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FREE* British Isles and Ireland Maps - Frequently Asked Questions

*This means that you are welcome to use them at no cost for personal use only! See below for more details.

This page covers common questions [also known as Frequently Asked Questions] about installing and using these FREE maps.

1a. Are these maps really FREE?

Yes, the maps offered here are based on OSM and NASA data which are open-source; I combine them together and add other material to them. You can download and use them for FREE (Standard maps only). However, this does NOT mean you can sell them or cards with these maps on (or even resell them).  You are welcome to use them at no cost for personal use only!

These are not OS maps, they do not use data from Ordnance Survey and the maps offered via this site are not affiliated in any way with them. The use of the terms OS and Landranger is for descriptive purposes only and fully acknowledges that these terms are owned by Ordnance Survey, the same applies to Garmin and Discoverer.

I spend a significant amount of time compiling and testing these maps and any copies offered on eBay (or any other site than talkytoaster.info, .co.uk or .com) are unauthorised  and may breach my copyright as I add material that is copyrighted by myself to them. 

Those offered on eBay (apart from talkytoaster) often offer very old or unsupported experimental versions and offer them as OS maps (which they are not). This means that you get a raw deal and my reputation is damaged by these inferior versions sold via eBay and at car-boot sales. 

Anyone else offering the maps, I compile, on MicroSD cards are stealing from you, and me. If this practice continues I will no longer create and offer these maps. 

UPDATE: I've been informed that my copyrighted maps are being sold on eBay again! Therefore I am no longer offering my TT 1:50K Look n Feel maps as free downloads. Apologies to all the honest people out there. As usual a few are ruining it for everyone! I offer a subscription service for the 1:50K Look n Feel maps, I also still offer them for sale via my order page, both as electronic downloads (for those that know how to install the maps) and on pre-loaded 4GB and 8GB MicroSD cards (for those that want a simple plug and play solution).

1b. What scale are the maps offered here?

The maps do not come in the traditional paper based scales of 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 as they are dynamic; the more you zoom in the more detail is shown (until it all appears). These maps also do not suffer from the jaggy display issues found with the official Garmin Discoverer maps when you zoom in.


1c. Are these maps routable?

Yes, routable versions are available.
Please bear in mind that the routable functionality is not as good as commercial sat-nav maps. The routable maps offered are now  a full British Isles mapset (which includes Ireland too). OK, I've had a bit of a play and here is some more information about the routing functionality, please bear in mind I don't drive and have no need for the routable function myself.

If you use the 'Intersections' or 'Addresses' options under the 'Where To?' feature you will probably see the Spell State/Province prompt, and whatever you enter it will fail to find.

However, if you use the Cities, Shopping, Food & Drink, Fuel Services, Lodging, Entertainment, Recreation, and any of the other entries it gives you a list to choose from.

So, in summation, as expected the auto-routing function works fine, but is not as good (not surprisingly) as commercial offerings or dedicated sat-nav solutions (no post-code or address level of routing at this time).

Some information on using these maps on a Garmin Nuvi: "Address Searching doesn't work, but a workaround is to use 'spell name'."

If you wish to use them for road routing , then please use the Standard mapset as this will work best, do NOT use the TT 1:50K Look n Feel mapset for road routing as the routing is completely different.


2a. Can I use these maps in MapSource/BaseCamp on my PC (or BaseCamp/RoadTrip on a Mac)?

The mapsets are useable directly in BaseCamp by simply hooking up your GPS to your PC/Mac and running BaseCamp. The map will install automatically. This means that you don't need to install the separate BaseCamp version anymore (unless you want to).  There are some features that only function in the full separate BaseCamp version.

The separate BaseCamp/MapSource versions will only be updated every 2-3 months in future (Standard maps). The TT 1:50K Look n Feel are updated about every one to two weeks.

Yes, I have MapSource/RoadTrip/BaseCamp versions available. These also have contour data. The British Isles and Ireland mapsets are available in this format. 

These versions are only recommended for those that are computer literate and are used at your own risk.



Example screen shot of the UK+Contours Routable Mapset in MapSource (centered of Firle Beacon, just north of Newhaven)
 
Example screen shot of the IE+Contours Routable Mapset in MapSource (centered on Dublin

 
Example screen shot of the British Isles+Contours Routable Mapset in MapSource (centered of Isle of Wight)
showing calculated route from Bournemouth to West Wittering

If you are having problems installing these on Windows Vista or Windows 7 :

The other common issue is due to UAC in Vista/Windows 7, see below on how to fix it (you'll need to run the BAT file after disabling UAC):

If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7 or 8 you have to turn off UAC to successfully install them. You can re-enable UAC as soon as it is installed.

You also need to be logged in with administrator rights.

If UAC is stopping it from running/installing correctly.

You could try following the instructions to disable UAC found here:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/disable-user-account-control-uac-the-easy-way-on-windows-vista/

You can re-enable it afterwards if you want it on.

This solves the issue on both Vista and Windows 7or 8 with MapSource/BaseCamp installation of my mapsets.

Alternatively, simply right-click on the install.bat file and select the "run as administrator" menu option.


2b. I Get a Blank Map in BaseCamp, Help!

Check to see that 'Basic Map Only' is not enabled in BaseCamp as that will only show a blank map. 
You can find that setting under the 'View' menu, 'Basic Map Only'; if it is ticked then click on it.
Alternatively you can also toggle this via the keyboard using CTRL-G.

2c1. I Have British Isles/GB/IE Maps With Black Background in BaseCamp, Help!

The problem lies with version 3.1.1 of BaseCamp. The GB and IE mapsets are transparent. 

Somehow Garmin have broken transparent map handling as the problem doesn't show in version 3.0.6 or earlier of BaseCamp or later versions than 3.1.1, or indeed the latest version of MapSource.

I have confirmed this in testing. The British Isles, GB and IE maps are fine in version 3.0.6 or earlier (as that was what I have used to test them before I make them available).

So, you have three options: 

1. Install version 3.1.2 or later of BaseCamp (Garmin have now fixed the bug). 
2. Install the latest version of MapSource instead (available here); all of the mapsets work fine in that, including transparent maps (such as my GB and IE ones).
3. Un-install BaseCamp 3.1.1 and then re-install version 3.0.6 of BaseCamp in its place.

Luckily I have a archive copy of BaseCamp 3.0.6 and I've made it available here.

You will need to fully un-install BaseCamp 3.1.1 (just installing 3.0.6 over the top won't solve the problem). Then re-install the downloaded 3.0.6 version. All your installed maps should still show up in BaseCamp after the downgrade. Or just upgrade to 3.1.2 instead.

 2c2. I Have British Isles/GB/IE Maps With Black Background on the GPS, Help!

This is not a problem with the map, it is a function of the Garmin GPS, it basically switches to Night Mode on or after the sun has set (it knows this as it receives this information from the satellites).

You can either live with it (it switches back to Day Mode, when the sun is up), or simply disable the Night function via the menus on the GPS. Please see the Garmin manual for your model for details on how to do this.

2d. Why Doesn't  3D View Work  in BaseCamp on Windows 7 or Mac?

You may find that on the Mac version of BaseCamp that 3D map view is selectable but you end up with a flat map. On the Windows version the 3D view is greyed out (as it should be). The reason that 3D map view doesn't work is the lack of DEM data.

2e. How Do I Update The Mapset for BaseCamp/Mapsource

The simplest way to update the mapset to the latest version for use in BaseCamp or MapSource is to go to the directory where you installed the mapset, e.g. C:\Garmin\British-Isles+Contours

Once in there delete all the files in there. Then unzip the new mapset to the now empty directory.

When you next load BaseCamp or MapSource it will automatically use the updated map tiles.

This assumes that you have correctly installed the mapset in the past and run the install.bat (at some point in the past for that mapset). It also assumes that you have successfully tested that the mapset installed correctly the first time and checked that it showed up in BaseCamp or MapSource.

2f. I Get a Blank Map List When Using MapManager on a Mac

It appears the default unzip utility "Archive Utility" in OSX does not interpret the archive correctly.  Using "The Unarchiver" or the command-line "unzip" program will unzip the file correctly and then when MapManager is run it will see the maspset correctly.


3. How do I install the map on my GPSr?


Simply download the file you are interested in [which is a zip file], unzip it, and save the unzipped file as GMAPSUPP.IMG and then upload it to your Garmin [make sure you have sufficient storage space first].  If you don't have a program to handle/unzip ZIP files I would recommend 7Zip which is available FREE from here: http://www.7-zip.org/.

If you don't see the .IMG extension on the files don't worry as Windows or Mac OSes hide all or some extensions by default; don't add the .IMG extension yourself as it will stop the Garmin GPSr from loading the files.

You can find details how to get Windows to show the extensions here:

The simplest way to rename the unzipped file is to go to the folder where you unzipped it, right-click on the unzipped file, and select Properties. You'll see a dialogue box like this:


Once there, as you can see in the screenshot above, simply highlight the text prefixed to the file name you need [GMAPSUPP.IMG] and delete it. This will just leave the file name as GMAPSUPP.IMG, which is what you require, then click the OK button.

The file must be named as GMAPSUPP.IMG (on the Etrex 20/30,Oregon, Dakota, Montana, GPSMap62s or st or other new Garmin, they can be left named as is) otherwise it will not work properly when installed on your Garmin GPSr and the file must be placed in a folder called GARMIN on your GPSrs SD/MicroSD card or internal memory. It should like like the screenshot below (although the drive letter may be different):


To upload/install one of the map files directly to your Garmin GPSr; if you have a Garmin model which uses MicroSD or SD cards you can either load them directly on the card (or directly to the main memory of your Garmin unit if you have sufficient space), or by using the direct USB Mass Storage mode found in any of the Oregon, Dakota, Colrado, 62s/st or HCX or equivalent models [details on how to do that appear below].

Please note:
The newer Garmin Nuvi devices may use a directory called MAP rather than GARMIN to store other maps in (such as the ones I offer here).

3a. The ZIP file won't download (download fails after n percent/minutes/MB), unzip or extract!

This is almost certainly due to a partial (failed) download, due to communications issues. You can try clearing your browsers cache, deleting the partial file and re-downloading the file again. 

If that doesn't work, I would suggest you try again using a download manager.

For Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Linux & Mac) I'd suggest this one: http://www.downthemall.net/

For Windows (IE, Firefox, etc.) I'd suggest  this one: http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/

For Windows, Mac & Linux you could also try this Java application: http://www.jdownloader.org/ 

Alternatively you could use Opera as it has a built-in download manager. Available here: http://www.opera.com/download/ 

Please be aware that my site is very busy and has limited bandwidth, please only download the files you really need, thanks.

3b. How do I use multiple mapsets on my Oregon or other Garmin GPSr?

Firstly you can only use this feature on the following models:

Oregon, Colorado, Montana, GPSMap62, Etrex 20/30 as these all support multiple mapsets and have the Profiles feature.

Next, ensure that you do NOT install two British-Isles or GB mapsets that contain contours, if you do this and install them then the GPSr may fail to start-up correctly until you remove one of the contour mapsets (you may have to remove the MicroSD/SD from the GPSr and remove the duplicate mapset via your computer directly). This problem is caused because the contours in both mapsets have the same map-number.

So, download one of the British-Isles mapsets with contours, and the other without contours, e.g.:

1111230-British-Isles+Contours-NON-Routable-TT50-GMAPSUPP.zip or later  (this has contours, TT 1:50 Look and Feel, but is not routable)

111230-British-Isles-GMAPSUPP.zip or later (this is a routable standard look OSM mapset, but does not have contours)

Now, unzip and rename the IMG files to suit your needs (they must be different file names) e.g.:

111230-BICR-NR-50.img and 111230-BIC.img

Once you have placed the files into the GARMIN folder on the GPSr, you next have to setup two Profiles and then select one mapset and the contours map per Profile, see below (example screenshots are from my Oregon 200):


Tap 'Profile Change' and you will see a list of Profiles that are set up. You can set up other Profiles (copy/rename them) via the 'Setup' button.

Here is my list of Profiles, each of these have different settings and different mapsets enabled.

To select or disable maps. From the main screen, scroll to and tap 'Setup'.

Then tap on 'Map'

Now tap on 'Map Information, Select Map'

From this screen enable ONE of the OSM mapsets (e.g. OpenStreetMap: british_isles) and the Contours mapset too (British-Isles Contours). 

For the second mapset, switch to the other Profile and repeat this, but enable the other OSM mapset (OSM-british_isles) and if needed disable the OpenStreetMap: british_isles one. 

Either way you need to enable the Contours if you want them to show on both maps! This means that the Contours map is shared between the maps.

(The contours can't be shared between maps on the Etrex 20/30, Montana 650 or the GPSMap 62s/st models as they handle them differently). 

This can be fixed by Installing the 130215 version or later of the TT 1:50K Look and feel mapset with contours and the British-Isles mapset without contours. Enable both mapsets and the contours will then show on the non-contour mapset.

This same technique can be used for other OSM maps (and Garmin Discoverer or TOPO Maps too). Just set up more Profiles as required and enable/disable the mapsets as required. You an also change lots of other things in each Profile, such as Datum, Background, Routing Method, etc. You need to do this for each Profile you want to use a different mapset with. In my above screen shots the Profile entitled "GB South" is Garmin Discoverer only, the one entitled "OSM UK" is the OSM maps I compile (I use this most of the time). In all cases the Basemap that came on the Garmin GPSr is disabled as it is useless!

Once set up, simply switch Profile to switch mapset, easy!

3c. What does the TT 1:50K mapset look like?

Below are some screen shots from my Oregon 200, showing the TT 1:50K Look and Feel mapset for the British-Isles.


Showing footpaths, bridleways, roads, pubs, allotments, fields, hedges, postboxes, parking, forest and contours.

Showing footpaths, bridleways, rivers, roads, pubs, trees, woodland, hedges, postboxes, parking, forest and contours.

Showing footpaths, bridleways, rivers, roads, pubs, trees, woodland, postboxes, parking and contours.

Showing footpaths, bridleways, rivers, roads, stiles, woodland, gates, postboxes, parking and contours.

Showing footpaths, train tracks, roads, pubs, woodland, hedges, postboxes, bus-stops, parking, allotments, toilets and contours.
Please Note: There is still more work to do on this mapset even though it is no longer marked as Experimental.

I have already shrunk and re-done a number of the icons/POIs, there are still a number that need sorting out. Feel free to send screen shots to me showing ones that are too large or broken.

The routing on these maps are also not the same as the original routable maps I offer. These will also route down a bridleway or footpath as well as roads. So, this mapset is NOT suitable for use in a car (as a basic sat-nav system), but may be useful for cyclists, walkers or geocachers that want routing like this.

This mapset is now no longer considered experimental and is the best solution for walkers and geocachers.


4. Do I have to take the SD/MicroSD Card out of the GPSr?

No, you don't need to take the card out of the GPS - just put the GPS in mass storage mode by going to "Setup"->"Interface"->Press the button to select "Mass Storage Mode". 

As long as you have connected the USB cable to the computer - you should now see the GPS as a new drive (for me it's on the K drive). [This works on any HCX model of the Garmin GPSrs and probably works much the same on the GPSMap60C,Cs and CSX models too.] 

The Colorado, Dakota, 62s/st and Oregon models automatically enter USB "Mass Storage Mode" when they are attached to a computer via the supplied USB cable.

Vista/Legend Vista/Legend Oregon/Dakota

You can do all of your file manipulations on there just as you would for any normal computer directory.

More details on the USB Mass Storage mode and the correct directory structure and filenames can be found here [http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin/Mass_Storage_Mode]

To get back to normal mode (Legend/Vista) - just press the "On" button for a short time. For the Oregon/Dakota/Colorado or 62s/st just eject the device as normal. If you've just loaded a new map correctly - it should recognise it straight away - and will probably show a thin progress bar on the screen when loading it for the first time.


5. I'm too scared or unsure how to do this, can you put them on a MicroSD/SD[1] card for me?

If you really don't want to do this, and you'd like me to do this for you instead, then please contact me via the email address that can be found here.

This will require that you send me your MicroSD or SD card [suggest a 2GB one]. I will then install the required mapset onto the card and test that it works on my Garmin Oregon 200 [Unless it is an SD card] and then return the loaded and tested MicroSD/SD card to you. That is all I will be able to test. If it works fine on my GPSr during testing, chances are it will work fine on yours when you get it back and insert it into your Garmin GPSr.

I did this for a friend that lives many miles away for use on on a brand new Garmin Legend Hcx all they did was insert the pre-prepared MicroSD card I had created and the maps worked straight away without any further changes to the default GPSr settings. I also now have many happy customers that I have done this for, with no failures to date.

Obviously, this isn't being offered as a free service, I offer this service for 12.00 UK Pounds (this cost includes my time and postage and packing to return the card by 1st class post).

Alternatively, I can supply a 4GB MicroSD card with MicroSD to SD adapter[*] pre-loaded with the latest British Isles/Ireland Contours Mapset (at the time of ordering). This is a set cost of 23.00 UK Pounds (UK Only); includes a pre-loaded 4GB MicroSD with MicroSD to SD adapter[*] (branded name[2]) and postage and packing. In either case, payment will only be accepted via PayPal. An 8GB MicroSD/SD card is also available at a different price.

The charge is for the 4GB MicroSD
with MicroSD to SD adapter[*], the time required to copy and test the maps on the MicroSD and for postage and packing, not for the maps themselves, which are FREE.

If you are interested in this service, or for a similar service for maps for other areas of the world, supplied on a MicroSD, or want them shipped to an address outside the UK, then please contact me to discuss your requirements and cost.

Please ensure that your Garmin GPSr has a MicroSD or SD slot before requesting any of the above offered services. Only Garmin GPSrs are supported, sorry.


Please Note: This services are offered as-is and come with no guarantee whatsoever. The small donation or set charge is for the time required to copy and test the maps on the MicroSD card you supply [or I supply, if you choose that option], not for the maps themselves, which are FREE.

[*] I can't always supply a MicroSD to SD adapter as they are now harder to get with a MicroSD card. Only those GPSrs that require SD cards will be supplied with either an SD card or a MicroSD card with the adapter.
[1] Please specify which Garmin GPSr Model you wish to use the card with at the time of requesting any of the services offered here.

Garmin Edge 605/705, Legend/Vista Hcx, Oregon, Dakota 20, GPSMap60Cx and Csx all use MicroSD only, the Colorado uses SD cards only (or MicroSD in a MicroSD to SD adpater).
[2] The cards I purchase are usually SanDisk or Kingston.

A FAQ about the services I offer and paying for them can be found here.


6. How do I know if the map was installed correctly?

When you turn on, you should get a second copyright notice which says something like;

© AND IRELAND
© OPENSTREETMAP.ORG CONTRIBUTORS
and a couple of other lines

If you don't see that, then the file hasn't loaded somehow.

To fix this issue:

You need to check that there is a file called GMAPSUPP.IMG in the GARMIN directory on the MicroSD or SD card.
If there is, might just be worth checking by viewing the properties that it's correctly an IMG file (and not just, say, that you've renamed the zip file without unzipping it first - sounds stupid - but I've done that before...)

If the copyright notice comes up, then the maps are on there - but they might not be displaying.

To check this go to "Setup"->"Map" - and you'll get a load of options for setting up the map display.

At the top, for me there are 6 icons - go to the 5th one which is an "i" in a blue circle. It shows what maps are loaded onto the MicroSD or SD card. The maps will only show if there is a tick next to them. For me they all have names like "OSM-tile: 12345678, UK Mapset with Contours, <Month, Year> e.g Jan 2009". Scroll down to make sure that they have ticks by them.

Map information on the Legend Hcx
Map information on the Oregon
Setup, Map, Map Information

Go to the left-most icon. It's a red "N" with red arrows surrounding it. Check that the option "Detail" is set to "Most". Fewer contours appear if you set lower detail levels. When testing it, make sure you zoom in a fair bit - as you zoom in, more detail is shown.

Map and detail settings on the Legend Hcx
Map and detail settings on the Oregon
Map and detail  settings on the Oregon
  Setup, Map
 Setup, Map, Advanced Map Setup

If the maps are on there, and still no contours - then try scrolling to somewhere else in GB or Ireland - perhaps there's a problem with an individual map tile and it hasn't loaded correctly. If that occurs - then the GPS will default to the standard issue map whenever the cursor position is somewhere over that map tile. When I did my testing - I looked at an area of the Peak District near the Cheshire/Derbyshire border - which seems fine.

If you still can't see the maps, please check that you are within coverage of the chosen mapset, otherwise all you will be shown is the unit supplied basemap or other installed mapsets for the local area where you are physically present when using the GPSr. This is true for not only the maps I compile but for any maps which you may have purchased elsewhere (such as TOPO GB or TOPO 24K).


7. What do the maps look like when installed?


Here are a selection of screenshots from a Garmin Legend Hcx using the UK Mapset with Contours:

Map showing roads, footpaths, woods, rivers and contours.
Map showing roads, footpaths, contours and caches. Map showing roads, footpaths, train tracks and POIs. Map showing roads, footpaths, seashore and POIs.
 
 
 
 

Map showing roads in routing mode.Map showing roads in routing mode.Map showing roads in routing mode. 
Routing Screen-shots Courtesy of Bruce Winn
 
Routing Screen-shots Courtesy of Bruce Winn
 
Routing Screen-shots Courtesy of Bruce Winn
 

Other screen shots can be found here.

 

Here are a selection of screenshots from a Garmin Colorado 300 using the UK Mapset with Contours in routing mode (sat nav).

Thanks to Tony Walton for the screen-shots.


8. How often do you update the mapsets offered here?

I try and compile new versions of these maps around once a month, however, I can only do this if I have some spare time as they require a lot of work to download the raw data, compile the individual tiles, add the contour data, compile them into the relevant GMAPSUPP.IMG files and then test them to ensure that they are complete and functional on both a computer and my GPSr.


9. What does prefix "~[0x" in some of the road labels mean?


According to the author of GPSMapEdit, "This is feature of Polish format used to declare upper case, highway marks and other issues affecting on labels visualization." In other words it is an artifact introduced when the map tiles are rendered and turned into the individual map tiles; from these I compile the UK mapset. Basically I have no control over this as I do not render the individual map tiles.


10. What about maps for other areas/countries of Europe or beyond?

I can (and do, upon request) compile and supply routable mapsets for most countries in Europe and possibly other parts of the World. Please contact me to discuss your requirements and costs for this service. See the Services and Payment page for more details.


Thanks go to:
  • Ricky_B_uk for many of these instructions above.
  • Jim Robinson for working out the correct tool to use to create MapSource compatible versions of the GB & Ireland mapsets.
  • Those people that have donated to help support this project or have supplied data and ideas to help improve it.

 

Disclaimer

The author accept no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any ill effects resulting from the use of any information, files or links contained in this document or any part of this site.

Page Last Update: 13 May 2014

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