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How do I download a map to use in my GPS? Can I use it to navigate?

asked 24 Jul '10, 11:10

ChrisH's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 18 Feb '11, 11:02

emj's gravatar image



Please tell us first what kind of GPS device you have. There are many different platforms and possibilities.

(24 Jul '10, 11:15) stephan75

The answer to this question very much depends on which GPS unit you have, for some it is easier, some it is possible and other you currently can't at all.

The easiest is probably if you have a Garmin device. For those, the native format of the software is mostly reverse engineered and and converters are written to create "garmin maps" from OpenStreetMap data. Additional information can be found in the wiki, which also contain pre-built maps that you only need to copy onto your device. Some of those maps also allow routing. Overall, Garmins are supported quite well, although some features might not fully work yet.

For TomTom's I don't think there currently is a way, as the format is not yet known and so it is impossible to write converters from OpenStreetMap data to the native format of TomTom's

Windows CE devices (which covers a large number of standard SatNav devices), again is a bit of a mixed bag. The native format in most cases is not covered and so you can't currently use OpenStreetMap data with the Software that currently runs on the device. However in most windows PNA devices, it is comparatively easy to get to the underlying windows system and start alternative programs, such as described in the thread at gpspassion.

Some of the routing software that can be run on WinCE devices is Gosmore or Navit. You can even install a Java interpreter and run any of the programs for Mobile phones on it like GpsMid. But non of the programs are quite as polished yet as the pre-installed software so you have to be prepared for some hackery in this case.

In future perhaps more devices will be supported natively but unless manufacturer's release their map formats, it is rather difficult.

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answered 24 Jul '10, 11:36

apmon's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

edited 18 Feb '11, 11:01

emj's gravatar image


If you have a Garmin you have a couple of download options, websits which will provide you with gmapsupp.img files which can be stored on your Garmin and rendered as searchable maps.

Pre built options ( that I use ) EDIT: ... but be aware that those data files are outdated from end of 2011

Custom Maps are easy also. You can make them by using JOSM to download an area. Save the area as an OSM file and then use MKGMAP to create a gmpasupp.img using a command line similar to

java -jar mkgmap.jar --add-pois-to-areas --road-name-pois --ignore-osm-bounds name_of_file.osm

via the command of Windows based machines

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This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 30 Mar '13, 00:17

bri%20g's gravatar image

bri g
accept rate: 0%

edited 30 Mar '13, 19:33

stephan75's gravatar image


On Windows Mobile 5-6, you can use MapFactor Navigator 10 witch is free with the OSM map data...but, you can not choose the update period (2x per month for ALL countries).

Main thread is here :

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answered 18 Feb '11, 14:44

RGPS's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

To summarise the simplest part of the wiki for the most numerous users:

1: Get hold of a Garmin map file

2: Make sure it's named GMAPSUPP.IMG

3: Copy it to the Garmin folder of your Garmin's memory card (back up any existing GMAPSUPP.IMG file first!)

Some are routable, some are not (the download page will usually say). Some contain additional data (my UK map*, for example, also has contours), extra points of interest or formatting specific to that version. For more detail, the Garmin wiki page is:

Try a few. ComputerTeddy's is very bright; Cloudmade's is Garmin-default style (and covers the while world, pick the bit you want:; mine is very busy. It's nice that you don't have to commit. :)

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answered 20 Aug '10, 15:29

andygates's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


A newbie question to the last post. #2 "Make sure it's named GMAPSUPP.IMG" If multiple files have the same name, upon being downloaded into the GPS won't it delete the earlier entry? Is the whole address necessary or will XXXXXX.img do?

(18 Feb '11, 04:02) BirddogVet

You're better off asking that as a separate question - the answer would depend on where that gmapsupp.img came from.

(18 Feb '11, 13:25) SomeoneElse ♦

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question asked: 24 Jul '10, 11:10

question was seen: 24,817 times

last updated: 30 Mar '13, 19:33

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum