Should I purchase mapping for my GPS on a disc, pre-programmed datacard, or as downloadable content?

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08/15/2014

Mapping for Garmin GPS devices is sold in a variety of formats. It may be purchased on a disc, as a pre-programmed datacard, and some maps can be downloaded directly from the Garmin website.1 Please see below for the benefits of each format.

DVD/CD: Maps purchased in this format will require a computer to use but they will allow you to plan trips on your computer, print and transfer waypoints, routes and tracks to your GPS device.2 The installation process will install the mapping and the MapSource or BaseCamp application to your computer. MapSource or BaseCamp can then be used to send maps to either your device or a blank datacard since most devices will not hold all of the data on the device. Please note that most mapping products in this format are unlocked to a single device and they are non-transferable. City Navigator maps in this format can be updated by purchasing a map update, when available.

Pre-programmed datacards: Pre-programmed datacards are immediately ready to use out of the box. Simply unpack the card and insert it into your compatible GPS device. These maps do not need to be unlocked to your device which allows you to move the card to multiple units if desired, however, you will not directly have access to the mapping on your computer.3 City Navigator maps in this format are not eligible for map updates and mapping from the card cannot be copied. If you wish to obtain updated content, a new card will need to be purchased.

Downloadable Content: Maps purchased in this format can be downloaded directly from the Garmin website. This is the quickest method of getting mapping for your next trip. Downloaded maps can be sent to either your GPS unit or a blank datacard since most devices will not hold all of the data on the device. All maps in this format are unlocked to a specific device and they can only be used on the device that they were unlocked to. Similar to the pre-programmed datacards, this mapping is not immediately available on your computer for use in planning routes.3 City Navigator maps in this format are not eligible for map updates. If you wish to obtain updated content, a new download will need to be purchased.

Note: Before selecting your purchase option, be sure to review the requirements tab and products tab on the specific mapping product page to ensure your device and/or computer will work with the selected format.

1Not all formats are available with all map offerings. The available formats for the specific mapping product will be listed on the product page.

2Not all devices are compatible with routing.

3Garmin's free BaseCamp application can be used to view mapping detail on your computer from compatible pre-programmed datacards or downloadable content on your computer. To find out if the map is compatible with BaseCamp, check the requirements by clicking the Requirements tab for the specific map product. BaseCamp can be downloaded at: http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/us/onthetrail/basecamp. BlueChart, BlueChart g2, BlueChart g2 Vision, LakeVu HD, and LakeVu HD Ultra downloads and pre-programmed cards can be viewed on your computer with Garmin's HomePort application. HomePort can be downloaded at: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/maps/trip-planning/homeport-/prod64242.html

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