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My Garmin eTrex Vista HCx and OSX

A quick post of my learnings when researching the best setup for my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx as most of what I initially found was old, PC only, or just plain wrong.

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

I chose this GPS device because it was reasonably cheap, expandable, and allowed me to upload maps to the device, and visa-versa. I also wanted to use the power of OpenStreetMap, rather than pay Garmin lots of money, and my research showed me this was possible.

So, rather than talk about all the things that I couldn’t find or do, I’ll just run through the good stuff. Here’s a run down of all the useful software I found.

  • OSM/Computerteddy Garmin IMG tile calculator

    Create a bounding box on a map of the world, and it will return an OSM IMG to use on your device. There’s even a great bookmarklet to use on the OpenStreetMap site. This is an awesome site.


    A great resource of maps of the world. I don’t speak German, but you can get the idea of what you’re able to download.


    Detailed map of France. I used this on a recent cycle tour, and it was invaluable.

  • TrailRunner

    TrailRunner is a route planning Mac software for all kinds of long distance sports like running, biking, hiking, inline-skating, skiing and more. It’s free, but a donation of 25 Euros will stop prompts. It’s a fantastic bit of software.

  • LoadMyTracks

    This free utility works hand-in-hand with TrailRunner. It will send and receive data to and from the eTrex. It can also be used to translate data between the popular GPX and KML (Google Earth) formats.

Finally there is the OpenStreetMap Garmin page which has the useful information about getting all this data onto the device, and much more.

Hurrah, there has been one response to this post.

  1. Richard

    Thanks for the info man! Been searching a lot for this stuff!

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