Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin backcountry notes


The folks at Garmin have been quite busy lately, hitting us with software and firmware releases, and even new Oregon models. Let’s start with software…

Garmin BaseCamp

This new mapping software, which we first mentioned when it was announced back in January, is now available for download (there is also a Beta version for Macs). Note this disclaimer from the download notes:

“BaseCamp will only recognize MapSource products that contain digital elevation model (DEM) data. Some examples of products that contain elevation data are Topo U.S. 24K, Topo U.S. 24K National Parks (version 3), Topo U.S. 100K (version 4 and later), Topo U.S. 2008, Topo Australia, Topo Canada (version 4), Topo Deutschland, Topo Great Britain, and Topo products produced by many Garmin distributors.”

I haven’t had a lot of time to try it out yet, though I did grab the screenshot below. There’s a good discussion going on at Groundspeak, including insights about the speed of the application and how custom maps might (or might not) work with it.


Garmin Oregon Beta firmware v. 2.93 and 2.94

Recent beta firmware releases have added quite a few improvements; among them:

  • Improved GPS reception
  • Improved Main Menu setup and added option to add and remove items
  • Added ability to see a list of points from the map when several points are at the same location (just tap those three bars at the top right side of the screen as shown in the image at the top of this post)
  • Improved readability of configurable data fields
  • Added ability to edit a waypoint from the waypoint review
  • Improved render quality of GB Discoverer maps and maps with satellite imagery

More Oregon units and improved Canadian topos coming

We still don’t have any official word about the Oregon 500 series, but there have been new leaks showing Oregon units with pre-loaded topo maps for Canada and Australia. The Canadian model reportedly offers 1:50,000 scale maps south of 60 degrees latitude and 1:250,000 above that parallel. Down under it appears that you’ll be limited to the equivalent of 1:100,000 scale maps, though the Aussie model will also include NAVTEQ and HEMA street routing. Finally, the BaseCamp notes cited previously imply that a new version of Topo Canada with DEM shading is forthcoming.

About Rich Owings

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


  1. I downloaded basecamp myself last night. Had to dust off my old Windows partition, I think its been a few years since its been booted but I couldn’t get it running under Wine.
    It is slow slow slow. Sure my laptop isn’t the fastest, but I typically have a couple doaen apps open and it runs fine. running this one single app the whole thing is slow and my cpu fan actually turned on (I hadn’t heard it in years either).
    Main issue is .net2.0. I have yet to see a well performing or behaving app using .net. no matter how many projects I get involved in where developers try to use .net they always end up a complete mess, .net is complete junk.
    The 3d maps don’t really appear to be 3d, more like the 2d laying on its side, much like google earth.
    I was zoomed way in and a trail went under a road and I saw this big patch of black and white. Zoomed out to see what it was and it was the street label, those are sort of painted on the terrain and get bigger as you zoom in. That could have been done better.
    After reading about it being cross platform for pc and mac (we play both country and western) then finding out it wasn’t written with cross platform in mind (.net complaint again)
    Overall I was disapointed, after the hype it turns out it is simply map source with some more colorful menus poorly re-written. I was hoping garmin finally had some decent software but this doesn’t look like the case.

  2. Yeah, when my computer slowed way down I ran the task manager to see what was eating up resources. It was second only to Firefox, which is a memory hog.

  3. Does BaseCamp have a manual? It is hard to use BaseCamp without instructions.

  4. Rich Owings says:

    It does not, but this should help…

  5. This is the most boring worthless thing I have found concerning Garmin Basecamp or anything about Garmin. Is there any point to any of this junk about a guy dragging out his old computer. It’s really stupid. My problem is that Basecamp doesn’t work. I just get an error that just says try again later. Has anyone gotten this program to work?

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