Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Updating Garmin Nuvi 250 Maps

I have an older Garmin Nuvi 250 car GPS. It's always a struggle to update the maps on it so I thought I'd write up the process.

I have nuMaps Lifetime North America ($90 versus $50 per update)

If you log in to myGarmin you are directed to download and use Garmin Express

I did, but it only offered to update Canada and border states, not the whole of North America.

The problem is that the device doesn't have enough internal memory to hold all of North America (the maps have gotten bigger since I bought the device). But it does have an SD card slot so I use that to install all of North America. But Garmin Express doesn't seem to recognize the extra memory.

The trick is to go into the advanced options and choose to install to both the device and the computer.

This installed Canada and border states to the internal memory of the device, but also downloaded all of North America to my computer.

Then you run Garmin MapInstall. (The download isn't obvious on their site, but Google should find it.) MapInstall will let you install additional map areas. The whole of North America won't quite fit on the 2gb SD card, but everything from Mexico north will. (Since Canada is already in the internal memory maybe you could omit it from the SD card???)

Note: If you have an SD card slot on your computer or an SD card reader/writer this is likely to be much faster than through USB to the device.

There's one last snag though - MapInstall thinks there's insufficient space because of the old maps. It doesn't seem to have any option to update or remove the old ones. But, on the Mac at least, if you just delete the old files there still won't be enough space because the files will be in the trash. So you need to use Disk Utility to erase the card first.

It seems to be functional and have all the maps. Of course, any problems won't show up till we're driving in the middle of nowhere!

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