Sunday, March 18, 2012

Loading multiple maps to Garmin devices

Multiple-Garmin-mapsLoading supplemental maps (such as the free topos from GPS File Depot) to Garmin units often confuses people. If you use MapSource or MapInstall to load a map, it works fine. But load another map, and the first one you sent is overwritten. Here’s how you get around this…

Older Garmin units

For older models, select the portions of the map you want to send to the unit, then use the drop down Map Selection box and choose another map, as shown below. Select the portions of this map that you wish to transfer to the device. Rinse and repeat. Once you’re finished, transfer the maps all at once. Unfortunately, if you decide the following week that you need another map, you’ll have to repeat the process again.


Newer Garmin models

UPDATE: You no longer have to do this.

On newer models with updated firmware (Colorado, Dakota, Oregon, GPSMAP 62/78 and nuvi 1xxx and higher) you can change the map file names. The advantage here is that you can give the map file a more memorable name and make it easier to load additional maps should the need arise.

Choose a map and transfer a set of map tiles to the device. Now use your file explorer and go into the Garmin drive, then into the Garmin folder, and find the gmapsupp.img file, as shown below. That’s the supplemental map you just transferred.

Now rename the gmapsupp.img file to something more memorable, retaining the .img extension. An example would be Utah24Ktopo.img. Now you can send another batch of maps to the device, rename them, and repeat the process to your heart’s content (or the limits of the unit’s or microSD card’s memory!).

Important: If you have any qualms about your abilities to do this, distinguish between similar file names, etc. , back up your device first. Just copy the entire Garmin drive contents over to your computer. It takes awhile, but I actually recommend you do this with any new unit before doing anything else with it.


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. salsaguy says:

    my issues is that for some reason my Oregon 450 shows I have 2 copies of the same map (California Topo) on my device but when I look, I only see one file. Cant figure out how to remove the 2nd copy shown on the list of available maps

    Obviously I only enable one but its still annoying to see 4 maps on the list when I should only have 3 available (Basemap, OSM Routable and CA Topo)

  2. Atlas Cached says:

    Also, when using MapSource to send your maps, you can CHANGE the displayed name of the map in the lower left corner of the MapSource screen before sending to the unit, making it easier to distinguish in the GPSr Map Selection Menu.

  3. Great tip Rich. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

    I would also like to add that I saved my selected maps as a file, so I can hopefully reload without reselecting. This is speculation however!

  4. If you upload a map with mapsource to your device it will be placed in the Garmin directory. What you can do is copy the gmapsupp.img file and the *.gma file to a directory on the same device with a memorable name and then upload a next map. You can repeat this as long as there is space left on your device. When you start navigating, rename the directory with the desired map to ‘Garmin’ and that’s the map you can choose.

  5. Palmer Woodrow says:

    What about the other files, like GMAP3D.img? I have a European map that includes GMAPSUPP.img and GMAP3D.img in the same directory. So if I change GMAPSUPP.img to Europe.img, what do I do to GMAP3D.img?

  6. The gmap3d.img file contains 3d buildings that only work on certain Nuvi models. This has been discussed over at GPSPassion. I’m not sure if you can have more than one gmap3d.img file on the same device.

    • Sounds about right. I wouldn’t change any file names other than the gmapsupp.img files.

    • Palmer Woodrow says:

      Thanks. I understand what it is, but if the device can have multiple maps then it stands to reason that it can have multiple 3-D building files to go with them. I wonder how the two are associated.

      I guess I’ll worry about it when I get a device that supports them.

  7. It may work if you put one gmap3d file in internal memory and another on a micro SD card, since you wouldn’t have to change the name in that case.

    I have a Nuvi 3790 which uses this feature and also a ~2gb file named gmapdem.img that contains DEM data for North America that is used to generate 3d terrain. Like I said, there was some discussion of using multiple 3d and DEM files (such as US and EU) in the GPSPassion Nuvi forum, if you really need to know.

  8. I’m confused and looking for help–Can I or can I not load two different map sets (e.g., topo and inland lakes) separately onto my gpsmap 78 and then switch between them on the gps unit as I need different views doing different things in the field? I used to be able to do that with my old gpsmap 76…Thanks for any help!

    • Yes you can. Just follow the directions above for newer Garmin models. Is it not working for you?

      • Finally figured it out (not easily found on Garmin) to use computer and go in and rename map files…Garmin should make it automatic so that when a file is downloaded, it is automatically saved as unique map (e.g., Inland Lakes, Topo, etc.). Thanks.

      • My NUVI 1300 can only see one map on the sd card in the Garmin directory, the gmapsupp.img file, I need help, the other maps are named with a number gmapsupp1.img, 2,3 after the file name but before the extension. The only file my gps will read on the sd card is the gmapsupp.img I really need help…

  9. Jim Bruner says:

    I am using a Garmin eTrex ECx with Basecamp. My computer operating system is XP Pro with SP3. With Basecamp open or closed and the GPS connected to the computer via “USB” and reconogized “I cannot find explorer in “file” or anywhere else on Basecamp. Nor can I find the Garmin device using the XP “explorer” function. I have tried renaming the gmapsupp.img on the microsd card via a card reader on the computer, but when the GPS powers up it does no recogonize any map or maps. I put 2 renamed maps in the same “Garmin” folder on the microsd card. Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks Jim

  10. Jim Bruner says:

    Make that a Garmin Vista HCx GPS

  11. Jim Bruner says:

    Worked like a charm. Now I can toggle between my US Navagation Map and my Topo man. It did take apx. 4 hours to install the mapset to my GPS. Thanks for your help to this old dumb country boy. BTW it did end up as one large gmapsupp.img file.

  12. Jim Bruner says:

    Thanks for the compliment Rich. The map deal was easy compaired to the actual learning curve of working with the GPS for me. Still got more to learn. I guess being a computer GURU helps.


  13. Jim Bruner says:

    I have some cheat sheets or “tips and how too’s” I worked up for my hand held that explains some of the common functions that are hard to dig out of the manual. If you would like me to post them let me know.


  14. Jim Bruner says:

    Or I can email them to you as an email attachment and you can review them and use what you want.


  15. Atlas Cached says:

    I would like to see them also…


  16. I Bought Garmin nuvi 1490lmt , in north america … its working perfect …
    I used mapinstall to install Middle east and africa map , and completed succesfully … but when I am in North america and looking for an address in Middle east its not detecting the country in the middle east , I can zoom to the country in the middle east and find all the streets and make make one point there as my favorate .
    Im new to gps , should I travl to Middle east to be able to type an address there or is there a work around?

  17. Is the map enabled? You do this by going to Tools > Settings > Map > Info.

    If you can mark a Favorite there, from that point you can go Where To? > Near > A Favorite Destination and select that Favorite.

  18. So I just bought the Montana 650 last week and am running into a few issues. I’m hoping someone may be able to answer these as I have not been able to locate answers on any forums yet.

    1. Is there a limit on how many maps that can be loaded? I have sent 8 different maps (yes I renamed the each gmapsupp.img file as they finished loading) but only 5 or 6 show. Additionally, one of the maps that didn’t load previously, I had transferred from the 32GB MicroSD to the Garmin internal memory and it started working. This is driving me nuts. lol

    2. Vehicles. I downloaded the bundle of vehicles and transferred all of them onto the garmin. It now shows all the factory ones and some of the additional ones…but not all of them. Any clues as to what might be causing this?

    3. Is there any way to rename the maps that are loaded into Mapsource. I have been downloading Topos of different states via GPSFile Depot. I don’t like the naming scheme. I tried toying with Mapset Toolkit. Still no luck.

    • 1. There may be a 2025 tile limit. What program are you using to load the maps?

      2. No idea. I haven’t messed with vehicles on the Montana. The web page says the All Vehicles bundle may be too large for some units though.

      3. According to the manual on page 10, you can rename a mapset, but I’m not sure that will accomplish what you want…

      • 1. I’m using MapSource to load the maps. The maps aren’t exceeding the 4gb limit. I did read that there is a segment limit. Not sure if it’s 4000 (was said on another website) or the 2025 you had stated. But it still doesn’t explain why the one map loaded when put directly on the Montana but not work when being read from the SD card. I’ll keep looking further and any solutions I find.

        2. I figured there’s some kind of limit. Thanks for confirming.

        3. No I wanted to change the map names as they show in MapSource not how they show on the Garmin. Once again, I’ll keep researching and post my results.

        Thanks for your help

        • You need to create a Garmin folder on the card and put map files in it for any not loaded to internal memory.

          • Jason J. says:

            That is how they are on the SD. Other maps on that SD card load. Just not a few particular ones. Like I said. It’s weird. I’ll keep looking. Thanks for the quick responses

  19. Well, if you were using MapInstall, I had an idea what might be causing it (it’s easy to mix map sets from different products unintentionally, which can cause these sorts of errors, but that’s much less likely in MapSource). You might want to ask at

  20. I have a Montana 600. I’m 99% certain that it supports 4,000 map tiles, since that’s what all the newer Garmin handhelds do. The 2025 tile limit is for older products like the eTrex Legend or GPSMap 60csx.

    I have not run into any vehicles that don’t work as expected on my Montana. Maybe there is a limit as to how many you can install? Don’t know, I only added a few of my own.

    If you want to change map names, have a look at JaVaWa GMTK:

  21. Jason J. says:

    Is that 4,000 tiles per mapset or total on the device? I found that I could load more maps when the maps were much smaller (1 Map per state as opposed to 1 map containing 50 states). I’m just trying to figure out the threshold of this thing. Do I really need the entire US on the device at one time, or 100 different vehicles on there? No. I just want to know where the line is drawn.

    Messing with the vehicle thing, there is a 30 vehicle limit. FYI

    A lot of my loading and installing is to see what/how much can truly be loaded.

  22. Update:

    I spoke to Garmin support. They stated around 3,000 segments per device total.

  23. I have 2 maps of my country.. Map1 and Map2 .. When I Check the Map1 Option then I can see that Map on the main screen.. But when I uncheck the Map1 option and Check the Map2 Option.. then I see the same Map1 data on the Screen and The Option of Map1 gets selected automatically every time.. Also Map2 is not at all visible in any case.. I tried changing all the names, Changing the location of the Map2 img file no luck.. I joined the Map1 and Map2 into one IMG file using gmap tool .. then It was visible but again the same thing.. Map1 get selected automatically and I have not seen Map2 on the screen Yet.. Both Map drawing are different and easily recognizable. This I am trying on Nuvi 1260T .. But Both the Maps work perfectly only Nuvi 2465LM.
    I think the New Map (Map2) is not compatible with 1260T.


    • And you’re loading the first one and renaming it before loading the second one ? You might ask at and see if anyone has other ideas.

      • HI,

        Thanks for your reply.

        The Problem is solved… The Map2 had name gmapsupp.img so my Garmin Nuvi 1260T was taking it by default though sometimes I didnt want it to show up.. .. I changed the name of the map file to myfevmap.img and now I can uncheck it and it doesn’t get checked automatically when i dont want it.

        Thanks once again for your reply

        Best regards


  24. I’m stumped.

    I recently purchased a Montana 600. I successfully installed Garmin’s City Navigator Europe NT map from DVD. Now I have purchased the Garmin GB Discoverer 1:50K – Full Coverage map via download. (We want to use City Navigator on the stoker’s handlebar for easy visibility, and the Discoverer for planning in advance and daily during a month-long cycling tour of England. We would like to have both maps on the same card to avoid card-switching — and card-dropping, knowing me.)

    When I prepare to download the Discover I get a warning that “A file with the same name already exists on your device or card.” I was ready! — I’d already read this clear and useful set of instructions … but nowhere on my Mac, the Montana, or the memory card can I find a file called “gmapsupp.img” Any ideas?

    And thanks in advance.

    • It should be in the Garmin folder, but the GB discover maps may be in a BirdsEye folder. You’ll need to create a Garmin folder on the memory card and install maps there. It may help to put one of them on internal and one on the card.

  25. Don Calhoun says:

    How do I transfer my maps and track from my etrac legend, with map source on the computer, to my new Montana 650 that uses base camp on the computer?

    • You can probably use BaseCamp to pull in the tracks from the Legend. Otherwise just save them as .gpx files using MapSource and then load the .gpx files to the Montana using drag and drop (to the GPX folder) or Basecamp.

      What kind of maps? Are they on your computer?

  26. Don Calhoun says:

    I have a cd with map source , Canada metro guide with roads and recreation…Version 3.00 How can I put it on my Montana 650?

  27. Don Calhoun says:

    The maps are not locked and they are on my computer, but I also have the cd and have installed on my laptop computer which is newer then the desktop computer I have been using where all the etrac routes and trails are. When I bought the Montana I also downloaded the free base camp program and installed that on the laptop.. . I have also installed mapquest on the laptop, but at this time I have not moved any tracks over to the laptop from the etrac gps..
    I was hoping that the mapquest would recognize the Montana but it does not…

  28. Hello Rich,
    A few weeks ago, I wrote asking your advice as to whether I could load the 24k topo program, Birdseye and City Navigator on my new Montana 650t. I inserted a 32 GB sd disk in my unit and I loaded the 24k topo program for my area and the City Navigator for the lower 49. Both work great. I am able to create a Profile to use the City Navigator and a separate Profile to use the 24k topos whenever needed. One other thing, I disagree on your advice to not buy the 650t. The 650t has the 100k topos for the entire US, so when I leave my home area where I use 24k, I still have topo maps. This works well for me as I don’t leave my area that often, but when I do I have maps. I am digesting the use of both new mapping programs, and I plan to get the Birdseye Imagery program next. There is plenty of room left on the 32 GB sd disk. Thanks for your good advice.


  29. Shaun Simpkins says:

    Rich, have you published anything making sense of the various delivery formats for Garmin maps? There are some instances (the GB Discoverer series, for example) where the Garmin product appears to be superior to the free stuff. Previously, Garmin published maps in CD/DVD, SD card, and download formats. Apparently, the CD/DVD format was preferable because it wasn’t locked to a specific GPS device…SD cards and download apparently are. Now Garmin is discontinuing the CD/DVD format for its new products. Does this means that there is now no way (or never was a way) to load all maps onto my computer and download them in whole or part to potentially more than one Garmin GPS device? It seems that Garmin wants to move all of its map maintenance and backup from the user side (CD/DVD) to the cloud (download) for better capture of potential new sales. Just like Gillette and razor blades.

    • I’ve seen no signs that Garmin is discontinuing DVDs for unlocked products like their new Topo 24K series. But yes, some other products (e.g., the trailhead series) is available via download (locked to one device) or microSD only. Perhaps this is a tradeoff between eliminating sharing between users, but still keeping large areas (where you need flexibility in terms of how much to load to the device) available on DVD.

  30. Some Garmin Map Information at the Montana Wiki:

  31. Jami Naukkarinen says:

    Hi! I’ve got a GPSmap 62 which I use on my enduro bike and I’m running two maps simultaneously with it, one topographic and one routable street map. My question is, how can I prioritize the other map so it will be the one that shows on the screen? The topographic map is really good and I would like it to be on top and show all the trails while I still need the other one on the background just to keep things routable.


  32. I have tried to load a map from GPS File depot twice, both times failed to show in my list of maps to configure. Enough space, loaded to internal storage. Why do these maps not load properly? Using Basecamp install program. Thanks.

  33. Hi Rich I’ve just got an Oregon 600. When I drag and drop gpx file of a trail that I am planning to run on, into the gpx folder of the Oregon everything seems to save ok. But when I open the file up to view the saved gpx file only part of the trail is there. Have tried this several times.

  34. I am going crazy trying to put 2 open street maps into my Nuvi 2797. I created a map of New England and a map of France and added them to a clean microSD chip. I have tried renaming and moving them around in /garmin and /map on both the chip and the Nuvi drive, all with the same result. When I try to select a map besides the original Garmin map i have a choice of one of the new maps (FR) or a choice of a map listed as FR and NE. I only get the NE results if I select both of the choices at which point I get access to both NE and FR maps. I am going nuts cause this doesnt make sense to me. I have spent hours with this to no avail. Any input would be welcome.

  35. I have a new 64s and so far it is working OK. I must say though that Garmin better get its act together because with motion x on the iPhone and iPad what they have done is remarkable.
    Lots of maps with lots of trails and basically free.
    The only problem is sometimes the gps connection is not perfect. Garmin should have some of these available to download from their site. It would likely make a lot of people very happy.

  36. I have gpsmap78s.I insert the UTM-Map to the custom map folder just as computer without using any software such as “Mapsource”. That so, I encounter a problem, I have seen the alart message ” the image is too large that can not load the whole images” .

  37. In reading the various threads of discussion about loading maps I would like to know if I can have the North American and Nordic maps loaded at the same time into the Nuvia 2595 Garmin. When entering an address can you enter the country/ state in the search filter window


  1. […] Loading multiple maps to Garmin devices – GPS Tracklog – Loading supplemental maps (such as the free topos from GPS File Depot) to Garmin units often confuses people. If you use MapSource or MapInstall to load a map, it …… […]

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