Here is a quick rundown on how to get free open source gps maps for adventure motorcycle touring.

To confidently navigate your way around the world on two wheels you, most riders these days choose to use a GPS unit (sometimes along with traditional paper maps). These maps are not to be confused with GPS tracks or routes, which are loaded onto the GPS to give you directions (on top of the base map that we are talking about here)  If you buy a unit in the country that that you are riding in it will often come with some maps for that country. If you would would like to take your gps unit travelling with you on a riding holiday however you will need to get the correct maps for the country you are visiting.

GPS maps can be expensive (especially if you’re on an extended trip) and what’s more they need updating frequently. Buying them is necessary in some specific cases (off road tracks in remote areas), but for general touring open source maps are perfectly adequate. These are the only maps I use these days and here is how to get your GPS maps for free:

Garmin GPS Devices:

1. Go to this site and select the areas that you want to map.
2. Put in the request for the dowload.
3. When your maps are ready (usually 15-30 mins, depending on demand), download the compressed folder (mac or pc).
4. In the folder there is both the file required to load the maps into Basecamp or whatever GPS mapping program you use on your computer, and the file that you can use to replace the ‘gmapsupp.img’ base map directly on your gps unit.

You are also able to contribute to the maps if you find errors or something that needs updating so that you can give back some love to the rest of the community.

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