Generating Custom Garmin GPS Maps

By Adam Newham


The following article gives step by step instructions for generating a map which is downloadable to the Garmin series of GPS receivers. Much of this information is available in the help text files that come with the GPSmapper utility used to generate these custom maps. Before I proceed any further, I would like to take the opportunity to give these guys the credit that they are due. Needless to say this is one of the most talked about subjects with respect to the Garmin range of GPS receivers with someone finally managing to "step up to the plate". (The utility may be downloaded here and is called GPSmapper, and has just recently been updated to version 0.0044 which includes an automatic installer)

I initially started looking for a utility to generate custom maps from a desire to map local golf courses that I play regularly and I was getting frustrated that no such function existed with MapSource or sold separately by Garmin. I even tried to contact Garmin who indicated that they have no intention of marketing one. After digging around I found the GPSmapper utility and the following are instructions on how to generate your own map. My example is for a golf course, but the process is the same regardless of content.


The following is a list of requirements needed in order to generate custom maps using this method as detailed below.


In order to generate my custom map, I obtained accurate geographic readings by using a combination of aerial photographs, actual tracks, way points and cross reference's to street maps obtained from my GPS receivers base map.

For the aerial photographs, my preference was to use the Terra Server, despite the images only being available in black and white, I found that I was able to download single images that were bigger in size and that adjacent pictures could be joined together with little lateral adjustment (if you use USAPhotoMap, the program will composite entire regions for you that can be saved as a single jpeg. Thanks to Dave Patton for the tip). Alternatively a mixture of black and white/color images are available from MapQuest, but I found piecing the separate photographs together more difficult as the images didn't align at the edges.

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Questions?  Corrections?  Additions?  Click HERE to send  Email to author Adam Newham

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