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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use Apps
This fall, Garmin quietly released several Mac applications. Some are still in Beta, yet they seem to work. If you use Parallels Desktop to manage your Garmin GPS, this may set you free from Windows altogether. After a few downloads and a two hour map conversion process, I can manage my GPS on my MacBook.

You will need three software packages:
  1. The POI Loader for Mac, released on Dec 19th and no longer in beta. Not required, but nice to have.
  2. MapInstall for Mac, also released on Dec 19th.
  3. MapConverter for Windows, released on September 18th.
Instructions for using MapConverter are available for download as a PDF. The map conversion process can take quite a while -- I converted three Garmin Mapping products in a bit over two hours on my MacBook in Parallels. An external drive helped simplify the process.
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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: cushionhead on Jan 02, '08 11:37:04AM

I'm a longtime Mac guy (but not nearly as knowledgable under the hood as most you) and I just got a Garmin for Christmas. What does it mean to "manage my GPS"--loading custom maps, etc?



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: greyhawk on Jan 02, '08 02:11:34PM

Depends on which Garmin you have. I have a Quest, which only has 115K of memory, so I have to swap out map sets depending on where I am traveling.

My wife has a Nuvi 200W, which has all the north america maps, so that's not so important for her.




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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: theboyk on Jan 02, '08 02:13:07PM

I've been using Garmin GPS units on the Mac for a long time now.
Too long actually.
Started using them pre-Intel on G3, G4 and G5 via VPC (pre-USB on the GPS) and Guest-PC (post-USB on the GPS).
I'm now running it via Parallels on an Intel Mac.
And, if you want advice, don't waste your time with any of the Garmin-based Mac releases at this point. They're garbage.

The web updater (not listed in this hint) craps out 90% of the time.
The POI loader is so-so but the PC version is way better.
And MapInstall (with MapConverter) is a total waste of time.

Basically, after spending hours working with/converting your maps, you can load maps to your GPS via OS X. And that's it. This isn't a OS X port of MapSource — all you can do it load maps. What's the point of that when everything that is so great about Garmin and managing maps/GPS/waypoints/routes/etc. isn't there and is still PC only?

I mean, if all your want to do is load maps and not ever use any of the functions of your GPS and computer, I guess you'd like this program (kinda, though you'll be slamming your head on your table after the hours and hours to do it all...IF it doesn't crash on you) but if you really want to utilize your GPS and computer (ie. Mapsource) then there's no point in using this program as you'll still need HD space for Windows, MapSource and all your Maps in the PC format for using with MapSource.

Basically, stay away from this and don't waste your time.

Oh, and if anyone from Garmin is listening...you announced Mac Support on January 10, 2006. Sure, we got the pointless Training Center app (though, for limited units...not really a flagship app here...) and you also said, I quote...

"By the end of 2006, Garmin intends to have made all its popular hardware and software applications Mac OS X compatible. This includes the ability to load MapSource map data to Garmin units via a Mac, as well as waypoint and trip planning applications. Additionally, the Garmin nRoute application will allow Powerbook and iBook users to turn their laptop into a powerful street navigation tool with Garmin's GPS 10 or GPS 18 sensors."

Now, almost 2 years later, we're STILL waiting...

k.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: rocteur on Jan 02, '08 03:38:15PM

I agree, after 3 GPS and 9 years of Garmin I've stopped using them. They used to have it, they have a lot of my money over the years, not just on the GPS but also on the too regular costly upgrade CDs. They are now inferior and I say spend your money elsewhere!

Enough is enough. I say goodbye to Garmin!



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: kc0bvu on Jan 02, '08 09:48:21PM

I agree. My next GPS will not be Garmin unless they make good on their word. Requiring Windows to convert their maps to work on a Mac is NOT Mac compatibility. WHAT'S THE POINT?!
Garmin, you guys suck. Give me (good/useful) software for OS X or lose me forever.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: theboyk on Jan 04, '08 01:52:09PM
I haven't heard a lot about this, but for anyone looking for a GPS and who's on a Mac, looks like TomTom has Mac support...
http://www.tomtom.com/plus/service.php?ID=17
Would love to hear from any Mac TomTom users?
k.

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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: mwayne on Jan 02, '08 05:27:11PM

I just downloaded the new POI Loader which wouldn't install on my PPC iMac G5 (OS X 10.5.1) because the installer saw the beta version as a "newer" version. Even after deleting it and associated preferences, the new version still wouldn't install.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: Blackmesa on Jan 03, '08 12:40:40AM

I agree that the Garmin Mac applications are useless and create unnecessary overhead and duplication of large map files. In my experience the best is to run Parallels or VMWare fusion on an intel mac and handle all Garmin activity in a Windows environment. Apparently Garmin is a good hardware company but not very user friendly regarding their software and not responsive to user comments.

---
Johan



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: kenscott30 on Jan 03, '08 05:40:06AM

theboyk Nailed it. Garmin sucks and lies. They have great hardware but 2 years dorking us around on waiting for a real App....Get your head out of the cornfield. I use Parallels desktop (windows XP)on my MacBookPro OS 10.4.11 and I use a USB card reader to load and unload maps. I DONT plug the GARMIN 60 CSX into the mac. The card reader is much faster (but still takes for ever) but doesn't crash like USB into the garmin. Too bad that 2 years after the Press Release I have to buy Parallels and a copy of XP.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: renodavid on Jan 23, '08 02:52:12PM

kenscott30, thanks so much for the tip about using a card reader instead of plugging the GPS unit in directly. I use XP via Parallels on my MacBook sometimes when I need to do stuff like this. Unfortunately, it was crashing (XP, not the Macbook) everytime I tried to update the map set in my little Garmin i3. I was thinking something was screwed up badly, until I read your hint. I tried a card reader and everything loaded flawlessly. A big relief. I didn't even know using a card reader was possible. Thanks again!



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: cvmichael on Jan 03, '08 06:43:42AM

Has anyone found a GPS provider that has Macintosh software?

I won't buy a GPS until then.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: efs on Jan 03, '08 09:13:31AM

I agree it isn't a complete set of utilities. Complaints about Garmin's promises aside, frankly if I wanted access to more software, I'd be using Windows, not a Mac. I prefer using the Mac, so I've switched to Mac only on my Garmin for adding my locations prior to my road trips -- I'm happy to create my POI's in Google Earth, convert the KML files, and then transfer them to my Garmin.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: theboyk on Jan 03, '08 01:46:50PM

Efs, that's not really a good argument.
First off, if you don't want to use Windows software, then there's no way your going to use these maps on your Mac because you need to run Windows, in one fashion or another, to convert the maps to a Mac format. So, you're running Windows.
Then, even if we ignore that point, I suppose you could use the Mac to upload your Windows-converted Maps (however crash-tastic that is, depending on your unit) to your GPS and Google Earth for creating your POI, but what about generating routes and all the other things you just can't do in Google Earth that you can only do in MapSource? I mean, sure, there's say "if I wanted access to more software, I'd be using Windows, not a Mac", but that's not really the point. Being stubborn and limiting yourself as a result just doesn't make sense because The point is, if you want to *really use* your GPS unit, you gotta run Windows. If there was a Mac alternative, I'd be all for it, but there's not. And this software & Google Earth isn't an alternative either. Just a small piece of the big picture.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: kostia on Jan 06, '08 04:52:10PM

I don't understand. I've been using Garmin's WebUpdater app for ages (it's been in beta all that time I guess) and it works fine to upload the newest data and voices to my GPS. What more would I need? What is the nature and source of the maps you're talking about "converting"?



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: jrowson on Jan 07, '08 06:39:57PM

There have been some questions about other GPS units with more Mac-friendly software. I've been using a TomTom One for about 6 months now, and while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, it's solid, reliable, small enough to be easily portable, and HAS A DECENT MAC VERSION OF IT'S SOFTWARE. Granted, like the Garmin, and I imagine most other GPS makers, the Mac version isn't up to the Windows version in terms of version number and such, but it works! I don't know of ANY GPS maker that has full featured Mac software, but there are websites out there that may be able to answer this, like http://www.gpsreview.net



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: teacy123 on Jan 21, '08 06:26:04AM

As a TomTom owner myself I am somewhat disappointed with the Mac version of their software. They have released a software update for their devices which includes a new feature called "MapShare" which you cannot use with the Mac software. They also have a service which gives you a free map upgrade if your device shipped with an outdated version or close to another upgrade becoming available. Mac users are excluded from that. Also from promotional offers which only work through the Windows version of the software. I think TomTom and Garmin users with Macs are equally hosed and are well advised to resort to VMWare and the Windows version. TomTom support has also made it very clear that they are not comitting to upgrades of the Mac version of TomTom HOME.



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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: windman on Jan 19, '08 02:43:15PM
I've been using MacGPSPro for some time with 60csx and find their software excellent, the company responsive and maintains the product well. While it doesn't load Garmin's proprietary maps, they sell topos which do work at competitive prices.

This software also is useful for showing a moving map display on the laptop, using the connected Garmin as a receiver - actually nearly any receiver, including the hocky pucks, can be used this way.

www.macgpspro.com

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How to convert Garmin GPS maps for OS X use
Authored by: denny on Jan 20, '08 10:57:42PM
Since Garmin has released their preview of Bobcat there is more need to do the Map conversion. Here are some caveats I've seen mentioned and experienced them myself.

During the Conversion process on the PC several have received errors during the compression stage from bsdtar. If you remove the bsdtar directory MapConverter will just create the *.gmapi folder which can be copied to the MAC, eliminating the need to uncompress it. MapManager will be able to install it just fine.

If your MAC hard disk is formatted with the case sensitive option enabled the Garmin apps will not be able to recognize them. The maps are in
~Library/Application Support/Garmin/Maps
Right click (control click) on the package file (*.gmap)
Choose view Package contents.
The file Info.xml name needs to be changed to "info.xml"
Then the maps will be accessible by Bobcat and MapInstall.

Garmin posted a new page with all MAC software here: http://garmin.com/macosx

There is a link there ot a .pdf with instructions for the conversion process.

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