Sunday, March 18, 2012

International maps for your Garmin GPS

One of the more common questions I receive relates to international (non-U.S.) maps — where can I find maps of a particular country? There are actually many options, and I suspect that most people aren’t aware of them all. Some are even free. I’m going to focus on Garmin in this post, which has the greatest variety of international maps readily available, at least for any of the top selling GPS receiver brands in the U.S.

Lets go through the options one by one…

Garmin City Navigator international maps

Created by Garmin, these products provide turn-by-turn routing. Some come in two versions, City Navigator or City Navigator NT. The NT maps use a different compression method and are generally compatible with newer units. A compatibility tool , to see which units they work with, is available on Garmin’s “On the Road” cartography page. Unfortunately, it isn’t always up to date.

Each page below has a link to a coverage map; the image on the right shows the European coverage map. There is also a MapViewer tool on the cartography page, allowing you to
zoom in and view any area covered in each product. These maps are one of the best options for the countries and regions for which they are available:

Garmin MapSource WorldMap

WorldMap is a very general map designed for areas for which Garmin has no other coverage. A pretty weak offering, even Garmin says it “is generally recommended only if no other coverage is available for the area.”

Garmin international topo maps

Garmin offers international topo maps for Canada and Great Britain, though some third-party maps in the next section include topo maps too.

Third-party international maps

These are created by vendors that have established a relationship with Garmin. They may or may not include turn-by-turn routing. These third-party international maps are listed on the Garmin website:

Mexico maps

This is a special, “close to home” case, that has a attracted a number of developers. In addition to the Mexico City Select maps above, I’ve covered several offerings in previous posts:

Other sources of international maps

EDIT: I was just reminded that there are maps for sale of other countries too. I’ll add more as I become aware of them:

UPDATE: I’ve also been reminded that TravelByGPS.com has routable maps of Africa, Costa Rica, Iraq, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan and Panama.

A word about Garmin nuvi x70 models

If you are planning a trip to Europe, you may want to consider purchasing a Garmin nuvi 270, 370, 670 or 770. All of these units have pre-loaded maps of the U.S., Canada and Europe (see coverage map above). Generally, it is cheaper to buy these units with pre-loaded maps rather than buy a model without them and purchase the maps separately. Check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart to see the differences in other features in these transatlantic units.

Free international maps

Be sure to check out the followup post on obtaining free international (and U.S.) maps for your Garmin GPS.

Related post:

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Excellent post, Rich. Though I have some web links to obtaining free maps, I’m looking forward to comparing my list with yours.

  2. Thanks Zane. I hope it will be helpful to people who like to travel. Or as my daughter says, people with “itchy feet.”

  3. I have just purchased the TomTom 920 after months of looking at information on the Magellan Maestro 4250 Garmin 760/770 and TomTom 720/920. I choise the TomTom 920 because it was on sale at Costco web and their 3 mth return policy and the higher cost of Garmin which seems to be a great GPS. The only problem is that the TomToms 920 GPS has Europe, that I will most likely not go to and would rather have Australia that I visit regulary. Having the option of choicing the second country would be great. Also, I don’t know if it was just my address which has been there for three years, but I found that it was not on TomToms map, but was on Magellans and Garmins latest map. I do like the Map Share option and hopefully I can work out the map address problem. I do like the handsfree POIs option of the Magellan 4250, but I like the voice street address option of TomTom 720/920, but wish they made it totally hands free by initiating it by stating “TomTom” instead of tapping the screen that takes your eyes off the road.

  4. Shaff Iginla says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I plan to use my Garmin 670 in Africa, specifically, in Nigeria. Do you know where I can buy a Nigeria map for use with my Garmin 670. Thanks

  5. Shaff,
    I think this post will help…
    http://gpstracklog.com/2007/12/free-maps-for-y.html

  6. I was recently given a fujitsu/siemens n100 pna for christmas. I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and would most likely be using it there for the next 6 months. I cannot find software for this region and the company has said that they have no plans in the near future to produce maps for this region. I wanted to find out if there is any cross compatability with other gps devices that would allow me to use their maps. The files produced for the n100 are “map.file”. Can anyone assist with this issue?

  7. Leo,
    I think the only GPS units you’ll find Afghanistan maps for are Garmin or perhaps some PDA-types. Usually these off-brands don’t offer additional maps. Here’s a PDF link to accessories for your unit; no maps are listed…
    http://vilpublic.fujitsu-siemens.com/vil/pc/vil/datenblaetter/handheld/ds_acc_pl_n100_series.pdf

  8. I am living in kenya, east africa and I own a Garmin. I can not find maps for Kenya or for that matter what kind of coverage does garmin world basemap offer for kenya.

  9. Syed,
    It doesn’t look like there are any detailed Garmin maps available. You can use the Map Viewer in the upper right hand corner of this page to check the World Map for coverage…
    http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/mapSource/WM.jsp

  10. Bruce – we make and sell GPS maps for Nigeria – visit our website – http://www.ceaser-web.com or call +23418975616.

  11. I am an expat living in Ukraine and bought the TomTom Go720. Does anyone know any 3rd party maps for Ukraine, being compatible with this device. (TomTom Eastern Europe is not detailed and correct).

  12. Peter G Smith says:

    In answer to Syed, I bought an EXCELLENT set of East Africa Garmin Maps, street level in Nairobi, from GEORIGIN EAST AFRICA LTD. They work with/through Garmap in South Africa. Downloads perfectly on my NUVI 250, but they assure me it works on most others too. The POI content is flabbergasting. It was US$100. They are in Anipest Bldg, at the entrance to Wilson Airport,Nairobi. Try http://www.ramani.co.ke
    Peter G Smith

  13. Joe Sao Paulo says:

    I am new to this, but would like to purchase a GPS which can/has a Manila (Philippines) map capability. My company is assigning me there for 2 years.

  14. Joe,
    I don’t know of any Filipino GPS units. But there are some free maps for Garmin units. See these two links…
    http://mapcenter.cgpsmapper.com/catalogue.php?country=172
    http://gpstracklog.com/2007/12/free-maps-for-y.html

  15. Jon Mags says:

    Mr. Owings,
    Thanks for the useful resource. Based on this page, can I assume that you find Garmin to have the most ‘international capability’?
    Thanks,
    Jon

  16. In general, yes. If for no other reason than all the free maps out there…
    http://gpstracklog.com/2007/12/free-maps-for-y.html

  17. IGINLA MURITALA says:

    can i get gps for academic purpses for free. many thank,
    muri Iginla,
    +2348023632980

  18. Avuru chuks James says:

    can I get any nigerian map that Can support nokia map for nokia n95 8gb?Pls send reply to docdonjames@gmail.com

  19. Avuru chuks James says:

    can I get any nigerian map that Can support nokia map for nokia n95 8gb?

  20. Good day, I am living in Rwanda and travel East Africa. I am trying to determan a good handheld GPS unit that can be used on foot and in vehicle with good topo or road maps for East Africa.
    The gps unit I have been using is not cutting it, as expected as it was very inexpensive.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated as to units and map resources.
    Thank you and Happy New Year.

  21. I would go with a Garmin, since there are so many free maps out there for it. The Oregon would be one possibility.

  22. Tre Pasanovas says:

    I travelled to Nigeria and used the Nigerian GPS maps from Third Dimension Technologies- superb, check them out on http://www.ceaser-web.com

  23. Thanks i have been looking for a Nigerian map

  24. hi

    i have a nuvi205 with south africa maps and would like to load maps for israel but cant seem to find any. have you got a link i can use to download.

    thanks

  25. Rich Owings says:

    Apparently there are no Garmin maps for Israel. here are some free ones though…

    http://downloads.cloudmade.com/asia/israel#breadcrumbs

    http://mapcenter2.cgpsmapper.com/catalogue.php?country=221

  26. I am looking for any maps in egypt

  27. Rich Owings says:
  28. I own the Garmin GPSmap 60csx. I am traveling around in south Sudan with a medical team and would like to record the routes taken from village to village. All that I need are topo maps that will load into my unit. I havn’t been able to find anything yet. Has anyone found anything for that area?

  29. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I plan to use my Garmin 255W in China, specifically. Do you know where I can download a free China map for use. Thanks

  30. Salomon Hailu says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I want to explore into the various parts of Ethiopia with a group of ornithologists. Could you help me which type of gps I can get from u?

    Thanks.

  31. I don’t sell anything; I just link to folks who do. IMHO, your best bet would be a Garmin handheld, due to the widespread availability of free maps. Here are some sources:

    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/country/et
    http://downloads.cloudmade.com/africa/ethiopia#downloads_breadcrumbs
    http://garmin.na1400.info/routable.php

  32. Hey Rich, I just read this article. I have to say that this is a great site! I am going to spotlight this site on our blog on Friday.

    I was wondering if you would update this page with links to our GPS maps for sale?
    http://www.gpstravelmaps.com/index.php

    We also can build custom maps if you can not find a particular GPS map.

    You can also see our blog here –
    http://gpstravelmaps.blogspot.com/

    Thanks,
    Michael Burr
    Co- Owner GPSTravelMaps.com
    Come see how your GPS Map purchase is helping others in the world – http://gpstravelmaps.blogspot.com/2011/09/guatemala-gps-education-for-children.html

  33. char white says:

    I am planning to visit Jamaica in a couple of months. Is there a map available for Jamaica?

  34. I just bought a Garmin nuvi1490LMT in Canada. On the box it says for use in Canada and the U.S. I am in Australia a lot, but not sure if this GPS has compatibility for Australian maps? Do all Garmen navigators have this function or just some?

    • Yes, it will work fine. The easiest thing to do is get the Australian maps on a micro-SD card. If you are only in one or two big cities, the CityXplorer maps are a cheaper solution than City Navigator Australia.

  35. Channie says:

    We are traveling to Canada from michigan, and have a garmin nuvi 1200. Can I get free updates or maps for the gps for our travels?

  36. OTOH, at Amazon you could buy a new Nuvi 30 that includes full US and Canada coverage for only $30 more than that map. It is the new 3″ Nuvi that will be like your 1200. Or for about $5 more than that you could upgrade to the Nuvi 40 and get a 4″ screen. And these would include a 12 month warranty and 3 months of free map updates.

    Shop around for a sale and you can probably find these models for even less.

  37. I just downloaded an update for this unit. I am receiveing an error about not enough space … do you know how I can clean up my space?

  38. Need to know where I can download GARMIN Maps for East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania etc). Thanks.

  39. I just downloaded the S. America map on my Garmin Zumo 665. It shows up in the database when I go to tools to look at installed maps so I know it’s there, and I watched it download from mygarmin to the micro SD card that was installed in the Zumo and the Zumo connected to my Mac via USB cable. I did select the download to memory card option.
    My stupid question is: how do I know that this will work before I go overseas? Do I just trust that when I get to Costa Rica the S. America map will pop up when I turn the device on?
    Thanx!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] International maps for your Garmin GPS – GPS Tracklog – Garmin City Navigator international maps. Created by Garmin, these products provide turn-by-turn routing. Some come in two versions, City Navigator or City Navigator NT…. […]

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