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Old 11-22-09, 06:24 PM   #1
eric von zipper
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garmin maps questions

I'm new to the world of GPS and I just picked up an eTrex Vista HCx. For those of you who have the same or similar, which method do you prefer getting maps and why? CD? Upload? microSD/SD?

Are there any alternatives or aftermarket maps people use?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 11-22-09, 08:05 PM   #2
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When I bought my Garmin Edge 705, the prevailing wisdom was that you should buy maps on CD. I believe the thinking was that the CD version could be unlocked and used both on your PC and the GPS device. The MicroSD-based maps, on the other hand, could only be used on the GPS device. I ended up with maps on MicroSD, because I got a great price, and haven't found it to be a problem. Most of the PC-based mapping software I've tried gets map data from Google, so not having a CD-based map hasn't been an issue for me.
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Old 11-23-09, 12:33 AM   #3
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I'm shopping for a GPS atm. There are gazillions of websites full of GPS nerds that will explain in excruciating detail all the different sources of data and how to convert them into a form that Garmin will accept. There are plenty of non-Garmin sources.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:10 PM   #4
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I have the same unit, love it!

They tried to get me to buy the CD's at the store - I seem to remember they were slightly more expensive.

I have CD street maps, and an SD topo map for north carolina. The data from the CDs gets loaded on an SD card, and you can swap them out as needed.

With the CDs, you can only load the data on to one GPS machine. If you buy another GPS, it won't let you load the same data on the other unit, it locks it in with the ID code from the first unit.

With the SD cards, you can switch them to wherever you want, if your first GPS breaks or you get a new one down the road.

I consider the CD's to be for people whose units are too small to hold all the data on the unit. If you're driving out west, you have to fill your GPS with the right map areas. With the Vista HCx, you can hold the entire CD set worth of data on your unit - no need to have the CD's after that point, the data is all loaded on an SD card, and you can't use the CD's to load data to any other machine.
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Old 11-23-09, 11:38 PM   #5
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i'll never consider the sd cards. i know sd cards have a maximal WRITE cycles during their useful life - and you can't back up the maps without consideration effort if i'm not wrong. for cds, it's still fairly easy.

i use a 8gb microsdhc on my 60csx and i load maps from all over the place....

*cough cough torrents cough cough*
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Old 11-24-09, 12:02 PM   #6
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[i use a 8gb microsdhc on my 60csx and i load maps from all over the place....]

When I bought my Map76cx I understood the max storage limit for a microSD card was 2GB. Has that changed?
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Old 11-24-09, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sehsuan View Post
i'll never consider the sd cards. i know sd cards have a maximal WRITE cycles during their useful life - and you can't back up the maps without consideration effort if i'm not wrong. for cds, it's still fairly easy.

i use a 8gb microsdhc on my 60csx and i load maps from all over the place....

*cough cough torrents cough cough*
I hadn't considered maximal write cycles. Upon reflection, you will probably need to get the latest set of street maps before the SD card wears out. But if you have the CD, you can always reload the data.

As you allude, if you're tech savvy at all, you can probably find what you need online.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sehsuan View Post
i'll never consider the sd cards. i know sd cards have a maximal WRITE cycles during their useful life - and you can't back up the maps without consideration effort if i'm not wrong.
I have maps for my Garmin Edge 705 on an SD card. In the year I've owned the unit, the card has only be written once (at the factory). When I connect the 705 to my computer I can see, as far as I know, the entire contents of the SD card. Haven't tried to duplicate the data onto another SD card, but at first glance it doesn't seem like it would be difficult...
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Old 11-24-09, 06:45 PM   #9
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Here are some free European maps derived from OpenStreetMap.
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Old 11-24-09, 08:40 PM   #10
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>When I bought my Map76cx I understood the max storage limit for a microSD card was 2GB. Has that changed?

Yeah, read up on SDHC - the wikipedia articles are pretty comprehensive. Different devices support different classes of SD/microSD, though. I just ordered a Garmin Oregon 550, with three different size of microSD card just to be safe: 2Gb, 4Gb, 8Gb.
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Old 11-25-09, 06:37 AM   #11
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If I buy one I prefer a CD. I only have one device (Vista HCx) if I replace it then I ask Garmin to change the Id.
I'm also using OSM or other free maps.
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