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Memory Map and Topo Maps


Having played around with my GPS over the last few months; trying to avoid Birmingham!

I am now looking at possibly purchasing TOPO maps. Has anyone used these? I love Memory map and have found it a valuable source of information, but would love more details to be shown on the Garmin while out walking. I would value any information good or bad. I have found lots of reviews that swing from a complete waste of time to no one shown walk without one.

Helen GW7AAU


In reply to GW7AAU:

I’ve got Topo and initally I was a bit disappointed as I expected a OS type display but when you get used to it it’s quite good. All roads and paths are marked it’s just getting used to picking them out. Also shown are the contour lines and spot heights.

I have found that when you are walking and using the garmin then it works very well.

If you do go for it shop around I got mine for about half the £150 garmin price.

Peter G1FOA


In reply to GW7AAU:
Hi Helen

Try the Scottish Mountaineering Club; they have all the contour line maps for the UK,
You will need a Gps that you can upload maps and routes to.
My mate has the Garmin Topo maps on his gps and their very similar, best thing of all there FREE!
Here the web link
http://www.smc.org.uk/ContourMaps.htm this should give you the info to see if your unit is compatible.

73, Clive M1YAM


In reply to M1YAM:
Thank you for this; I will go and have a look.

Was expecting the Topo maps to be as expensive as the Complete Memory map pack but I have seen it for £75; but what price is a life or 5!



In reply to GW7AAU:

Try the free contour maps from the SMC (Scottish Mountaineering Club) first. Of course putting your life in the hands of a GPS if you can’t use a map and compass in the first place is rather dodgy in my view no matter how much the map data costs!



In reply to MM0FMF:
I agree Andy; but as you have seen having a route waymarked in a GPS unit is good; even just having the summit waymarked is good when it is poor visibility.

When we activated Deuchary Hill last week we would have missed the trail that started our climb up to the summit buried in the sea of heather had it not been for a bleep from the GPS to tell us we had arrived at the way mark. I could have worked it’s location out by hand; had I not had a GPS and would have done so. As with all the new gizmo’s we become lazy; but with a GPS it is a wonderful gizmo for backing up what you have plotted on paper etc

I still would not walk without a map; but have taken note that I can print a larger version from Memory map after our trips out with you and Jack (GM4COX).

The SMC site looks good (thanks Clive) I have downloaded the info so now need to get it onto the GPS and find a summit to activate HI!



In reply to GW7AAU:
I have the UK topo maps on my Vista and I think they are excellent. Of course they are no substitute for a real map, and the small screen is very restrictive, but nevertheless it does make it a lot easier to visualise where you are. Mapping of paths is a bit sporadic, but enough are marked to be useful, and being able to see your path crossing the contours gives a good indication of progress (sometimes depressing when you realise how much is still to be climbed).

It is worth mentioning that the UK topo maps also have pretty good street-level mapping in towns and cities. This aspect isn’t very strongly promoted, but it’s all there and is very useful when you do have to navigate around towns.

I have a 1GB memory card in my GPS and that is enough to hold the maps for anywhere I’m likely to go in the UK, so I don’t need to worry about swapping maps in and out. 2GB cards are now available at reasonable prices and one of these would hold the entire UK set.

Curiously, the Isle of Man is omitted even though it is mapped by the OS. None of Ireland is included, but that is understandable as the raw data is held by a different organisation.


In reply to GW7AAU:

Hi Helen

You will need Garmin Mapsource http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=209
which looks like a free download.

Clive M1YAM


In reply to M1YAM:

Hi Clive
I have Mapsource; not sure it is a free download;I got it when I installed the USB drivers for the GPS; the information shown using the SMC data is just what I want; well those displayed on the PC are.
I am now trying to sort out how I get the contours to show on my Garmin Venture CX; will have to dig the manual out. There is a good guide to using the programme from a link on the SMC site.

Thank you everyone


In reply to M1YAM:
This is a great addition to my Garmin, I admit I had to load the maps from SMC using sendmap (a programme suggested on the site) to my 1gb card in the GPS. Once the maps were loaded the GPS has taken on a new lease of life. Being able to see the contours and the tarns along the routes we took last week is great. and no doubt will add to the amusement for the children when walking as I can point out things they can look for over the next hill!

I can not wait to get out and try it in the field; beats looking at a string of flags and a purple line in the middle of nowhere.

Thanks Clive and everyone else