Base Maps (routable and topo)

These are instructions to get free base maps installed and displayed on your Garmin eTrex 30x. I would assume these instructions are similar for other Garmin models, but, have only tested with the software and hardware I have. Your mileage may vary. Best of luck and enjoy your next adventure!

Doing everything here, including writing this page, took me most of a Monday morning. I would assume it takes about 2 hours of wall clock time before you can ask your device to take you to the local trailhead. 

I tried to break this up into logical pieces and steps. Here is that outline. Please do let me know if something can be improved! I will get to it as soon as time permits.

required software

  • Garmin BaseCamp includes (on mac):
    • Garmin BaseCamp
    • Garmin MapInstall
    • Garmin MapManager
  • Maps - I am bias, these maps are only for Colorado. Other states should be similar. I also always prefer free. Why, because I am cheap.
    • Routable
      • You select a point and get directions from your GPS based on current location. Like Google Maps on your phone.
    • Topographical - topo
      • So you can see how badly the hill you will climb might hurt and how much fun it will be on the way down.

install routable map to Garmin BaseCamp

Once at OpenStreetMap make the following selections:
  • Choose your map type: Generic Routable (new style)
  • Choose a predefined country: Change the 'North America' dropdown to Colorado
    • This should cause the map below to highlight all needed tiles to cover the state
After making these selections it should look like the following.
Routable Colorado map selection from OpenStreetMap

After making the appropriate selections above click on 'Download map now!'. This brings you to a link where you can choose the format of map installer based on the computer you are using. I have a mac, so, I picked On windows, it is an executable, osm_generic_windows.exe. I believe you run that installer and it does the right thing. On a mac, there are additional steps required...

mac map install steps

    1. Close BaseCamp
    2. Download base maps as described above
    3. Extract all contents of zip archive above
      1. The archive has a .gmap folder named something like 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).gmap'.
    4. Create a new folder named something like 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017)'
    5. Copy 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).gmap' into 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017)'.
    6. Rename 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017)' to 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).gmapi'.
    7. Double click on 'OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).gmapi' to launch MapManager
    8. Select 'Install' to install the routable map to BaseCamp
    9. Close MapManager
Open Garmin BaseCamp and make sure that the routable map is presented to you. On a mac, it looks like the following.
Routable CO map in Garmin BaseCamp
Close Garmin BaseCamp to start installation of topo maps.

setting up topo map

Once at GPSFileDepot download either the windows, 197-5725-colorado_topo_2011_install.exe, or mac version, 197-6674-cotopo11.tgz. This is at the top of the bottom 1/3 of the page.
On windows I think the executable does all of the lifting for you. On mac, do the following:

mac map install steps

  1. Extract all contents of zip archive above
    1. This archive has a file named something like cotopo11.gmapi.
  2. Install this base map just like you did for the routable map
MapManager should list the following.

Quit MapManager.
Open Garmin BaseCamp and ensure that map installation went well. It should look something like this on a mac.

installing maps onto Garmin eTrex 30x

In Garmin BaseCamp, select Maps --> Install Maps. This launches Garmin MapInstall. You will be presented with a set of maps that can be installed on your device. 
  1. Select set of maps you would like installed on your Garmin eTrex 30x
  2. Select continue
    1. Installation of both topo and routable maps took a little under 10 minutes for me.
  3. Select done
  4. Maps are installed at the following location
    1. /Volumes/GARMIN/Garmin/OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).img
    2. /Volumes/GARMIN/Garmin/cotopo11.img
  5. (optional) I move these from main storage to a SD card to leave more room for recorded tracks. I cut and paste these img (NDIF Disk Image) files to the following location. On windows I would assume the paths are similar. I have not been able to find a tool that manages these files for you. Seems Garmin wants you digging around in their filesystem...
    1. /Volumes/ETREX30XSD/Garmin/OSM generic routable new(US-CO_11-12-2017).img
    2. /Volumes/ETREX30XSD/Garmin/cotopo11.img
  6. Eject/unmount Garmin eTrex 30x

 selecting display map on Garmin eTrex 30x

Now that you have installed the base maps you want onto your GPS, you have to decide what maps will be enabled. To do this follow these steps.
  1. Turn your GPS unit on
  2. Double press/click the menu button on the lefthand side of the unit
  3. Select setup with joystick
  4. Select map with joystick
  5. Select map information with joystick
  6. Select desired map with joystick
  7. Select enable/disable as needed with joystick
  8. Repeat as needed for each map stored on device
  9. Select back button and view map to see if settings are the way you want
At this time I do not know how to change the order maps are displayed. If you do, I would absolutely love to learn!

Please do let me know if anything is wrong or could use improvement!