Topo software a must for GPS unit

These hot new products will increase the dial on your fun meter this season.

Dear Capt. Paul:

I purchased my first GPS, a Garmin Map 60 CSX. I’ll learn the basics of it, then I’ll purchase some topo software for the coastal marshes of Louisiana and the Southwest Mississippi area.

What is your suggestion on this? Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Capt. Paul’s response:

Looks like you jumped into the GPS market with one of the best units out there. The Garmin GPSMAP 60 CSX is the top of the line in the Garmin 60 series of handheld GPS units. The Garmin GPSMAP 60CSX, like most other Garmin units, can only use the Garmin MapSource mapping software. You cannot load any other brand of supplemental mapping software into the unit other than those designed by Garmin for the unit.

As for your mapping, the GPSMAP 60 CSX comes loaded with a base map, which is just what the name implies, a basic map of the entire U.S. The Built-in Americas autoroute base map, including highways, exits and tide data, gives you automatic, turn-by-turn directions, so at least you can get started using the mapping features of the unit.

However, I am sure you will want to take advantage of the more-detailed Garmin MapSource mapping software that is available for use in the unit.

The Garmin GPSMAP 60CSX can accommodate on a Micro Secure Digital (SD) memory card, which is inserted into the unit, almost all of the different types of Garmin MapSource mapping software. One in 64MB size comes with the unit.

While there are specialized maps of national parks, inland lakes, roads and cities (City Navigator), blue charts (offshore NOAA-type marine charts) and maps of other countries, I suggest that you first consider Garmin’s MapSource United States TOPO with a Trip and Waypoint function.

The MapSource US TOPO is a three-CD set of topo-based maps that cover the entire US. The US TOPO will give you the option of installing topographical-based maps of anywhere in the US into your unit.

I would get another Micro SD card in the range of 1GB, and download the maps from the MapSource topo program that I need in my normal hunting and fishing travels. For instance, the entire state of Louisiana will require about 150MB of card space. That means you can also place other out-of-state locations on the same card and later, if you get the MapSource City Navigator software, you can have turn-by-turn highway and road routing for use in automobile travels as well.

I have seen the MicroSD 1GB cards available at discount office supply and electronic stores for sale at a price of under $25.

You have a top-of-the-line GPS receiver, but without the supplemental mapping programs, it is like having a fancy 10-speed bicycle and instead of riding it, you are pushing it. The GPSMAP 60CSX is designed to work with the detailed maps. Having both the GPSMAP 60csx and the TOPO mapping makes for an unbeatable combo.

By the way, you should also consider a 12-volt remote supply cable and a marine mount or two for the unit. When in my boat, I mount mine on the console near the wheel, and in the auto, using another marine base and the same cradle, mount the unit on the dash near the safety-inspection certificate. Both positions allow me to access the host vehicle’s cigarette lighter 12-volt supply source with the optional Garmin cable.

With a fresh set of batteries and the 12-volt cable, I have almost unlimited time of use with the unit. This really helps on those long road trips and extended hours on the water.

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About Captain Paul Titus 192 Articles
Capt. Paul Titus has been responding to G.P.S questions on since 2000. He has been fishing and hunting in Louisiana since 1957. Titus holds a USCG license and conducts instruction courses in the use of GPS for private individuals and government agencies.

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