Garmin Fenix 5x free OpenStreet Map installation

The Garmin Fenix 5x has great mapping software but the official Garmin maps are quite expensive. OpenStreetMaps provide these for free. However, you might find the process a little complicated to start with.

I notice one of my pages was getting quite a few views, so I thought I’d write a bit about it. The freely available OpenStreetMap’s are generally better than the paid for Garmin maps but it’s quite noting Garmin maps are based off of them–Garmin update them infrequently.

There are a few websites where you can download websites, one of my favourites is hosted in the Netherlands.  Download the area you want in the “Generic Routable (new style)”, extract the zip file, rename the “img” file to whatever you want and copy it directly to your watch. Leave the file extension as is. Put them in the main directory of the watch. Putting them in the “custom maps” didn’t seem to work for me.

There are ways you can install mas using Garmin express, from the “maps” and “install maps” option. This is quite good if you have a large map file but only want to install specific areas. As I’ve wanted to put Canada on my Garmin Fenix 5x, I’ve found the dutch site more useful. OpenMapChest is also a great site with map files.

 

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The Garmin Fenix 5x is capable of displaying many maps. The freely available OpenStreetMap’s are generally better than the paid for Garmin maps (Garmin maps are based off of them but they’re updated less frequently) and these will work fine with the Garmin Fenix 5x.

After further digging around, I’ve discovered a way to upload a GPX file from the watch and overlay it on an OpenStreetMap. Not only that, but I can upload multiple files and display multiple tracks on the one map:

At the moment, this process is slow because I have to type in the names and directories of each file. I’m sure I could code something to help automate this process, nonetheless it’s pretty cool. GPX files can get quite large and displaying 100 tracks on one map might use a lot of data, but organising the maps shouldn’t be a problem. For example, I could create a page “London” and only upload hikes in London. Another way is to use fusion tables. I’ve written a page on that too…

Map

Instructions on installing maps for the Garmin Fenix 5x smartwatch with a computer

If you’ve come to this page because you’re interested in installing maps to your Garmin Fenix 5x, please go to a new page I have written about that.

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