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STICKY: Free High Quality Topo Maps For Your GPS

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I have a website to share that has high quality topo maps that can be downloaded for free. Garmin charges $100-120 for a single state. These maps are not pirated. They were created using public data. The maps I use have 20' contour lines, trails and labeled roads. Here is the site. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com

If you want to download some maps see the tutatorial page. It is realy easy to do. Or I have posted some instructions down below.

I am curious how many of you are using a GPS on your bike.

Recently I just purchased a Garmin Vista Hcx. So far I am impressed by its performance. With the high sensitivity antenna the unit did not lose signal once while riding in the extreme terrain in our local mountains with signal quality +/- 9ft.

Here are some instructions I'll share. If you hit a roadblock let me know and I will help you out.

First you need to download-install trainingcenter and mapsource from Garmin. These programs make it possible to put the maps on your GPS. Go to this page to get them. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/tutorials/how-to-install-mapsource-if-it-didnt-come-with-your-gps/ You will need to click on the training center link and download it FIRST. Pick a spot on your computer to save them to. Like C://mydocuments/downloads You can also make a folder for these so you can easily access them. Once it downloads you need to install it. I believe it will prompt you to do so if not double click on trainingcenter where you saved it to and follow the directions. Once you have finnished installing training center there is another item you MUST have it is Mapsource. Download this program and install it as well.

OK so you have what you need to get the maps to your GPS. You just need to go search for the Topo maps you want. Go here to download them. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/ Pick your topo maps and download them to the same folder as before. There are maps covering the whole US and different countries if you want a variety. Just download all the ones you will want to use. One suggestion is to download the maps that have the easy installer. They are not mandatory but will save a few other steps.

So by now you should have all the maps downloaded you want. Go to the Mapsource program you have saved and open it. It will prompt you to accept the user agreement again and it will reload with the maps you have chosen.

Now you need to have your GPS ready and the cable hooked to your computer to start downloading. Go to this link it will explain how to get the maps to your GPS. The Idaho, Washington and the NW US Topo maps have the easy installer so use step 3 to start. Sorry I did not want to type all this so here is the link with the following instructions. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/tutorials/how-to-load-maps-on-my-garmin-gps-unit// This should take care of you. I hope that I was able to explain this so you are able to understand it. I don't mind helping anyone out just let me know.

Maybe this could make it to a sticky someday.

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I use the Vista Hcx also. I paid $100 for the NW topo chip. Is there any way to view the maps on your PC first? Most downloadable maps that I've found can't be viewed in Mapsource.

I assume you already know about Switchbacks.com. They have free download for Trails NW that I heard is pretty decent. It is a compilation from dirtbike riders and mountain bike riders that post their tracks on the site.

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I use the Vista Hcx also. I paid $100 for the NW topo chip. Is there any way to view the maps on your PC first? Most downloadable maps that I've found can't be viewed in Mapsource.

I assume you already know about Switchbacks.com. They have free download for Trails NW that I heard is pretty decent. It is a compilation from dirtbike riders and mountain bike riders that post their tracks on the site.

Yes you can preview the maps in mapsource. If you already have this program then it is a realy quick process getting the maps. Download all the maps that you might use. Once you have done that in Mapsource there is a drop down menu on the upper left. This makes it so you can switch between maps you have. It is a neat feature. I have found that my Vista Hcx will hold the whole state of Idaho and more with the 2 gig micro sd card.

Yes I have the Northwest trails from switchbacks.com. This is a cool addition to the topo's. It is a overlayment for them. I plan on logging data for them and sending it in so they can update some more.

How do you have your GPS mounted? If you could I would like to see some pictures. This is something I am strugling with. Want to mount it so it will be able to be used easily but protected as well.

One more thing you will need a seperate sd card to get extra maps. The pre-loaded chips are somewhat restrictive. I found mine for $10 at Wallmart.

Do you have any tips for using Mapsource? Like logging-making trails that can be loaded back to your GPS.

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Although the picture shows a different etrex, I have a Garmin Legend HCX. The size and mounting are the same. There is a bent aluminum plate that holds the speedometer and the GPS. I use velcro to hold the GPS in place with a rubber band over the GPS as a backup then run a zip tie through the strap and handlebar as a final fail safe. I have logged a lot of miles on and off road with this setup and found it to be well protected from mud and debris as well as during crashes.

I use the track feature when riding unfamiliar territory to be able to get back to the truck and use the trip computer and track log when racing to record the race and play it back later on topofusion.

Do you have to have an SD card to download the maps to the etrex?

IMAGE_213.jpg

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Although the picture shows a different etrex, I have a Garmin Legend HCX. The size and mounting are the same. There is a bent aluminum plate that holds the speedometer and the GPS. I use velcro to hold the GPS in place with a rubber band over the GPS as a backup then run a zip tie through the strap and handlebar as a final fail safe. I have logged a lot of miles on and off road with this setup and found it to be well protected from mud and debris as well as during crashes.

I use the track feature when riding unfamiliar territory to be able to get back to the truck and use the trip computer and track log when racing to record the race and play it back later on topofusion.

Do you have to have an SD card to download the maps to the etrex?

IMAGE_213.jpg

Thanks for the picture. You need a sd card if you have a Hcx, Cx or a x model. The X stands for external memory hence needing a SD card. Other Etrex models do not require them. What is topofusion? I'll have to google that. Do I need to download the program?

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Topofusion has a free version that says "Demo" when you use it or you can purchase it to get rid of the "Demo" text. As I mentioned, you can play back tracks to view your path, speed, stopped time, etc. I like being able to see where I lost time and where I need to improve.

I have also made routes with this program before. One of the nice features is being able to toggle between various maps like topo, aerial, etc.

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I'll bite, I use a GPS on all my rides;

Some GPS 101;

GPSFileDepot is a great resource... and been around a long time.

GPSExchange is another great source for 'riders' of all types.

GPSVisualizer is yet one of the best conversion programs thats free, and online.

GPSBabel... close second for conversions

OZIExplorer is a great 'moving map' program, and one that'll allow map overlays from digitized photos. Very nice program, and one I use extensively with scanned in paper maps (AAA, BLM, BAJA ALMANAC, ...etc).

LBMaps/BICIMapas - great Baja maps for the Baja lover.

*.GPX (XML Data Format) is the best file extension to save any Garmin GPS file as, being it'll cross over to most all other applications/conversion programs.

... just not sure why this is in the "450X" forum. It's been discussed it seems in 'every' forum. 👍

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... just not sure why this is in the "450X" forum. It's been discussed it seems in 'every' forum. 👍

I have not seen this information any where on this site so far. But I mostly spend my time in the 450x forum. I figured if I spread the word it might just save some people money. And it looks like it has so far. Sorry to make this post repetitive.

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I have not seen this information any where on this site so far. But I mostly spend my time in the 450x forum. I figured if I spread the word it might just save some people money. And it looks like it has so far. Sorry to make this post repetitive.

I hear ya... and thumbs up for saving Xers some money! 👍

... use the search feature, and your bound to be astounded.🤣

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I use a Garmin 60CSX. After reading about guys loosing their units I bought a tour-tech. I think thats how you spell it. It was pricey but the GPS fits in a cage ahd it locks with a key. I don't use it every time I ride but when I go some where new I use it.

Thanks for the info, if it wasn't here I would not have seen it.

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Hey no problem. Figured I would share the info. As for the fork tube I guess you could call me lazy for not straitening it. This is how it came from the dealer.

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I have a GPSMap60SCx, I just keep it in my pack and use it to create track logs, or to check if we are lost...works pretty good, seems to be fairly accurate even in the pack. I found that if I dont save the track log (on the GPS) then I get alot more info when pulling it over to the PC.

I went with it for the bigger screen, Some day Ill spend the time to make my own mount kit, would be nice to have it alittle more available.

I run the topomap on it, but Ill check out the websites you mention...

Thanks!

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........ I found that if I dont save the track log (on the GPS) then I get alot more info when pulling it over to the PC. .............

That's correct... due to it not "filtering" down to 500 points or less when you "save" the 'ACTIVE LOG' that has a capacity or capability of 10,000 track points. But in reality, you never would need more than 500 track points... even on a LONG track of a couple hundred miles.

.......After reading about guys loosing their units I bought a tour-tech............

Careful of where you mount it. Touratech (Tour-a-tech) are known to be "gulletines" when your flesh comes into contact with it. I'd rather lose my GPS... have it dangle... or break in some manner than lacerating my neck when my head violently comes down to the bar area. Nice mounts, just not for me (and even though the key offers some security, it's mounting options are lacking. Thus, you lose the 'key' security when someone simply unbolts the entire unit... and you lose mount AND Gps!)

http://www.touratech-usa.com/shop/media2/01-065-0077-01.jpg

http://www.cycoactive.com/gps/tt60.html

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I have a GPSMap60SCx, ......... I found that if I dont save the track log (on the GPS) then I get alot more info when pulling it over to the PC.

If you save the track to the data card you are not limited to the 500 track points and you can store as many tracks with up to 9999 data points as your data card capacity will allow. I have a 2gb micro sd card in mine and it is way more than I need even with TOPO, TOPO 2008 and City Navigator for CA, NV, OR and WA loaded on it. Looking in the owners manual and it will tell you how to set up the GPS to store to the card and how to download it.

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Based on this thread, I bought a 4 gig SD card then downloaded the topo's for the 4 states in my area. It took about 10 minutes each to download them then about an hour to transfer from the computer to the GPS. It looks like it used about 1 gig on the GPS.

The maps are awesome. The accuracy and amount of detail is amazing. I noticed they even show high power electric transmission lines! Definitely adds another dimension to riding now that I have the maps. Thanks CRFrider-northIdaho.

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Hey no problem. Glad to hear they worked for you. Can't beat saving a few bucks.

Share the info with others. I have three states ID, WA and OR on my 2 gig card. It used 1 gig of space.

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