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 was to use fusion tables but these are now obsolete.

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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2 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix 5x free OpenStreet Map installation

  • 01/03/2019 at 08:14

    hi, I am from China. Your article “Garmin Fenix 5x free OpenStreet Map installation” is very helpful to me, thank you.
    And I have one question about the Fenix 5 plus. I am not sure if the Fenix 5 plus could install the 3rd party map, just like what you did on the Fenix 5x.
    Could you please take few minutes to answer my question? Really appreciate your help.

    • 01/03/2019 at 12:21


      Yes, with the plus models, all models (Fenix 5 Plus, Fenix 5s Plus and Fenix 5x Plus) have maps. The file structure will be the same and they all run a similar android based operating system, it is confusing because it used to be that only the 5x had the maps, this has changed with the new models. The main difference between the Fenix 5 Plus and the Fenix 5x Plus is screen size, sapphire screen and battery life.

      I have now edited my Garmin Fenix 5x watch review page, so it is a bit more clear :).

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