How to Edit a Garmin Map
By Jack Gerard
Garmin GPS devices can use a number of different maps, including premium map packages that can be purchased and downloaded from the Garmin website. If you're planning a nature outing, geocaching expedition or other trip, however, the routes and waypoints included on these Garmin-produced maps may not fully meet your needs. Using the MapSource program that ships with Garmin GPS products, you can edit the maps on your GPS device to include the places, waypoints and routes that you need for your journey.
Install the Garmin MapSource software that came on a CD packaged with your GPS unit. Check the Garmin website to see if any MapSource updates are available to ensure that you have the most up-to-date product.
Connect your Garmin GPS to your computer using the USB cable provided with the unit. Launch the MapSource software if it is not already running.
Click the "Transfer" button on the MapSource toolbar and select the "Receive from Device..." option. Select the data types you wish to receive from your GPS in the "Receive" window; you can choose to receive full maps, routes, tracks and waypoints, though you don't need to receive all of them if you only want to edit one type of data. To edit all aspects of the maps on your GPS, select all of them.
Click any waypoints that you wish to change, dragging them to new locations or editing them by double-clicking the waypoint to open the "Waypoint Properties" dialog box. You can also add new waypoints by clicking the flag-shaped Waypoint Tool and clicking the graphical map to add a waypoint in that location.
Click the binocular-shaped "Find" button to open the Find Places dialog box and identify businesses, points of interest or other places that you wish to add to your map. Select the tab appropriate to the type of place you want to find and type its name into the correct field, clicking "Find" to generate a list of places that match your search. Select the place you want to add and click "Make Waypoint" to generate a new waypoint.
Click and drag any routes you wish to edit using the Selection Tool, or select the Route Tool if you want to add a new route to your map. Open the Edit menu and select the "New Route" option to add waypoints or other points of interest to your route, clicking the "Insert Waypoint" button to select the waypoints you wish to add. Click "OK" once you've finished editing your routes and waypoints.
Click the "Transfer" button again and select "Send to Device...", choosing your Garmin GPS from the device list. Select your edited map data from the list of what to send, then click the "Send" button to transfer the map and its data to your GPS. Unplug the USB cable from the GPS once the transfer is complete and close MapSource.
- If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, routes and waypoints created in MapSource can be viewed in that program by selecting the data in MapSource and choosing the "View in Google Earth" option from the View menu.
Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.