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

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Lengthy earlier than the Garmin Epix (2nd gen) or Fenix 7 got here out, Garmin has been promoting maps. In actual fact, they’ve been promoting maps for principally their complete existence. Recently these items are constructed into units, but it surely wasn’t that way back that in case you needed additional maps on a Garmin machine 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 collection. In actual fact, you can even do it on the Fenix 6 Professional watch. Neither are formally supported (listed as a suitable machine), however all these items work simply high quality and folks have been utilizing them for years. Some suspect the rationale it was faraway from official compatibility is that the map expertise with the decrease decision Fenix 6/Fenix 7 shows could not at all times be nice. However the Epix has far larger decision and pixels per inch – at 326ppi versus 200ppi on the Fenix 7 collection. 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 essential moist/dry particulars are usually fuzzy. Similar goes in case you’re off-trail solely, and making an attempt to determine in case you can lower throughout an unlimited swath of land, or if maybe simply out of sight are impassable rocks/marshes/and many others… 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 items (in addition to even the Fenix 5 Plus collection and unique Fenix 5X).  And doing so is simple – assuming you’ve acquired a pc, and your charging cable close by.

(Word: At current, if on a Mac, there appears to be a difficulty stopping Basecamp from seeing Fenix 7/Epix units, although, it does work high quality with Fenix 6/Forerunner 945 units. This problem has nothing to do with Birdseye instantly, however since Basecamp is required to have the ability to obtain maps, it not directly blocks Birdseye in the mean time.)

Downloading It:

First up, it’s essential go and purchase a Garmin Birdseye Imagery Subscription. It prices $29/yr, and will get you limitless maps throughout that interval, for anyplace on the earth. It hyperlinks to a single machine. Additionally, any maps you obtain throughout that subscription yr stay legitimate in your machine even in case you unsubscribe.

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


When you’re achieved paying, you’ll get a number of completely different e-mails over the course of some minutes. It’s not immediate, it takes like 5-Quarter-hour. Subsequent, in case you haven’t registered your machine but (e.g. paired it as much as a telephone or laptop), you want to take action. It’s fairly probably you’ve gotten already achieved so – but when not, do this first.

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

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


When you 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 carry 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 mechanically 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 outdated 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 achieved that, it’ll provide you with a hit message, after which one other affirmation dialogue indicating your mission is generally achieved:


Now, comes the nice half! Selecting the realm you need to obtain. You’ll see how you should utilize the little map zooming software in orange to spotlight a area. However bear in mind, satellite tv for pc imagery is big by way of measurement. So downloading all of Europe like this is able to 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 items.


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


However customary isn’t any enjoyable, so I’m going to zoom into simply Amsterdam, and there we go – much better, on the highest it’s about 779MB (just below 1GB) and simply matches. When you had been mountain climbing in a area, you might 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 differ based mostly 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 concerning the underlying tiles, so in some locations you’ll get far increased ranges. For instance in a while I obtain the realm round Chamonix (Alps in France), and simply cleared over 200MB on the very best setting.

In any case, now I’m able to obtain:


It’ll obtain all the pieces, and in case you didn’t give it a reputation, you are able to do in order effectively. You must hear the dial-up modems beginning in your laptop. It’ll take about that lengthy to obtain this 76MB map. Verify that ‘Copy maps to machine’ field, so as soon as it’s achieved subsequent week, it’ll a minimum of have copied the maps too. That’ll be the short half.


When you faucet end, you’ll be able to double-click on the map title you created to see this nifty display screen displaying, 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, which 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 concerning the design of how recordsdata are downloaded for BirdsEye imagery.

You’ll be able to double-check all the pieces copied by wanting on the ‘Major’ folder underneath your machine, after which probably 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 concerning 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 mechanically overlay the path/street/route imagery excessive of that. You’ll be able to see this under right here:


As you’ll be able to see, the standard right here is mostly fairly good, however not as detailed as you’d discover if wanting on a pc or telephone. 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 (under, however upside-down). And whereas these are actually completely different sized photographs, 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 normally. 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 work out the place glaciers/and many others is perhaps). Similar goes for a lot of coastal areas the place non-satellite maps aren’t tremendous helpful for locating the perimeters of water or small islands. As at all times, there are lots 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 completely 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 specific 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.

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

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 by way of having the ability to obtain satellite tv for pc maps for anyplace on the earth, in addition to having the ability to toggle these layers on and off, inside the machine 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 stage you select, and the way explicit you get with that obtain space creation software.

After all, I believe it’s additionally clear that Garmin in all probability wants to take a look at overhauling some of these things. As increasingly of their items get AMOLED shows over the approaching years, folks’s curiosity will enhance right here. And that is a simple $30-annual subscription by way of income for them. Plus, it’d profit the entire current handheld and Edge biking units that already help this at the moment (virtually all of them). Shifting any such function 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 achieved.

Definitely, we aren’t all going to be utilizing BaseCamp without end. Or a minimum of, this model of it. I think this is able to match effectively inside the Garmin Discover app, and there appears to be hints about variants of that app permitting BirdsEye imagery obtain (based mostly on wanting on the baked-in model on their new Overlander machine). The Discover app has lately seen its duties expanded to accommodate Garmin’s inReach Mini 2 connectivity, so maybe extra is on the best way.

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

With that – thanks for studying!




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