Non-ASCII characters on Garmin Oregon


I just returned from Greece where I tested the OSM maps on my Garmin Oregon. I was very pleased with how accurate lots of roads on Crete are, but I had some difficulties with places which only had labels in greek language. They were all displayed with “???”, which made it very hard to find them (searching for it was impossible). Lots of places had labels in latin characters, they were displayed correctly.

I don’t know how this is done technically, but can every place or street have several title strings in different languages? (E.g. greek and english)
I can read greek letters, but how can I get them displayed on my Garmin? Is the appropriate font missing on my device? How is it possible to correctly display greek characters? The same problem probably exists for all labels with non-ASCII characters.

Thanks in advance.

Which source of the Garmin files are you using (i.e. who is the provider)?

It is very difficult to create generic Garmin maps that work on each type of Garmin device and that can cope with every character set that’s being used in the OSM data. What I’m doing is to use the English names first and fall back to the international name and finally to the local names if they don’t exist:

I’m using the Europe map from

I just had a look at your service, very well done! I will test your Garmin files when I get home.

Do you also provide a map of Europe which can be downloaded directly, without selecting the tiles? I guess this would save resources on your server since the tiles don’t have to be combinded all the time.

I currently focus only on custom maps and don’t have the resources (well, time actually) to create precompiled continent maps as well. Also there are many people who provide localized maps (e.g. countries or continents) so I don’t see it as a huge problem.