Garmin Vista Hcx, track follow with OSM-map

I might want to buy a Garmin Vista second hand, I have a possibility to do so.
My question is whether OSM maps work in the Vista and use it to follow tracks.
In a wikidoc., here I read something that I interprete as: not possible. Is that indeed the case?

From this link: "Recording traces
General suggestions

This device has two options for trace recording - internal memory and microSD card. If recording to the microSD card, traces are written in gpx format, which is suitable for OpenStreetMap usage.

Do not use the device “Save” feature for tracklogs. Saved tracklogs cannot be uploaded to OpenStreetMap (time information is removed from them)."

I have a Vista HCx and use it to record my walks. They can be recorded into either internal memory or onto a microSD card. (I think that the max size of the microSD card is 2Gb - that’s what I use. Don’t be tempted by high capacity/high speed as I doubt the Garmin supports them - it’s ancient now!).
You can store lots of walks onto this size card - for me a 2 hour walk is about 80kbytes. Have logged all here:

If the walk is stored in internal memory then you need software to retrieve it. I use Garmin’s BaseCamp on Windows 7. It’s free to download.
I have a vague memory of once getting the .gpx data from internal memory via BaseCamp and having to write a little Perl script to put back the missing timestamps. I think there is other free software on Linux which can talk to internal memory, but I haven’t tried it.
But all my walks are saved to microSD.

The walks recorded onto microSD are simply copied to the PC - put the HCx into USB Mass Storgae mode and it looks like a memory stick to the PC.
These .gpx files can be uploaded into OSM traces. I’ve done it just once. I usually use JOSM for editing OSM, and can view the .gpx files directly with JOSM.

I’m very pleased with the HCx - just 2 niggles - the rubber around the sides is coming unglued - a very common fault.
I use rechargeable batteries and they seem to be a tiny bit bigger than disposable batteries. VERY difficult to remove unless you put some Scotch tape around each battery with a little tag which you can then grip to remove the battery.
And have found the Garmin documentation and BaseCamp to be non-intuitive!

I always use OSM. I now roll my own .img files from downloads of raw .osm files from but previously have used great downloads from: (Worldwide) and (UK). Also - have found GPSBabel be very useful free software. QGIS also handy.

If you want to view an .img file before copying it to the HCx you can use BaseCamp. The easy way is to copy the .img file onto a memory stick, and then BaseCamp can view it directly from the stick. If you try to view the .img file whilst it’s on the PC’s hard disk you are told that you need to “install” it and edit the registry - horrible! And then edit the registry again to “uninstall” it when you get another .img - horrible, horrible!!


Hi Peter
I am unable to see anything but a blank screen when selecting the ‘OpenStreetMap’ column entries on your web page. Other links work fine.

edit…I see you are likely working on correcting this at (due to openlayers problem)

Thanks Peter for all your written-downs and experience.

But, I miss the answer on my question: while using OSM maps: can you follow a track with them, or, does the track go with the OSMap? See my quote for some hesitation which I could not understand that well.

Did not know that photo’s could be mounted on the GPS, don’t see the goal however: what use had this??
Thanks again a lot.

I didn’t quite understand the question - “track” has a very specific meaning in the Garmin manual.
If you go for a walk you can switch on the “track log”. You then see where you have walked on the screen as little tiny circles - Garmin call this a bread-crumb trail. You see this on the screen overlaid onto the OSM map. (In fact it can be any map - it doesn’t care what map is installed. If no map is installed you just see a very basic Garmin map).

When you have finished the walk you can export the “track” as a .gpx file. (These .gpx files can be uploaded to OSM as an aid to editing).

I then use Garmin BaseCamp to read the .gpx track file and turn it into a Garmin “route”. The route is uploaded into the Garmin internal memory. This allows you to do the same walk again, and the “route” gives you navigation instructions and distances to waypoints. It works with OSM. The whole route is displayed before you start the walk.

A bit more detail about “routes” - you can edit the route in BaseCamp, or even create your own. The Garmin BaseCamp simplifies the track file and throws away redundant points. For me a 2 hour 12km walk is typically about 100 waypoints

Photos? - I didn’t say anything about photos.

Hope this helps a bit.


PS I still have some problems with my website - OSM now displays, but is missing a lot of layers.

Peter thanks for being at hand!

First about my, trivial however, photo question:** if you want to view an .img file before copying it to the HCx you can use BaseCamp. The easy way is to copy the .img file onto a memory stick, and then BaseCamp**, this you wrote. .IMG = JPEG identical??
I don’t know very good what stands for .IMG, I imagin … image.
May be you can explain me the matter here, again.

And, I am familiar with Basecamp, .gpx: I used a smartphone this summer: very good, but you need a good powerbank etc. And visibility is bad in sunlight: how often sunlight: 80% of the time. You can navigate without visibility though, just checque from time to time and on going false: you are warned with a beep.

Here I met the word “track”, in my knowledge sofar it is just a .gpx file.
What you and everybody means with “routing” (routeren in dutch) is a strange name for me. I also may change the track, mount waypoints with/in Basecamp, all stories I can whish and load it in the smarthphone, it still is called a “track”, there is a certain loss of info once in the smartphone: no flags, no beercans, etc., just a balloon which you can open and read your proza. Is all this called routing?? Hm, I am not impressed…(if I am wrong, you may punish me)

And, I read in between your lines that OSM can be used in “track/trail follow”: mount a track, route and walk, cycle on the line, (trail) gps-wise, and find your way.
I am going for The Hcx to buy second hand, The Etrex had to many strange effects: going wrong (track/trail follow) and the whole machine is blocked, on the run. With smarthone: no problems whatsoever, just a warning signal on a specific distance from the trail.

Thanks for any reply.


“.img” stands for image, but with another meaning, see Wikipedia for an explanation.
And btw: When you have a JPEG file named “example.jpg” you can not simply rename to example.png to get a PNG file. It’s a bit more complicated :wink:

BTT: About the original question: I would recommend to not buy a garmin device at all, because the same as explained this Blogpost (or better but in german from Fefe) applies to them. Though for a second-hand device that’s less relevant, and it’s your decision anyway.

The .img file isn’t a photo - it’s the file that contains the map. If you want to put OSM onto the Garmin you need to get a gmapsupp.img file of the area you’re interested in. I would recommend to use: If you want to view the map contained in the .img file before you copy it to the Garmin put it on a memory stick and open it with BaseCamp. When you copy it to the Garmin’s microSD card it must be put into a folder named Garmin.


Everybody (two of you),

Read every link roughly, I remember .IMG from my spring experience with OSM, Oruxmaps etc, when mounting it on the smarthpone. Forgotten now, I’ll read better the Wikipedia about .IMG. Thanks for your both patience.
Rayquaza: why not buy a Garmin at all?
I’ll read your blogpost better tomorrow.