Have you recently bought or own a Garmin wearable such as the Fenix 6, Fenix 5 Plus or the Forerunner 945. If so, Then you may use the supplied Topo maps, but these might cut it for you and I have to agree.
If this is the case, then you have the route of buying Garmin maps Garmin Discoverer (OS 1:50K Landranger), but these are expensive. You could also download and install free maps, but in the main they don’t come with the topographic detail and you need to merge this detail yourself.
However, if you want detailed topo maps for your Garmin watch, then a site I use called Talkytoaster which offers some very affordable maps called TT 1:50K Look n Feel, “for instance” they price the UK maps at £12. Comparing that to Garmin’s price of £159, they are a steal and they use the same underlying data, so why would you pay more? You can also download free Garmin maps for the British isles, however these are not as detailed.
I just want to point out that this post has not been sponsored by Talkytoaster and Garmin. I have purchased the maps from talkytoaster with no discount. I am sharing this information as the service provided and maps are fantastic and worth every penny.
Compatible Garmin wearables
Back in 2017, Garmin released the Fenix 5 series with the 5x model featuring map support and that was pretty much it for Garmin wearables that supported maps. However, since the Fenix 5 Plus line up maps have been available for several Garmin fitness watches.
This tutorial will work with the following Garmin devices
Important map notes
While the Talkytoaster maps use the same underlining data as found in the Garmin maps. Garmin adds some extra stuff, like Popularity routing, heat maps and other stuff.
Installing these maps will more than likely result in not being able to use these features.
Things you need
To get started you first need one of the compatible Garmin wearables above, of course. You will also need a Mac or Windows computer along with the charging cable supplied.
Downloading Topo maps for you Garmin
Once you are ready and decided that the Talkytoaster maps are right for you, then head over to the website. Choose the region you require, make the purchase and then download the maps.
Save the maps to a safe place on your desktop, or wherever else you can easily access the file.
Installing the maps on your Garmin watch
Mac users note – While the steps are very similar for both windows or Mac. You may need to carry out an extra step as detailed below if you are using Mac and a newer Garmin wearable that supports music.
The reason being is that Garmin wearables that support music are in MTP mode, meaning it will not show up on your Mac natively.
So, to get access to the Garmin folder, you need to install a programme called ‘Android File Transfer’. If you need help to use the app, then over to this tutorial for more information.
One final thing, remember to force close Garmin Express or you it will block the app and things won’t work.
- Connect your Garmin device to your computer via the USB charging cable.
- Locate the downloaded Zip file from Talkytoaster
- Unzip the file, you should now have a 3 files. You need the one ending “.img”
- Open up the Garmin folder in file explorer (win) or Finder (Mac)
If you are using a Mac and Android file transfer, then open up the app and the Garmin folder will be visable
- Copy the “map-name.img” file to the Garmin folder and wait for it to copy across.
- Once the file has finished transferred, remove the cable from you Garmin watch.
- Wait for it to restart and load the new maps, you are now ready to go.
So that’s it, you will now be up and running with super detailed TOPO maps on your Garmin Fenix, Forerunner or whatever compatible device you are using.