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How can I use Garmin Topo maps on my laptop?
Neil
Hi, I am a keen 4x4 owner living in Spain, and I travel to Morocco quite frequently, so I bought a Garmin 276C, Topo EspanaV3 and Topo MarocV2, and installed MapSource on my laptop. Unfortunately, before I even had time to master the 276 (my first GPS), it was stolen from the vehicle, which leaves me with my laptop with MapSource, and my 2 topo discs.

What I would like to achieve is to view and use my Garmin topo maps on my laptop with moving map positioning like Ozi. Can I achieve this by buying Garmin Mobile PC and a simple USB GPS device? What do I need to buy? I have bought a very good laptop mount in anticipation.

Thank you,
Neil
Ken in Regina
Hello Neil,

Mobile PC will give you a moving map display like any GPS personal navigation device. It looks very similar to a Garmin Nuvi and has a similar user interface.

Did you have to unlock those maps to use them in Mapsource? This matters.

If you did not have to unlock them in Mapsource: You can buy the software-only version of Mobile PC and an inexpensive USB GPS receiver. You can use Mapsource to install the maps in Mobile PC.

If you did have to unlock them in Mapsource: You must buy a version of Mobile PC which includes a Garmin GPS receiver, either the GPS10x bluetooth receiver or the GPS20x USB receiver. This is because you need a Garmin GPS serial number in order to unlock the maps. If you have already acquired an unlock code for the 276C you will need to contact Garmin to see if they will switch the unlock code from the stolen device to the new receiver.

Another alternative to Mobile PC (either versions) is Garmin's nRoute. It is probably more like the Ozi display. It's an older product that is no longer supported by Garmin and is free to use. There are a couple of potiential issues (nothing is ever truly "free").

First, it only understands the proprietary Garmin GPS protocol so you will need to install a program called GPSGate to use a non-Garmin receiver. This is not a big issue because the Express version of GPSGate is very cheap.

Second, you might have to convert the format of the maps. If they come in the newer file format that is similar to City Navigator Eurpope 2010 you will need to convert them. This is also not a big issue. There is a simple free program you can run to convert the maps to a format that nRoute will use.

...ken...
Neil
Hi Ken,
Thankyou for the prompt reply. I think I'll buy the software with the gps receiver in the package as I recall using an unlock code. I have not reported the 276 stolen to Garmin yet but will. Do you think I will ever be able to trace it, I kept a note of the device number?
I am from the age of steam and technophobic so your knowledge is very gratefully received.
Regards
Neil
Ken in Regina
I'm also from sometime in the Jurassic, Neil. I once had a baby t. rex as a pet.

I'm not sure what the odds are of tracking your 276 but it's good that you kept the device number. If you contact Garmin to report it stolen they can probably give you a better idea how to deal with a stolen unit. I have been fortunate that I've not had to deal with that particular issue. It's one of those things I hope remains outside my experience.

...ken...
Neil
Hi Ken,
I've bought Mobile PC with a 20X and loaded the disc and its up and running. Would you be able to give me step by step help on how to get the topo map on to the PC programme? Please recall my limited ability.
Kind regards
Neil
Marvin Hlavac
Neil, see if this helps: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/518-transferring-detail-maps-mapsource-mobile-pc

This, and other helpful tips, can be found in our Garmin Mobile PC FAQ, which is pinned to the top of the index page of this forum section.
Neil
Hi Marvin,

Very helpful, but it sure is taking a bit of absorbing. I've established that my Mapsource is version 6.12. Having read some of your info.

I thought that I should contact Garmin, and so I've tried to fill in the fields on the Garmin support website form as it would seem that I need new unlock codes. Not easy because I have an old email from them with my first unlock code, but importantly no customer code and this is a field that needs filling in. So my email can't get sent.

Don't laugh, but I've spent most of the day getting no where. Must be age related.

Kind regards
Neil
Ken in Regina
Neil, I think it's all the blather about unlock codes that have you bothered. With the topo maps you should be able to cheerfully ignore anything to do with unlock codes. I'm not aware that Garmin has ever sold any topo products that required unlock codes. As far as I know all their topo products are unlocked.

You should just be able to install the maps from the CDs, run Mapsource and follow the instructions for selecting and transferring map data to Mobile PC.

Worst case is that you probably need to update Mapsource to a newer version. The version you have might not recognize Mobile PC, which is a pretty new product. Since you already have Mapsource installed, you can just go onto Garmin's site and download and install the latest.

Garmin: MapSource Updates & Downloads

Don't remove the old one. The Mapsource updates need to see that an older version is installed or they won't let you install the update. They just install nicely right over the old version.

Once you have Mapsource updated you can follow the instruction in that other thread, keeping in mind that the first time you try to transfer to Mobile PC you will probably need to have it running for Mapsource to find it. Once Mapsource has found and transferred to Mobile PC once, you should not have to have Mobile PC running to transfer to it after that.

If you still have a problem, can you please give details about what steps you went through and exactly what results you got, including any messages?

...ken...
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