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Garmin Beginner Advice

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I finally gave up my Magellan Explorist GC and just bought a Garmin GPSMAP 66s.  I THINK I did all the set-up steps.  The geocaches are appearing on the screen but, there is no map with them...just the caches located on a blank background.  How do I get the map to show the streets, etc?  I have an OLD PC, an iPad and the Garmin.  Please respond in simple language that my non-techie, senior citizen brain can understand!



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A factory Garmin usually comes with a "base map" with some map features but a lot of blank space, not really a street map.  I bought a Garmin map SD card a couple years ago, so that I can swap it between devices easily, and maybe not have to "load maps" all the time.  And it's the whole US, kind of handy, and has "street routing" (very handy).


You might download free "open" maps for just one area, or for places you intend to visit.  You'll need to follow some steps to install that, but it can be relatively simple.


Here's a video about map settings: 



Edited by kunarion
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A ton of useful information for your GPSMAP 66s (and many other Garmin devices) is available at GPSrChive.


Spend some time to read and study all that is there, and you can ask questions in that forum as well as here.


In regard to the question asked, about getting maps to display, you need to enable them in Setup > Map. (that information is available at the link above)


Your GPSMAP 66s only comes with a basemap installed - not really usable for much, but necessary for the device to function properly. The 66st would have included Topo Maps, which would have been more useful.


No sweat, there are many many free maps available for you device, but you will need to read the 'Maps' section at the above link to learn how they are used with your device, and where to find them. There are many great links for different map options there. Once you find a map you like, installation instructions are on the 'Maps' page and may also be supplied with the map you chose.


Let us know how you proceed!





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In addition to the maps you end up with on the 66S, you can also connect the 66 to your smartphone, assuming you have one, with Garmin Explore and Garmin Connect, two very useful apps. Explore allows you to download many maps including Topo and OSM to the app on your phone, making it possible for you to see tracks/waypoints etc you sync from the gps to the app. You can create waypoints and routes in Explore and send them to the gps, or create collections and send those as well.


Here's a couple of screen capture of my 66S syncing the day's activities to the Explore app, and a second screen capture from my iPhone, taken while I was walking a trail this afternoon. 


You can also download Birdseye map segments to the 66S for free. The 66S is an awesome device. 


IMG-8293.thumb.PNG.a84693d97c4580b3acec9bedccf8d802.PNG IMG-8292.thumb.PNG.0844378d932b84ba4632a6c1721b5a53.PNG




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Thank you soooo much to everyone who replied.  I can see that I have some learning to do! LOL  Luckily it’s Christmas and, here in Ontario, Canada, we’re in lockdown so I have plenty of free time!!  

I actually went out this afternoon and, despite not really knowing what I was doing, I managed to find 6 caches.  VERY EXCITING.  Can’t imagine what it will be like once I have a better understanding of how everything works...together and alone.

Thanks for your support.  It means a lot to someone with limited techno capabilities.

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Okay, I’m back and I’m in tears of frustration and feeling VERY OLD.  I did as suggested and downloaded BaseCamp onto my PC.  Then I went to GPSrChive and downloaded a map.  I unzipped it.  Then I followed the instructions and went back to BaseCamp.  It recognizes the device but in the “box” below, it says “No unlocked maps were found for this device”.  So...how do I get BaseCamp to look through my PC to find the map I just downloaded?  I am soooo confused.  

Edited by mtbtravel
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At the GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66 > Maps page, after installing the map to your PC under 'Map Install PC' (as it sounds like you already have), there are three options for sending the map to your Garmin device. You want to select the 'Send Map to GPSr With BaseCamp' option, which will lead you through a step by step tutorial with pictures!


The same information is also available from the GPSrChive > How To... > Maps page.



Edited by Atlas Cached
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Okay I’m back.  A cookie and some egg nog helped.  Are you still there Atlas?  Following directions from rChive, I went to GPSFIleDepot and successfully downloaded a map called “CA-CentralProv Topo.img” onto my PC.  It is currently stored in “My Documents”.  I’m not even sure if this is a street map but I thought I would use it as a test to see if I could get it to download.  I failed the test miserably.


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Egg Nog always helps 8^)


Super Easy then.


Maps already in the *.img format do not need special installers to work on your GPSr, they are already configured for the device!


From GPSrChive:



Map Install Direct

Not all maps require installation to a host computer before being sent to your Garmin GPSr. Maps in the following formats can be copied directly to a compatible GPSMAP GPSr or microSD card as shown:

  • IMG: [GPSr]\Garmin\ or [microSD]\Garmin\
  • KMZ: [GPSr]\Garmin\CustomMaps\ or [microSD]\Garmin\CustomMaps\
  • JNX: [GPSr]\Garmin\BirdsEye\ or [microSD]\Garmin\BirdsEye\
  • GPX: [GPSr]\Garmin\GPX\ or [microSD]\Garmin\GPX\
  • GPI: [GPSr]\Garmin\POI\ or [microSD]\Garmin\POI\


See GPSrChive > GPSMAP 66 > Maps > Map Install Direct for more info.


You just need to copy the *.img map file you downloaded and unzipped (from GPSFileDepot) to the Garmin directory on your GPSMAP 66! (or the Garmin directory on the microSD card, if installed) - Only copy it to ONE of those locations!


Then reboot the GPSr, and you should be able to enable the map on the GPSMAP 66 in the Map Setup menu under 'Configure Maps'.



Edited by Atlas Cached
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2 minutes ago, mtbtravel said:

Okay.  I’m not doing anything without your guidance.  I am sooo afraid that I will mess things up.  So...it has downloaded and I see it (on the PC) in the Garmin.  Now what do I do?


Copy the the unzipped *.img file to the Garmin folder on the GPSMAP 66.


If you have already done that, just disconnect the Garmin and reboot and go into Setup > Maps on the GPSMAP 66 and enable the new map. It will likely be enabled by default.... Most maps are enabled after they are installed the first time.



Edited by Atlas Cached
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OMG...I have a map!!!!  It’s not exactly a “nice” street map but, at least I have a map with some detail!!  Thank you so much for all of your help!!  You are truly a Christmas Angel.  Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!!  Thank you soooo much!!

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