Philippine Maps for Garmin Units
For automotive GPS devices, maps are just as important as the hardware, if not more so, because it is the maps who can tell which destinations are available, which streets are one way, the names of the streets, the no left turn intersections, where the U-turn slots are, etc. They also need to be regularly updated, as new roads, new flyovers, new traffic schemes, etc. can interfere with calculation of a route if they are not updated. So the maps needs to have a lot of ACCURATE, and UPDATED CONTENT.
As of this writing, there are mainly two sources for maps for the Philippines online: Roadguide.ph, and OSM Philippines. My unit came with the demo map from Roadguide.ph installed, and it was okay, enough to get you started.
The problem with roadguide.ph, though, is that they only offer a demo map for non-contributors. But the map is old, and showed some serious flaws. For example, the map didn't even show the flyover from EDSA to the Airport Road, so I ended up looking like I was flying over the streets on the Garmin's screen when I used it. Yes, it is THAT old.
You can get the latest, updated map by becoming a content contributor for the map, but the whole process of contributing data is a bit too complicated, and would suit only those people who are even much nerdier than I am (the thought of which scares me). It wasn't even worth trying.
OSM Philippines also offers free maps for Garmin units, and they update it around once a month. From a aesthetic point of view, OSM's maps are not as good looking as that of Roadguide.ph. The colors, images, animations, etc. are just not as good. But from a functionality point of view, it is good enough to use, and it is UPDATED, meaning all the roads or flyovers that need to be there are, indeed, there. And everytime it is updated every month, it just keeps getting better.
In terms of "Points Of Interests" (i.e., landmarks, places, attractions, etc.), I read that the contributor map from Roadguide.ph has a lot more points of interest. However, OSM's maps again do have enough POIs to be quite functional. As a result, I have been using OSM Philippines' maps exclusively, and just try to update it as often as possible.
If you are going to use OSM's map, I suggest you give a little donation also to them to keep them going, and as a way of giving thanks for giving us a free, functional map for use in the Philippines (and not a crappy one).
Here are the links to the websites:
- Roadguide.ph (you need to register to access the forum where the downloads are available): http://roadguide.ph/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15
- OSM Philippines, direct download to the free map: http://bit.ly/gkrqQw
- OSM Philippines, main website: http://esambale.wikispaces.com/osmphil_garmin
First, you need to download the maps from any of the two sites mentioned above on your PC. It usually comes under the filename, "gmapsupp.img".
After downloading the map, you now need to connect your Garmin device to your PC using the USB cable that came along with it when you bought it. Once connected, the Garmin device will show up like a USB drive, where most if not all of the files and folders of the unit visible.
The next to thing to do, is to locate the directory where the file "gmapsupp.img". Once you locate the file, you might want to copy and save that somewhere in your PC as a backup, in case some problems will occur.
Now what you need to do, is to overwrite the file in your device with the one from the website. They have the same file names, so just overwrite the file on your device.
Once done, disconnect from the computer, and if everything goes well (hopefully), you should have a working Philippine map on your Garmin device.
Once you start using your Garmin device, you definitely will be storing Points of Interests, or Waypoints on it that are not be on the current map. I've had a couple of my own, and I was looking for a way to contribute them to OSM Philippines so the map could be updated.
Well, I just discovered that you can do so by accessing the link below, it shows a form that you can fill up and send to them for possible inclusion in the next update of their map:
I haven't tried it yet, but it seems you may have a problem inputting the "Altitude" section of the form since I don't remember that information to be accessible on the device. At any rate, if you figure it out, I suggest you participate and submit as much waypoints as possible, so a working, accurate, updated and FREE Philippine map will be available for everyone to use.
(Next: Hacking your Garmin device)