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May 19, 2008

How to Install Garmin's Map Update 2009: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Install Garmin's Map Update 2009: A Step-By-Step Guide

A few weeks ago Garmin released its annual map update. The 2009 Map Update retails for around $65, and can be purchased as an electronic download or a physical DVD disc. If you purchased a qualified Garmin GPS recently (or even if you purchased it a long time ago but never registered it on Garmin's website), Garmin will give you the update for free.

I finally got around to updating my nuvi today. Here's the step-by-step instructions.

First, let's get some FAQ's answered:

Question: How do I know if I qualify for a free update?
Answer: Head over to garmin.com and login to your "My Garmin" account. If you haven't already registered your GPS, do so now. If you qualify, Garmin will let you download the update directly to your PC/Mac, or send you the DVD if you pay the postage. There's no difference between the physical DVD and the digital version, so if you've got high-speed Internet the download option is probably the way to go.

Question: Why does the Map Update 2009 require an internet connection?
Answer: You'll need internet access to verify the serial number with Garmin's servers

Question: Can I install the update on more than one GPS?
Answer: No, each map update may only be applied to one GPS unit.

Question: Which GPS models can be updated?
Answer: The 2009 update is valid for all Garmin nuvi series, most StreetPilot models.

Question: Do I need to backup my saved addresses?
Answer: No need to back-up your address book or additional POIs - everything will still be there after the update

Question: How can I tell if my GPS needs the update?
Answer: Power on your GPS and tap on the wrench icon -> Map -> Map Info, if you see anything other than "City Navigator North America NT 2009", then you need the update

Question: I am receiving an error message that I don't have enough space to install the update. What can I do?
Answer: First, make sure you have enough free hard disk space; the update installs the map to your C drive first, then copies it over to the GPS. Also, the 2009 maps take up slightly more space than previous versions, so if you've got a lot of photos and/or mp3's on the internal memory, you may need to delete them. Most nuvi models will update without a problem, but if you're still short on space, try deleting some of the additional languages and voices to free up some additional space.

The update itself it about 2GB, so downloading over dial-up is not an option.

Connecting the nuvi via USB

Using a USB cable (you don't have to use the one that came with the GPS, any one will do), connect the GPS to the computer, and wait until the computer finishes detecting it (30-60 seconds)

Launch the Map Update 2009 program.

Welcome to the Garmin Map Update 2009

After downloading the update (or upon ordering the DVD), Garmin will provide you a serial number. Keep this number handy, you'll need it in a minute. Click Next to continue the installer.

Software and Data License Agreement

Check the box accepting the Software and Data License Agreement and click Next to continue

Installing firmware updates

If your Garmin GPS needs any software updates, such as updated firmware, the installer will automatically download it and install it on your GPS.

Complete the GPS software update

If your GPS needs a firmware update, the installer will prompt you to disconnect the GPS so it can complete the firmware update, and then re-connect the GPS so the map update can continue.

Enter the product key

Enter the product key Garmin provided online, or found on the green sticker on the back of the DVD case

Installing Map Update

The update takes a long time. Don't worry, this is normal. Installing the update takes about 1.5 hours...

(Tip: If you receive an alert that there is not enough room to install the update, check that the GPS model is supported, and ALSO that you have at least 3GB of free space on your C drive. The update installs the map to your PC/Mac first, and then copies it over to the GPS.)

Map Update successfully installed

You can now disconnect the GPS and click Finish on the computer to exit the installer.

Verifying that the Map Update installed correctly

To verify that your GPS has been updated to the new "City Navigator North America NT 2008" maps, disconnect the GPS from the computer, power it on, tap on the wrench icon -> Map -> Map Info

You should see "City Navigator North America NT 2009" listed.

So far I've been driving around the Northeast and have already noticed some changes in the routing (mostly for the better), along with the addition of new roads and bridges.