Documentation, Help and How Tos

GPS Tips

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Settings for Routing Features and general GPS Setup have separate help notes.


Verifying the maps are installed:

See GPS Setup for how to locate the "installed maps" menu, which will indicate if the GPS knows the maps are installed.

You can also pan the map to an area of interest. Hit the button for Map or View Map or press Page until on the map screen. For touch screen units, press your finger on the screen and drag the screen; for button units, hit the directional button (has 4 arrows on it or use the click stick). Once you start moving the screen, hit the zoom out button ("-" or "out") to see a larger area. Once centered over the area of interest, hit the "+" or "In" buttons to zoom in. The closer in you zoom, the more detail you will see.

Memory Cards:

Leave them in the GPS. The GPS does not have the ability to copy items from the card to the internal memory.

Contacts on the card normally face towards the GPS. Usually there is a tiny picture/etching on the GPS showing how the card should be installed.

If your GPS has the card slot on the outside (not under a battery or other cover), put a piece of electrical tape over the slot. This keeps out the elements and helps to make sure the card is not jarred from the slot. More important on newer automotive units.

For GPS models, like the Montana, that have a slot that the card lays in and then you pivot and slide the retainer over it: Flip the GPS over in your other hand and tap it a couple times before you put the battery back in. If the card falls out, you know it was not in there correctly. Sometimes the card is not in there correctly but stays physically in place - but no maps show up. The only trick to offer is to use the eraser end of a pencil to help line up the card and flip/lock the retainer. I've personally added/removed cards from all of these models tens of thousands of times and still fight with it on occasion. It's definitely not an user friendly design.

If your model of GPS takes the larger SD card, you may want to ask us to swap your microSD with SD Adapter for a regular SD card. The Adapters are prone to error and can also loosen up over time and let the microSD card fall out.

SD Adapters - sometimes they need the micrSD card plugged/unplugged a few times to make good connection; sometimes they go bad and will need replaced.

Touch Screen units:

When on the map screen, if you touch the map, it changes to "panning mode". This enables you to move the map to a different area. It also means if you are moving, the map will stay where you moved it to. Even if you didn't move the map far (maybe not at all in your opinion), the map will stay focused on that area. As you continue riding, the map will not move to reflect where you are. To get back to "live tracking" mode, hit the back arrow in the lower left corner of the screen. This will put it back to live tracking mode and will move as you move. In panning mode, as you move, eventually you will travel off the screen (fall off the end of the world) and have to manually drag the screen back over to where you are, to see yourself again. It's very easy to accidentally touch the screen with your coat or when trying to hit the zoom buttons. Outdoor models like the Montana have a screen lock function (hit the power button on the Montana and then the padlock icon) to prevent accidental touch input. Of course you then have to hit the power button and unlock the padlock to get it to accept touch input again.

Power Cords:

We definitely recommend hard wiring the power source for your GPS. Do not cut off the big end of the 12V plug (like on the car models). It contains the circuitry to convert 12V to 3V. If you remove this and wire it direct, the GPS will be damaged. There are hard-wire-kits available.

If you are using a non-Garmin power cord for a Garmin GPS, it may put the GPS into computer mode. Usually if you wait a minute, the GPS will realize it's not hooked to a computer and will reboot into normal mode. The GPS is looking for pins 4 and 5 on the USB cable to be tied to ground, then it knows it is not hooked to a computer. It's possible to modify a cable for this. We do not recommend doing so. The Pinout Guide web site article discusses it in more detail.

Finding stuff:

Hitting Find or Where To? will let you search for points of interest. Some models show everything here, some allow you to type in a search time, some make you dig through categories into subcategories. Our maps have gas, food, lodging, parking, cities and a ton of other points of interest. Most are in the expected categories, however some items are put under Cities because not all models of GPS have a separate category for that specific item. Parking lots and certain trail identifiers are under Cities.

Most all of our fuel items start with "Gas - ", food which includes bars have "Food - " and lodging have "Lodging - " or "Camping - ". For example, "Gas - BP". Due to the wide range of GPS models our maps work on and the lack of common features between all of them, we have chosen to include those words in the name of our higher priority points of interest. We mention this to help make searching easier. Some models need these words included, some do not.

Routing Setup or why does my GPS keep using roads:

Covered elsewhere, but it is definitely the #1 "help with using" GPS question. Trails in our maps are highways, everything else is lower on the priority list or a toll road. Your GPS will not have a mode for snowmobiling or for ORV trail use. There may be a listing for something similar, but it does not apply to our maps. You want routing to be setup for highways, faster time and only avoid toll roads. The GPS should also be set so only one map is active as having more than one routable map for a given area will allow the GPS to choose between them and the results are poor at best. See our Routing Setup help note. Also note that if your GPS has a Profile or Activity Mode or Activity Profile, when you change to another profile, it will remove all of the changes you had set previously. So, if you are in Automobile mode and change to Recreational mode, it will change all of your Routing Settings. This applies specifically to most outdoor models like the Montana and Zumo units. We note this as it is a quick way to shoot yourself in the foot and not know it. We've also seen profiles become corrupted and the GPS need to be reset to clear them out.