garmin custom maps reviews

'Trail Test Reviews' of Tour & Trail Custom Maps for Garmin gps units
In Sept/Oct 2013 we supplied our new Tour & Trail Custom Maps to a number of our clients so that they can test them out on the trail and let us (and you) know what they think.

Bill Luke Axarquia Tour & Trail Custom Map 15 March 2014
Hi David
Have now used your Axarquia map for several weeks now and get even more impressed. Not only can you use it for your walks but also combine walks and tracks from for example GR 249 GR 242. Did Walk 22 yesterday and GR 242 Frigliana to Maro the day before. Going to try some combinations next week. Amazing! It makes it very easy to walk these hills using G P S.

Erik Brockdorff Costa Blanca Mountains Tour & Trail Custom Map review  2014/03/13

Over the last month my walking customers have been testing the Discoverywalking sheet map and downloadable basemaps on the eTrek Garmin 20 GPS for the treks and walking holidays we organise in the Costa Blanca Mountains.
The sheet maps are useful, although the 1:40,000 scale in the Spanish countryside is at the limit for precise navigating, the roads on the map translate as 55 metres wide on the ground – easily enough to get misplaced for a while. Some of what appear as roads are overgrown dirt tracks that are now footpaths, you can still get through but it can be a bit confusing so if you want to go off the marked routes you will need to be patient.
The marking of existing official routes and recommended routes is very good, there are some minor omissions and in one case replicating an error found on the local 1:20,000 topo. Not perfect but a very good approximation and an improvement on the local maps. The problem here is still the abysmal way marking of routes on the ground.
The area covered is quite extensive, although some of my routes fall outside the eastern margin of the coverage.
The basemaps for the Garmin GPS are very good, and they are now installed on all my Garmins. The image is very clear, much better than my own 1:25,000 basemaps that blur on zooming in.
The maps load relatively quickly on start-up and as you are walking the change from one tile to another is very smooth, in fact it is barely perceptible.
All in all a great improvement for those of us who have been struggling with Spanish maps for years, My only reservation is the 1:40,000 scale, I would love it if you would considering publishing 1:20,000 or 1:25,000 maps as a future upgrade.

Gran Canaria Tour & Trail Custom Map - Beta version field tested by Andrew K reporting 2 Feb 2014
Hi both
Just a quick note to thank you both for giving me access to the beta t&t map for gran canaria.
We didn't come across any issues whilst using it around the central and southern parts of the island. I used it on my Android smartphone and loaded the gpx  track files which matched up perfectly to the map.
Looking forward to purchasing the final version when it's available.
All the best.

Alpujarras Tour & Trail Custom Map
'Trail Tested' by Stuart Mason
of in September 2013 - Garmin 62ST
"I have a Garmin 62st which I use extensively in the Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras as I live in the Lecrin Valley.
Before down loading your GPS map I have relied upon Garmins satellite imagery and, whilst I have found it useful, it is not up to the standard of a map. Its other big drawback is that the satellite maps do not cover a large part of the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras in high definition.
Down loading and installing the Alpujarras Tour & Trail Garmin Custom Map on my Garmin 62st was easy, and overlaid the base map accurately.
I have tested the new map on a walk to the summit of Mulhacen, and a walk in the upper reaches of the Lanjaron valley. The GPS track followed the marked tracks accurately to within the normal limits of a GPS device, generally within 5 metres.
I have about 100 tracks on my computer that criss cross the area covered by the map and they all appear to overlay precisely.
Using the map on a field test today showed a path I did not know existed and it cut a nice corner off in misty conditions.
I can thoroughly recommend the map and it is a must for anyone who has a suitable device and is visiting this area. It is excellent value for money at £7.99.
I did have to remove the existing satellite imagery from the GPS for the areas covered by the map, otherwise no problems.
In the past I have tried scanning paper maps and installing the imagery using base camp but it does not compare with your map. Can I please ask you to issue maps that cover the whole of the Sierra Nevada.
Regards  Stuart"

La Gomera Tour & Trail Custom Map
Jack Hxxxxx October 2013 - eTrex 30

Hi David

We're enjoying the sunshine on La Gomera and trying out you new garmin digital map.
Routefinding in the Canaries can be difficult – there are either far to many tracks on the ground or none at all and by the time you've convinced yourself that you really are off-course then it always seems to be uphill back to the right track. So it's reassuring to see your position right there on the digital map.
The cartography is clear even on the small screen of my Etrex 30 and the maps are as accurate as I can measure within the GPS accuracy.
I think the digital maps are a complement rather than a replacement for the other nav aids. The book is essential for planning and to get you through the difficult bits. The paper map is less important but still useful for planning, as a fallback when GPS coverage fails and to see the big picture beyond the small world of the GPS screen.
I thought at first that the waypoints and tracks would be superfluous but in practice they are still useful. The waypoints help link-up with the book and the track is really useful in villages – the map features become highly magnified when zooming in but the track stays as a thin line and is surprisingly accurate.

So another great aid for people on foot in confusing country – keep up the good work.

Regards Jack Hxxxxx

Mallorca North & Mountains Tour & Trail Custom Map
Nick Sxxxx October 2013 - eTrex 20

Hi David & Ros

We have just returned from a week of walking in Mallorca and as promised here is a review of your Garmin Custom Map for the area.

After installing the downloaded file onto my Garmin eTrex 20 and viewing it using Garmin BaseCamp, my first impression was "this looks good", I also installed Garmin TOPO Spain v5 PRO on the same micro SD card, just so that I could switch between the two maps for comparison. When the eTrex 20 was first switched on in Mallorca and Custom Maps selected I was very impressed - we had rented a villa near Pollensa which is located along a gravel farm track and it not only displayed this track but it placed us in the correct location, unlike the Garmin map which didn't even show the entire track, - very poor.

We used your custom map along side the Garmin TOPO map on all our walks in Mallorca and every time your map placed us on the correct trail/track, even when we were on some very small tracks, but on many occasions the Garmin map didn't even display a trail/track - placing us in the middle of nowhere.  What we really liked about your custom map was how easy it was to distinguish between a road, a track, a trail or a river, making navigation whilst walking very easy indeed and enjoyable too.

On a few occasions I overlaid a GPX track on your custom map and again every time if was spot on, again making it a pleasure to use and giving you confidence in the map at the same time.

Overall we feel your custom maps offers excellent value for money and will of course be recommending them to many of our walking friends.

If you require any further feedback then please don't hesitate to contact me.
Wishing you all the best with your custom maps.

Regards   Nick

 Lanzarote Tour & Trail Custom Map
Hi David!

Thank you very much for this info. Looks really great, I opened it on Earth, the 3D-effect over the image is stunning. I didn’t have time to play around with Basecamp/Mapsource yet but on the computer its really great!

All the best - Andreas - Bike Station Costa Teguise

Lanzarote Tour & Trail Custom Map
Mike Cxxxxxx Oct 2013-10-18 - GPS62SC

Dave, Ros,

 I down loaded your Lanzarote Tour and Trail Map and used it throughout our 18 day holiday during late September/early October so here are a few comments:
 a.       Downloading was straight forward and uncomplicated.
b.      I use a Garmin GPS62SC
c.       The file transferred fine from my laptop to the Garmin
d.      Making it work was another thing but that seems to be a Garmin Issue which you already hinted at in the notes, I eventually transferred it to the extra SD disc mounted in the Garmin and disabled most of the extra Maps on the Garmin.
e.      It did work fine once on the SD disc.
f.        I used it for walks and Geocaching for which it was invaluable as the Garmin map was nothing like as detailed.
g.       To be honest …….. it was brilliant! just what we wanted/needed.
h.      One downside was that the top of La Graciosa was missing!, however we did not go that far this time.
i.         I still like a paper map too – just old fashioned
 If you want any further detail please contact me, however I am at work in the Black sea and will not be home until the middle of next month.

 We (Jill, my wife and I) continued our explorations and ‘bagging of volcano summits and would like to draw your attention to one possibly worth including in a future update, this is El Penon and Montana Tamia above Tao, the views from the top are fantastic.

 All the best  Mike

La Gomera  Tour & Trail Custom Map
Jack Hxxxxx Sept 2013 - eTrex 30

Thanks for the Custom map. I haven't tried it in the field yet but thought I'd send my first impressions.

A bit of background. I've been using your books, maps and GPS tracks for years so your email newsletter about Garmin compatibility gave me the push to scrap my battered old Garmin GPS and buy an eTrex 30. I've tried a mapping app on my iPhone but by the time I've added a battery pack and drop-protection and some conductive gloves for our Cumbrian winter then it no longer looks like the right tool for the job. I can hold an eTrex-size unit in my hand all day without getting cramp or battery warnings, drop it occasionally and work the buttons with gloves on.
Your map arrived before my new GPS so I loaded it into Garmin Basecamp without any problems. My very first impression was that it looked just like a scan of a paper map. Illogically I found this a bit disappointing. I wonder if you should make it look more 'digital', for instance by removing the image of the map cover in the bottom left hand corner and the borders with lat and long figures?
Zooming-in, the quality is good. The text looks pretty good even when zoomed right in and although you can see some pixellation and compression artefacts they aren't distracting. When the new GPS arrived, I was able to compare the quality with the Garmin OS 1:50,000 mapping. I'd say the clarity and readability of your map is significantly better.

 The eTrex arrived and I decided it would be convenient to put the map on an SD card. Garmin's web site only covers transferring custom maps to the native memory (and the user manual is pathetic) so I had to do a little more research on custom maps and SD cards – just a matter of creating a /Garmin/CustomMaps directory and copying the map in there.
The eTrex recognised the map straight away and enabled it but how to get to see it? I put the GPS into demo mode and scrolled all the way to La Gomera – there must be an easier way! Anyway, the map was fine when I got there. Coming back to an earlier point, having mentally adapted to the scale of the map I was a little surprised to see a giant head appearing in the sea off Las Salinas beach – not a sea monster but your logo on the map cover.

I'd expect to pay a little less than the paper map price since it should be easier to reproduce and distribute digital maps. In practice I'd buy both a paper and digital edition and use them together so a paper + digital bundle at a significant discount would be good.
I'll send you a field report after I've had the opportunity to use it in La Gomera in October.

Cheers Jack

Mallorca North & Mountains Tour & Trail Custom Map
field test by Helen Mxxxx

Hi David

Just returned from a week walking in the Tramuntana and I'm pleased to offer the following feedback:
Accuracy and ease of use on trails.  I found the map very easy to use on the marked trails and great accuracy
Value for Garmin gps users given our pricing of £3.99-£7.99 for a DWG Garmin Custom Map. 
Very competitively priced compared to the Garmin Topo Map I had purchased. 
How the DWG Garmin Custom Map compares to your Garmin Base Map and any other digital mapping you might use.  For use on well-marked trails it served its purpose very well indeed.  The Garmin topo map had greater topographical detail which could be useful on difficult terrain (high mountains and in poor visibility);  however I found some of the footpaths marked on the topo map were not as accurate as those marked on your DWG map, eg on the Archdukes path from Valldemossa.  
Overall, given the price differential, the DWG maps would be my first choice of purchase and I look forward to their release.  Thanks again for being given the opportunity to trial one.

Regards,  Helen

Menorca Tour & Trail Custom Map
review by Keith Dxxx

 Hi David & Ros

 Just returned from Menorca having used the e-map on my Garmin. Although we did not do very much walking (as we were entertaining my mother aged 90) I’m pleased to say that the positioning appeared very accurate and a great asset to use in conjunction with your book. We’ll put it through it’s paces in January when we go next time.

Keith   13 October 2013

Axarquia Tour & Trail Custom Map
Vince 23 September – note the updates recorded by Vince (below and others) have been incorporated into an updated Axarquia Tour & Trail Map design for 2014.

Hi David

 Yesterday I walked one of the routes described in my earlier email below - no.3, Cerro Pinto.
I don't know if this is going to be of use to you, but I've put it onto Wikiloc. Is this a useful method of "delivery" of the details for you? If not, I can do something else as I've also saved the trail into Garmin Basecamp.
The first part of the route, as far as Cerro Pinto's summit, is already shown on the map. The next bit, from Cerro Pinto to the waymark I've called "Track Junction" is a path, except for the last 200m which is a concreted track leading to a house. Then, between "Track Junction" and "Higueron 2" it's another concreted track and there's a further concreted track from "Higueron 2" to La Molineta (but the crossing of the Higueron itself is a rough ford). Also, the route between "Higueron 2" and "Higueron 1" is shown on the map as a dirt track, but really it's a path, which is often in the river.

I hope this makes sense, let me know if you have any questions.
There's a few more comments on the map, now I've had a longer look at it:
1. The picnic area which is marked at approx. N.36.46.642, W.3.51.018 no longer exists.
2. There's a helipad in the Higueron Valley (further north) which might be worth marking.
3. The path to Ermita de Calixto (near Acebuchal) continues further than marked.
4. The paths marked around Puerto Blanquillo (eastern end of Barranco de Melero) don't look right and need some sorting out.
5. It might be worth marking the path up El Cisne - this is also on wikiloc 

I'll let you have further trails and waypoint details when I've done the walks.

Note Vince’s adventures have been used to update the Axarquia Tour & Trail Map to a 2014 digital edition.

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