How to Use BaseCamp With Garmin

By Edward Mercer

BaseCamp helps you plan routes for when your adventures take you far from the beaten path.
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BaseCamp is a free application from Garmin that allows you to view and organize maps, data points and routes from your Garmin GPS device on your computer. Essentially, BaseCamp acts as a connection between your GPS device and your computer. All you have to do is install the program on your computer, connect your Garmin GPS device to your USB port and begin editing and transferring data between the two devices. BaseCamp offers a full interface for importing maps, editing routes and transferring files.

Step 1

Navigate to the Garmin website and download a free copy of BaseCamp. Select the appropriate version of the software -- Mac or PC -- and follow the onscreen installation instructions.

Step 2

Launch BaseCamp by double-clicking on the icon on your desktop or selecting the program from the Finder on a Mac or from the Start menu on Windows.

Step 3

Select an activity from the Activity Profile pop-up window -- such as automotive, hiking or mountaneering. The Activity Profile configures your menus to make useful information more accessible, but all of BaseCamp's functionality continues to be available no matter what choice you make. You can also change your Activity Profile through the drop-down menu at the top-left of the screen.

Step 4

Connect your Garmin GPS device to your computer with a USB cable. Your Garmin device -- and all the maps and data it contains -- will appear on the lower half of the left menu on BaseCamp.

Step 5

Select the map you want to view or edit by making a selection on the drop-down menu at the top of the screen, next to the Activity Profile drop-down on the toolbar.

Step 6

Explore your map by using the hand tool from the toolbar to move around or selecting the magnifying glass tool to zoom in or out.

Step 7

Import and view tracks from your GPS device. Click on the name of your device on the left menu and select the track you want to view. Drag and drop the track from the Device menu to My Collections on the top of the left menu and then click on the track to view it on your computer screen. A map of a trip you took with your GPS device appears on your computer screen, complete with a dialog box of altitudes and distances between every point you logged on your GPS device.

Step 8

Plan a new route. Click on "New" in the top toolbar and select "Route" from the drop-down options. Make sure the map you want to use is displayed on the screen and simply click on the map to establish points on your Route. BaseCamp fills in the best route between the selected points and saves the route under My Collections.

Step 9

Share routes and tracks between your GPS device and computer. Click on an item on the left menu and drag and drop it to another location to copy the file. You can move information both from your computer to your GPS and from your GPS to your computer.