Garmin Mapsource Thailand or ESRI

Discussion in 'GPS Use, Tracks & Maps Discussion' started by RTJim, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. RTJim

    RTJim Member

    Does anyone have any experience with either of these map products for Garmin GPS?

    I'm planning on buying several GPS units for myself and some friends and the prices in the US are about 50% of what they are from a Garmin dealer in Thailand. I've done a lot of research and understand what mapping software is available for the hardware I'm planning on buying (Garmin 276c). But, I desparately trying to get some feedback on which is the best of the mapping software products as I'll have to buy it separately and it's not cheap. From what I know, the available options are:

    Garmin Mapsource Worldmap - B3000
    Garmin Mapsource Thailand City Select - B10,500
    ESRI - someone told me B12,000 but this is not confirmed.

    I would reward the purveyor of this information with buckets of mead here in Chiang Mai.[:D]
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    You'll get what you pay for.
    The ESR map is pretty good, but does have mistakes in it.

    For more info try a search for GPS & see the results you turn up. ... hTerms=gps

    Keep The Power On
  4. RTJim

    RTJim Member


    I did a search and looked at the links you provided but I couldn't find any mention of the ESRI or Garmin Mapsource Thailand products. Do you have any expereince with either of these? From what I read, the Mapsource Thailand City Select was released around Aug '05 so it's relatively new. I don't have a problem spending the money for ESRI or Mapsource but I'd like to know which one is better and if either of them have more detail than the standard Mapsouces Worldmap.
  5. border_rider

    border_rider New Member

    I have several garmin units with Worldmap. Its basic garbage as far as a map you can use to get around. As I understand it from looking at the garmin thailand city select, it is made by ESRI. It looks really nice although I prefer to go with topos scanned and used through oziexplorer on a ppc with GPS... Depends on if you are only going to stick to pavement or not.
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I dont have any personal experience with the ESRI map, as I have my own map.
    If you insist on having a GPS & map, & money is not a problem, then the ESRI map is the one to get.
    I think that you have to send your GPS to ESRI in Bkk for them to upload the map into the GPS. They have very tight control of it & you can't download the map to your computer from what I can gather. So that means 12,000 baht for each GPS. Kind of expensive then isn't it?

    Keep The Power On
  7. RTJim

    RTJim Member

    It's definitely expensve and way more than I want to pay. This will be my first GPS, but my impression is that unless you're willing to a lot of work making your own routes, you are stuck. I would much rather spend Bt3,000 on the Worldmap and skip the ESRI maps. What I'm trying to figure out is if there is significant incremental value going with the ESRI or Thailand City Select maps. What do you think? Have you heard anything from users of these products?
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    So what do you want a GPS map for if they aren't that good or are too expensive?
    I'm very biased, I draw maps, but you still can't beat a good hard copy map of North Thai!
    So why fantasize & waste money about having everything right there in your hot little hands on a screen a few cms square!
    This is the Golden Triangle, not urban USA or Europe.
    Do a trip without the GPS & then think about it for the 2nd trip - do you want / need to spend that sort of money?
    Maybe BarryBBQ or Robert H will post their ideas, as they have invested in the ESRI map...

    Keep The Power On
  9. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Well, you can always try the free maps at Mapcenter at but the quality is not that good. There is a new GPS shop in Chiangmai who is willing to upload all these maps to your GPS for a flat fee of 300 baht. You can do it your self but then you will have to downlaod all of them (some 60 maps or so) and use a special program to upload the maps to your GPS.

    You can contact Mauricy Siedlowski (Polis guy who speaks fluent English) at EAGLE GPS Co. Ltd.

    PANTIP PLAZA, unit 4108
    152/1 Chang Khlan Rd., Mueang,
    Chiang Mai 50 100, Thailand
    Tel.: +66 53 288 060
    Mobile: +66 10357345
    e-mail: [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]
    skype: eaglegps

  10. RTJim

    RTJim Member


    Thanks for the helpful advice. I'll go by and see Mauricy at Pantip.
  11. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    ESRI Bkk

    I am confronting the very same issues here in BKK. Having been cosseted with irritating voice of mapquest around europe I had hoped for the same sort of service here in Thailand.
    As previously stated ESRI sell a product that is the closest to what I have been using.
    If like me, you are bringing over a Garmin product from abroad ESRI need to get an unlock code from Garmin in Taiwan. You need to provide them with the garmin model number, serial number, and unit ID.
    You will then need to keep on at them to "process" this information as they have rather lax view on time.
    I copy and paste their response to me:
    "Further to our conversation, thank you for showing your interested in our product.
    We have the mapping data of Thailand in order to install to Garmin. It’s called “ Thailand City Select”
    And the price is 11,200 baht.
    Scale of The map for overall is 1:20000 and the scale for important city(Ampor Muang) 1:4000.
    If you are interesting in download the Thailand City Select, we are requesting your model,Serial number, Unit ID of your device in advance to contact Garmin to obtain the unlock code of your device for loading the map in the future. When we receive your unlock code, I will contact you again."
    Their telephone number is 02 636 8421 ext 304 and ask for Khun Piya.

    As I have yet to receive let alone use it I cannot attest to its use. But will advise when get back to TH in 2-3 weeks.

  12. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Rhodie: Just want to let you know I'd also be interested in your experiences with ESRI.

    RTJim: I'll be following in your exact footsteps gearwise (and experience w/it)and would be greatful if you could continue posting your experiences here at the GT forum.

    David: In your opinion, for the neophyte GPS user that wants to explore both on and off-road in Thailand, are we best served with the basic Garmin Mapsource Worldmap and a couple of your hard copy maps?

    Thanks in Advance.
  13. Tom Forde

    Tom Forde Ol'Timer

    Hi Jim,
    I agree with David. I spent over 6 months riding with David around the GT and Laos. I rode up from Ozzy equipped with a Garmen and the world map.
    Great for way points and approxiamite locations and which way is north!
    Can't beat Davids maps. Thailand ain't that big mate!
    I will be back in July without my GPS.
    Oh, it was great to find my girlfriends flat in Bangkok and the BMW dealer.


    Once u go Asian, forget about Caucasian
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yes on both accounts.
    1. RTJim pls keep us informed on how you go
    2. Bring your GPS & use a hard copy map. Both will probably let you down in odd places, but at least with the hardy copy map you should be able to see the big picture. I always travel with both, but note that the guys with just the GPS will always be asking to look at your hard copy map to see the big picture & see where they are!

    RTJim & border_rider are either of you in Cnx & want to meet up?

    Keep The Power On
  15. BarryBBQ

    BarryBBQ Ol'Timer

    I use the ESRI map on a Garmin 76CS. It’s nice to set a waypoint for an out of the way longneck village you want to visit in the future or a dirt trail that I want to try on my XR250 because it’s too gnarly for my 1200GS. My waypoints include restaurants that are worth visiting again, guest houses that I might want to visit again as well as places I want to explore in the future.

    There are many “roads” on the ESRI map that don’t show up on the latest B&B Thailand North map. David told me that he has more granular details that will be included in future versions but I’m inpatient. There are also trails on David’s maps that aren’t on the ESRI map. On his MHS map you can see a trail from Mae Sa Mai to Doi Suthep. I did this route on my XR250 with the GPS and was off the ESRI map for a while. I generally ride with paper and GPS. I would love someway to have everyone’s tracks and maps on my unit but today I am happy to use it for what it is, a tool.

    One feature I like that I didn’t buy the map for is using the Garmin as a HUD (heads up display). The first time I rode from Chiang Mai to MHS on the 1095 I set the Garmin at high screen resolution (80m) and was able to glance at the display and tell how sharp the next corner was or what direction the road breaks going over the next crest and judge my speed accordingly.

    My GS has an accurate fuel gauge and tells me how many km of fuel I have left. Finding the nearest gas station by GPS helped me twice when I waited too long to refuel. 5:30 in the afternoon, I rode into Tha Song Yang on the way to MHS from the south. There are two guesthouses in TSY, I used the GPS to do a “drive by” of each and made my choice.

    I live in BKK and find the ESRI map very useful for navigating here. For example, yesterday I wanted to find the quickest route from my condo to mochit bus station and ESRI did me well. The auto routing is very nice if you can’t read Thai but not it’s always 100% smart. It will sometimes tell you to use roads that are filled with pot holes instead of the highway when you choose “faster time” vs “shorter distance”. There have been several times when I’ve stopped, got the paper map out and tried to make sense of where the heck the auto routing wants to take me.

    Auto routing is very useful in BKK but not really necessary in the GT. Sometimes I will use the auto routing feature in the GT and choose “shorter distance” and find some very interesting “roads” that don’t show up and any paper based maps that I’ve ever seen or bought. A good way to have fun on the XR250.

    The ESRI map is crap in Laos and Cambodia. I’ve used the Garmin Worldmap in Thailand and it’s crap as well.

    When I rode north on the 1149 along the border to Mae Sai and the ESRI map showed that the road veers into Burma several times so maybe I really have ridden in Burma?

    I’m happy with the map and would love to be able to have the ESRI map on my PC so I could plans routes graphically on a 19” screen instead of a little GPS. ESRI won’t give you a CD, the only way to get the ESRI map installed on your GPS is to have them do it themselves. I am happy with the level of service I received from ESRI staff when I have had my map upgraded or re-installed.

    I recommend the RAM-MOUNT system to hang your GPS on your bike. The Garmin mount is crap.

    If I only rode the GT, I’d probably still be happy with the ESRI map.

    Expensive, yes but I’m happy with it.


    If I wasn't doing this, I'd be doing something else.
  16. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    BarryBBQ: Fantastic review of the ESRI map!!! Thanks a bunch. How much memory did the map take? For someone not planning on spending much time in BKK, once they are provided with the data they need how long was it for the to download it for you?

    David: Sounds like a side business of downloading maps onto GPS's of travlers is needed. Sign me up. Thanks for the beta.

    Auk or anybody: Is the quality of the maps at Mapcenter depicting Thailand better than the Garmin WorldMap?

    RTJim: What did you find out with Mauricy at Pantip?

    Cheers all.
  17. BarryBBQ

    BarryBBQ Ol'Timer

    I believe the ESRI map uses 115MB. When I bought it the Garmin 76CS was the only unit that had enough memory (150MB) to hold the entire map. If you have a unit with less memory you have to choose what sections to omit.

    Both times I visited ESRI to reload my map, I made an appointment. Took about a half hour.


    If I wasn't doing this, I'd be doing something else.
  18. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Barry pretty well nailed it. The world map has pretty poor detailing. Better than a sharp stick in the eye, but not by much. I have the esri map on a garmin 276c. Fantastic when you are semi lost in Bangkok. Once off the main traveled highways it becomes a bit weaker, ie do not think you can use to find little dirt tracks outside of Chiang Mai.........I went to a shop at one of the computer plazas in Chiang Mai. They sent my chip to Bangkok and it came back in a few days. Like Barry says the world map is crap, but the esri map is bit of overkill. Would be nice to have something in the middle.......No need to buy the world map. Just about everyone has a copy !!
  19. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    The quality of the maps on Mapcenter are much better than the Garmin Worldmap. Unfortunately, most of these maps have contour lines which are taken from a 1:250000 map so not accurate and take a lot of memory space in the GPS. In addition I find it often difficult to see if the line coming up at the GPS is a road or contour line (geeting old I must admit so the eyesight is a bit off).

    David's GPS map is somewhere in between the ESRI map and the Worldmap but in general is much better in the border areas and the small nitty-gritty dirt roads.


  20. jonadda

    jonadda Ol'Timer

    Whats wrong with you guys? Getting lost is half the fun and has its own rewards
  21. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Thanks Barry for the memory specs on ESRI maps.

    Auke: Geat feedback on the Mapcenter maps. My peeps would have the same problem with contour lines on the maps.

    What about favorite hard maps of Thailand? Where are you purchasing them from?
  22. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Just back from the south ending up in Phuket using the ESRI map on my Garmin.
    On the whole it performed flawlessly - tho don't expect numbers for buildings/hotels along streets to correspond.
    I was unable to get is hooked up to my autocom system so I am still unaware if the ESRI map has voice directions as one would have in UK. However, I have found "speaking directions" a doubled edged sword when biking in fast "fluid" traffic.
    In BKK just a few additional comments to Barry's thorough review on the ESRI.
    When leaving BKK it wanted to route me on the Expressway which as you know is not for m/cs. To try and counter this I set the preferences of routes to minor and then ended up on routes running beneath the expressway.
    This occurred again on my return to the city today. But this time I only ended up contributing to the police entertainment fund for turning right on Rama 4 from N sathorn following the Garmin without staying in the left hand lanes!
    Re memory size on the CF card. ESRI particularly told me to only bring a 125mb card for installation. As I was using a 1GB card in UK I was slightly concerned - so I took a 256mb.
    On my 13hr run down to Phuket I had to clear the journey memory feature about half way along. I regret now not taking a larger card in the first place, as it is quite useful to use the journey memory to set waypoints for future use/trip planning.
    Don't get me wrong tho, I am a very happy user - where as a newbie to biking in Thailand I need to make fast and efficient bike trips this is the only answer. I only wish we had maps as clear as David's excellent northern loop & laos maps for us down here in the south.
  23. cruiser

    cruiser Member

    I have been using Garmin Mapsource Thailand City Select for some time first on a i Que which was nice to use as it was touch screen but not waterproof or very robust, battery life was very short so had to be plugged into 12v, worst thing was if you didnt use it for a while all the waypoints disappeared. I replaced it with a 76CSx a new Garmin model just out with a much better reciver, less suseptable to reception loss under tree cover, it cost about 35,000 baht with map ready installed, the newest version. There are 12v leads, handle bar mounts etc at reasonable prices.Who ever compiled the data seemed to have put in every Karaoke bar even in the remotest villages,( wonder how you apply for the job) the detail is excellent. You can down load waypoints and tracks using World Map or Trip & Way Point Manager. The really cool thing is you can view these with Google Earth so you actually see where you went in the big picture, pan, zoom, etc, it is totaly amazing.

    There is an older version I think Thailand City Select 6.5 where you can view the map on your PC but it is not transferable to your GPS only routes & waypoints. It cost 30,000 baht for the CD so is not a thing most people would buy. ESRI do not want their data copied, it must have cost a lot of money to buy all those beers in every Karoke bar across the nation.

    Ok its cheaper to buy a Garmin GPS overseas but by the time you buy the Thai map and get it installed you are not much better off.Also when you leave Thailand I am sure you can get a good price on the GT board when you sell the GPS.

    ESRI is the main distributer for Garmin in Thailand but if you go one of their sales agents you will better more personal service.

    I have bought several GPS from

    Khun Art
    Dynatrend Thai Ltd.
    1st Floor, Home Place Building, #0120
    283 Sukhumvit 55 Rd, ( Corner Thong Lor 13)
    Wattana, Bangkok 10110

    Phone 02 7129752
    Fax 02 7129753
    Email: [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]

    Full info: Link removed

    He speaks good American, is very helpful and can get GPS repaired and serviced. He also sells kayaks, waterfproof bags & what he describes as gadgets. There are several outdoor camping shops in BKK that sell Garmin stuff but Khun Art sells I think the most and many falang use his service.

    Another source of information in Thai is:

    The voice guidence system does work, some American lady keeps saying off route, off route, make a U turn
  25. Jim

    I have a Garmin 176C same as 276c except I dont have the talking.

    I bought the CD map of Thailand, and the CD map of Bangkok, both around 300baht. You download cd's on your pc, then as you move your cursor over the map, it gives waypoints.

    A bit time consuming but I was able to navigate Phuket to north east Thailand quite easily. Also bangkok map shows gas stations etc, so was able to work out directions to Red Baron etc.

    I also got my Garmin from the States and as mentioned world map useless as it frequently shows me riding in the ocean.

    Also Ram Mounts brilliant, so easy to mount it on any bike, multi adjustable, and even have a suction cap for (car).
  26. RTJim

    RTJim Member


    That solution sounds really useful. What I'm most interested in is choosing a route on my PC and then loading that route on the GPS.

    Also, can any of you tell me if you can create routes as you are riding? I think that's called chartplotting where you set the intervals for waypoints.

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