Frequently Asked Questions

Which Garmin devices work with the maps?

The OpenMapChest maps work with the following Garmin devices:

  • Nuvi series
  • Zumo series - including derivatives such as the BMW devices
  • eTrex, Oregon, Dakota, Colorado, Montana, Colorado and GPSMAP 62 handhelds
  • StreetPilot if the device has an SD Card slot
  • There are reports of these maps working on Kenwood in car map systems (e.g. DNX521DAB) but the update procedure is a bit involved. This forum post should point you in the right direction but I'm not able to provide support for this procedure.

Other Garmin devices with an SD Card slot should work but I haven't tested them personally. Let me know if the maps work on a device not listed here.

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Who's behind OpenMapChest?

Hi 👋, I'm Ben Konrath.

I run OpenMapChest as a hobby. I love maps and created OpenMapChest to share the maps I make with other people. I hope you find them useful.

I spend my time on this project improving the maps and the map-making process, helping users who encounter problems, and improving the OpenMapChest website.

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What data is used to make these maps?

The maps are created using map data provided by the OpenStreetMap project, a user-editable map of the world.

Like all maps, OpenMapChest maps will have some errors. The advantage of using an OpenStreetMap based map is that you can fix any problems you find directly in OpenStreetMap and be using your fixes within a week. That's not possible with Garmin's official maps.

Want to make a change to the map data? Check out the OpenStreetMap beginner's guide to get started.

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How often are the maps updated?

The maps on this site are updated bi-weekly so that everyone can benefit from the fixes and updates in the OpenStreetMap data without too much delay.

The map build script is usually started Friday night / Saturday morning and takes about 5 days to complete - yes, it's a lot of data to process! You can expect an updated version of your favorite map to appear on the site sometime between Saturday and Wednesday.

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Are there any restrictions on the map?

There are no limitations on these maps. You can install them on as many devices as you like. You can share them with as many people as you want.

I just ask that you give me credit by linking to this site or by mentioning OpenMapChest to the people you share the maps with. Thanks. 🙂

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How do you improve the addresses in the US maps?

The US maps are enhanced with the TIGER address data from the US Census Bureau. This data is released annually and I try to update to the latest version of this data as soon as it's released.

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Can I create maps with your enhancements and customizations?

You sure can! 🚀

Instructions and the custom style file can be found in the OpenMapChest map build guide.

I kindly ask you not to label any maps you make as coming from OpenMapChest as this name is reserved for the official maps of this site.

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How do these maps compare to the official maps from Garmin?

The maps on this site use the older Garmin format, the so called non-NT format. The maps work well and are very usable, but some features that were added to the newer NT format are not available, notably:

  • Speed limits: Speed limits are not displayed on screen while driving, however, speed limits are used for calculating the best route.
  • Junction View (JCV): These maps do not include Junction View images which means images of major highways, exits, and merge lanes do not appear while driving.
  • Larger maps: The non-NT format is less efficient than the newer NT format which means these maps are larger than Garmin's official maps.