Garmin GPS from USA

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 17:23
ThreadID: 5544 Views:3225 Replies:7 FollowUps:21
This Thread has been Archived

I am seeking some clarification from GPS users as I am to say the least a bit confused after reading the archives on purchasing units from the USA.

I am looking at getting the Garmin GPS111 Plus from the USA and I understand that it comes with the American Highways basemap. I also understand that it cannot be easily changed to the Australian basemap, or there is a charge from GME to do so. But does it really matter if the the basemap is American (same with the Magellan). To begin with I understand that the Australian basemap is outdated anyway and most people buy additional memory and load Mapsource or Metroguide in any case.

So my queries are:
1. Can I just ignore the basemap and load other maps?
2. Will the unit be in any way innefective if I do ignore the basemap? (eg will it want to open the basemap every time I start the unit)
3. Will I lose memory that I could use for something else?

your responses will be gratefully appreciated.

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Reply By: Member - JEFF - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 17:50

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 17:50



AnswerID: 23011

Follow Up By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:52

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:52
is Pete deaf

pss uppercase typing is considered to be shouting.

No offense meant JeffRichard
FollowupID: 16062

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:17

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:17
Garmin you cant change the base maps on yourself, Magellan you can.
AnswerID: 23015

Follow Up By: petprass - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 20:18

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 20:18
Truckster - refer to post 5520 for my comments.

FollowupID: 15239

Reply By: Member -BJ (Sydney) - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:32

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:32
I also looked at buying from US but was told Garmin Aust would not cover warranty so i brought mine from Bias Boating at a good price.Regards Bob
27th June Gulf trip
AnswerID: 23020

Reply By: Member - Motley - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:34

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:34

I have a Garmin Etrex Vista which I purchased in the USA. The base map is USA highways and streets and cannot be replaced. At least no-one I spoke to was able to do it.

This partticular Garmin has either 24 or 32 Mb of additional memory. I took it to Europe last year and loaded down the Metroguide detailed maps for most of Southern Europe - no problems. Currently I have the original Garmin World Map - the Australian portion - works fine although not much detail. There is a new Metro Guide from Garmin available for Australia. Have a look at link text

Short answer - a Garmin purchased in US works fine as long as you have additional storage to download extra maps. Hope this helpsMotley
AnswerID: 23022

Follow Up By: petprass - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:26

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:26
Thanks Motley,

Do you know if Garmins Mapsource Metroguide for Australia which is 47mb would fit into your unit, or would you need to get extra memory.

FollowupID: 15250

Follow Up By: Member - Motley - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:49

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:49

I had a looko n the Garmin web site. The available memory is 24MB. I guess that means that you would select from the Mapsource the parts of Oz you want to load and do it hat way. I found it an easy process to load the entire CD on to my Notebook Computer and then select what I wanted when I wanted it and down load it to the Etrex.

Hope this helpsMotley
FollowupID: 15254

Follow Up By: Member - Motley - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:52

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:52
One more thing, the Etrex do not have provision for external power source or external satellite receiver. Makes it difficult to set up in vehicle.

For my money the choice at the moment is the Garmin GPS76SMotley
FollowupID: 15256

Reply By: BurnieM - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:51

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 19:51
You will get a basemap that covers all of the world just that the Australian segment will consist of a very inaccurate coastline and almost no roads.
You can load Garmins Mapsource Worldmap which will give you indentical mapping to the basemap in Australian purchased units.
Worldmap is still very low quality, low accuracy and main highways only with a better coastline.

The GPS III+ is a superseeded unit with only 1.4MB of space and I would not recommend it.

I have a US market GPS V (autorouting with 19MB internal memory) purchased in January 2002. I have Garmins Mapsource Metroguide (AU$235) loaded which is an excellent metropolitain area and good rural area mapping product.
Note that all of Australian is 47MB and NSW alone is 16MB.

All Garmins and Magellans are covered by a 1 year international warranty.
Approx 2 1/2 years ago Garmin 'had words' with GME (Australian Garmin distributor) about supporting this warranty and there have been very few problems since.
Note that GME actually provide a 2 year warranty for Australian purchased units.

GME have just revised their price list and many products have fallen.
Johnny Appleseed websitehave good Garmin pricing and service
AnswerID: 23025

Follow Up By: petprass - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:20

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:20

I checked out Johnny Appleseed and when comparing units, the GPS111+ may not be what I wanted. (couldn't actually see the +version, but the normal one does not have mapping, so I am guessing the + doesn't either). So now the best for me with mapping seems to be the eMap and as you say the prices have come down.

Do you know if all of Garmins Mapsource Metroguide or City Navigator (not sure of the difference between the two yet) will fit into eMap, or do I need extra memory card?

You say that you have Garmins Mapsource Metroguide in your GPS V - did you need extra memory?

FollowupID: 15248

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:49

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 22:49
Many people are using Emaps for in car navigation.
It is also good for bushwalking etc as long as you remember that it is not waterproof.

The Emap price does not include any extras so if you are using Garmins Mapping you would also need;
data cable to load maps from PC - say $25
power cable for in car use - $25
Mapsource Metroguide CD - $235
Garmin data card - minimum I would recommend would be 16MB $115
- 32MB may be more useful $143
- 64MB if you want to load all of Australia $220
Mounting bracket $? (some people use velcro)

The Emap stores waypoints, route and track logs in it's internal memory but needs a Garmin data card to store maps.

With the Mapsource mapping CDs you can select the part of Australia you want and then load it to the data card in the GPSr (up to the limit of the memory size). You need a PC (not a Mac) to load the maps.

Mapsource City Navigator Australia contains maps with auto-routing information. This auto-routing information can only be used by the SPIII, GPS V and GPSmap 196. Cost is $499

Mapsource Metroguide Australia contains identical metropolitain area mapping to CNA but better rural area mapping, but it does not have the auto-routing information. Cost is $235
All of Australia in MGA is 47MB. NSW is 16MB
FollowupID: 15253

Follow Up By: petprass - Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 23:11

Thursday, Jun 19, 2003 at 23:11
OK - I get it now.

So what I may do is get an eMap from the USA (half the price even compared to JA), ignore the US basemap, get a 64mb memory card, buy the Mapsource Metroguide Australia from here and load it into the unit. Also get the PC and power cable and mount from US.

FollowupID: 15260

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Friday, Jun 20, 2003 at 09:40

Friday, Jun 20, 2003 at 09:40
The Mapsource products are in segments so altho (in Metroguide) the whole of Australia is 47MB and NSW is 16MB, NSW is actually more than 20 segments so you can load less than this by only selecting certain segments.
64MB is useful to load all of Australia but can buy a smaller (and cheaper) card and only load part of Aus.

Price comparison;

Product - JA price - GPScity price US$ (AU$)

Emap (only) - AU$473 - US$170(AU$260)
64MB card - AU$220 - US$100(AU$153)
Metroguide - AU$235 - US$130(AU$200)
Auto mount - AU$40 - US$14(AU$21)
Freight - AU$10? - US$35?(AU$54)

Johnny Appleseed total AU$978 - plus AU$64 for cables

GPScity total US$449 (AU$688) - plus AU$64 for cables
Note; if sent via Air mail then usually (but not always) Australia Post will not collect the GST
If sent via a Courier company then they will collect the GST (AU$69) plus a service fee (AU$30?) - new total AU$787

In both cases it is cheaper to buy your cables from GPSoz;
Data cable - AU$25
Power cable - AU$39

Johnny Appleseed website
GPSoz cables
GPScity (US) website


Exchange rate used 0.6535 - you may get a better rate than this
FollowupID: 15279

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Friday, Jun 20, 2003 at 09:51

Friday, Jun 20, 2003 at 09:51
GPScity have several Metroguides (MG Us, MG Europe, MG Australia).

The full product name is; Mapsource Metroguide Australia

FollowupID: 15281

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 09:19

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 09:19
Good post BurnieM..

I agree. is who I deal with in USA.

Brilliant service.

I have a mate currently bringin in some Magellan Colors inc cables and 256meg sd card for $100's au$ cheaper than just the GPS is here in Aussie.

Thinking of another Magellan platinum import personally.
FollowupID: 15333

Follow Up By: petprass - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 11:51

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 11:51
I have spent more time than I should have over the past week in researching what I should get and I have ultimately convinced myself that I "need" a Meridian Platinum GPS!! To arrive at that conclusion, I have gone full circle a couple of times mind you.

The reasons for the decision are as follows:
1. I can buy at a good price from USA and re-load the basemap - will be ordering soon, so Truckster if you want to buy another one as well, maybe we should get together and make one order - catch up with you at the Nissan club meeting (ps I will be keeping a low profile because Barnsey is after me for the Treasure's job)
2. Magellan have what looks like a fantastic map - DiscoverAus Streets & Tracks. Should be more upto date than the Garmin version.

Disadvantages that I can see are:
1. No external arial capability.
2. It seems that the Platinum can only accept a max of 128mb SD card. I would need 256mb to load DiscoverAus or even just say Vic, NSW and Qld.

Does anyone know if the Platinum can take 256mb SD cards?

FollowupID: 15338

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:26

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:26
Do you really need the fluxgate compass in the Platinum ?
Yes the Golds (and up) have a slightly better basemap but if you will be loading the new DiscoverAus CD then it does not matter. Unless you really need a feature in one of the higher models I would buy the basic Meridan and save yourself a clunk of change.

I have been playing with Meridan basic, Gold, Platinum and Colour today and the basic has 98% of the features and is the best cost/value unit.
Speed of fix, map loading, everything seemed identical.

DiscoverAus is updated data as at December 2002 and is 234MB for all of Australia. States;
WA 39 MB
NT 13 MB
Qld 61 MB
SA 26 MB
Vic 20 MB
Tas 19 MB
It should be available on Monday (cross fingers).

The Garmin Mapsource Metroguide is pretty reasonable but the current Mapsend is slightly better.

I believe the Meridans will take a 256MB SD card but don't quote me.
You do not need to buy Magellan branded cards as most other brands will work. Certainly Sandisk do.

If you are looking at a Platinum then you should probably look at the higher model Garmins as well.
The Meridans and the Emap have similar resolution screens but my Garmin GPS V is significantly sharper than the Meridans.

FollowupID: 15346

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:31

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:31
Sorry forgot;

You can buy a re-radiating antenna for $150 (as opposed to $100 for most remote plug in antennas)

Magellan cables seem a little expensive at the moment
FollowupID: 15347

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 20:26

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 20:26

Agree, most of the functions and do dads the top models have most of us will never use... but if I can get the top model with all the do dads, and cables for cheaper than I can get just a lower model, why not? Specially if you have budgeted the $5-600 to buy one in the first place
FollowupID: 15355

Reply By: Goran - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 01:00
I agree with Truckster, I have also purchased PLatinum for the USA ebay. I Changed the base map and just contemplating Mapdend download. What do you know friend of mine just sold me Mapsend (All states) for very good price so i shall get busy very shortly. NO NEED FOR EXTERNAL AERIAL FOR THE MERIDIAN. Bloody thing kees the sat. lock better than any Garmin.
AnswerID: 23919

Reply By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 13:49

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 13:49
My experience is that the Magellan Meridans and Garmins GPS V and GPSmap 76 (all of which I have personally used) all get a lock in under a minute and perform similarly in low reception conditions (ie central city 'canyons' and heavy wet tree cover).

Please note if purchasing on Ebay; you MUST get a receipt from an authorised reseller or both GME and Magellan will not stand by the warranty.

To date I believe;
That the Magellan mapping is slightly better.
The Garmins are generally more robust.
The Garmins have sharper screens.
Garmins use of non-standard memory cards on some models is a negative.
Internal memory size on some model Garmins is limited.
There are less warranty claims with Garmins.
You pays your money and you takes your choice.

My personal GPSr is a Garmin GPS V with Mapsource Metroguide Australia mapping.
AnswerID: 23954

Follow Up By: petprass - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:03

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:03

Do you live in Melbourne by any chance?

The reason I ask is because I was wanting someone to help me with setting up the MeriPlat that I just bought and also load the DiscoverAus Streets and Tracks maps.

I have read all of the (well most of) the info that I could - but I am still a bit unsure on some of the steps to follow to change basemap, turning off WAAS, setting correct Datum and most important loading the DiscoverAus CD onto a 256mb card.


FollowupID: 16056

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:17

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:17
Sorry, I am in Sydney.

Brian from GPSoz has some info up;

Turning off WAAS - GPSoz WAAS turn off

Loading new Destinator maps - GPSoz loading maps

Brian also runs one day GPS training courses - GPSoz courses
Not much help in Melbourne I know. Do C H Smith (marine chandler) run any courses ?
FollowupID: 16057

Follow Up By: petprass - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:56

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 14:56
Thanks Burnie,

I actually ordered the DiscoverAus CD from Brian and he mentioned that he was putting up some "cheat sheets" on how to load the maps onto 256mb cards. However I have not been able to find the info when looking up the FAQ on his site.

So thanks for the link. i will study the notes carefully.

FollowupID: 16063

Follow Up By: Goran - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 15:53

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 15:53
Is there really big difference between Mapsend and DiscoverAus maps. I wonder if it is worth it, because you could probably get Mapsend all states for about 100 bucks of the ebay.
FollowupID: 16066

Follow Up By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:05

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:05
I have not compared the 2 products but...
If all states are selling at AU$100 when they were selling at AU$140 PER STATE then it implies that there is.

Has anybody here upgraded and how do they compare ?
FollowupID: 16069

Follow Up By: petprass - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:46

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:46
DiscoverAus CD is 234mb. What size is MapSend for all the states? From memory I thought I read that there is much more detail in DiscoverAus, so therefore much bigger in size to MapSend.
FollowupID: 16073

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