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Set up Satellite tv for pc Imagery on Your Garmin Fenix or Epix Watch (Fenix 5 Plus/6/7/Epix)

Lengthy earlier than the Garmin Epix (2nd gen) or Fenix 7 got here out, Garmin has been promoting maps. In truth, they’ve been promoting maps for mainly their complete existence. Currently these items are constructed into gadgets, but it surely wasn’t that way back that in the event you needed additional maps on a Garmin gadget you had to purchase them individually.

However one of many neat issues you are able to do with this map-buying-prowess is put satellite tv for pc imagery maps onto the Garmin Epix and Fenix 7 sequence. In truth, you may as well do it on the Fenix 6 Professional watch. Neither are formally supported (listed as a suitable gadget), however all these models work simply fantastic and folks have been utilizing them for years. Some suspect the explanation it was faraway from official compatibility is that the map expertise with the decrease decision Fenix 6/Fenix 7 shows might not at all times be nice. However the Epix has far higher decision and pixels per inch – at 326ppi versus 200ppi on the Fenix 7 sequence. So, issues merely look higher now.

The principle cause you’d need to use satellite tv for pc maps over the included common maps is for areas the place the common maps aren’t as helpful. For instance, alongside coastlines or close to water, the place necessary moist/dry particulars are usually fuzzy. Identical goes in the event you’re off-trail totally, and making an attempt to determine in the event you can lower throughout an enormous swath of land, or if maybe simply out of sight are impassable rocks/marshes/and so on… There’s numerous makes use of for it.

In any case, you are able to do this on the Fenix 6 Professional, Fenix 7 (all variants), and Epix models (in addition to even the Fenix 5 Plus sequence and unique Fenix 5X).  And doing so is simple – assuming you’ve obtained a pc, and your charging cable close by.

(Observe: At current, if on a Mac, there appears to be a problem stopping Basecamp from seeing Fenix 7/Epix gadgets, although, it does work fantastic with Fenix 6/Forerunner 945 gadgets. This challenge has nothing to do with BirdsEye straight, however since Basecamp is required to have the ability to obtain maps, it not directly blocks BirdsEye for the time being.)

Downloading It:

First up, it is advisable to go and purchase a Garmin BirdsEye Imagery Subscription. It prices $29/12 months, and will get you limitless maps throughout that interval, for anyplace on the earth. It hyperlinks to a single gadget. Additionally, any maps you obtain throughout that subscription 12 months stay legitimate in your gadget even in the event you unsubscribe.

So beginning there, merely observe the acquisition steps from this web page:


When you’re completed paying, you’ll get just a few totally different e-mails over the course of some minutes. It’s not prompt, it takes like 5-Quarter-hour. Subsequent, in the event you haven’t registered your gadget but (e.g. paired it as much as a cellphone or laptop), you want to take action. It’s fairly doubtless you’ve gotten already completed so – but when not, try this first.

Then, it is advisable to obtain Garmin BaseCamp. That is a part of their “Basecamp is Outdated and Pungent Software program” sequence of desktop merchandise (aka BOSS). It’s been round for longer than the Fenix sequence has existed, and permits switch of routes, waypoints, and maps to gadgets (initially for handheld gadgets). Usually for many newer maps you’d use Garmin Categorical or on the Fenix 7/Epix sequence even the watch itself. However BaseCamp was designed for the hand held period, and apparently no person remembered this software program continues to be there.

As soon as downloaded and put in, you’ll be staring straight into the face of 2008 consumer interface design and tradition (one other 2008 providing):


For those who haven’t but, go forward and plug your watch in (sure, utilizing this stand makes this appear much more BOSS-like):


Then, on the high menu, choose ‘BirdsEye’, then ‘Obtain BirdsEye Imagery’. That’ll convey you right here, which reveals your Garmin Epix (or Fenix 6/7):


Click on subsequent once more, and also you’ll see the BirdsEye product robotically populated, however then click on on ‘The place is my Subscription’ to sign-in and get your account validated (so you’ll be able to see the acquisition you probably did above). The username you’ll enter is your e-mail deal with. Keep in mind, the BOSS software program is so previous it’s from an period the place Garmin Join used usernames, not e-mail addresses.


When you’ve signed in, you’ll see your subscription listed, click on the ‘Activate’ button to get it excited:


When you’ve completed that, it’ll provide you with successful message, after which one other affirmation dialogue indicating your mission is usually achieved:


Now, comes the great half! Selecting the realm you need to obtain. You’ll see how you should use the little map zooming instrument in orange to spotlight a area. However keep in mind, satellite tv for pc imagery is big when it comes to dimension. So downloading all of Europe like this could take a whopping 22,465GB, often known as 22 Terabytes, which is roughly…effectively…far more storage than you’ve gotten in your little 16-32GB Epix/Fenix models.


You should use the little icons to zoom in/out (magnifying glass), transfer round (hand), and both draw a sq. or free-form. You possibly can see that even when I choose the entire Netherlands, that’s nonetheless some 26GB on the excessive degree (however 74GB at highest). If I cut back that to the usual, it’s about 1GB.


However normal is not any enjoyable, so I’m going to zoom into simply Amsterdam, and there we go – much better, on the highest it’s about 779MB (slightly below 1GB) and simply matches. For those who have been mountaineering in a area, you can simply make a extra finite circle across the space you wanted and simply make it match.


Besides, wait – it says I’ve exceeded the obtain restrict of the server. As a result of once more, 1997 BOSS. This was apparently the period of dial-up modems. The precise restrict appears to range primarily based on which setting you select. So on the ‘Highest’ setting, it seems restricted to about 76MB, whereas the ‘Excessive’ setting is 107MB, and in the usual setting you’ll be able to go tremendous huge. Besides, not at all times. It’s additionally in regards to the underlying tiles, so in some locations you’ll get far larger ranges. For instance in a while I obtain the realm round Chamonix (Alps in France), and simply cleared over 200MB on the best setting.

Anyhow, now I’m able to obtain:


It’ll obtain every part, and in the event you didn’t give it a reputation, you are able to do in order effectively. You need to hear the dial-up modems beginning in your laptop. It’ll take about that lengthy to obtain this 76MB map. Examine that ‘Copy maps to gadget’ field, so as soon as it’s completed subsequent week, it’ll not less than have copied the maps too. That’ll be the short half.


For those who faucet end, you’ll be able to double-click on the map title you created to see this nifty display exhibiting, the place you’ll be able to watch map tiles obtain, mentally envisioning Tetris items falling:


No actually, this complete factor took about 45 minutes to obtain this 76MB. And no, it’s not my web – I common speeds of about 500 Mbps right here on the DCR Cave, that means in a best-case situation it ought to take roughly 1.216 seconds to obtain a 76MB file, and a worst-case situation 2 seconds. Clearly, that is extra in regards to the design of how recordsdata are downloaded for BirdsEye imagery.

You possibly can double-check every part copied by wanting on the ‘Major’ folder beneath your gadget, after which doubtless scrolling to the underside:


Additional, you’ll be able to repeat this course of for as many areas as you’d like. I went alongside after and added some imagery for Chamonix as effectively. Although this time it allowed me to obtain a 220MB part on ‘Highest’, demonstrating it’s all in regards to the underlying tiles. This one took 1hr 31mins to obtain.


With that, you’re prepared to make use of it – so go forward and disconnect your watch from the pc.

Utilizing it:

Excellent news! This part is trivially straightforward. You simply use your watch as regular.

By default, Garmin will load the BirdsEye Imagery for any areas you’ve downloaded. However what’s cool is that they’ll additionally robotically overlay the path/highway/route imagery excessive of that. You possibly can see this beneath right here:


As you’ll be able to see, the standard right here is usually fairly good, however not as detailed as you’d discover if wanting on a pc or cellphone. For instance, I can roughly guess that there are boat docks above, however you’ll be able to see it’s not as sharp because the precise imagery if I look on Google Maps or such (beneath, however upside-down). And whereas these are actually totally different sized pictures, even when totally zoomed in on the Garmin satellite tv for pc maps.


Nonetheless, relying on what you’re utilizing this for, it’s nonetheless greater than helpful generally. I discover satellite tv for pc imagery tremendous useful in making an attempt to determine areas of tree cowl (or not), or tough concepts on the place snow-covered trails is perhaps in summer season (since mountain satellite tv for pc imagery tends to be taken in the summertime, so you’ll be able to normally determine the place glaciers/and so on is perhaps). Identical goes for a lot of coastal areas the place non-satellite maps aren’t tremendous helpful for locating the sides of water or small islands. As at all times, there are loads extra makes use of right here.

For instance, right here’s the sting of a marsh space I usually run in:


And for enjoyable, right here’s Olympic Stadium:


And right here’s Epix and the Fenix 7 facet by facet, clearly, in very totally different areas (French Alps vs Paris):


Now, if you wish to flip off the BirdsEye layer (or the paths layer), you are able to do so within the maps choices for that individual sport profile. As soon as in that profile, entry the settings by long-holding the middle-left button. Then scroll to ‘Map Settings’ > ‘Map’ > ‘Configure Maps’ > ‘BirdsEye Imagery’ > after which toggle both on or off.

DSC_9208 DSC_9209

Observe that it’s all or nothing right here, so both all of your areas go on or off. For those who backed-up one degree, you’ll see the identical possibility for ‘TopoActive Maps’, which do permit toggling it per-region (e.g. North America, Europe, and so on…).

All of the core options like routing and recognition and such are all the identical right here, since they’re leveraging that detailed TopoActive map layer. So none of that modifications. Undoubtedly there’s a battery hit to utilizing the BirdsEye maps versus TopoActive maps, however I haven’t calculated that at this level.



It’s cool that that is an possibility, each when it comes to with the ability to obtain satellite tv for pc maps for anyplace on the earth, in addition to with the ability to toggle these layers on and off, inside the gadget itself. Plus, with the 16-32GB of storage, you’ll be able to load fairly a little bit of satellite tv for pc imagery, relying on the precise element degree you select, and the way explicit you get with that obtain space creation instrument.

After all, I believe it’s additionally clear that Garmin in all probability wants to take a look at overhauling some of these items. As an increasing number of of their models get AMOLED shows over the approaching years, folks’s curiosity will enhance right here. And that is a simple $30-annual subscription when it comes to income for them. Plus, it’d profit the entire current handheld and Edge biking gadgets that already help this at the moment (virtually all of them). Shifting this kind of characteristic to be smartphone-based utilizing WiFi to obtain maps, with speeds that signify this decade, is one thing I hope is on some inside roadmap to get completed.

Actually, we aren’t all going to be utilizing BaseCamp eternally. Or not less than, this model of it. I think this could match effectively inside the Garmin Discover app, and there appears to be hints about variants of that app permitting BirdsEye imagery obtain (primarily based on wanting on the baked-in model on their new Overlander gadget). The Discover app has lately seen its duties expanded to accommodate Garmin’s inReach Mini 2 connectivity, so maybe extra is on the way in which.

Both approach, as with many different Garmin issues, this characteristic will doubtless be utilized by lower than 1% of the Fenix customers. However for that sub-1%, it’s extremely helpful. And, as I’ve mentioned earlier than – that’s finally what’s made Garmin so profitable – discovering everybody’s personal 1% characteristic.

With that – thanks for studying!

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