Garmin/GPS series

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GPS16 receiver module

Garmin GPS16
Description receiver
GNSS 12 channels (WAAS;EGNOS, yes)
Memory Flash: .
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Emblem-question.svg Waterproof
  • Receiver is pretty good, gives the precision in meters and DOP numbers
  • On a clear sky, in an open area, precision can be down to 2m !
  • Should be firmware upgradeable for gallileo
  • Requires an external computer
  • Comes with a useless RJ45 plug (that I replaced with a 7 pin XLR)
  • Rather expensive at 175 USD
  • Just had a look at the Technical Specifications and compared the GPS16 RJ45 pinout with the unsual Cisco/Sun/etc RJ45 serial pinout --- they are completely different (Frank 08:37, 31 Dec 2005 (GMT))

Designed to be used with an external computer, attached to the outside of a vehicle


1996-vintage device, still available. First generation of modern 12-channel receivers, which gives good performance except in difficult situations like wet jungle, deep canyon roads and next to cliffs.

Garmin GPS12XL
Garmin GPS12XL
GNSS 12 channels (yes)
Memory Flash: (20 routes, 512 waypoints, 1024 tracklog points. max logging).
Batteries 4AA (5hrs lifetime)
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Emblem-question.svg Waterproof
  • Wide power supply range: 6-40V
  • Robust, reliable and waterproof (has pressure-change membrane to stop screen cracking at high temperature and altitude). Mine has been to 20 countries, soaked, banged, dropped, overheated.
  • NMEA output, averaging, all the basic functionality you need
  • Configurable tracklog (1s to 1hr period or auto)
  • External aerial option
  • Loads of datums, a useful range of co-ordinate systems and a 'user datum' option mean you can reference it to maps in most places in the world
  • Good internal antenna
  • Can be set to make audible beeps when a waypoint is approached. (12XL; not 12)
  • UI is usable wearing ski gloves/mittens.
    • Waypoints only have 6 chars - this is very tiresome/cryptic.
  • High power consumption compared to modern units
  • Doesn't save altitudes in waypoint or tracklogs so you need to write them down for waypoints, and saved tracklogs are flat
  • Too old to understand WAAS or DGPS
  • Doesn't do Lambert projections (France pre 2000ish maps)
  • Large and quite heavy by modern standards

This is a good quality device and still useful, especially for tracking in a vehicle. For battery-powered use you would be better off with something that has lower power consumption. The lack of altitude saving is its most serious limitation, but the altitude is in the serial stream, so if you use something else to log the data, then it is a perfectly good GPS, and very handy if you need to fit an external aerial. Don't pay much for one, but don't dismiss it as uselessly ancient.This is still a good mountaineering GPS Unit, because you can use it with your mittens on, and it is very robust. Stick an external antenna on the top and then keep it in an inner pocket (for warmth and hence extended battery life) listening for the beep when you got to where your snowhole last was.


Introduced in the mid-1990s with a IPX7 standard waterproof housing that can be used either in upright portrait mode or in landscape mode. These units are still plentiful in the used market. Accessories (interface cable, mounts, etc) are still readily available. The aerial is detachable, it can be removed and remote-mounted, or another remote GPS antenna can be connected. Power supply is either external with a wide range from 10 to 32V, or by four AA internal. NMEA output. Requires serial port connection as it has neither USB nor any memory card slot.

The original GPS II was upgraded to GPS III in 1997, and then to the GPS V which was discontinued in 2003. Garmin still provided a firmware update in 2008, though.

Garmin GPS II, III & V
Garmin GPS II, III & V
GNSS 12 channels (yes)
Memory Flash: .
Batteries 4AA (5hrs lifetime)
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof


GPS II series

The first version [2] (II without Plus) still had an 8-channel receiver and possibly other limitations.

The II Plus version [3] has the 12 parallel channel receiver of the GPS12. The track log can have up to 1024 points, the names of the 500 waypoints are limited to 6 chars. The display resolution is 100 x 64 black & white.

GPS III series

Display resolution improved to 160 x 100 with 4 gray levels. Configurable 1900 point tracklog (by time, distance travelled, or "resolution" - new points are only created when you deviate from your course). Visual alarms (time, off course, arrival)

  • Plus version comes with memory of 1,44MB [4], useful for usually only one map tile
  • Pilot version with Jeppesen database of airfields [5]


Display resolution improved to 256 x 160, tracklog expanded to 3000 points, WAAS/EGNOS [6] capability. The V can load 19MB of map tiles, but this can take about 45 minutes via serial port.

GPS 60

Garmin GPS 60
Garmin GPS 60
GNSS 12 channels (yes)
Memory Flash: 1MB .
Batteries 2AA (15hrs lifetime)
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
Price £120 (€199,00)
  • Large Screen (3.8cm * 5.5cm, 160 * 240, B/W), easy navigation through well designed menus.
  • One-click waypoint storage with large and extensible set of icons.
  • Track recording has some nice features - three different frequency settings for logging. The map feature is also quite useful for checking your tracks as you record them.
  • Consider that this unit is only £40 more expensive than the Gecko 201.
  • The unit is apparently waterproof and submergable (as the unit I have belongs to the university, I haven't tested this feature)
  • Supports EGNOS, WAAS and Differential (D)-GPS
  • Accuracy - The stated accuracy is 15m. I recently carried out some quite detailed analysis of the performance of this unit and found the standard deviation of points recorded to be less than 2.1m. The test site was Regents Park London, so not exactly ideal conditions.
  • Software - Ships with Garmin's MapSource package. Easy to setup on XP, fast to download data. Conversion from proprietary Garmin format to GPX using something like GPS-Babel is required. It's perfectly suitable for OSM and works nicely with gpsbabel or viking.
  • Supplied with a USB cable. (The Mapsource CD contains Windows drivers for use with this cable.)
  • The USB cable is highly standard and found on most usb hub, camera : so not much money to spend if you lost it
  • Inside software vers configurable for any kind of sport ( you display what you want, as you want in almost any units you want) ->

Hspeed,Zpeed, alt, direction, distance to. ( too bad, it misses the gliding ratio ! )

  • Worst problem with OSM is the limitation of the 10000 track points wich gives your ~6 hours of recording with one point every 2s ( usefull if you want to detect every roundabout and turns ) But having a nearby laptop greatly increase this !
  • Design - Unit is quite large
  • Software - MapSource is very crude. Garmin provides software for Mac OS X under gpsbabel works good.
  • If you want to navigate to a lat/long that you have input yourself, it is quite a long winded process. The only way that I can find to do it is to edit the Lat/long of an existing Waypoint
    • I don't think that it takes so long. You create a waypoint by pressing "Mark", change the coordinates and save it. Then you can navigate to it.
  • Waypoints are a bit limited :
    • 2 fields of 10 et 30 chars max ( enough in many case, but more problematic if you want to store a phone number, fuel price, exact adresse, etc. )
    • 1000 waypoints max, this is a bit low if you want every gas stations in europe !

This is an excellent unit, good value for money, nice features, rugged design. Excellent accuracy. Highly recommended, I've recommended this unit to a few people recently - I might buy one myself. I have just ordered two.Nick 21:01, 3 Apr 2006 (UTC)

GPSMAP 60C(S)x and 76C(S)x series

Garmin GPSmap 60CSx
Garmin GPSmap 60CSx
Description outdoor navigator
GNSS 12 channels, SiRFstar III (waas;egnos)
Memory Flash: . External: ? microsdhc.
Display 256 color
Integrated compass, altimeter
Connectivity usb,antenna
Batteries 2 AA (15hrs lifetime)
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
  • Can do (OSM Map On Garmin)
  • Logging interval can be set to x-meters, x-seconds or automatic with 5 scalings from most-often (best when driving) to least often (best by foot)
  • Very readable colored screen even with background lighting set off, extremely well readable in direct sunlight
  • Cable (which can also provide power, saving batteries) is a standard USB cable Mini-B to Type A.
  • Works like a charm in USB mass-storage mode, just like an USB key, no more pain to get the GPX track file using Linux or any OS that supports USB mass-storage devices
  • WAAS support — useful in North America and Europe (EGNOS)
  • I replaced my Garmin 60 (yellow one) with the 60Cx and I don't regret it, GPS signal is faster to acquire, quite good in heavy foliage and still usable in urban areas
  • Since firmware version 3.20, SDHC cards are supported (GPSMAP 60CSx). Since firmware version 3.90, image files larger than 2 GB (and up to 4 GB, see Bad Things) can be used (GPSMAP 60CSx).
  • USB port is very slow. 800 kB/s
  • Sometimes fails to reacquire locks after a longer tunnel while WAAS/EGNOS is turned on (no problem when disabled; fixed with firmware v3.00 --GabrielEbner 20:09, 7 September 2006 (BST)), but this cannot be confirmed by all users.
  • 'only' 10000 trackpoints of log in the internal memory (not a massive problem when you choose the interval well or frequently back up to a laptop; since firmware v2.71 you can automatically save tracklogs as GPX on the microSD card -- that's 100 days with 1 pt/s and a 1G card --GabrielEbner 20:09, 7 September 2006 (BST))
  • Sucks batteries quite a bit faster than the eTrex models (New Model with MTKII-Chip have improved battery life (up to 26h) even with electronic compass running)
  • The saved GPX tracks "ONLY" contain Lat, Long, Elevation and Time. Useful data like vertical/horizontal "dilution of precision" is dropped.
  • The device has a feature to save tracklogs to its internal microSD card, however these only contain lat/long/elevation/time and not the waypoints that were made in the appropriate time periods (the GPX files are split up by day). The user has to manually combine the waypoints exported from the device's internal memory to get GPX files with tracklogs and the matching waypoints made during the track.
  • When changing batteries in the dark, it is difficult to feel the correct orientation (you can't put them in in the wrong way, though)
  • Putting certain files on the microSD card can render the device unusable
  • Garmin has removed the DGPS support (RTCM protocol) on the 60/76**x series (e.g. GPSMAP 60CSX). I had almost bought a beacon receiver that would have reduced the 2drms error from 5m to 1m but luckily noticed that misfeature in the last minute.
  • Only one image file at once is possible. This is a problem since the file system used for larger SDHC cards is FAT32 which cannot deal with files larger than 4 GB. According to a guy of the Garmin Germany support, such a feature as implemented in the Oregon series will not be implemented for the GPSMAP 60CSx because this device is -- too old.
  • Unit saves no barometrical data while being switched off (only older 60C & 60 CS do so).
  • Individual track cannot have more than 500 points --glendeni 4 Feb 2012
The 76Cx

Totally impressive GPS unit in every regard. SiRFstar III chipset makes signal lock indoors possible. Ability to load OSM data as a map (OSM Map On Garmin - works for other Garmin units as well). The GPSMAP 60 and 76 are sister series with identical firmware, but different outside layout. The 76 series is profiled more towards marine use, it should also float if dropped in water. The S(ensor)-models contain a fluxgate compass and barometer. The 60 series are well suited for outdoor sport (paragliding, bike, hiking, etc)

Connectivity can be provided by GPSBabel or other such tools if you don't want to use the Windows software. Tracks can automatically be saved on the microSD card using very little space. When saving a track on the microSD, you'll keep all the timestamps and height information! You can also put the unit into a "USB Mass Storage Mode" where it just behaves like an SD card reader (however a card reader will be about 100 times faster). In this mode, the GPX files just show up in an external drive, and you can upload directly to OSM.

Latest firmware: GPSMap 76CS 4.20 firmware update (May 03, 2007), GPSMap 76CSX 4.00 firmware update (May 26, 2009). (You can see your firmware version here: Menu > Setup > System > Menu (button) > Software Version)

  • Waterproof—the 70Cx and 70CSx float
  • 2 AA batteries — Alkaline, NiMH or (since Firmware version 2.70) Lithium-Ion[1]
  • Running time:
    • around 15 hours with Alkaline batteries,
    • 10 hours with 1800mAh Ni-MH batteries,
    • 18 to 27 hours (depending on backlight usage) with 2850 mAh Ni-MH batteries.
  • Practical handlebar mount available (not included)
  • funny gps-games ;)


Suggested things to change before mapping (you will notice the Garmin Illnes: Totally nested menus):

  • Recording interval: Menu > Tracks > Setup. For accurate mapping «Auto/Most Often» is not good enough. Take «Time/3 s» or similar.
  • Save gpx track: Menu > Tracks > Setup > Data Card Setup > Log Track To Data Card. Check this one, makes life easier (.gpx file are saved directly to the device).
  • Turn off lock on road: Menu > Setup > Map > General > Lock On Road > Off
  • Chose your vehicle: Menu > Setup > Routing > Follow Road Options > Calculate Routes for > your vehicle
  • Record tracks (before mapping): Menu > Tracks > On

  • Putting certain files on the microSD card can render the device unusable (firmware 3.70). E-Mail sent to Garmin support on the matter:

I tried cloning a Git repository to me 60CSx's microSD card with it plugged in and mounted. I then turned off the unit and tried booting it again. At that point the unit couldn't get past the blue boot screen, it didn't get to the part where it displays the copyright info for the maps I have loaded which suggests it didn't get as far as loading the gmapsupp.img file.

There was no way to boot the unit to mount the microSD card and remove the files which were causing it to stop booting using the device itself. I had to use an external microSD card reader to remove the offending directory at which point the device worked fine.

Steps to reproduce:

  1. cd /path/to/gps/mountpoint
  2. mkdir src
  3. git clone git://
  4. unmount /path/to/gps/mountpoint and reboot the device.

I've packed up the offending Git repository at which will be hosted at that URL for a few months (the host is permanent). But this will probably work with any Git repository. I suspect that on bootup the device recursively scans its SD card looking for maps. And something about the Git directory structure trips it up.

The problem is not restricted to git repositories, it probably has something to do with the depth of the directory structure and/or number of files.

I don't have this problem. I'm also version controlling the files on the card with Git, and the extra files on the card have never caused any problems. I began the use of Git on the card at 2009-10-29, using software version 4.10 (not a typo, don't know why 4.00 is the newest version on the Garmin website) and GPS SW version 2.10m. — Sunny256 00:50, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Bugs waiting to get fixed

  • Timestamp of saved .gpx file is wrong. Its always 1980. There is a workaround.


  • Be sure you have turned off "lock on road". (Setup -> Map -> Lock On Road = Off) otherwise your location can be very jumpy if you are walking next to a road. (and your GPX files will probably be contaminated with copyrighted map data! Daveemtb 16:20, 15 February 2008 (UTC))


GPSMAP 62 and 78 series

These are updated versions of the 60 and 76 series, released in 2010. All models seem to be based on the STMicroelectronics Cartesio chipset, with a quad helix antenna in the 62 and a patch in the 78. The 62 is designed for outdoor use while the floating 78 is suitable for marine use. Six models are available: the 62s and 78s add a 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter to the basic features, and the 62st and 78sc respectively include preloaded US topographic maps and coastal charts.

GPSmap 62s with OSM Mapnik raster map
Garmin GPS 78
Garmin GPS 78
Description outdoor navi
GNSS 12 channels, (yes)
Memory Flash: 1MB .
Integrated compass, altimeter
Batteries 2AA (15hrs lifetime)
Emblem-question.svg Addresses Emblem-question.svg POIs
Emblem-question.svg Mass Storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
Price £120 (€199,00)
  • (of course) quite faster then 60 and 76 series
  • Reacquires satellites quickly with HotFix prediction (Rx networks GPStream)
  • Large internal memory (1.7GB with default basemap, 500MB on 62st with preloaded topo maps)
  • Compass on the 62s works with 3 axis (no need to keep the device in horizontal position)
  • Easily configurable Profiles allow to quickly change settings of the GPS for different uses, e.g. hiking, sailing, biking, driving in a car, ... --Shernott 2 June 2011
  • All data, i.e. waypoints, routes, current and saved tracks are stored in GPX files and can be accessed via USB as mass storage device. The ("current") track memory is archived automatically either daily, weekly, or whenever it is full. Archived/saved tracks contain elevation and timestamps, thus they are fully usable in OSM. Sending waypoints, routes, maps and tracks can be done via Mapsource and Basecamp, however when it comes to receiving, Mapsource can only receive the "Current Track", i.e. the current track memory. Only Basecamp can also receive saved tracks, waypoints and routes, and not only that, it can also delete or edit them on the device. --Shernott 7 June 2011
  • Can handle multiple different map files instead of a single gmapsupp.img file. This allows to exchange individual maps without affecting the other maps, i.e. having to reload and repack them into the single file [7]. --Shernott 2 June 2011
  • Raster maps can be displayed via the KMZ capability and Birdseye view. Officially, Garmin announced a new Swiss Topo with the look of the official Swiss paper maps. Inofficially, the Birdseye JNX format has been re-engineered and can be used to convert tile stores into raster maps after a firmware patch [8], which opens a whole new way of using OSM data on the device. --Shernott 9 March 2012
  • single track does not have a point limit (but sum for all tracks must be below 10000 points)
  • At the moment the 78 freezes sometimes (62 unknown). Sometimes switching off and on works, else one has to remove batteries to get it working again.
  • Searching for addresses while using OSM-based maps does not work atm because of the state/province-bug: When searching for an address one is first asked to enter a state or province. But no matter what one enters nothing is found. This bug appears at most of new Garmin devices when using OSM-maps.
  • The 78 (not the 78s(c)) still has only a slow USB-interface.

From here on negative aspects that were observed on a 62s with the original firmware and also with the current firmware (2.95beta) --Dieterdreist

  • You cannot select turn on/off individual layers of a map (e.g. AIO-map) --Dieterdreist
This device supports multiple map files. So I guess to keep things simple, they switched from turning layers on/off to turning files on/off [9]. Why not simply put the different layers into different files then? --Shernott 2 June 2011
The AIO.Maps have a basemap-gmapsupp.img for the map and a addr-gmapsupp.img for the address-layer --flacus 14:59, 1 January 2012 (UTC).
Regardless of their reasons they removed this useful feature from the device. There is a workaround (different files) that you can use if you change your build chain or your mapsprovider creates different files instead of one layered one. -- Dieterdreist 13:09, 12 April 2012 (BST)
  • Turning tracking on and off is not convenient (many clicks necessary) --Dieterdreist
To be precise, it's a subpage on the Setup page - and how often do you need to change it? If it happens often, you might simply want to use different Profiles, you can have different tracking settings for each Profile --Shernott 2 June 2011
Turning tracking on and off is something I do frequently e.g. to stop tracing when I stand still, enter a shop or similar. It is a miracle to me why they hid this now in a nightmare of submenues. It has gotten now so complicated and timeconsuming that nobody will turn tracking off. --Dieterdreist 13:09, 12 April 2012 (BST)
  • No tracking to the SD-Card --Dieterdreist
  • SD-Card not managable from the device (e.g. capacity information and how much is occupied) --Dieterdreist
Tracking is done to the 1.7GB of the internal memory, the purpose of the SD-Card is to hold additional maps. Since the SD-Card memory occupation doesn't change during using the device, I don't see much of a point in worring about it. --Shernott 2 June 2011
There are different reasons why you might want a copy stored to the SD-Card, one is reliability. Again a useful feature they removed. --Dieterdreist 13:09, 12 April 2012 (BST)
  • GPS precision is reportedly worse then on the 60CSx with Sirf III Chip, e.g. when changing direction --Dieterdreist

WARNING: The 62s is an awful device in many aspects (see above) and by far less suited for OSM use then the 60CSx is, get your hands on a 60CSx if you can. --Dieterdreist

Between "horrible" and "perfect", there are some more nuances. Most of your grievances above seem to stem from the refusal to accept that the new generation of Garmin devices has a different way of storing and accessing information. As far as precision is concerned, I owned the 60CSx, and I own now the Vista HCx and the 62s. Both the HCx and the 62s seem to use some kind of smoothing of the data which makes them sometimes prone to the Drift-Bug. From a mapping point of view, the rawer and unsmoothed data from the 60CSx was nicer, but then on the other hand, the 60CSx was easily thrown off the path by reflections when walking along walls in the city and cliffs in valleys and mountains. In those cases the result looked pretty much like the infamous Drift-Bug, although for different reasons. I'd call neither of them "perfect", and neither of the them "horrible", but all of them quite usable and useful, if you are aware of how they are meant to be used and of their limitations and bugs. --Shernott 2 June 2011
Yes, I agree with you, especially on the part, that smoothing of GPS-data is absolutely not what a mapper wants. Together with the removed possibility to turn tracking on and off, to store the tracks on the external memory card and to turn single map layers on and off I come to the horrible conclusion (for mapping). It is not so frequent that a company manages to make a really nice device worse in so many fundamental details. --Dieterdreist 13:09, 12 April 2012 (BST)
  • Very large "location arrowhead", blocks much of map at current location (4 times larger in area than 60 series location arrowhead) --glendeni 4 Feb 2012
  • Does not display error indicator (GPS precision) circle on map --glendeni 4 Feb 2012


  • both series use the same firmware
  • with 78 series waypoints are created pressing the Enter-button for ~1 second. It is still possible creating series of waypoints by simply creating the next.
  • Unlike the manual says all versions of the 78 have an µSD card slot.
  • Those who geotag their photos might like to snap a picture of the time displayed on their GPS in order to synchronize GPS time with camera time. Unfortunately, most time displays on this GPS show only minutes and no seconds. The only way I found is to change on the Compass page the Dashboard to "Large Data Field". This way you get a time display with seconds on the top of the page. --Shernott 2 June 2011


German translation has some flaws. The quality of translation into other languages I don't know. ATM most entries of the geocache-menu and some other entries are not translated in the files provided by Garmin.
A revised and enhanced (and so far complete™) version of the german language file can be found here. Just copy it to device/Garmin/Text. After restarting the device you will have two entries for "German" in the language settings - the original "German" and the revised one "German (malenki)".
Seafarers, aviators and geocachers are welcome to have a look at specific items since I guess there are still some issues which I can't pinpoint.

As of Garmin version 3.20, the Italian translation has some flaws too. The main issues with the Garmin translation are: missing or wrong translations, wrong casing, bad formatting, bad wording, duplicated entries.
A revised version of the Italian language file is available here along with the installation procedure.


To enter a hidden menu go to Tripcomputer and press ↑→↓←.
With the button Page you can switch several pages containing system informations.
Pressing ↑→↓← a second time you enter a menu for debug logging.
To enable logging to GPX, go to Start Recording -> Select Log Types -> GPX- Disabled and set it to Enabled
Then press Quit, Menu and Enter to start logging.
The logs differ very slightly from the "normal" ones (so far for the logs compared). For each log a separate file is created with following naming scheme: yyyymmdd_hhmmss.gpx. The logs are stored in GARMIN/Garmin/Logs/gpx/.
The binary logs are helpful for Garmin staff to debug stuff. (I don't know how to read them and therefore not what they contain).

(2.95beta) This GPX log is saved in 1s intervals, and when I tried it, the timestamps were one hour earlier than the local time (CEST) that was used in the standard log. I expected to find there some raw data with more jitter than the standard log, so I was quite surprised to find the opposite. Compared to the standard log with 1s intervals, this log was less jittery, in a good way. It still contained very precise changes of direction, but without all the little zig-zags and jitters that I didn't do on my walk. However, to put things in perspective, the distance of my walk in the standard log was 2.11km, while in the hidden log it was 2.04km (70m or 3% less). And among the 1600 measurements the offset between the two logs remained rather small, mostly 5-25cm, often less, and only once the offset was about 75cm. But for those of you who are recording in 1s intervals, this might be an interesting option to consider. --Shernott 3 June 2011

GPSMAP 64 series

Updated version of the GPSMAP 62 series: 64, 64s and 64st. The 's' likely stands for 'sensors'; 64s and 64st have a barometric altimeter, a 3-axis compass, and bluetooth which the 64 misses. The 't' probably stands for 'topographic'; the only difference between 64s and 64st is the preloaded topographic map (US or Canada only) and increased storage (8GB rather than 4GB).


  1. GPSmap 60CSx: Since Firmware 3.50[1] it isn't possible anymore to select Li-Ion anymore in the settings. Perhaps there they don't work as expected?