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Author Topic:   GARMIN Cartography: Great Lakes Boater
jimh posted 09-10-2006 11:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
From reading the GARMIN literature, it sounds to me like many of their GPS receiver/Chart Plotter devices are being sold with the inclusion of Garmin chart cartography for the "coastal" United States. As a boater who does much of his boating in the Great Lakes, it do not see that as a benefit unless it also includes the coasts of the Great Lakes.

I also see that Garmin sells more detailed digital chart cartography for the Great Lakes. To acquire the charts for Lake Michigan and Huron it looks like I would have to spend about $400 more for two additional chips.

Is my impression correct? If I bought a GARMIN I would not get any chart data for the Great Lakes and I'd have to buy that data at about $200/lake, right?

bluewaterpirate posted 09-10-2006 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
JimH ......

Your assumption is not correct. Just went outside and turned on my Garmin 2206 GPS/CP that came with preloaded G2 Coastal Charts. All the Great Lakes and their tributaries are part of the preloaded chart package. If you'd like pictures I'd be happy to include some tomorrow or better yet go to one of your local marine electronic vendors and see for yourself. There you go.

Those that come preloaded wiht the G2 Charts are the GPSMAP 378/478/392/492/2206/2210/3205/3206/3210

The GPSMAP 298/2106/2210 are G2 capable but do not come preloaded with G2 Charts


jimh posted 09-10-2006 11:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--Thanks for the information. I will have to try your suggestion the next visit to a marine electronics store. Apparently the charts you buy for $200/lake must be upgrades which have more detail and ancillary information on them.
bluewaterpirate posted 09-11-2006 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
They add pictures of marinas, bridges, local points of interest along with some detailed information of same. If you'd like to take a look of a particular area of either lake I'd be glad to take a picture of the area and post it.

I've been very happy with my 2206. The functionality is easy to use as well as robust.


bluewaterpirate posted 09-11-2006 12:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Two pictures of the Garmin G2 Preloaded Charts taken from my Garmin 2206. sitebuilderpictures/mich3.jpg sitebuilderpictures/mich1.jpg

K Albus posted 09-11-2006 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Another thing to check for while playing with the Garmin units at your local marine store is whether cartography cuts off at the U.S./Canada border. I was at a West Marine store recently, playing with a Garmin unit, and I noticed that at some levels of resolution no information was displayed for Canadian waters. The store display indicated that the Garmin unit was preloaded with the G2 software, but I'm not sure whether it was the inland lake software or the coastal software.

Several years ago I had a Lowrance combination GPS/fishfinder on which the charting software contained no Canadian chart information whatsoever. This presented some problems in Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River. Presumably it would also be a problem in the North Channel/Sault Ste. Marie area.

swist posted 09-11-2006 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I am a longtime user of Garmin GPS units and wouldn't switch because the Bluechart detail is so close to real charts, not to mention that they are just plain great machines.

BUT, I think the company could do a lot better on identifying exactly what chart hardware/software works with what, and exactly what is preloaded on which units. They have way too many different overlapping models - this doesn't help. And the advent of the "g2" series of Bluecharts has made it twice as complicated.

bluewaterpirate posted 09-11-2006 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     

I agree with you, Garmin needs to simplify their product discriptions and charting capabilities (i.e. what areas the preloaded charts cover and the detail of each chart). There are definitely many over lapping units. I fired up my 2206 after work today and it does include the Canadian side of the Great Lakes area.

As to G2 chart detail here are 2 pictures I took of the Big Rock Area located 45 SE of Cape Lookout NC. The 1st picture shows the best detail that comes with the G2 preloaded Coastal Charts package. The 2nd picture shows the enhanced detail provided by the G2 Offshore Bathy Charts of the same area. This cartridge is purchased seperately.

The preloaded charts are crisp, concise, and the have detail necessary to navigate safely and fish successfully. To be fair the Bathy Enhanced Charts do not come standard with any other electronic chart manufacturers preloaded products but are add ons as with Garmin. sitebuilderpictures/g21.jpg sitebuilderpictures/g2bathy.jpg

Plotman posted 09-12-2006 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Jim -

I have had Garmin GPSs in the past, and they are fine units, but I believe that the C-Map cartography is every bit as good, if not better, and seems to be quite a bit less expensive.

Garmin appears to offer several different versions of the same units. One with just the standard basemap, one pre-loaded with enhanced US coastal cartography, and another pre-loaded with enhanced inland cartography. (for example the Garmin 292/392/492 series). All can accept detailed cards.

I just paid $175 for a card that covers all of Lake Superior, all of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan north of a line from the tip of Door County to Portage Lake on the Micigan side, as well as including quite a number of major inland lakes. For the same price you can also get a card that covers all of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Check out and check out their coverage.

The other thing I likes is that you aren’t tied into a single brand of GPS if you decide you want to switch down the road. C-Map is the format used by Navman, Furuno, Si-Tex, Raymarine, Standard Horizon, and several others.

Garmin cards seem to cover just one of the great lakes and cost $175-$200 each.


Plotman posted 09-12-2006 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I should have added that I have a Navman combo GPS/Sonar, and I have been very happy with it. Navman also builds in to most of their units the ability to display fuel managment info (just add the transducers) as well as Mercury Smartcraft data.
jimh posted 09-12-2006 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
David--I have a C-MAP based chart plotter now, an older Standard Horizon. The cartography is reasonably priced, and it is useful in a number of brands of chart plotters, which I think is an advantage. I believe that Garmin cartography is limited to Garmin devices.
Royboy posted 09-14-2006 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
I have a handheld Garmin unit (GPSMAP76CS), so it doesn't take cards, but rather I have to download my Bluecharts from a CD. One unlock code comes with the Bluechart Americas CD for $125. Mine unlocked all of Lake Huron, the Western Third of Lake Erie and a chunck of Lake Michigan from the Bridge out nearly to Charlevoix, and a samll portion of Eastern Lake Superior (enough to navigate the entire St. Mary's River), and the entire Inland Waterway. Additional Unlock Codes can be purchased for $125 each. All of the maps on one code easily fit in memory on my unit.

I also purchased the U.S. Recreational Lakes so I can load the inland waters in the Eastern U.S. too. It was similarly priced as the Bluecharts, and gives depth contours of most lakes over a couple hundred acres.

It helps to have a laptop if you go this route, because it makes loading map sets much handier on trips.


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