I have managed to upload BirdsEye imagery to a Garmin GPS64s handheld using BaseCamp ( v 4.2.5 ) by following the instructions, however the imagery provided is useless to me.

I have determined Google Earth or even Google Maps to be a better alternative ( for my purpouses ) and I would like to upload selected segments of Google Earth imagery to my handheld unit.

I am technically literate ( IT background ), however I am new to the technology of uploading satellite imagery to handheld GPS units ( the terminology, file formats and technology are confusing me .... I can't see the forest for the trees ).

Where can I inform myself to gain an overview of what is involved in uploading imagery from Google Earth or Google Maps to Garmin handheld ( ... or any handheld unit for that matter )?

I am looking for resources and starting points ( public domain / on-line material ) which provide enough overview to understand what to ask and where to ask it ( if necessary ).


There are two main problems.

The first problem is that Garmin supports only the BirdsEye imagary. And they need to be paid. The device checks if the images are licensed. There are some solutions to allow the use of other sources, but i highly doubt that they are legal.

Another option is to use the option of Garmin Custom-Maps. You can upload any pictures to the device. When they have their georeference information they will be visible as a background layer at the correct location. There are lots of tutorials, and also some information on the Garmin website including the use of Google Earth. http://www.garmin.com/us/products/onthetrail/custommaps

For some GIS-Software (the ones i do know) there are exensions allowing you to much more easily select an area that you want to wish to save to your device. With the opensource Qgis it is quite easy when you know how to use the program. The extension QuickMapServices allows you to load the Google imagery and the extension GarminCustomMaps saves them the way your device can handle them.

Downside of the custom map system is that the extent of the area you can upload to your device is fairly small. The devices are restricted to a certain amount of images and their size. The number and size of these images restrict the extent of your view or the resolution of picuters. It has nothing to to with the memory space of the device or its sd-card. It is restricted from the manufacturer for each model. I do use it for smaller areas and it works well, but the maximum size is limited to a few kilometers when you want to have a good resolution.

  • O.K. many thanks, its a good starting point and I also appreciate the potential proprietary issues – darbehdar Apr 2 '17 at 8:24

Everything you need to know about their proprietary format. This website explains everything about the limitations of the garmin file format and how you can upload a custom firmware image to bypass these vendor imposed restrictions. Obviously may/will void your warranty so please research thoroughly before attempting anything, see my warning below about potential to brick the device.


  • Although i should warn you, if you upload too large of an image or bad file to your device there is a high chance you will brick it. SAVE EVERYTHING TO THE SD CARD!!!! – GarminBoy Apr 12 '17 at 17:50

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