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Topo maps for Garmin



Does anyone have a suggestion for good topo maps covering the UK and/or EI that can be used on a Garmin device?

I had a look at Topo UK on the web and all I can say is, that it’s not useable all, you see the different height lines but no tracks.

73 Norby


In reply to LX1NO:

Garmin mapping is not that good. There is some issue when it comes to tracks because of license/copyright hence no tracks on their Topo software…

Most Garmins are best used with something like memory map to pre-plan routes, download them to the Garmin and then you need to hope you dont want to go off that route.

There are systems that can use the electronic OS maps but Garmin is not one of them.


In reply to 2E0KPO:

Garmin mapping is not that good. There is some issue when it comes to
tracks because of license/copyright hence no tracks on their Topo

I have the UK Topo maps and quite a lot of tracks are shown. Not all by any means but enough to be useful. I’m pretty happy with the product. Remember that they are vector maps so what you see depends on the zoom level, and you have some control over the amount of detail shown. The web preview may not do them justice.

I can’t imagine that raster maps would be very usable on a small GPS screen.

Note that you only get G, GM and GW. No GD, GI or EI.


In reply to M1MAJ:
Some paths/tracks are shown in green, but others are not, and I have no idea why. For example the path from the Struggle up Red Screes is just shown as a dotted line but is accurate and can be followed on any mapping GPS.
73 jim


In reply to M1MAJ:

quite a lot of tracks are shown

Which means not all or not many, to me that is. I only had a look at the references where I’ve been last year and comparing to what I can see on Google Earth, the Topo map information is poor to not existant.

Comparing to other Topos that I have (DL, F, HB, etc (even TF has about nearly every little path on its street map)), I consider the UK Topo as not really useable for what “they” want me to pay for it.

That’s why I was asking for alternatives.

73 Norby


In reply to LX1NO:

In the UK I understand that two Navigation Systems employ full use of Ordnace Survey Maps. One is the SATMAP and this comes with street level mapping. OS Maps, on SD Cards, are available as extras. Cost is rather high for example a single National Park will cost in the region of £100 sterling but it does have both the 1:50,000 and the 1:25,000 loaded. The full UK 1:50,000 costs in the region of £180 on two SD Cards. The unit will allow you to plan routes, lays down a track of your route, allows you to program POI’s etc.

The second is the Road Angel Adventurer. This comes with all the National Parks at a scale of 1:50,000 pre-loaded plus all the usual road navigation bits ie speed camera warning etc. Other OS maps are loaded via Memory Map at extra cost. Have not used one so unable to comment on the performance of this unit.

Drawback is of course the price at around £290 for each unit but they are claimed to be waterproof. I do use a SatMap but I must say I am not very impressed.

Full details on their respective web-sites.

Hope this helps


In reply to G6DDQ:

I can comment on the Road Angel. I after all came up with the idea of running Memory map on the 7000 for them when I was working for them.

The OS maps are the same as a paper ones, The RA is very usable but the battery life is not good. About 4-6 hours if you set the screen right. It can be had for as little as £150 if you look around, by buying the 7000 and then paying £30-40 for the Memory Map upgrade. Get an extra power supply, one of those USB ones to make it more usable. RA are known for the Speed camera Database, the best on the market IMHO by far

I use it all the time for SOTA to get to the car parks that are not shown on the main Nav software or to get to a location that is not again on the main Nav but much more suitable.

The SatMap is a better unit for entering info and has been designed for walking IMHO, but I only saw the prototype. The Road Angel is a Car unit that’s been adapted for walking. Its quite waterproof. I have put it in a trough of water to prove to a customer it was okay.

I have some more information on my site,


The Topo maps for Garmin are poor for walking IMHO, how on earth they can sell a product like that targeted at walkers with such little info for £150 I don’t know. They won’t pay for the copyright and license for paths or there is some issue that they can’t get round to use the copyrighted data. OS pay local councils for the path info as far as I am aware.

73 Steve

‘For those that complain’


In reply to LX1NO:

Hi Norby,

I use Garmin topo maps here in F and HB9. First I collect all the information on the route and then comparing the digital map to paper map I mark the necessary way points. GPS orienteering is a little different from the traditional map and compass orienteering. Basically you define the route using the way points. Fortunately the way points can usually be placed on existing paths. The GPS is a useful backup if you want to check position quickly in case of accident, bad visibility or just to make sure where you are. You can also use it in case of heavy rain when the paper maps get wet. But the main thing is to prepare the course well before at home. In addition you need also the paper map, compass and route plan card with distances, elevations and azimuths.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL



So far, I never got lost during all my trips but I think it’s also mainly due to the fact that I can orientate myself pretty well even without maps. I used to play a lot in the woods when I was a kid and I think that helped. I have a good “picture memory”.

I usually prepare everything on Mapsource, overlay it on Google to “see it in nature” and that’s it. Comparing with Topos helps even more. I never used a compass and hardly use a printout of digital maps.

73 Norby


In reply to LX1NO:

Hi Norby,

That is probably ok for easy summits. In Alps I need to check the inclination and orientation of the slopes to estimate the avalanche risk and to identify the dangerous zones. One typical type of avalanche is a ‘plaque de vent’ where the damaged snow crystals with low cohesion have been transported on 30 - 40 degree slope. ‘Corniche’ is an other danger that can be found from the ridges. With the present hot weather we can also expect natural avalanches on south slopes during hot afternoon hours. Without new fresh snow steep slopes can be icy now at high altitudes.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to 2E0KPO:

The Road Angel Adveturer is on special at MotorWorld for 219.99 …

Can I use all my Memory map OS2004 version maps on it do you know ?




In reply to GW8OGI:

I do use them, I have the UK in OS 2004 and V5 in both 1:25 and 1:50 but DO NOT load the software that runs it, just send the map to the Road Angel. It will work fine.