Map Themes: how to change and even edit them


Map Themes: how to change and even edit them

A Map Theme determines the colors used for various mapping items - like land, water, roads, highways, buildings, etc. The colors change for day versus night.

An interesting thing is that Garmin does not include a reference to Map Theme for some of the devices that actually have them and for those manuals that do reference Map Theme, all the manual says is "changes the color of the map data".

The device defaults to a Theme called "Garmin". Themes are found in a folder on the device called \Themes\Map. Note however, the Theme "Garmin.kmtf" does not appear in this folder. We suspect that it is contained in a protected area of memory and not addressable by the user.

It is possible to create your own Map Theme by copying a Map Theme (say, "(nuvi)/Themes/Map/Italia.kmtf") that is close to what you really want from the device over to your computer; edit it and save it under a new name; and, finally copying the new file back to your unit. More on this later.

To change the Map Theme (using Garmin provided Themes):

On the nuvi 55, 56, 65, 66, 2405, 2407, 2408, 2505, 2507, 2508, 2707, 2708, 3400, 3500, 3507, 3508 series devices and the dezl 760, Camper/RV 760, zumo 350, zumo 390, or zumo 590 units:

1. Touch Settings
2. Touch Map & Vehicle
3. Touch Map Theme
4. Select the desired Map Theme
5. Touch Save
Note: a preview of the Map Theme appears on the right side of the screen as you select a Map Theme

On the nuvi 2200, 2300, 2400, 3700 series and the dezl 560, LIVE 1695 and LIVE 2300 series devices:

1. Touch Tools
2. Touch Settings
3. Touch Navigation
4. Touch Automobile
5. Touch Map Theme
6. Select the desired Map Theme
7. Touch Save
Note: a preview of the Map Theme appears on the right side of the screen as you select a Map Theme.

So - take a look at every theme and see what colors appeal to you for various features on the map. For example, on my 2595, the Themes appear in the order Garmin, Belgium, Danmark, Deutschland, France, Italia, Luxembourg, Navigon, Nederland, Osterreich, Polaka, Slovensko, Suomi, and United Kingdom.

Looking at the example map for Garmin, the background appears to be grey, Interstates are orange and Highways are yellow. If I zoom out (minus key), I can see what I know to be Park areas in green and lakes and rivers in blue (but the major highways do not appear any more). Also, I see that the background away from the center of the area where I am located is appearing in a lighter shade of grey.

When (still zoomed out), I change the Theme to Belgium, it appears that background, Interstates, parks and water are the same colors

When (still zoomed out), I change the Theme to Danmark, it appears that the background is now a light yellow, Interstates are a brown, parks are a lighter shade of green and water is a lighter shade of blue.

This combination seems better to me so I will likely use it as the basis for my own personal map theme.

In, selfruler said


Gary Hayman has an excellent article about themes on his website. It is called "MERRILY DOWN THE 3700's THEMES -- A Kaleidoscope Of Colors" He even has screen shots of the various themes. You can find the article about half way down Page 16 of his site:

If you look at Gary Hayman's page
you will see how each of the stock pages (Garmin, Danmark, Deutschland, France, Italia, Nederland, Osterreich, Polska, Slovensko, Sumoi, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Luxembourg) display.

By looking at how each display a certain feature - say, a body of water - you could extract the data for that particular feature from that Map Theme. Let's say I like the blue used for water in the Italia theme. This is designated by

<STYLE field = "MAP_WATER_CLR" >
     <COLOR >
           <PRIMARY day = "#183AED" night = "#006B77" />

To create your own theme, you should be working on your computer with a copy of the theme that you like the best. You will make changes by using data from other themes to get the combination you want. You must "name" your new theme in order to have it show up on your device as a new entry. You would do this by changing the "metadata" at the top of the .kmtf file

<DESCRIPTION>Theme for Italia (Italy).</DESCRIPTION>

skyblues tried this (see
calling his new file Colorado. In his post, there are some other examples of colors that might be helpful.

Interestingly, I created a .kmtf file called "John" and it sorted to the bottom of the 2595's list. I thought it would be alphabetical.

My metadata looked like:


Thanks to imgrund for the following
This is the biggest difference. As follows:
Yellowish-Beige: Danmark
Yellow, Yellow Beige: Nederland
Grey: Garmin, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Polska
Light Green: Deutschland
Very Light Green: Italia, Österreich, Slovensko, United Kingdom
Pink: Suomi
Brown-Grey: Navigon

All show residential streets as white except Deutschland and Österreich which use grey. Navigon doesn't highlight its streets.

All show big roads as yellow except Deutschland and Österreich which use white. Once again, Navigon doesn't highlight its streets.

As noted above, this is where the UK, Deutschland, and Italia stand out:
Yellow: Garmin, Belgium, Danmark, Luxembourg, Österreich, Polska, Navigon
Orange: Deutschland (not so major is yellow), France, Italia (not so major is lighter orange), Nederlands
Blue: Slovensko
Purple: Suomi
Green: United Kingdom (not so major is red)

Orange: Garmin, Belgium, Luxembourg, Österreich, Polska
Red: Danmark, France
Dark Orange: Deutschland
Green: Italia, Nederlands, Slovensko, Suomi
Blue: United Kingdom
Light Blue: Navigon

Parks are always a shade of green, while water is always a shade of blue.

Change History

  • jgermann - Oct 23, 2014
    10/23/2014 added more information on specific themes