run on my iPhone and that draws the phone battery down, nothings perfect, the 62s I hope will be for hiking and skiing adventures.

Regarding routing, I wasn't sure if that was something useful on the trail. I've navigated waypoint to waypoint or followed my previous track, or navigated using a summer hiking trail while skiing when a brief snow whiteout blew in, it was helpful in navigating the top of a rock band then down along a ramp. Following a download GPX will be something new to use, I presume similar to following a trail marked on the map.
The map pan and zoom speed of this units seems much better than what I was used too before, memory card I'm using is a Kingston 16gb Micro SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 80MB/s R 10MB/s W ($10 cdn).

I followed your link to your boydsmaps online, pretty cool. Cooks maps as an intro, wow, cartography yes, this is cool. I like the looks and color of your Boyds Map of the Pines HD, love the colors. I was a draftsman for 36 years, 7 years pen and ink, 12 years Intergraph Microstation, 17 years AutoCAD Map (10cm pixel resolution orthophotos, dem with breaklines for a ground model, datums and coordinate systems) we were looking at ERSI when I retired (local municipal government was using it for their mapping and we could get update from their cycle, was to save some effort on our part).

I've no BirdsEye subscription, but I tested it and was able to get an demo area covering 5.6 X 4.0Km (22 sq km) of the local city streets and nice walking park. Looks pretty good like what you might get with Google Earth zoomed into the neighborhood, I can see a 1-2m pixel. I see in the BirdsEye Imagery dialog, number of images 1665, downloaded completed 1655, downloads failed 0, 18.3mb. Previous owner must have used lots of these.


Hey, thanks - glad you enjoyed my site! I have a background in drafting as well, starting in college in the late 1960's. My "real job" was in theatrical design, technology and management -

Started making my own maps around 2008 and have become more immersed in that since I retired in 2011. Finishing up a new map right now that covers a little larger area than my old "Map of the Pines" but with a really extreme level of detail and non-traditional style. It contains literally every building in the region (almost 3 million) from Microsoft's impressive open-source dataset, supplemented by my own proprietary data

This is a good example of why I am moving beyond Garmin's .img file format. It would be possible to create a map like this, and it would probably work in Basecamp, but it would just choke the GPS. The processors aren't powerful enough to process this level of detail, even on the newest devices.

Anyway - I'm sure you will enjoy the new GPS, it's certainly a huge upgrade from your eTrex (not "eTrek"). My first Garmin GPS was an eTrex Legend C that I got around 2004, before that I had a Magellan Meridian.

Have fun!



The Garmin "Birdseye" satellite imagery is different to the Garmin "Birdseye Select" maps I use for the very detailed maps of the UK.  The "Birdseye Select" maps, as Boyd said, are raster or bitmap pictures of maps rather than vector maps.  Maybe that's why the 62s was slow to redraw when I scroll the screen.  Anyway, my point about the memory card was that the 62s seems to read the maps much faster off a decent MicroSD card than from it's internal memory.  The Kingston card you have is more than adequate specification.


Boyd, Thanks for your help  ;)
Drawing and data display have come a long ways in the last 20 years, from diskettes to these tiny GB chips and then we have the cloud. Your drawings are cool, wow using the repository as a base, neato. Your system manages the roadnet text, line weight and color?   :o           Are there also behind the scene triggers to capture data at intervals? There are some big systems out there that need live data (or maybe just daily, weekly or monthly cuts).

When working, our department used at times a large construction GPS (using.. can't recall what sw  ::)) in which we would load civil utility, property maps. We'd clip a piece from the orthophotos and display them similar to the BirdsEye. Also with AutoCAD Map we'd clip a piece of the drawings and load them to the GPS. We'd use this so a field worker could update database properties, then have his results loaded back to main for updates.

These days with my new toy  :P, I get to wander new trails I've dreamed of for years.


Cheese_Spread_Butties  :-*
Yes the maps are pretty good, the imagery is more real to the eye, but does lack the precision and crispness that a line and symbol drawing has. The BirdsEye Imagery, the bitmap looks crisp also. When enabled Yes  :-\ the display is about half as fast as without it, but when zoomed in, it travels along with you pretty good, kinda neat  :)

I'm not sure but will check to where the maps are located, they might just be on the unit not the card. Great tip I'm going to do that  8) , (totally because Garmin yes puts their maps onto a card, their system is build around a card.   ;D SUPER TIP THANKS.


Most likely, you used GPS devices from Trimble, they are very popular in the construction industry (and very expensive!)

My site uses "tiled data" from many sources such as the States of NJ, NY, PA, DE and MD. Generally speaking, these are static and not updated once they are published (1995 aerial imagery doesn't need to updated, for example). If a State publishes a new dataset then it wouldn't appear on my site unless I add the code to display it. The kind of system you describe would be a map server that uses a database of vector data (points, lines and polygons) and renders them as a map as requested. I have considered setting this up, but it requires more computation and performs more slowly than simply sending tiles that already exist.

Tiled data is raster imagery, such as aerial photography, that is "chopped" into 256 x 256 pixel tiles and sent by the a server when requested. When I make a map myself, the final step is to render it as a big raster image and then export it as a set of tiles. These are then uploaded to my server.

Birdseye is also tiled imagery, but Garmin has their own non-standard way to doing this and of course their main priority is copy protection, so that you cannot use it without paying them. This is bad news for mapmakers like me - not because I want to steal their imagery, I couldn't care less about that. But because they use a proprietary system that (frankly) sucks. Garmin has fallen way behind smartphones in this regard. Smartphone apps use tiled data in open-source formats that are much, much more efficient than Garmin Birdseye.

These systems store the map tiles in a database that allows virtually unlimited map size and also performs much better, even on relatively slow hardware. It's a real shame that Garmin doesn't embrace open standards like this, but I have given up hope that the ever will. They use proprietary systems to force people to purchase their own products and clearly have no interest in people using free, open source maps from third parties.