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Northwest Topos

Current Version: 0.27

Released December 16, 2014 (Revision History)

Download Northwest Topos for PC
Download Northwest Topos for Mac
  • Custom type files (rename and use to replace the existing .typ file in your Northwest Topos installation folder to quickly change your custom types without reinstalling):
  • Have data to contribute? Visit the Switchbacks Data Submission page!

    General Information

    Northwest Topos is a mapset containing contours, hydrology, roads, trails, points of interest and more for the State of Washington and adjoining regions. It is designed for upload to any map-enabled Garmin GPS receiver.


    The mapset is dynamic and continually growing and improving. As of this release, it covers all of the State of Washington along with North Idaho, Western Montana, much of northern and western Oregon, the areas around Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta:

    Coverage Map


    Below are a few example screenshots of the maps on a Garmin Colorado 400t. In each of these screenshots, the terrain shading from the 400t's built-in TopoUSA 2008 basemap is allowed to show through.

    GPS Screenshot #1 GPS Screenshot #2 GPS Screenshot #3

    Here is a view of what Northwest Topos looks like from within MapSource:

    MapSource Screenshot


    The installation of Northwest Topos is straightforward. It can be utilized from within Garmin's MapSource software (on PCs), Garmin's RoadTrip software (for Macs) or uploaded directly to your GPS unit (using freely available utilities).


    The accuracy of the data used to create these maps varies greatly. These maps are to be used for reference purposes only. The author(s) are not responsible for any inaccuracies and no responsibility is assumed for damages or other liabilities due to the accuracy, availability, use or misuse of the data presented. Installation and use of these maps is at your own risk!


    For use from within Garmin's MapSource (on PCs), download the .zip file from the link at the top of this page, unzip it, and then execute the mapset installer. This program will install the map files and register the mapset with MapSource. Within MapSource a new mapset product entitled "Northwest Topos" will be available in the Product drop down selection list (or from the View | Switch to Product menu option).

    For use with Garmin's RoadTrip (on Macs), download the .tgz file from the link at the top of this page, unarchive it into the resulting .tar file, then unpack that to a .gmapi file. This file can then be installed into RoadTrip with MapManager and onto the GPS receiver with MapInstall.

    GPS Usage

    The Northwest Topos mapset draws at a lower priority than Garmin's City Navigator and related products, so if you install these mapsets along with Northwest Topos, you will need to turn them off when you want to view Northwest Topos. It is important to note that when you upload maps to your receiver, the existing mapset on the unit will be deleted. This means that if you want to load Northwest Topos with City Navigator, for example, you will need to upload the chosen City Navigator maps along with Northwest Topos all at once. To switch between mapsets (if more than one has been loaded to your GPS) simply toggle the hide/show settings for the desired mapsets on your receiver.

    Support this Effort

    If you find Northwest Topos useful and would like to see more data added, or new mapsets created, please consider supporting this effort in one (or more) of the following ways:

    Feedback & Referrals

    All feedback (comments, corrections, questions, etc.) is welcome and encouraged. Please direct all feedback to the email address shown at the top of this page. I try my best to reply to every email I receive but it is not always possible. I do read every email and appreciate the feedback.

    If you like this mapset please let others know about it. More people using and supporting this effort means more additions and corrections are possible.

    Monetary Contribution

    This mapset is free to download and use but if you find these maps useful please consider making a donation to help offset the costs incurred in producing and offering them (software licenses, website hosting, etc.).



    Several software applications are used in the production of this mapset:

    • ArcGIS
      Used to merge and cull datasets and edit fields.
    • Global Mapper
      Used for the majority of data manipulation and for digitization of paper maps.
    • cGPSmapper
      The primary tool for compiling the data into a Garmin map file.
    • GPSMapEdit
      The visual interface that handles import of the data and export into a form that can be compiled by cGPSMapper.