Free Garmin MapSource, BaseCamp, MapInstall
What is Garmin MapSource?
Garmin MapSource is a Windows program that transfers data between your computer and your Garmin GPS. It is used to edit GPS data and to transfer it between your computer and your GPS.
One of the most important features is that it can be used to select multiple maps, combine them into a single file, and then download them to your GPS internal storage or SD card. It's also used to edit, upload and download user track logs, waypoints and routes. Using it's routing tool, you can create your own custom routes that follow precisely along the trails. The custom route provide a list of turn by turn directions along snowmobile or ATV trails, and list precise distances for each leg of the route. This is one major advantage of using our routing trail maps.
MapSource is our preferred method to combine our trail map products with other maps for download to your GPS. An alternative method is to use the free Garmin MapInstall program.
MapSource is a useful tool if you want to save data collected on your Garmin GPS or load your GPS with data from other sources.
MapSource was once included whenever you purchased a Garmin GPS, and still is with many models. But most automotive units such as the Garmin Nuvi series do not include it.
How to get MapSource for Free
MapSource program updates can be downloaded for free from Garmin's site, but updates will not run unless you have previously installed a version of MapSource on your computer. One way to fulfill this "previous install requirement" is to first download and install the free Garmin BaseCamp program. Then, download and install the free MapSource Update. From that point on, you should have a working copy of both BaseCamp and MapSource. You can uninstall BaseCamp and still use MapSource if you decide not to use BaseCamp.
What is BaseCamp?
BaseCamp is Garmin's newer GPS data management tool that may replace MapSource in the long run. It uses more computer resources than MapSource, and can be quite sluggish and annoying on older slower computers. A version is available for Apple computers, which is not the case for MapSource.
BaseCamp has no build-in capability to combine and download maps to a GPS, but if you install the free MapInstall program, it uses that to accomplish this critical task.
Basecamp has a couple unique features that MapSource does not. It has the ability to manage BirdsEye satellite images for those newer GPS models that support that type if imaging. It also has a 3d map display mode that will show map features wrapped on a 3d terrain model. 3d display requires a map that includes digital elevation model (DEM) data, such as Garmin's TOPO US 2008.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure to re-boot you computer after installing MapSource. It will be unable to make a connection between you Computer and your GPS until you do.