Having the GPX tracks is no use without having maps on the GPS to overlay them on.
As usual I prefer something free, so we are talking Open Street Map (OSM) files.
There are plenty of websites that offer suggested maps for your Garmin. A couple of the better ones are
Garmin.OpenStreetMap.nl (worldwide maps, not just Netherlands)
GPSFileDepot.com (also includes useful help and tutorials)
However after many dead ends elsewhere (“free maps” that aren’t etc.), much trial & error and testing of downloaded maps, the ones I’ve found are best by far FOR EUROPE are from FreizeitKarte
The blue line is my GR5 route. OK it’s not Ordnance Survey standard. Your choice…
- You can pay Garmin lots of money (currently £60 just for UK – it was over £100 when I bought my Oregon). With no backup (they actively prevent you backing up your map). So you lose it or you corrupt it = you buy a new one. And you can’t even install the map on Garmin’s own BaseCampTM application.
- You can go OSM for a map that is certainly enough to not get lost and to know up from down for £0 for any country in Europe and as many backups as you want.
I found it a pretty simple choice.
- Are available as .exe files that will install on Garmin’s (free) BaseCampTM software so you can work on your routes/tracks without needing your GPS plugged into your computer.
- Are available as .img files that you can copy directly onto your Garmin GPS µSD card. By default the files are all named ‘gmapsupp.img’ as required by older GPSs, so only one at a time can live on your device. If your GPS supports alternate names, you can simply rename the file before copying to the ‘\Garmin\’ folder on your µSD card and they will all happily coexist. I have all maps needed for the GR5 renamed (NL.img, BE.img, LU.img, FR.img and SW.img) and all copied onto one µSD card.
- Include contours.
- Have excellent coverage of Europe (some countries are not obvious in the menu – UK and Spain both live under “More Countries”, but they are all there).
- Are so good I am thinking of moving them to my GR5 Heroes page!