Note: Garmin’s free BaseCamp software can now be used to view and install any mapsets, including non-Garmin ones; it’s not as good as MapSource, but it is free, and is also available for both PC and Mac. See this tutorial at the GPS File Depot for more info.
Most current Garmin GPS units come with a free version of MapSource, their software for uploading data/maps and downloading waypoints. tracks, routes, etc to and from Garmin GPS units. But if you’ve lost or misplaced your install disk, you’re out of luck; while Garmin has a downloadable updated version of MapSource on their website, it requires that you have the earlier version installed on your disk. Try and install it directly, and it will abort after telling you it can’t find a previous version.There’s a way around that “earlier version” limitation that lets those with a legitimate reason install MapSource on their computer. First, download and install a copy of Garmin’s free Training Center software, designed mainly for use with their fitness GPS units (ForeRunner and Edge). Once this software is installed, you can download and install the MapSource update file, and the full version of MapSource will be up and running on your computer (confirmed this on a system of my own).
Note: this will only have the MapSource base road data. If you have any additional map data you’ve purchased (like Topo, City Navigator, MetroGuide), you’ll need to re-install that from the original data disks. But since that process installs an original copy of MapSource on your computer, that makes the above irrelevant for you.
An alternate method is described here, but I haven’t tried it out myself.
What’s it good for? Well …
- If you have a Garmin GPS, it’s good for uploading and download data, including maps if your Garmin unit supports them and you have the data
- Open files in gdb, mps, gpx and loc formats
- Create waypoints, routes and tracks; the track editor in particular is easy to use.
- It comes with a world road basemap, and you can add maps from free sources like SmellyBiker, MetroWizzz or the Garmin Maps site, or even make your own
- Save point, route or track data in gdb, mps, gpx, tab-delimited text and DXF formats
- Export waypoint, route and track data directly to Google Earth
If you poke around this site, you’ll find other useful free GPS software that does some of what MapSource does, plus many things that MapSource doesn’t. Take a look in particular at postings in the categories for Garmin, GPS and GPX.