HOW-TO: Uploading Map(s) to a Garmin nuvi 255W

I have lived in the Philippines almost my entire life. But I don't know my way around quite that well. And to be honest, I haven't been around to many of the tourist destinations either. Most of you may have visited far more places than I have been to.

But thanks to technology, most of the places in the country can be visited with the help of a global positioning system or GPS device. I just acquired a Garmin nuvi 255W recently (thanks to my sister). But sadly, the Garmin nuvi unit came prepackaged with US and Europe maps. Not very applicable where I'm at. Here is how I uploaded a Garmin compatible map for the Philippines.

On the quest for knowledge on how to do this, I found three (3) working procedures on how this gets done: [a] via mass storage mode, [b] via Garmin's mapsource, and [c] via a proprietary software called cgpsmapper. I have only used the first two so I can only outline details about them.

Mass storage mode. This is the simplest procedure to execute. Plug the Garmin nuvi device to an available USB port. It is detected as a mass storage device (not a GPS device but don't worry) -- one for the internal memory of the unit and another for the SD card. So two drives will be added to Windows explorer.

You will not mistake one for the other as the drive for the internal memory gets the name Garmin and the SD card is named Removable Media. The Garmin drive referring to the device's internal memory has an icon of a blue triangle pointing up.

Download the openstreetmap image file from osmphil_garmin website. Make sure to download the compressed gmapsupp.img.

The file downloaded has name gmapsupp.img. This needs to be copied over to the \Garmin folder on the SD card of the GPS. If the folder \Garmin does not exist, create it. (NOTE: On newer Garmin models the equivalent folder for \Garmin is \Map.)

Now unplug the GPS unit from the USB port and check the map just copied.

Using mapsource. To be able to install Garmin mapsource, download training center and mapsource (Garmin software and updates). Then install training center, after which install mapsource.

Download the openstreetmap image file from osmphil_garmin website. Make sure to download the executable file for Mapsource. Once done downloading, install the .exe file downloaded.

Plug the Garmin nuvi to the USB port. Then, launch mapsource and select the (OSM_PHIL) from the dropdown, like the screenshot below.


Under the Transfer > Send to device and tick Maps. Wait for the prompt message stating success -- "The data was successfully sent". This is illustrated by the screenshot below (Unid ID blurred for my own safety).


Now unplug the GPS unit from the USB port and check the map just copied.

There you go folks, a Garmin compatible map has been uploaded to your GPS unit for use in the Philippines. I still haven't gone around to test the accuracy but it beats having a GPS in situations where you don't know which way to go.

This procedure is known to work with the Garmin nuvi devices. Let me know if this procedure doesn't work for your unit.

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