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Map software questions

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First of all, I see that Garmin sells a variety of map packages for their line - MetroGuide, City Select, Roads and Recreation, Topo, and others. I understand that Topo has a different purpose, but the others all seem to overlap.


The Garmin website seems to suggest that some are better than others for specific Garmin GPS units, but I can't tell whether that is because of compatibility issues or just feature sets.


For example, for my Legend, they recommend the MetroGuide software. Does that mean that Roads and Recreation and City Select won't work at all on the Legend? Or does it just mean that some features won't be of benefit?


Their website just doesn't make this clear.


Also, I'm very confused about these "unlock" codes. Do you need to buy the map package and then buy a separate code so you can load it into your GPS? That would seem excessive.


Finally, why is it that ONLY the Garmin maps can be loaded into Garmin GPS units? Is there some reason why a map competitor couldn't build a product with that capability? Or has Garmin managed to lock up the interface so well that no one has been able to figure out how to do it?


Thanks in advance for any insights.

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Why Garmin into Garmin? Beats me. But they are all like that Magellan maps into magellans and the like.


Garmin is not unique. They do have different companies make the maps and we get stuck with the licensing fee.


Now if Garmin and Magellan got together and both had a company give them a group discount mabye we would see some benifit.


So far as I know the unlock codes are specific to the GPS V and maby the Street Pilot with City Select software.


Topo, and the others just work.



Wherever you go there you are.

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OK, thanks, but (and please don't take this the wrong way) you haven't actually answered any of my questions. Does anyone know the answers to the three main questions that I asked above?


I'll state them more clearly:


1) Which Garmin map packages will work with my Legend?


2) When exactly do I need an "unlock" code?


3) Is there some reason why other companies can't produce maps that will load into the Garmin units?

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This is Simple:


1) "The added memory allows the eTrex Legend to accept downloaded map data from Garmin's entire line of MapSource® CD-ROMs" straight from garmin... SO pick a mapsource product and use it... I currently have Points of interest for my GPS and that is very usefull an I also have The Metro Guide USA which is great and since I use a GPS V has turn by turn.. that is something your ledgend wont do...


2) You need the unlock code when you run the software for the first time. This code proves that you are the owner of the software and it will allow you full access to the software package. This code is typically provided with the software from the start or you can call garmin and unlock it with them when you get the software if It doesnt alrady have the code. This unlock code is alos not on all the MapSource packages... Points Of Interest didnt have one but Metro Guide did...


3) Other companies dont produce software for the unit itself because Garmin has the rights to it. If garmin were to release the code for the unis to general software manufacturers then other companies could easily make other software. Howeve currently Garmin controls that aspect and therefore their software must be used of you want the maps and information. Some other software will simply allow you to upload tracks, routes and waypoints but not actual map inoformation.


Hope this answers your questions...


Andrew of ESFKids

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Thanks, yes, that helps a great deal.


Regarding my third question, I'm pretty sure that someone here has mentioned the possibility of building custom maps for the Garmin units, so it would appear that at least someone has reverse engineered it. Perhaps it's just a matter of time until a commercial vendor attempts it.


I haven't purchased any map software yet, but I may do so soon.

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MetoGuide does not require unlock codes. CitySelect will not work on the Legend. Roads and Recreation has been discontinued but there is a Canada/MetroGuide w/Roads&Rec CD. Fishing Hot Spots will work with the Legend and requires an Unlock Code. Topo US works with the Legend and does not use unlock codes. BlueChart also works and requires unlock code. And WorldMap works and does not use unlock codes.

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I purchased US Roads & Recreation (USR&R) from Garmin a month ago. USR&R works with my Vista so I expect it will work with the Legend. I loaded detailed maps for all of Michigan into my Vista and I can see lakes, streams, secondary roads, etc. just fine.


No unlock code was needed.


I don't know why, but Garmin doesn't list USR&R as a compatible cartography product for the Vista.


To be on the safe side, you may want to speak to a Garmin representative to be sure before you plunk $116 +S&H away for their product.


Perhaps they have stopped updating USR&R. Some of the map data is pretty old. For example, the fairgrounds in my county are displayed at the old location. It must be at least 10 years since the fairgrounds moved from there. There is a strip mall at that location now.


USR&R on the Vista is great for geocaching and benchmark hunting. There are some inaccuracies (such as a BM waypoint being displayed on the wrong side of a road). However, it's very useful for me to use without having to refer to a paper map or even a PC map (since there's a map on the GPSr). It's great for those unplanned cache/BM searches.

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Thanks to you both. Kurt, I'm curious - why did you select the R&R package over the others?


It would seem that the new version of MetroGuide might be the best general purpose package, but perhaps not the best Geocaching package. Thoughts?


I'm just trying to decide which one to buy. I really can't afford to buy several of them. (Actually, I might if they were cheaper - I think Garmin is charging a pretty high price for them.)

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I've used Roads & Rec, Topo, and MetroGuide in my eMap. If I had to only use one it would definitely be MetroGuide - the streets are the most up-to-date and detailed and it includes more features: search by address, search for businesses and attractions (very handy on trips), auto-routing on your PC. The two drawbacks it has are that it's the most memory intensive of these packages and it doesn't include topographic contours.

R&R has most of the same streets as MG, but it hasn't been updated as recently and it isn't as accurate. But it will let you store about 3-4 times as much area in your 8 MB as compared to MG.

Topo falls in between in terms of memory usage. It's an accurate display of the USGS 1:100,000 map series and shares their pros and cons: very dated streets with only a few labelled, pretty good representation of the topography (but not nearly as good as the 1:24000 series), very good accuracy.

All of these will work in your Legend and none have unlock codes to worry about. Compare them by zooming in on an area you know with the MapViewer on Garmin's website (under Cartography).

BTW, Garmin's dealers generally have better prices than Garmin does on their website. For example, these mapping products are $80-90 from www.tvnav.com.

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Originally posted by jgilliland:

Thanks to you both. Kurt, I'm curious - why did you select the R&R package over the others?


It would seem that the new version of MetroGuide might be the best general purpose package, but perhaps not the best Geocaching package. Thoughts?


I purchased USR&R because it shows more detail that is suited to geocaching and it also works well for benchmark hunting. USR&R displays small lakes, streams etc. (helpful features for hiking) while MetroGuide is more suited to road navigation (and doesn't display as much lake and stream detail). In fact, the MetroGuide v.5 online map viewer doesn't even display the 2 mile long lake I grew up near.


If I lived in an area where I would be doing a lot of hiking through very hilly terrain, then I would probably have opted for Garmin's TOPO cartography product because it apparently displays trails.


USR&R doesn't perform auto-routing (a great feature for road navigation) but, since I have detailed maps on my GPSr and my primary use will be for geocaching/benchmark hunting, I just navigate to the best parking spot by looking at the GPSr mounted on my dashboard. If need be, I could manually create a route with USR&R and then upload the route to my GPSr.


I just purchased DeLorme's Street Atlas USA 2003 last Friday for my auto-routing road travel needs. Street Atlas (SA) is a lot less expensive ($50) than MetroGuide but SA has its faults. For example, several points of interest in my locale (such as restaurants) are shown on the wrong side of the road and/or on the wrong section of road. If I search for the address of the house where I grew up, SA displays the location in the wrong section of road. I haven't tested the accuracy of SA's auto-routing with my laptop computer yet although I have successfuly interfaced the Vista with SA on my desktop computer for live tracking on the computer. Should be easy to set up the laptop.


I haven't successfully uploaded auto-routing-created routes from SA to my Vista yet. I have been trying this evening with no success so far. Perhaps there's something I'm missing in the configuration of SA or my GPSr. Maybe I'll start a thread with this issue. [icon_smile.gif]


I think no matter what cartography product you get, there will be some "issues".


IMHO, if your primary use for your Legend is geocaching, then get US Roads & Recreation (unless you live near lots of steep terrain). If your primary use will be road navigation, then get MetroGuide. (Garmin's MapSource products are the only ones that will upload map data to your Legend, I think. Street Atlas will not.)


Good luck!


[This message was edited by Kurt in MI on April 08, 2003 at 07:22 PM.]

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Wow, great information, thanks. I'm sure that this thread will help lots of people besides myself.


OK, I've done some comparisons between R&R and MG. The Metroguide seems to be considerably more detailed and accurate in most respects (though obviously not all, as you've pointed out, Kurt). And that additional detail obviously has its cost in the amount of memory that will be required to hold a portion of it.


Now, what about version 4 vs version 5 of the MetroGuide? Is the newer version readily available? The Garmin website doesn't seem to have it in stock. The tvnav and other web vendors don't seem to mention a version number. And the packages that I've seen in stores are all the older version.

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OK, I guess nobody knows the answer to my question about the MetroGuide versions. So let me ask a different question.


How do you go about loading map data into your GPS unit? And when you do load map data, what happens to the preloaded data that came direct from the factory? Is there any way to back up the initial configuration before you load new data from one of the map packages? Is there any reason to?


[Don't bother answering, read next message instead.]


Perhaps all this will be clear once I actually buy a map package, but if anyone wants to give me a brief explanation, I'd appreciate it.


[This message was edited by jgilliland on April 10, 2003 at 11:49 AM.]

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I guess I should have done some research before posting those last questions, since it seems that the answers are available at the Garmin website (and in the downloadable MapSource user manual).


If I'm correct in my reading, the base map in the unit will not be touched when I load a new map, but there are some "points of interest" that will be wiped out. It appears that there is no way to back up that data, but it also appears that there is no need to do so - since the default POIs are also downloadable from the Garmin website.


So, now that that's settled <g>, anybody know the answer to my questions about version 4 vs version 5 of the US Metroguide?

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Originally posted by jgilliland:


So, now that that's settled <g>, anybody know the answer to my questions about version 4 vs version 5 of the US Metroguide?


V5 is uses NavTech data (same as City Select). I am not certain as the map viewer on their website kept crashing, but the data appeared newer than the City Select data I bought late last year. Based upon the recommendations at that time from two different dealers (here), I bought City Select over Metroguide for my dad's GPSMAP 196 and I was able to use the data on my 76S (2 gps's are allowed)


Anyway, my point is, wait for or find v5. From my experience with CS (love it), I would wait for the NavTech data on the new Metroguide.


Good Luck.


P.S. I also own Topo, which was more than adequate, but I almost never use it now that I have CS. While driving, I LOVE the feature of seeing the name of the next road continually updating on my map screen. I also like to create auto routes on my PC and download them to the 76S (76S does not do autorouting on the fly like the 295, 196, V and Street Pilot).


I still use Topo when canoing in the Boundary Waters, hiking or in mountain ranges where the topo data has more significance.


"Never have a philosophy which supports a lack of courage..."

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Originally posted by Wrong Way Ron:

I bought MapSource Metro guide U.S.A. I can only open CD 1 showing Maping details of city street OK How ever I can't open CD 2 it shows up as a zip file why.


Maybe because you do not have a legal copy of the software.

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