How to Make a Garmin GPS Map from OSM (Open Street Maps)

Discussion in 'GPS Use, Tracks & Maps Discussion' started by mikehohman, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. I was screwing around this morning trying to figure out how to make a Garmin Map from the OSM Open Street Map data. It's fairly straight forward, so I thought I would share:

    First, get the data you want from OSM. Second, convert it to Garmin format. Third, load it on your Garmin GPS. East as 1-2-3.

    Go to and use the zoom tools to get just the view of the world you want for your map. In this example, I wanted a map of the Shan States, so i browsed, zoomed, and played with the window size to get just what i wanted.

    Then, click on the EXPORT command at the top left. Then you can download the file (if its small). If your selection is too big, which it is usually will be, you can press on the "Overpass API" link to automatically start the download. Like this:


    So, now you have a file called "map" on your computer (in your download folder) with all the data you need. You just need to convert to Garmin.
    To do that, you can use a java program called "mkgmap"

    This program will convert the map file to Garmin. It's a command line program, so you need to know how to do that, but that's pretty easy. On a Mac, just open Terminal, on a PC, type cmd or whatever in the start menu (i forget).

    Anyway, before you run the program, its easiest if you put the map file in the same folder with the mkgmap program and you also put another text file there called whatever you like, but i used "optionsfile.args". In this text file, i put the following:

    family-name: OSM Shan States
    series-name: OSM Shan States
    description: OSM Shan States
  2. Thanks for this Mike. GPS is something completely new to me. :-?

    I'm picking up a Garmin Montana 600 whilst back in the UK next month, I'll give your tutorial a try when I get the chance.
  3. Thanks Mike, a very useful post.

    Must admit.. I looked in to this a few times and thought.. What a headache and just used the short cut you mention above.
    But having done all the hard work.. Made it simple for the rest of us to follow :)

    The short cut site is great but seems to be very busy with up to two days to generate a Map for South East Asia these days.
    Use to be 8 to 12 hrs and ready for download.

    Will give this a try for sure.

  4. Wow now that is a gem of a sensational report.
    There will be a lot of happy people out there after reading this detailed write up.

    Mega thanks.

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