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Garmins TopoActive maps v Ordnance Survey maps

Garmins TopoActive maps v Ordnance Survey maps

Wed 26th August 2015

The new eTrex range of GPS units comes with Garminís TopoActive mapping, what is this and how good is it compared to an Ordnance Survey maps?

Hopefully with the screenshots (image gallery at bottom of page) of each of the map types you will see the differences, both are taken of the same area.

Pros of the Ordnance Survey Maps

1. We are all used to looking at an Ordnance Survey map

2. Ordnance Survey has some of the best mapping in the world

Negative points of the Ordnance Survey Maps

1. Cost – the licence fee makes Ordnance Survey an expensive option, especially at 1:25k

2. On a Garmin GPS the Ordnance Survey map is just an image so when you zoom in it gets pixelated.

Pros of the Garmin TopoActive Maps

1. TopoActive has turn by turn navigation (SatNav experience as it will route you from A to B)

2. TopoActive has great value for money (usually bundled at very little cost with the GPS)

Negative of the TopoActive maps

1. TopoAcive has no Contours, just shading to show hills

2. TopoActive has not got the detail level that the Ordnance Survey map has


Many cyclists are going for the TopoActive maps on the Garmin eTrex range as it is a lighter mapping system on the screen but as a walker I really like it. We have a couple of eTrex Touch units in the office and we have not even loaded on the 1:25k OS maps onto them (using the Birdseye Voucher that comes included in with the unit), so that must tell you we like the TopoActive maps on the Garmin eTrex units.

It is a very cheap alternative to Ordnance Survey but donít just be swayed by the price give it a go.

View the maps below (in the image gallery - just click on them) and make up your own mind.

More information about the GPS units that come with the Garmin TopoActive maps can be found here.

Posted By: Dick Morris | Sun 14th February 2016

I am finding that Open Street Mapping is very useful.Open Street Mapping will often show a foot path or cycling route that is very unclear on even the 1:25 OS maps.I thus have 1:25 OS maps on my Garmin and on the mobile phone I put the Open Street Maps as a back up.

Posted By: Andrew Green | Wed 28th December 2016

Thanks for the above, knowing which maps to download onto to my etrex touch is a bit of a mind field. This information has been very useful.Andrew

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