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Old 05-01-2005, 09:41 AM   #1
marco polo OP
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How Do MapSource and Garmin Data Cards Work?

I'm close to taking the plunge and buying a GPS, likely a Garmin 276C. There's still one thing I'm not sure of and that's how much map coverage I could load on a 256 MB Garmin data card. When you download map detail from MapSource City Select on your PC, do you draw lines with the cursor/mouse pointer around the area you want to load, or highlight an entity like an entire state, or province? Just how do you select? I'm really trying to get some sense as to how much I can get on one 256 MB card and thus determine how useful it is. To my mind, the proprietary Garmin data cards are the only drawback to the 276C. I've also checked out the new iWay 500C, but I'm not sure of the stability of a hard drive on a bike, though 20GB would be great, so long as the maps and software are up to snuff. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-01-2005, 09:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marco polo
I'm close to taking the plunge and buying a GPS, likely a Garmin 276C. There's still one thing I'm not sure of and that's how much map coverage I could load on a 256 MB Garmin data card. When you download map detail from MapSource City Select on your PC, do you draw lines with the cursor/mouse pointer around the area you want to load, or highlight an entity like an entire state, or province? Just how do you select? I'm really trying to get some sense as to how much I can get on one 256 MB card and thus determine how useful it is. To my mind, the proprietary Garmin data cards are the only drawback to the 276C. I've also checked out the new iWay 500C, but I'm not sure of the stability of a hard drive on a bike, though 20GB would be great, so long as the maps and software are up to snuff. Any help would be appreciated.
I'm no expert since I just got my own 276c. I've got 82 maps loaded right now for my trip back from Boejangles' place ~90min north of San Fran down to my place in Sandy Eggo. The whole thing only used 108mb. There's LOTS of detail in San Fran and LA...

Basically all I did was use the autoroute and told the program to send it to the unit. It looked at where the route went and downloaded the appropriate maps.

M
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:32 AM   #3
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I've got a 256MB in my 276C. I've got Mapsource from Mexcio up into Calgary, and the West coast from CA to Colorado. It's a big chunk, adn good to know I can find a Dry Cleaners in the middle of freaking nowhere if I need to... :) It's certainly more than enough to cover any forseeable riding I do, unless Im taking some kind of epic journey.
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:50 AM   #4
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All of Canada takes up 109.1 meg

All US and Canada 1.5 gig.

That's with city nav.
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:55 AM   #5
kfsinc
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I've got a Streetpilot III and use Mapsource for it.

The Street Pilot and the other Garmin units come with a 'base map' that covers at major cities and most state roads as well as freeways. For more detail, including points of interest, restaurants etc., Mapsource is divided up in to smaller 'maps'. Each map contains details of a specific area and has a name associated with it -- Chicago, Milwaukee, etc. I haven't fitured out the logic behind a map - they are all different sizes. You use the map tool in Mapsource to select the maps you need/want and then download them to the memory card via a USB Card Reader. The 256MB card should cover most anything you'll need unless you're planning some Iron Butt type rides.

You can always load multiple cards, but they're very expensive...

I'd stay away from the hard drive model if you are planning any off road type riding.

I just read about an interesting option for MS Streets and Trips -- an add on bluetooth GPS receiver. This allows you to run MS Streets and Trips on a handheld or laptop -- with no wires running to the antenna. It claims to offer nearly identical features as Garmin Units give. I'm a big fan of streets and trips as it's much easier to use than Mapsource. Read more here: Pharos Link

Garmin also offers a handheld PC based GPS unit but I don't think it is Bluetooth enabled.
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Old 05-01-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
BurnieM
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The MapSource mapping is divided into segments.
There are several segments per state and a major city will probably be divided into 4 (or more) segments. Segment boundarys often do not fall on state boundarys.
Rural area segments are much bigger in the map area that they cover but often smaller in memory size.

City Select North America v6 is 1611 MB and has 1073 segments

You select the segments you want, up to the limit of your units memory, then load them.
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:07 PM   #7
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I downloaded some maps from my Garmin Mapsource software and the list below shows the amount of space you need in MBs.


Florida 86

California 121

California w/o L.A. & S.F. 80

Every thing West of the
Mississippi except Ca. 360

All of ND,SD,Neb,Kan,
Co,Utah, & Idaho 120

Everything along Int.10 &
Int. 8 between Jacksonville
and San Diego 82

I have a 2610 and I was coming home from a 500 mile trip a couple of weeks ago, when the 256mb card went blank about 20 miles from home. I don't know what happened, but after I reloaded the maps back on the card, everything seems to work fine now. I think that before you go out and buy a 1 or 2 gig card, that you should do a little experimenting with whatever unit you buy and see just how much memory you need. If you're going from Detroit to Key West, there's no need in having all the gas stations in Denver loaded in your GPS.I would rather have 1-256 card & 2-128 cards than to put all my eggs in one basket.
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Old 05-02-2005, 07:59 AM   #8
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A lot

I have a 276C so I am limited to 256MB. I have 2 128MB cards as I got them prior to the 256MB cards coming out. I live in Colorado.

On one card I load up all the local stuff. I load both Roads and Rec and City Select at the same time. I can load ALL of Colorado and a lot of stuff in the surrounding states as well. This is the card I use most of the time.

On the other card I load up stuff when I'm going on a trip. If I'm doing a Colorado -> Monterey, CA trip I load up all the locations that I will pass on the way out there. It all fits on a 128M card just fine.

If you travel with a laptop it is NEVER an issue as you can "SAVE" your map selection criteria in Mapsource. You then just load the new data into the card (I use the USB writer) very quickly when I am stopped for the night at the motel or whatever. I've even done it at a coffee shop when I stop for wireless access on the road. Drink coffee then load new maps into Garmin chip.

I'd say that 90% of my riding is within 500 miles of my house and thus fits well on my first card. No problem at all. I also tend to travel on big trips with my laptop. I keep both Delorme Street Atlas 2005 on there and also the Roads and Rec and City Select SW.

IMHO, there really isn't a reason to have a huge GB card in there unless you just want to load the data once and never make changes.

If I found a good deal on a 256MB card for my 276C I might get it. Maybe not. I can do a lot of riding with a 128M card. If you live in a state with lots of big cities (i.e. California) then this would be different for sure.

Tom
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Old 05-02-2005, 08:13 AM   #9
Ray of Sunshine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drif10
All of Canada takes up 109.1 meg

All US and Canada 1.5 gig.

That's with city nav.
And let's not forget, Canada is the second largest landmass nation in the world. But all of the detail is w/in 200 mi. of the US border. Easier shopping that way.
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Old 05-02-2005, 09:00 AM   #10
RBikerT
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Waiting a few months might be key

Some of the GPS companies have made noises about their upcoming products. There's lots of noise about weather services being included in the next releases.

As far as current models, the Garmin 2510 kicks ass. A number of folks who have 276s and other models have expressed great interest in getting the 2610 after playing with it on my bike. The touch screen, quick autorouting and cheaper memory are all winners.
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:10 PM   #11
marco polo OP
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Took The Plunge - Garmin 276C

Thanks for all the advice. I just ordered a Garmin 276C with a 256 MB card and City Select North America v6.
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