For virtually all Garmin GPS units, all you need to do is insert the memory card. However, some tips are listed below which may assist you in using your Garmin GPS.
Customized Map: The TRAX series of maps contain a lot of detail for different outdoor activities. Depending on your version of the TRAX map and the type of outdoor activity, you may want to turn off or on specific map layers on your GPS. The process on how to get to the Map Information varies on different Garmins but usually can be found under Tools – Settings – Map – Map Info or Setup – Map – Map Info. Here is a screenshot of what this looks like. For newer style Garmin units, the format of the map must be updated from the Legacy format to the New Format. Our Online Map Update Tool can be used for this update.
Maps Not Showing:
- If your GPS accepts SD cards, the SD card provided is an adapter only. The microSD card must be inserted into the SD card and both inserted together. The microSD must be inserted
into the SD adapter with the metal leads facing the same direction!
- If your GPS has a sliding lock, it has to be entirely shut or the metal leads will not make contact. If it does not, make sure you hear the click normally associated with inserting the card.
- It is possible you are not zooming far enough to have the map details appear.
Nuvis: Nuvis are great automotive GPS units. Please keep in mind, their purpose is strictly designed for automotive use. This means most tend to have a very short battery life, don’t have track features, and are not waterproof. They can be used with the TRAX series of maps as many prefer their bigger screens. However, due to their features, they are not designed for extreme outdoor use. One of the issues you may face is a lack of labels showing on the map. Most of the Garmin handhelds have a Declutter feature and it is OFF by default. On Nuvis, there isn’t a choice for Declutter as it is always on. Older versions of Garmin Nuvis tend to show more labels and higher levels of details than the newer style of Garmins.
Some ways to show more labels:
- Click on the screen which switches the GPS to Browse Mode which often shows more detail than Driving Mode.
- Tools – Settings – System and for Usage Mode try Pedestrian or Bicycle and see if this shows more labels.
- Tools – Settings – Map and increase your Map Detail to More or Most
- Tools – Settings – Map – Info and turn off TRAX_Background. With the background off, you should be able to touch screen elements and information about the element will appear.
Nuvi 200, 250, 350, and 650: These Nuvis do not allow multiple Garmins maps on different map layers. If you have one of these GPS models, contact Kirsch’s Outdoor Products at email@example.com and a customized map will be set for these specific units.
Nuvi 500 Series: Tools – Settings – System and choose Walking or Biking. This has to be modified as this series comes with a topo map by default and it overlays over any map entered.
Oregon Series: Setup – Map – Advanced Map Setup – Zoom Levels – Land Cover set to 100 miles or higher. On some original Oregon models, this needs to be adjusted or the land areas do not show on the GPS unit. This issue only affected early releases of the Oregon models.
Detail Level: The detail level can be set to change when TRAX and Garmin map elements appear. By default we create the maps to work very will at the default setting of Normal, but this setting can be changed to shows elements earlier.
Double Roads: Your GPS may have some of the map features your TRAX series provides so you may wish to turn off some major features of your TRAX map such as roads. This varies per model so please consult your owner’s manual. For a Garmin Nuvi 500 for instance, it is Tools – Settings – Map – Map Info.
Clicking on Objects Show No Label: To keep many Garmin map base map features from interfering with the TRAX maps, a background layer is added to the Garmin maps. By turning this layer off, certain Garmin GPS units will allow hovering over land areas and have the name of the land appear. For most Garmins, the name will still appear but on a few units, turning off the background layer may be necessary. In addition, by turning off the background, the TRAX map will be transparent and many other GPS elements may begin to show. Turning off the Background layer varies per model so please consult your owner’s manual. For a Garmin Nuvi 500 for instance, it is Tools – Settings – Map – Map Info.
Maps with Topos: Some GPS units come pre-loaded with topo on them. This typically is represented by elevation contour lines. Every implementation of topo is different but the most common scenario is the base map topo lines will be under the TRAX series of maps and disappear when a TRAX map is inserted in the GPS. If you wish to see both maps, one option is to go into Tools – Settings – Map – Map Info (navigation varies per GPS) and turn off the TRAX – Background layer. This layer is the white background used to cover up the other GPS elements. With this turned off, many of the topo lines will then begin to appear. If a topo line disappers once it meets a land element, there is no way to prevent this. However, you could go into Tools – Settings – Map – Map Info and turn off the TRAX – Land layer. The borders would still show but the land element colors would not and it is very likely your topo would show as expected. The TRAX maps are pre-set to work with the most Garmin GPS units as possible and be the most compatible. However, there are hundreds of different combinations of Garmin GPS units and pre-loaded base maps that can cause a TRAX map to work differently than designed.
Garmin Showing Me Off The Road: Kirsch’s Outdoor Products uses the most detailed road data we can find. One of the most common reasons this occurs is some Garmin units also come with roads on the unit. Most Garmins have a feature called Road Lock which means the GPS will attempt to place the user automatically on the screen to the nearest road. Even if the TRAX map is more accurate on where the road really lies, if a Garmin basemap road is nearby, the GPS will automatically put the icon to the Garmin road.
With the introduction of many of the new Garmin units such as the Montana, eTrex 20 and 30, Alpha, and Astro dog series, Garmin has changed the way the units respond to Garmin maps. Until 2013, all Garmin GPS units looked for a single map file. In the case of TRAX maps, we provide a single map file on the unit but it is comprised of many map layers. All pre-2013 GPS units would allow you to turn these layers off and on. The 2013 Garmin GPS units (mainly handhelds) will still read the single file but only one map layer will be shown versus the standard 8-10 map layers. Due to this Kirsch’s Outdoor Products, has two map sets available called Legacy and New.
If you have a 2013 Garmin Handheld GPS, you can update to this New style map by using the update tool found here or sending it to Kirsch’s Outdoor Products, 7915 Aquarius Drive, Fargo, ND, 58104 and we will update you to this New style. If you are sending it in, you need to write a note saying you wish to switch from the Legacy version to the new version. The ability to control layers is a very important feature in a TRAX map, so you may wish to do this. However, there are 2 potential drawbacks to doing this.
- The New style Garmin map will not work in older Garmin GPS units, so if you have multiple GPS units, you will want to continue to use the Legacy GPS format which will work in virtually all Garmin units which take memory cards.
- The New style maps can only be viewed by the Garmin BaseCamp software one layer at a time, but the Legacy version shows all layers together.
If you are having issues with your Garmin GPS rebooting with a TRAX map in the unit, you may wish to update your firmware of your GPS unit. This can be done at Garmin. This is most likely to occur on automotive units. In particular the Nuvi 1450 is prone to this happening especially in areas with lots of Roads and potentially lots of private parcels such as in a city. An option to help this scenario is to remove the map card when you get in very heavily populated areas as the map is designed to be used in rural areas. Another option is to go into your Map Information area (typically found under Settings – Map – Map Info) and turn off Roads – Minor, Topo, and Owners if they exist on your map.
One of the most common questions is will my GPS function as it always did once I put in my TRAX map. The answer is yes, the basic functionality of the GPS such as marking a waypoint, creating a trail/track all stays the same. This also applies to the ability to route to a destination on the Nuvis utilizing tne pre-loaded Garmin road map. What does change is the amount of detail that appears on the screen.
All TRAX data is supplementary. This means we add details to the screen but the GPS will not route for instance using this TRAX road data. It has to use the roads on the Garmin map to route.
Kirsch’s Outdoor Products does not test on all the Garmin and 3rd party maps to verify compatibility. We test on the units with their corresponding base maps. All maps sold by Garmin function as basemaps on the unit but the layer or layers they display upon can vary.
TRAX maps are broken up into layers such as Topo, water, land, roads_major, roads_minor, land, owners, sections, etc. Garmin has 62 map layers on a GPS. TRAX maps typically use the last 13 layers which are the highest transparent layers (last 31 layers) and one that is not transparent category in the middle of these layers (first 31 layers). In general, all or most Garmin basemap elements, including topo, will be covered up by the TRAX map layers. The first thing to try is under Map Information (usually found under Setup – Map) to turn off the TRAX_Background layer first. If this doesn’t work, the other layers which could interfere include the Land, Water, and Ownership layer. These layers all contain polygon elements which would cover up base elements such as topo lines on the Garmin map and any or all could be turned off and the base map layers would appear. If you need topo lines to work with a TRAX map, it is highly recommended you purchase a TRAX+ version of our product which comes with a 24K topo layer.
Although, the elements may be covered up, the Garmin GPS units will still function as it always would and route following the basemap features which are being covered up but are still there.
It has been reported, however, 3-D shading does show through. This way if you have a Garmin 3-D topo map and a TRAX map with all layers on, you would see all the TRAX elements and still see the Garmin 3-D shading for Topo which would give the map a nice effect. This has not been tested and is not officially supported but this has been reported to work by customers.
All TRAX maps (legacy format only) labeled version 5.2 or higher should be visible in the Garmin BaseCamp application. In order to view the map, it must be a Windows PC with BaseCamp already installed on the PC.
- Launch BaseCamp
- Insert your TRAX map 5.2 or higher into your PC memory card reader, or insert the card into your Garmin GPS and connect it to the PC.
- In BaseCamp, use the maps drop-down option and select the TRAX map shown.
There are known drawing issues with BaseCamp where layering causes issues. Many water resources show behind land elements and at times land elements appear and disappear. This is not an issue with the TRAX map but issues with BaseCamp handling a map with multiple layers. Unfortunately, at this time there is no way to change this. Changing the level of detail may change when elements appear and disappear, so increasing or decreasing detail may help provide the desired result at different various zoom levels. BaseCamp can not be used to transfer the mapset to another device and Garmin has crippled the printing functionality for all 3rd party maps.
If the TRAX mapset is the new format, one layer is visible at a time in BaseCamp. Unless BaseCamp changes their tool to allow selecting multiple layers, there is no way around this without updating the map to the Legacy format.
One of the most common support calls we get has to do with all Garmin touchscreen GPS models with the Oregon being the most common. The calls vary but it typically has to do with some of the TRAX elements appearing but not all of them. Some examples of display issues may be where the land shows but no roads show or section lines do not show. Garmin does not have a good explanation of why this occurs but the fix is to do a Hard Reset of the GPS as there is an issue with the GPS settings.
On many touchscreen Garmins this is done by by pressing in the left-hand corner of the touchscreen, while powering on the unit. A question will appear saying, Do You Wish To Erase All User Data. THIS MAY ERASE ANY WAYPOINTS OR TRACKS ON YOUR GPS. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO LOSE THEM, BACK THEM UP USING GARMIN BASECAMP AND RESTART THIS PROCEDURE. Upon saying yes to this option, the unit will reset and the display problems typically do not reoccur. Kirsch’s Outdoor Products has seen this issue with virtually all touchscreen Garmins including Rino, Oregon, and Montana GPS models. The method of doing a HARD RESET on your Garmin may vary.
TRAX maps have always been designed as layered maps. This allows the user the ability to control certain major features/layers such as topography, roads, trails, water, sections, land, ownership, etc. However, in 2012 Garmin made a change to their handheld GPS units starting with the 62 series and Oregon 600 and Montana 600 series. This change allows the GPS to see multiple map files on the GPS. While doing this, they broke the ability of the GPS to read one map file with multiple layers. Due to this, Kirsch’s Outdoor Products has two map formats available. The version we sell in stores is called the Legacy format.
- Works in all Garmins
- Provides layer support for most automotive Nuvis and Handhelds manufactured before 2012
- Works in Basecamp
- Designed for Garmin GPS manufactured after 2012
- Provides layer support on most Garmin GPS units manufactured after 2012
- Only allows one layer to be selected at a time in Basecamp
- Will not run on older Garmin units
- Cover up many errors in base Garmin maps that show solid public land areas which often is not the case
- Makes the map easier to read against a white background
- Most importantly it allows handheld Garmins the ability to select a location on the screen and receive multiple pieces of information for the spot
Garmin released a new automotive GPS early in 2016. We have done some preliminary testing on a DriveSmart 60. On the model tested, we received a message saying “Memory Card Must Be Formatted.” It appears the DriveSmart units will not work with memory cards less than 1GB in size and they have to be formatted a specific way.
There are two options:
1) The first option is to please put your product in a bubble mailer, and send it to us at: Kirsch’s Outdoor Products, 7915 Aquarius Drive, Fargo, ND 58104. Indicate you have a Drive series GPS from Garmin and we will get you a different card size with a different format and send it right back to.
2) If you have a memory card reader and the card is 1GB or larger, you can try the following. Make a folder called drivesmart on your Windows PC. Copy all the contents of the microSD card into that folder. Put the microSD card back in the DriveSmart GPS, and say Yes to format the card. Remove the card after formatting and place it back into your memory card reader. Copy the contents from the drivesmart folder back on the card. This is not a recommended option but can work in certain circumstances.