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Garmin Vista HCx - What UK Maps are available


froggyted

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Hi

 

I've owned a Vista HCx since shortly after its release. Excellent unit - but it's obvious that even more sophisticated mapping units have been released over the following years. Such is progress - a gadget is obsolete almost as soon as it's bought! But i guess i'll be sticking with this unit for some considerable time in view of the price i paid for it.

 

Does anybody know what UK maps are available for this unit? It has the Atlantic Basemap installed, which features major GB roads and most towns and villages, but very little additional information useful for hiking. The only compatible map i can see on the Garmin site is the Great Britain Topo Map, available on dvd. Can this be transferred onto a micro sd card and then read by the unit (including topographical information, paths etc.) or can you only transfer waypoints onto the device? If the answer is the latter, does anybody know of any other mapping software that is available on micro SD card for use with this device? I remember reading reviews shortly after purchasing the unit which criticised the TOPO software for its inconsistent path coverage and after looking at the map on the Garmin site this is still the case, although it contains some very useful information regarding topography, rivers, and minor roads.

 

Thanks in advance to anybody who can provide any answers.

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Thanks for the prompt replies guys. I will be taking a close look at the links you provided, much appreciated.

 

What's the general opinion about the Garmin Topo maps? They certainly don't have a comprehensive coverage of paths and trails, although the generally uncluttered layout looks very useful for tracking contours and small streams; however, rather expensive, certainly on the Garmin OS site. As mentioned before i'll be taking a close look at the links provided in the above replies and will probably select a cheaper option unless Topo users can convince me that they're worth the cost.

Edited by froggyted
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What's the general opinion about the Garmin Topo maps? They certainly don't have a comprehensive coverage of paths and trails, although the generally uncluttered layout looks very useful for tracking contours and small streams; however, rather expensive, certainly on the Garmin OS site. As mentioned before i'll be taking a close look at the links provided in the above replies and will probably select a cheaper option unless Topo users can convince me that they're worth the cost.

 

Speaking personally, I really like the TopoGB v2 maps. I have them installed on my GPSMap 60CSx. The point to bear in mind is that these are topographical maps - they show physical land features and not legal rights of way, so where they show a track or a path, there will be a physical track or a path on the ground, but it won't tell you where public rights of way are (although often the rights of way go along the same physical tracks or paths). I use mine a lot, but usually in conjunction with a 1:25,000 OS map (which if you're in the hills you should have anyway, with a compass - in case your GPS gives up the ghost). The detail they give of features like streams and contours is pretty incredible (and zoomed in they'll often show more detail than a 1:25,000) map. Most of the time in the hills, I'll be navigating using contours and streams (the landform) as my main reference points, and I don't generally need much more.

 

The install/registration of the maps was (as I recall) a little bit involved with activation codes to be entered, but not too difficult and only needs to be done once. I have mine installed on a 2GB microSD card and it works fine. The only thing is that the maps are locked to the device you install them on, so if at a later date you change/update your GPS, you won't be able to transfer the mapping and you'll have to buy again (though chances are, if you get a different GPS, you might want to get the GB Explorer type mapping).

 

To be honest, whilst the newer mapping looks nice, if I were to get a new GPS tomorrow, I'd probably buy TopoGB again to put on it as a base-map, and maybe some of the 1:25,000 GB Explorer maps just to cover specific areas.

Hope this helps.

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What's the general opinion about the Garmin Topo maps? They certainly don't have a comprehensive coverage of paths and trails, although the generally uncluttered layout looks very useful for tracking contours and small streams; however, rather expensive, certainly on the Garmin OS site. As mentioned before i'll be taking a close look at the links provided in the above replies and will probably select a cheaper option unless Topo users can convince me that they're worth the cost.

 

Speaking personally, I really like the TopoGB v2 maps. I have them installed on my GPSMap 60CSx. The point to bear in mind is that these are topographical maps - they show physical land features and not legal rights of way, so where they show a track or a path, there will be a physical track or a path on the ground, but it won't tell you where public rights of way are (although often the rights of way go along the same physical tracks or paths). I use mine a lot, but usually in conjunction with a 1:25,000 OS map (which if you're in the hills you should have anyway, with a compass - in case your GPS gives up the ghost). The detail they give of features like streams and contours is pretty incredible (and zoomed in they'll often show more detail than a 1:25,000) map. Most of the time in the hills, I'll be navigating using contours and streams (the landform) as my main reference points, and I don't generally need much more.

 

The install/registration of the maps was (as I recall) a little bit involved with activation codes to be entered, but not too difficult and only needs to be done once. I have mine installed on a 2GB microSD card and it works fine. The only thing is that the maps are locked to the device you install them on, so if at a later date you change/update your GPS, you won't be able to transfer the mapping and you'll have to buy again (though chances are, if you get a different GPS, you might want to get the GB Explorer type mapping).

 

To be honest, whilst the newer mapping looks nice, if I were to get a new GPS tomorrow, I'd probably buy TopoGB again to put on it as a base-map, and maybe some of the 1:25,000 GB Explorer maps just to cover specific areas.

Hope this helps.

 

Yes, very useful, RamblinBear. I do agree with you about the readability of the Topo maps: contours and streams in particular often get lost in the clutter of detail of the OS maps. I have a similar discussion going on in the UK subforum, where i made a similar observation to yours regarding the need to carry a paper map around with you. It would be foolish to rely solely on technology out in the wilds, and the OS maps are well worth the money. Additionally, i never go out in the wilds without a 'real' compass (not since i got lost not far from my own backyard in the 1980s!). It's a pity, though, that the Topo maps have such inconsistent trail coverage. Imo, Garmin didn't support the Vista HCx and similar models very well with regard to map coverage, and soon abandoned it for the newer models, which seem to be very well catered for.

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Speaking personally, I really like the TopoGB v2 maps. I have them installed on my GPSMap 60CSx. The point to bear in mind is that these are topographical maps - they show physical land features and not legal rights of way, so where they show a track or a path, there will be a physical track or a path on the ground, but it won't tell you where public rights of way are (although often the rights of way go along the same physical tracks or paths). I use mine a lot, but usually in conjunction with a 1:25,000 OS map (which if you're in the hills you should have anyway, with a compass - in case your GPS gives up the ghost). The detail they give of features like streams and contours is pretty incredible (and zoomed in they'll often show more detail than a 1:25,000) map. Most of the time in the hills, I'll be navigating using contours and streams (the landform) as my main reference points, and I don't generally need much more.

 

I found the Topo maps were very hit-and-miss regarding detail.

 

I found paths marked on the Topo maps that, on the ground, were little more than worn strips of earth over grassland. Other times I've found trails that were gravel and two cars wide (indeed they led to a car park) that weren't shown on the map.

 

I used them for a long time before trying the OSM maps - for the longest time I figured the OSM maps couldn't be all that good if they were free, and of course the wiki-style interface is theoretically vulnerable to vandalism. But then one day I tried them, and haven't used the Topo maps since.

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