NOTE: This article has been updated and added as a FAQ. Please refer to the updated article here:
FAQ: Garmin Maps | Cloning Method: Install a Map Update Directly to the SD Card.
I posted this over on the GPS Review forum and thought it might be useful to the POI Factory members. This technique was suggested by member Boyd on that forum. I took his idea and tested it with my two nuvis (755T and 855).
You may have already noticed a certain peculiarity in Garmin software. If you have a removable drive on your computer (SD card or thumb drive) and create a \Garmin folder at the root of this drive, then copy the file GarminDevice.xml from your nuvi into this folder, the Garmin programs like POI Loader and my.Garmin.com seem to recognize the removable drive as a nuvi. Boyd speculated that you might be able to use this quirk to fool the map update installer and directly install a map update to a SD card.
It took some experimentation and several tries, but I was able to install the complete map on SD with both of my nuvis. Both nuvis operate correctly with ALL of the NA map data on the SD card. Here is a summary of the steps I used to install maps directly to the SD card:
1) Do a complete backup of your nuvi BEFORE you attempt this procedure. This MAY allow you to recover your nuvi if something goes wrong.
2) Use WebUpdater to make sure you have the latest software on your nuvi before you try this. If you have old software, you will have trouble with the map download because my.Garmin.com will try to do a software update on your (fake nuvi) SD card prior to the map download!
3) Start with a clean SD card in your computer or SD card reader. Make sure it is formatted FAT32. Create the \Garmin folder. Connect your nuvi to the computer in data mode and copy file GarminDevice.xml from the \Garmin folder on the nuvi into the \Garmin folder on the SD card. [Nuvi 8xx series only: Copy the complete ASR folder and its contents from the \Garmin folder on the nuvi into the \Garmin folder of the SD card.]
4) Safely remove the nuvi from the computer, but leave the SD card mounted on the computer. Log into my.Garmin.com. To verify that the SD card is recognized as your nuvi, go to the myDashboard tab and click on "Scan for devices". Your SD card should show up as your nuvi model in the drop down box. (Note: If you didn't remove your real nuvi from the computer as suggested, it will appear twice in the drop down box ... once for the real nuvi and once for your fake nuvi SD card. You won't be able to tell which is which!)
5) On myGarmin, click on the myMaps tab, select the map download link and use option 2 (Map update installer). Proceed to download and install the map files to the SD card. When the map update installer completes, all new map files are on the SD card in the \Garmin folder: gmapprom.img, gmapprom.gma, gmapprom.unl. On some models you will also have files gmaptz.img, gmap3D.img and DnnnnnnnA.JCV (in the \Garmin\JCV folder). Make sure all files are sucessfully downloaded to the SD card before continuing.
6) If your nuvi supports Junction View, this would be a good time to check the DnnnnnnnA.JCV file that was downloaded to the SD card. If you got the small file and want the large one, you may as well replace it now. Use the link provided elsewhere in the forum to download the large JCV file and copy it to the SD card in the \Garmin\JCV folder. Delete the small JCV file that was downloaded by the map update installer.
7) Connect the nuvi to the PC in data mode and delete the following files from the \Garmin folder on the nuvi internal drive: gmapprom.img, gmapprom.gma, and gmapprom.unl. Also delete file GMAP3D.img and the complete \JCV folder and its contents if they are present on your nuvi. [Nuvi 8xx series only: Delete the ASR folder and its contents from the \Garmin folder of your nuvi.]
8) If present, copy file gmaptz.img from the SD card back into the \Garmin folder of the nuvi. [Nuvi 8xx series only: Copy the entire updated ASR folder and its contents from the SD card back into the \Garmin folder of the nuvi.]
9) On the SD card rename the following files gmapprom.img to gmapsupp.img, gmapprom.gma to gmapsupp.gma and gmapprom.unl to gmapsupp.unl. Delete file GarminDevice.xml from the SD card, so it will no longer show up as a fake nuvi in Garmin software.
10) Safely remove the SD card and nuvi from the computer. Install the SD card in the nuvi.
11) Boot the nuvi, go to Tools > Settings > map > map info and make sure the full NA map (and 3D map if your model supports it) show up and are checked.
12) Test the nuvi to make sure all map detail is working.
On the 755T, the detail NA maps, 3D map, and JCV file all work correctly from the SD card. The only file from the map download that has to be on the internal drive is the gmaptz.img time zone file. After completing this procedure with CN NA 2012.30, I had 3.5 GB of free space on the 755T's 4 GB internal drive.
On the 855, the speech recognition files are updated as part of the map update. The easiest way I found to handle this was to copy the ASR folder to the SD card, perform the map install, then copy the updated ASR folder back to the nuvi. These steps are included in the above procedure.
This procedure worked well for me, but be aware that you are removing your detail map files from the internal storage of your nuvi. TRY IT AT YOUR OWN RISK! Note that these steps are for the older 7x5 and 8x5 nuvis that do not have the hidden .system folder and enhanced map naming features. It seems likely that the procedure can be easily adapted to the other nuvi models of this generation like the 2xx, 7xx and 8xx. I am not sure what additional considerations there are for the newer 1xxx, 2xxx and 3xxx models that have the .system folder. If anyone tries this, please post your results here.
Very intersting. Thanks for the clear and detailed post.
You've put it together very well. This should be put in the FAQ!
I'm sure the Powers That Be over at POI Factory will agree ?
Thanks for the detailed information and spending all the time working it all out for everyone.
Thanks for this useful information.
While this will work in most cases, I would advise some caution as SD cards can go bad or if you bought some fake SD cards, it might not work optimally though.
Excellent write up alandb ... I thought Garmin had disabled this method when I tried doing this with the JCV fiasco couple of releases ago, but it works now!
I spent some time today trying this with my nuvi 855. In general the procedure worked the same way as it did on the 755T. But I did run into one issue. In addition to maps, the map update installed some updated speech recognition files in the \Garmin\ASR folder. I found the best way to handle this was to copy the ASR folder to the SD card, update the maps, then copy the updated ASR folder back to the nuvi. I have included these additional steps in the original document.
Thanks for sharing this useful info.
I am not sure what additional considerations there are for the newer 1xxx, 2xxx and 3xxx models that have the .system folder. If anyone tries this, please post your results here.
I successfully used your procedures on my unit. This freed up my unit memory for the large JCV file. Not all file names appeared on my unit.
I have a problem with my older XP. It will not read the MiniSd card in the (F:) drive slot , so I have to leave it in the Garmin. Then it will read the Removable Disk (K:)
I just noticed on my 755T that the timezone file (gmaptz.img) was not showing up on the diagnostics inventory screen. The time zones and time function seemed to be working correctly with the file on the SD card. But to be safe I moved the file from the SD card back to the nuvi. It now shows up on the diagnostics screen.
I modified the original document to reflect this change.
I tried it again and successfully this time. I have the large JCV file and all 50 states plus Canada & Mexico & the Bahamas.
It will not read the MiniSd card in the (F:) drive slot , so I have to leave it in the Garmin. Then it will read the Removable Disk (K:)
Also, make sure you have the latest OS updates from MS. My XP Pro has no problem reading the card.
Unless you have a non-legal version of XP...
I'm using XP media center version, version 2002 with service pack 3. BTW, my older HDTV will not read the Micro SD card either. I have no problem with SD cards.
I do use the adapter
Have you tried a different (newer) one?
I bought a SanDisk 4 gig micro card , and adapter yesterday, and it wouldn't read, or format. I swapped the adapter to an older one and it worked.
May work for you as well!
I have a USB flash drive that accepts the MicroSD/SD adapter. It works with all my microSD cards.
Spokybob, did you do this install for your 1490T or the 295W? If it was your 1490T, what folder on the SD card did the Garmin map update installer put the maps in? Did you leave them in that location or move them to a different folder? Did you rename the installed maps from gmapprom.* to gmapsupp.* as suggested in the procedure?
I was able to install the maps from the site onto the SD card Deleted the files from the 1390T HIDDEN .System folder and now I have a brick, does not see any maps. I can fix this just dicouraged that it doesn't see the files. I renamed them to supp and it still does not see them, looks great for disk space not so great for functionality.
Any Ideas anyone??????
I don't remember each & every step that I employed. I did rename the gmapprom.img to gmappsupp.img.
I have 4 folders on the card
.System (15.8MB)\gupdate and locales
Garmin(2.15GB)\JCV folder & the ****.gma and gmapsupp.img
Map(1.35GB)\ the ****.gma and gmapsupp.img
Voice(15.5MB) \ English_American_Jill.vpm
TMan65, sorry to hear that this didn't work for you. I don't have access to a nuvi 1xxx series with lifetime maps. I wish I did so I could help you figure it out. I suspect the problem has to do with the folder/file names on the SD. What folders did the map installer create on your SD card? What files were downloaded to each folder?
Just going by spokybob's post, it looks like you might need to rename the map files from gmapprom.*** to gmapsupp.***, then move them into a \MAP folder, or perhaps \Garmin.
I took the Garmin folder copied to the SD card.
No Garmin just SD card now.
Ran the latest Lifetime Map updater tool, it asked if I wanted to reinstall maps I said yes.
It created a Hidden .System folder and made 4 new files same files that were on the original Internal .System folder gmapprom.gma, gmapprom.img, gmapprom.unl and GMAPTZ.IMG. It also Made a /JVC folder in .System (.system/jvc) and put the newest Junction view file there D3153040A.JCV.
Map folder is Blank on original drive.
No map folder nothing else.
So now that I deleted these files from my garmin memory I have NO map version at all and no map detail.
So I plugged it back in (garmin that is) and reran Update to the garmin again and now with a Full internal memory card the maps are back with full detail, and data about the maps now appear again on the system info tabs (before when on the SD card they were all blanked out)
When I check Map Info now I have CN North America NT 2012.30 US& Canada again, I can see the roads again and it looks like a garmin again.
So it doesn't like something but I am not sure what it doesn't like????
I wonder if the unit would boot if I move all files to the 8 gig SD card?
It should boot, no reason not to. Just name the card the same, and copy the files.
Worked like a charm for my nuvi 350 and 650. The only thing I did differently was rename the files on the device instead of deleting them (renamed them old-* for all).
A good check is to make sure the device is pulling the mas from the card. Eject the SD card at the "Tools > Settings > map > map info" area and you'll see it disappear. Re-insert the SD card and after a few moments it should re-appear. Boom.
Great write up.
Wow ... after hours of failure using Garmin Lifetime Updater to update Garmin 1350lmt with SD card to full 49 states + Canada 2013.20 ... alandb's method worked.
For the 1350 there are some DIFFERENT PROTOCOLS.
The files deleted from and copied to the Nuvi 1350 are in the /.system folder (not the Garmin folder).
Using Lifetime Updater to install directly to the SD card, a folder SD/.system and a folder SD/Garmin are created.
I moved the Gmapprom files on the SD card from the SD/.system folder to the SD/Garmin folder and renamed them to Gmapsupp. The SD card also has to have a :/Map folder created (empty). The SD:/system folder can then be deleted.
Thanks alandb you're work is much appreciated !
supe97, I am glad you were able to adapt the cloning method for map install to SD card to the 1xxx nuvi series. I don't have one of the newer nuvi models with the hidden .system folder to test with, so I was not sure if the method worked on the newer nuvi's.
I am guessing the map files could have been copied to the \map folder and named anything you want with the corect extensions ... not sure they needed to go in \garmin as gmapsupp on these units.
Thanks for this Great information
You're right on both counts. The map can be in the SD/Map folder and it can have a personalized name.
Going further, I tested the ability of the 1350 to use more than one map from the SD card. I was using three different regions of the 2013.20 North American map as three different maps.
I could only get the 1350 to recognize one of the two SD maps along with a map in the NUVI. This agrees with other users findings in other forums.
I'm very happy with the unit now, thanks to you.
Interesting option. I was trying to install Europe maps to the sd card on my 3490LMT with my North America maps still in the Nuvi.
Sorry to reopen an old thread.
After several frustrating tries using either Lifetime updater, Garmin Map Updater v3.1.14 and Garmin Express and none worked. Apparently my 855 now does not have sufficient room anymore. The 2014.10 is 2.4GB in size. I did a search on POI and found this thread.
Followed the directions to a point, the exception is/was that Garmin Express started automatically and downloaded to the SD card. I had created the Garmin folder on the SD card.
I have one question though. When the next update comes out, how do I download it? Will Garmins "whatever program" recognize that the map is installed on the SD card or will I have to do the same procedure again?
A BIG thanks to "alandb" for the comprehensive guide to install to SD.
Been using your appended version of this since you posted the steps.....
With this version I'm going one step further... I have 2 SD cards... and I alternate between them.... I left the older maps on other card.... and put the needed directories and files on the new SD Card... and did the map upgrade on that... After renaming the files, I swapped SD Cards....
This way, should something untoward happen with SD Card in unit now, I can downshift to the last version maps as simple as turning off the Garmin, swapping SD Card, and turning it back on again!!
Thanks ever so much, Alan for your insightful and Clear Post!
Melaqueman... I encountered the same question as you, and here's what I did....
Two different approaches...
1. Delete the three map files, and put the SD card in a USB port and it will download the new files... Rename them as per instructions... then put it in the Garmin....
2. Make a 2nd SD Card with Garmin directory and files... It will see that... Rename files and put in garmin...
I use this second approach (Alternate between 2 cards) this way, I can always fall back on last map version if needed...
Much appreciated, good idea especially since SD cards are dirt cheap these days.
BTW, when I get the properties for the Garmin folder on the 855 I see there is 2.5GB free space.
The 2014.10 Garmin folder shows a total of 2.62GB used without the large JCV file which I am downloading as I write this.
Congrats, I've seen elsewhere that you were able to get 2014.10 installed to your 855.
But, for what it's worth, it is still possible to install all of North America to a nuvi 855 using the standard map updaters if you delete unneeded files like foreign language voice, help, text, traffic, etc. My 855 has the full North America 2014.10 installed internally to the 855, has a supplemental map installed as well, has the (disabled, but still taking up space) small JCV file that comes with 2014.10 and still has 611MB of free space! See the reply "In a nutshell (OK, a large nutshell)" in this link which specifically deals with our nuvi 855 models for instructions (keeping in mind that it was referring to a previous map update when I start mentioning file names, etc.):
As pointed out in the above link, the best way to add the large JCV file is to install it manually to the SD card. But that's not any extra effort since the large JCV has to be manually installed wherever it goes. I think that as of this 2014.10 map update, the 855 will not have room for the large JCV file, so users wanting the large JCV will need to use a SD card.
But to repeat, the nuvi 855, after removing unneeded files like Swedish, Afrikaans, and other languages you don't speak, can have a map update install all of North America internally to the nuvi--and given the rate of growth of map update files, the 600+ MB of free space that remains on a nuvi 855 with all of North America using the new 2014.10 map, you can continue to do full map updates to the 855 internally for now and long into the future and not need to use the clone method to force a map to the 855's SD card.
Thanks for the post CraigW, but I already removed all the garbage such as the unnecessary languages, vehicles, Help files, MP3, Audio books years ago and
I just wish to go from point A to B that is what the GPS is for in my opinion.
If I want to listen to music, my car stereo is far better.
I have 2.5GB free on the 855 and the SD card has 2.62GB with the 2014.10 on it.
If I read this thread correctly, I can download maps via Garmin Express and select the map download to go to the microSD card direct and the only think I need to do is create a garmin folder on it?
Can I keep my poi's on the device or do they have to copied over to the card as well?
It's not quite that simple. According to Garmin's FAQ:
the automatic "map update to SD" option is only offered to certain nuvi models and even for them, the option is only offered when the updater determines that the largest map the device is entitled to receive will not fit internally to the nuvi. If the option is invoked, the folders needed on the SD card will be created by the update process so no extra work on your part is needed.
POIs can be kept on the nuvi if the map update is on the SD card.
guess my last reply didn't come through...thanks for the reply. I am using a 2350LMT so I should be fine. During last install I had the storage warning but all was fine in the end. I don't have a card here to test but with 400mb left I am sure I will need it..
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