Garmin Themes and POI-Factory member Narvick's custom themes

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Garmin Themes and POI-Factory member Narvick's custom themes

POI-Factory member Narvick has created custom themes for the somewhat newer Garmin devices (late nuvis and the various Drive models) which increase contrast among the various map features, and the themes were well-received by many here. Narvick hailed from North Carolina and offered these themes in late 2020 and was roughly a 7-year member at the time. From the link to the original message thread at the bottom of the FAQ, I found roughly which of the older nuvis models have Themes: Themes existed at least back to models made in 2012. I can confirm that the nuvi 2460 has themes but the nuvi 855 and 750 do not and the release dates do suggest that 2012 or a little earlier may have been when themes came to Garmin devices.

Here's a short summary from the original Garmin thread explaining Narvick's desire and his results. Narvick wrote [edited for conciseness by me]:

A long time ago I posted my custom Garmin theme [Custom or Custom 1, but not offered here for download] that I created because I felt that none of the themes included with the device were very good.
The theme I created emphasizes better visibility. Colors have been changed and sharpened with the background, streets and borders are bigger, etc.
I bought my wife a new DriveSmart 65 for Christmas and loaded the theme I've been using forever onto it, and it did *not* translate well. I have now updated the theme. If anyone else is interested, I am sharing it here. The base color theme of the custom theme is Italia.

Both themes work, but they will look different.
The DriveSmart series is different compared to the 3597 that I had. It interprets the colors and parameters in the theme file differently. Symbology is also different and required tweaking.
Here are some changes that I remember off the top of my head:

CHANGES IN NEW THEME FROM OLD THEME (Because of the DriveSmart series)
-"Urban area" was a bit too yellowish and blended in much more with the land basemap (which is different in this series). Changed it to be more gray.
-The addition of "parking lot roads" required its addition to theme. By default, you can barely see these at all, especially at night. They have been increased in size to be visible and the colors adjusted.
-Railroads have different symbology and needed to be adjusted.
-Pedestrian paths have different symbology and needed to be adjusted.
-State borders have different symbology (this is so much worse on the DriveSmart series. It used to be a checkered black/white border, and now it's just a solid border like so many other things). This was a major thing that needed to be fixed as you could barely see them using the old theme on the DriveSmart.
-Some other colors and sizes were adjusted slightly because the DriveSmart was rendering them differently than the previous models.

Also, based on the screenshots I saw of the RV780, the new theme will probably work best.
If anyone has any suggestions or requests, I can try to do something for them.

I do expect some questions, and even though they were answered in the above thread, I'll include them here to save you the effort of finding them. First, to fully appreciate Narvick's themes, you can't just look at one sample screenshot of the map. Narvick tweaked many of the settings and to fully experience them all, you need to use the themes for a while to be in areas where these features are prominent; e.g., parking lot lanes, railroads, bike paths, etc. Second, to install the custom themes to your device, you just need to take the file downloaded from POI-Factory to your computer, and copy it to the Themes/Map folder in your Garmin device. Then when using your Garmin devices, go to the Map&Vehicle section of Settings and select the Narvick theme, remembering what was originally selected in case you want to return to it.

For those of you adventurous, Narvick notes that you can modify themes on your own:

If you open up the kmtf file in a text editor, you can just adjust the hex values for each of the map elements. Some map elements have attributes such as width that can be altered as well.

I have edited Narvick's themes originally called Custom 2 and Custom 3, and called them narvick-nuvi and narvick-drive, respectively. The filename also uses this nomenclature: narvick-nuvi.kmtf and narvick-drive.kmtf. This is not to imply that the nuvi theme only works in nuvis and the Drive theme only works in Drive models. The original thread suggests that the Garmin RV models will also use the Narvick-Drive theme. There's no harm in trying them on your devices as all previous themes remain in your device and you can swap them easily in your device's Settings as long as you're comfortable with file copy/paste features of PC and Mac computers.

Here are new links to download the files:

If you discover any errors or confusion in this FAQ, I ask that you contact me with suggestions for corrections, improvements, etc.:

Further discussion of themes:

Note: the just-above further discussion of themes is not required reading for those wanting to use either Narvick theme but you may find it useful if you plan to tinker with themes on your own.

Narvick, I've tried contacting you a couple of times to see if this is OK but it appears your old email address no longer works. Should you come back and want to claim this FAQ, please do so. I did contact the POI-Factory Admin folks and we agreed that I'd create a FAQ that will include the two files so others may try them. Thank you, Narvick and POI-Factory, for supporting this effort.

Discussion Topics

Change History

  • CraigW - Sep 12, 2022
    Added a link to an earlier POI Factory discussion of themes