Owners of older Garmin GPS units are often unable to update their maps. Support for many sat navs ended long ago and Garmin doesn't offer updated maps- even if you're willing to pay for them. But give this a try before you trash that old Zumo.

OpenMapChest offers free open-source maps you can download and install for free. The maps are made possible through the OpenStreetMap project, which is maintained by volunteers and updated from various data providers and crowdsourcing.

Some of you may be wondering, Why would anyone still use a Garmin? That's an argument for another day, but suffice to say there are often situations where cell phones won't help because there is no coverage. And some motorcyclists just prefer the simplicity of the rugged Zumo to a cell phone, or alternatives like the Navistar AA/Carplay screen we reviewed in January.

Find a Garmin Zumo GPS on eBay

Full instructions are provided on the site for installing updated maps to your GPS with an SD card or the BaseCamp software. The process basically involves downloading the region (or regions) you need to a micro SD card. Worldwide maps are available but divided into regions due to file size limitations. Once transferred to the SD card you'll insert it in your Garmin and simply select this new map in the GPS settings menu. Pretty straightforward, but it does involve some software you might not be familiar with.

  • Torrent
  • Zip
  • Copy

Torrents, often referred to as BitTorrent, are a file transfer method intended for moving large files. Free open-source software is available for most computers and makes it easy to download the required map torrents. 

Once the torrent is finished you'll have a compressed file called a ZIP. Once again, most computers either have the ability to unzip this compressed file or can use a free utility.

Finally you'll need to copy this large file to a micro SD card. Older Garmins have a limit on the capacity of this card (usually 8 meg) and it should be formatted as FAT or exFAT. 

As mentioned above, all of this is covered in much greater detail, along with recommended software tools, on the OpenMapChest site's Instructions page.


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