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  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Anybody using Open Street Maps on their Garmin...?

    I've got an Edge 800, without the maps. I bought the cheaper one because I already had the HRM and cadence sensor, and because mapping seemed like it might be useful in the future. At the time, the base map seemed like enough to get me unlost when I'd go explore the east side.

    This past weekend I did a solo tour of Tacoma. I wrote three pages of cue sheets, had them in my back pocket ... and then didn't have them. It was a very windy day, and I must have been careless when I stuffed them back into the pocket after checking for what comes next. Anyway, having a map on the GPS would have been useful; having a navigable map and putting my route into the Garmin instead of on paper would have been the smart thing. And I'm planning to do a lot of riding out of town this year.

    So, I can get the Garmin 24k maps (west only, but all I need for the foreseeable future) for $100, or the OSM ones for free. The 'open' maps seem to be pretty high quality, allow routing, and are compatible with Garmin units. It's a good pitch. Anybody tried it?

    If anyone is feeling adventurous, here is the download link: http://www.osmmaps.com/united-states.html
    Don't believe everything you think.

  2. #2
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    Yes, I installed the OSM maps on my 705 and they work great.

    You haven't burned any bridges if you decide to use a garmin map in the future.

    Go for it.
    Dale, NE9V
    2005 CAAD8 - Campy/Boyd/Brooks/3T | 2001 LeMond Alpe d'Huez | 1971 Dawes Realmrider

  3. #3
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    I used a free map (not sure if it was OSM) on my hiking garmin. It incudes the whole state of CO including streets and is 24k topo. I've not tried to use it to navigate a street yet, but it's worked fine for hiking and I can see my the streets around my house, etc. For free, what's not to like. I say give it a try. If you get lost, you can always buy the garmin map once you are found.

  4. #4
    Descends like a rock pallen's Avatar
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    interesting. I looked into free maps when I first got my 705, but could only find partial maps of various cities. Any idea how often these are updated?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Well, the consensus is I won't hurt anything. And the instructions on OSM say you should put the file onto a micro-SD card and put that in your Garmin, so there aren't any permanent changes of any kind. I'm downloading the map now.

    Quote Originally Posted by pallen View Post
    Any idea how often these are updated?
    Constantly, I think. It's like Wikipedia for map people. The download link seems to have been complied on Jan 25, though, so I could be mistaken.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Grad Student seejohnbike's Avatar
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    just used this to generate a map for my garmin for a trip to spain this week.
    http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

    you can select any region (or larger), and stitch a map together as you please. Idk if it does topo maps, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. Depending on which map tiles you select, the server will even stitch them all together into a gmapsupp.img file for you to stick directly onto the garmin.

    cant tell you how accurate the maps are, but when I'm over there I'll test them out, and come back with a full report.
    If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I've got an 8 Gbyte SD card and installed the OSM maps. They seem to work just fine. 4 GByte handles the entire US (which I don't need)
    Rick T
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  8. #8
    Descends like a rock pallen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    The download link seems to have been complied on Jan 25, though, so I could be mistaken.
    thats probably more recent than anything you would get from Garmin

  9. #9
    Your Recovery Ride Buddy krazygl00's Avatar
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    Absolutely, and they work great! That the Garmin maps are $100 is ridiculous, when you can get OSM for free, and they are every bit as good as far as I can tell. Plus, the OSM maps are available for places which the Garmin maps are not (like Colombia, South America).

    A couple of tips: The older firmware versions (on the 705, at least) would not support greater than 2G on the micro SD card. If you upgrade to the latest firmware you can use 8G micro SD cards, which lets you keep multiple maps. You can get 8G microSD cards at computer/camera stores. This is handy because if you compile your own maps tiles you can choose just the regions you want to save space, and then switch between them later. Example: I keep my Garmin maps (which I paid for before I knew about OSM), my OSM maps of the Northeastern US, and my OSM maps of South America all on the same MicroSD. I keep them named gmapsupp_G_USA.img, gmapsupp_OSM_NE_USA.img and gmapsupp_OSM_SA.img. To switch, just plug the GPS unit into the USB port on a computer, navigate to the MicroSD and rename the file you want to use "gmapsupp.img". The Garmin -- at least the 705 that I have -- is hard-coded to use this filename for its street map. You cannot choose other .img files (unfortunately).

    Yeah, it would be handy indeed (and if there are any Garmin engineers reading this I'm talking to you) if the unit would see any file named .img on the MicroSD and let you choose which map was currently being used. It would certainly make it easier to switch maps. I suppose they don't want to do this because then it would be easier for people for people to use OSM, but do you really think that anyone who knows about OSM is going to not use them because they are deterred by this?
    Last edited by krazygl00; 03-01-12 at 02:16 PM. Reason: did I really say "...which let's you keep..."?
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  10. #10
    Maximus
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    Great info. Thank you.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazygl00 View Post
    Absolutely, and they work great! That the Garmin maps are $100 is ridiculous, when you can get OSM for free, and they are every bit as good as far as I can tell.
    That's what I was hoping to hear. (That, or the opposite and "stay away.") The file is coming down pretty slowly, so I won't get to load the map onto my Edge until tomorrow. Anyway, I don't need it to be perfect ... I just want to be able to find my way back to the car or to somewhere I know, when I take my bike out exploring. Probably I'm over-complicating this.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  12. #12
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    I have both the Garmin maps and the osm ones and have used both on my Edge 800 with good results.

    There is a program you can download for the osm maps that tracks your map version and incrementally updates it when you periodically check for updates. I can't recall the name of it as it is loaded on my thinkpad and my kids use that laptop now.

    A search on the osm maps from Google and you should be able to find the info.

    Good Luck
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  13. #13
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    I have a "built in" map, ( of full U.S.?) on my 705, but rarely use it for navigation. My wife bought me one after I mentioned "off-hand" that one would be nice to have in a "strange" area, wish I'd mentioned something "higher up the list" of wants and needs. It is kinda fun to play with though. I do like the calories burned and the incline feature.
    Last edited by pat5319; 03-02-12 at 12:37 AM.
    Pat5319


  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I can't seem to download more than about 50 MB of the 2.2 GB map file. I've been at it since yesterday, and it's failed four or five times now.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  15. #15
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I can't seem to download more than about 50 MB of the 2.2 GB map file. I've been at it since yesterday, and it's failed four or five times now.
    I'm not sure how it will work on my Oregon unit, but I downloaded it last night out of curiosity. I used the torrent option and it took around 5 or 6 hours. Not sure the actual time as I went to sleep before it finished.

    EDIT: oh, and if you need torrent software try Transmission. Open Source and free. Has worked great for me. Not sure if they have a windows option but I have used it on Mac and Linux. Plenty of others out there too.
    Last edited by bikerjp; 03-02-12 at 12:30 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I can't seem to download more than about 50 MB of the 2.2 GB map file. I've been at it since yesterday, and it's failed four or five times now.
    It's a problem with the server, your internet connection, or the download manager in your browser if awful.

    Try the torrent option as bikerjp suggested. uTorrent is an excellent client for Windows and OS X.

    EDIT: Doesn't look like a terribly healthy torrent. Might take many hours.
    Last edited by shouldberiding; 03-02-12 at 02:37 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I don't know that I should be running a torrent client at work. Currently I've got 918 MB of the file, but it's slowed to 6.4 KB/sec. I don't think it'll finish.

    Maybe I should figure out how to just get WA and not the whole country.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  18. #18
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    I use the OSM maps on my Garmin and find them to be mostly very good. The biggest downsides is that if you route based on driving it will take you the fastest route which might not be bike-legal and if you route by cycling it might take you down trails that are only suited to pretty hardcore MTB types.

    What I've often done when planning a longer route is to use BikeRouteToaster.com to design the route, use Google Street View to check out any areas I'm not sure about, and fine-tune as necessary. Then download the track log, copy it onto the Garmin, and tell the Garmin to follow the route. On my older Garmin (60CSx) I can tell it to show the track on the map in black, which also makes it pretty easy to follow.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  19. #19
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    If you're having trouble getting maps, try http://garmin.openstreepmap.nl - that should let you select which areas you're interested in.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  20. #20
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    There are prebuilt maps already set up for Garmin use. Just download and use them. No map creating software is needed.

    I posted a detailed procedure to download the correct map. It's easy.
    Here it is.


    There are 500mb maps that cover a few hundred mile wide slice of the world, a 1000mb larger map, and a 2000mb one that covers half the USA, and now a 3gb (says 4000mb) that's the whole world.
    The big maps can take a long time to download, and then hours(!) to write to the Garmin.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 03-02-12 at 04:00 PM.

  21. #21
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I never had any luck using the .gpx routes. My 705 would just shortcut direct from the start to the finish--useless.

    So I have been using .tcx Courses, and use the Training menu of the 705 to run them. They load instantly, and never try to recalculate a route. The route shows as a purple line on the map. But, there's normally no warning of an upcoming turn when viewing the map. That's usually not a problem. (It does have a list of upcoming turns on a separate screen, with times and distances updated on the fly)

    But recently, I tried the ridewithgps.com .gpx cuesheet only file. It worked great. Even though it only contains the turns, it loads quickly and accurately, shows the same purple route line, and gives me street named warnings 30 seconds before each turn.

    (I did seem to miss one turn's prompts last time, even though the purple line was correct. I'll have to try more routes to see if there are any more problems. And I always load the .tcx route as a backup option)

    select this one from the downloads section when a route is displayed:
    GPX Route (.gpx)
    Only the cuesheet entries, not the entire track. Useful for the Garmin Edge 205, 305 and Edge 500 for turn notifications (turn by turn directions)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ridewithgps is my favorite route creating site. It shows the distance and elevation graph as I create the route, and it's really easy to back out a section and try a different route. I tried bikeroutetoaster, but it's really hard to correct mistakes--I often had to start over from the beginning.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 03-02-12 at 04:19 PM.

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