Your car GPS maps and software require occasional updating and maintenance. Roads and business addresses change over time. Software is improved and features are added. You may also add maps and points of interest databases before traveling to another country or continent.
It can be challenging to find your way through the map and software update maze, but the directions below will serve as your one-stop guide to Garmin automotive GPS map updates. Each GPS brand has different software and procedures for map updates, and this guide applies only to the Garmin brand.
Car GPS Map Updates
Garmin makes a major update to its main map product, City Navigator, once each year in the spring. There are City Navigator maps for many other parts of the globe, and these are covered later in this article.
Here's how to update your Garmin car GPS to the latest version of City Navigator:
- Visit the Garmin Map and Chart Products page.
- Use the Update Your Maps page or click on the "Update Your Maps" link in the lower half of the page.
- You will be prompted to connect your GPS by its USB cable or to enter the serial number of your GPS. Don't worry, it's easy to find. Use the "where can I find my serial number" link.
- If you haven't registered your GPS previously, you will be asked to complete a brief product registration.
- After you enter the serial number, you will be shown information about available updates.
- If no updates are available, you are set - there is no need to update your map.
- If an update is available, it will be specified and you will be able to order by disk or by download.
- If you wish to get your map update immediately by download, this may only be done exclusively through Garmin for $99.99.
- If you wish to update by SD card or DVD disk, you may order it from Garmin for $99.99, or you may order from other online vendors for as much as $20 less. You may also find the update DVD in stock at major electronics retailers.
- Be sure to buy the version of the disk that includes the word "update" in the model name. The "City Navigator North America NT" (without the word "update" in the model name) is for those who do not already have a North America map installed in the GPS.
- The DVD is available in both PC and Mac versions. For the PC, your computer should automatically run the start-up files and display a welcome and instructions screen.
- For the Mac, double-click the Garmin icon on the desktop. Next, double-click the install Garmin map update icon and follow instructions.
Adding Other Nations or Continents to Your Garmin Car GPS
A GPS is very useful when you travel in other countries, whether you're driving, or using the GPS in pedestrian mode. You can find maps for additional nations and continents at Garmin's On the Road maps page. These are not update maps - they are additional maps that expand the coverage that came with your GPS. City Navigator Europe, for example, will serve you well nearly everywhere on the continent, including much of Eastern Europe.
Keeping Your Garmin Car GPS Software up to Date
You can keep your Garmin GPS software updated easily, and for free, by using the Garmin WebUpdater program. After you download and install the WebUpdater, simply connect your GPS to your PC at any time via its included USB cable, start the WebUpdater program, and it connect to your GPS automatically. The WebUpdater lists any software, voices, fonts, and other updates that are available, and presents each item with a checkbox so you can choose what to download and update to your device.