Did you know that you can see satellite images in your Garmin Edge?
It is one of those options that can be very useful but rarely used in cycling computers.
Last Sunday, October 2, we went to explore routes around the town of Mompaní in Querétaro. It is an area to which I had not been able to go before of which I had very good comments and references.
I had a GPX on the Edge 530 with a route that I wanted to use to get a feel for the area. Also, one of the guys in the group already knew the area so all we had to do was ride and explore.
At the end of the day, we did a good ride as you can see on this map that has been added as well to the MTB Routes in Querétaro section.
Satellite Images For Garmin GPS
But really the topic of this post is in relation to maps. As often happens, when you go exploring, you get out of the known and get at new places and that’s what happened to us. You’re rolling, a singletrack appears and you follow it to see where it goes. As could be expected my Edge 530, that has the latest version of Garmin maps installed, would go somewhat crazy trying to get me back on the GPX track each time we took a detour. In some stops to see where we would continue the ride, it was noticeable that the Garmin map does not show a large amount of MTB trails in this area.
A more detailed Garmin compatible map with MTB trails maybe on order for this area…
In the meantime, I decided to do a test with raster maps, that is, images. In handheld devices as Garmin knows them, such as the eTrex or GPSMAP series, it is relatively common to use this type of map both recreationally and for professional use, but I had not tried them yet in cycling.
So, I took a satellite photograph and complemented it with a layer of water bodies highlighted in blue to improve visibility. After some testing to get as sharp as possible an image without exceeding the limitations Garmin imposes to this type of maps, we got this image taken from Basecamp over Garmin’s vector map.
In order for these images to be viewed at both the Edge and Basecamp, they must be in KMZ format and meet the restrictions and conditions of Garmin custom maps.
The process used by Garmin is somewhat tedious so we used other geographic information methods to generate them.
Installing the Map in the Edge
Installation in the Edge 530 has to be done manually by connecting it to the computer, going to the CustomMaps folder and pasting the file. The map will be activated automatically.
In these screenshots we can see the result on the track of the route we did that day. The image begins to be seen at the 300 m zoom
Compare how highlighting the dams with blue improves map interpretation. This image is of the same area but without highlighting the dams
These are several shots with different zooms to see how sharp the image can be on the screen
By adding more features to the satellite image such as roads, landmarks and rivers for example, would help in map interpretation and allow to find more MTB trails.
If you ride in this area and want to try out what this map looks like on your bike computer, you can download it here. It is a compressed file in RAR format. Unzip it and copy it to the CustomMaps folder as mentioned above.
Note: If you decide to use this image, you do so at your own risk and we are not responsible for any damage you may cause to your Edge bike computer or GPS.