Garmin Makes Custom Maps Free and Easy, Merging Paper and Digital Maps with GPS Handhelds

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 6:00 am CST
"Potential users include new students on college campuses, experienced hunters on game areas, and the millions of visitors to zoos, amusement parks and botanical gardens."
OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the availability of Custom Maps, a free, simple process that helps users transform the maps they currently have – in paper or digital form – into downloadable maps for compatible Garmin GPS outdoor handhelds.

“Free Custom Maps can be used by anyone wanting to bring their favorite locations to life,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Potential users include new students on college campuses, experienced hunters on game areas, and the millions of visitors to zoos, amusement parks and botanical gardens.”

Through a few easy steps, Garmin’s Custom Maps can bring the details, labels and landmarks on a user’s existing paper or electronic map to a compatible Garmin Oregon®, Dakota or Colorado®, outdoor GPS handheld. Compatible with both PC and Mac, this free service complements the myriad of mapping products already offered for Garmin devices, including City Navigator®, NT for turn-by-turn directions on city streets, Blue Chart® g2, for marine charting, and TOPO U.S. 24K and 100K map software for incredible terrain detail (each sold separately).

Before you begin converting your existing maps to Custom Maps, be sure to install the latest software for your device. Connect your outdoor handheld via USB and visit for the fast and free software update. Once software has been updated, the simple steps can begin.

The first step to creating Custom Maps is to save your existing map in JPG format, either by scanning a paper map or converting a digital file. The second step is to georeference your new map image, which can be done easily by using Google Earth to line up key landmarks with those depicted on the map. The final step is to save your Custom Maps to your Garmin device and you’re ready to go explore. To see these steps in further detail, to find and share maps with other users and to join discussions about Garmin Custom Maps, visit Custom Maps should only be created from maps that are in the public domain, for which you hold the copyright, or that you have permission to use from the copyright holder. The original map’s accuracy in scale and illustration is also an important factor in creating quality Custom Maps.

The power of Custom Maps is exemplified through paper and digital maps labeled for specific events and purposes, such as a college graduation invitation that lists campus building names and locations; a roadmap of a parade, marathon, 5K or bike race; a pamphlet for a nearby park that lists trailheads; or a historic illustration of an area as it once stood, allowing you to bridge generations through existing locations and imagination.

Custom Maps represent the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent 20 years developing technologies and innovation to enhance users’ lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. For more about the Oregon, Dakota and Colorado families of outdoor handhelds and to learn through interactive demos, visit, and