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  • Adding Maps To inReach Explorer Plus

    I use a Garmin GPS around the world and have a number of topo maps on micro-SD chips that I can put in the GPS depending on where I'll be. I've been reading about the new inReach Explorer+ and it says it comes with topo maps of the USA preinstalled. What I can't seem to find out is whether or not you can drop in a "map chip" when you're outside the USA. If not, is there a way to add maps when you travel?

    Is there internal storage that can be used to store a downloaded map? How would you do that? Would you risk erasing the topo USA map that's already there?

    I wish Garmin would publish more detailed information about the new inReach. I'm not going to buy one if it doesn't do what I want it to do and I can't seem to find my answers on the Garmin website.

  • #2
    The Explorer+ uses the DeLorme map format. It is not the same as the Garmin format, so Garmin maps do not work with the device. The Explorer+ has no expandable storage. What's on board is all there is.

    Any future expansion maps would have to be in the DeLorme format. Historically, DeLorme's coverage outside of North America was extremely limited. That's not to say that Garmin won't make additional cartography available. But I have no information.
    -- Tom
    inReach SE, inReach Explorer, PN-60WSE, Colorado 400t, Nuvi 2555LMT

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    • #3
      Originally posted by twolpert View Post
      The Explorer+ uses the DeLorme map format. It is not the same as the Garmin format, so Garmin maps do not work with the device. The Explorer+ has no expandable storage. What's on board is all there is.

      Any future expansion maps would have to be in the DeLorme format. Historically, DeLorme's coverage outside of North America was extremely limited. That's not to say that Garmin won't make additional cartography available. But I have no information.
      Thanks for the quick response. Without the ability to add maps the Explorer+ isn't for me.

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      • #4
        Can't say what might or might not be available eventually. But you won't be able to use your existing Garmin micro-SD cards no matter what. Even if Garmin eventually updates the firmware to use the Garmin format, the device has no micro-SD slot or any other expandable storage.
        -- Tom
        inReach SE, inReach Explorer, PN-60WSE, Colorado 400t, Nuvi 2555LMT

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        • #5
          Adding Maps

          The North America maps that come on the Explorer + can be removed or supplemented with OpenStreetMaps mapping or Digital Atlas of the Earth.

          For information about Digital Atlas: https://developer.garmin.com/datasets/overview

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          • #6
            Maps on inReach

            I have been using the Digital Atlas and Open Street maps on my inReach for a couple years while in the Andes. Zooming in my inReach on the city of Huaraz, for example, provides an adequate city street map. A bit of practice provides sufficient detail in our research areas, such as Quebrada Quilcayhuanca, ascents of Ishinca, or Huascaran Nord and Huascaran Sur. The screen on the inReach+ is quite small, as is true of other GPSRs and electronic navigational devices that you would carry in the wilderness. Since I also carry paper maps from National Geographic, the Swiss Alpine Club, and Aoneker, along with several excellent guidebooks, this is quite adequate. The big IF is based on your experience in such terrain.

            On a couple of my expeditions, I have loaded different maps on my inReach. It is a bit time consuming and awkward. But it works.

            When you get your inReach, set up your account, activate it, you will see on the map page a place to click "Get More Maps". For South America, there are 65 maps available. Asia has 27 maps.

            The detail in the maps is enough that there is a limit on how many GB you can load into the memory.

            As Tom pointed out, the inReach has no provision for swapping chips. Considering the rate at which electronic devices increase their capabilities, I suspect that Garmin will find some way to increase the capacity and hopefully an easy way to swap chips or otherwise load the maps. A larger screen would be nice, too. I like the mapping I have on my IPad, But it is really too big to use wandering in the wilderness. And I remember some movie where the explorers had some type of roll-up film that could be unrolled to the size of a 15' quad. Maybe someday someone will come up with that.
            Last edited by wstraka; 06-16-2017, 06:20 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wstraka View Post
              Maps on inReach

              I have been using the Digital Atlas and Open Street maps on my inReach for a couple years while in the Andes. Zooming in my inReach on the city of Huaraz, for example, provides an adequate city street map. A bit of practice provides sufficient detail in our research areas, such as Quebrada Quilcayhuanca, ascents of Ishinca, or Huascaran Nord and Huascaran Sur. The screen on the inReach+ is quite small, as is true of other GPSRs and electronic navigational devices that you would carry in the wilderness. Since I also carry paper maps from National Geographic, the Swiss Alpine Club, and Aoneker, along with several excellent guidebooks, this is quite adequate. The big IF is based on your experience in such terrain.

              On a couple of my expeditions, I have loaded different maps on my inReach. It is a bit time consuming and awkward. But it works.

              When you get your inReach, set up your account, activate it, you will see on the map page a place to click "Get More Maps". For South America, there are 65 maps available. Asia has 27 maps.

              The detail in the maps is enough that there is a limit on how many GB you can load into the memory.

              As Tom pointed out, the inReach has no provision for swapping chips. Considering the rate at which electronic devices increase their capabilities, I suspect that Garmin will find some way to increase the capacity and hopefully an easy way to swap chips or otherwise load the maps. A larger screen would be nice, too. I like the mapping I have on my IPad, But it is really too big to use wandering in the wilderness. And I remember some movie where the explorers had some type of roll-up film that could be unrolled to the size of a 15' quad. Maybe someday someone will come up with that.
              Great post! Thanks for the detailed real world info. I had poked around on the website a bit and couldn't figure it out until I read your post.

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              • #8
                Anyone know if you can load GPX file into the Earthmate app? I see that all my historical tracking is available online through inreach.garmin.com, but once I clear the tracks on the device, they are also removed from the Eartmate app. I know you can export the GPX file online, but not sure how to add it to the app.

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                • #9
                  As far as I know, the only thing you can do with that .gpx file an the inReach/Earthmate app is to re-import (via the web site) it as a route, then sync the route to the device. This will let you see the path on the device and in Earthmate. Be aware, though, that there are limits on how many points in a route. If the track has too many points, the route may be "thinned" during the import. In some cases, for example when the track follows a series of switchbacks, this can result in significant differences between the original track and the route. If this is a problem, you can alleviate it by manually splitting the track into segments before re-importing it. But there is no way to avoid the thinning entirely.
                  -- Tom
                  inReach SE, inReach Explorer, PN-60WSE, Colorado 400t, Nuvi 2555LMT

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                  • #10
                    As far as I can tell the GPX import function does not work on the InReach Explorer+ I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian trail this summer and wanted to include the trail map on my GPS. So far no go. I was able to download every state along the trail easily enough, but the GPX files the conservancy provides do not work on the InReach site. I came here looking if I could use Garmin's own trailhead series maps but that seems to be a bust too.

                    not that it matters since I was planning to navigate with my phone (guthook & hikerbot are better tools anyway) and only use my Explorer to ping friends and family.

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                    • #11
                      Not sure what might be wrong with the .gpx files unless perhaps they contain too many points. .gpx imports result in routes for the device. For longer tracks, the web site will "thin" the points to reduce the count to something manageable. But it may be that some tracks are so long that they can't be adequately thinned?

                      What happens when you try the import?
                      -- Tom
                      inReach SE, inReach Explorer, PN-60WSE, Colorado 400t, Nuvi 2555LMT

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dutch30114 View Post
                        Anyone know if you can load GPX file into the Earthmate app? I see that all my historical tracking is available online through inreach.garmin.com, but once I clear the tracks on the device, they are also removed from the Eartmate app. I know you can export the GPX file online, but not sure how to add it to the app.
                        Most GPX files are mixed track and waypoints. The original inReach programming calls for a pure track file to be loaded. You have to edit all waypoint sections out that are not germane to the track and make sure the nesting is set so the track is on the top level. If you have several tracks involved and they are not normally interconnected, you will find they will be connected with a long straight line from beginning to end depending on the order of load.

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                        • #13
                          Good to hear from you, TL.

                          After cutting waypoints from a gpx file with 2 tracks, make a copy of the file. Then cut the first track from one file and the second from the other.

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                          • #14
                            1) i click on import file.
                            2) drag the gpx file to the drag and drop area
                            3) watch the green import bar go to 100%
                            4) when the green import bar is done I can close. Sometimes I wait to let it process in the background, other times i click close immediately
                            5) I click close and I’m taken back to the map screen. No waypoints or routes have ben added.

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