Garmin Monterra

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General comments

I've had the Monterra over a year now and have to say it is my least favorite GPS.

If you need a general purpose handheld, get a Garmin GPSmap 60 series (current model is the 64). I have a 62sc which means it has extras like a camera and barometer. I'd get the base model if I were to do it again. The camera is fun but I don't use it much.

I bought the Monterra when I was doing Android development work. It would be a good "cheap" alternative to pro level gear (i.e. Trimble Geo series). But as a general purpose GPS for example for trail navigation or geocaching it's bulky, heavy, and the user interface is mediocre.

You can load many third party mapping apps onto it and then use non-Garmin maps but I have found 99% of the time I end up using Garmin maps and apps anyway, so this is not an advantage for me. It just means more work to get multiple maps loaded. Garmin + other.


2016 Jan 18 - update to version 4.10_1.30.0 2015 August - update to version 4.10-28.0

Crashing Garmin Outdoor Apps

I have seen this a couple times now -- power on the Monterra, and the dialog "Unfortunately, Garmin Outdoor Apps has crashed." pops up repeatedly. Rebooting did not help. You can't use GPS functions unless Garmin Outdoor Apps is working, making the Monterra essentially useless.

  1. Go to Settings -> Apps -> All
  2. Find "Garmin Outdoor Apps"
  3. Click "Clear Data". This clears the cache at the same time.

This seems to fix it; the downside is that it forgets all your settings and you have to put them back in. This includes things like what Trip Computer data you are displaying.

Getting firmware / software updates

You do this the Android way. When you are connected via WiFi, you can trigger it by going to Settings->About Monterra->System Updates.

Supposed to be able to update GPS firmware, it's very old now. Trying to follow instructions at


What I have tried so far:

Street maps

Openstreetmap, in the Velo and MTNBIKE versions. These are GREAT for hiking and geocaching, because we've worked hard to get local (Corvallis Oregon) hiking trails in. It will route you _on trails_ to caches. Unfortunately OSM still needs addresses, so routing to an address DOES NOT WORK. Hence I broke down and bought City Navigator again.

I tried another version of OSM, "Openfietsmap Lite" for US west from

Getting the openmtb maps onto the Monterra with a Mac is a major pain, because when you download the maps from openmtb then you get them in the Mac format - a bunch of files in a *.gmap directory, and Monterra only uses *.img files.

When I installed using MapInstall for my Garmin 62sc, it built IMG files for me. It won't do that for the Monterra.

I created a blank FAT32 microSD card, put folders on it


and copied the IMG files from my Garmin 62sc to the Garmin folder. Then I renamed the two files,

openmtbmap_us-west_15.07.2015.img -> gmapsupp.img
velomap_us-west_15.07.2015.img -> gmapsup2.img

I put my geocache files in the GPX folder. Now I have a card for geocaching and hiking and a card with City Navigator for use with the navigation features in towns.

Topo maps

So far using the free topo map is just as good for me as the Garmin 24K topo that I bought for the GPSMap 62. I was referring to ortopo11 there. Now I am using catopo11 since I am back in California. Catopol1 is not as pretty as the Garmin version, I still want to bake my own.

I am also going to try using Avenza PDF viewer ("PDF Maps") with US Forest Service topo PDFs one of these days. At Point Reyes I am using PDF Maps with PDF files created in ArcMap. It works well as long as you design cartography for use in PDF Maps.

Aerial photos

Garmin's Birdseye service

Garmin BirdsEye now has its own page.

Generic orthophotos

You could create "Garmin Custom Maps" which are KMZ superoverlay files in a specific format. I gave up on this format because:

  1. You can only have up to 99 or 100 or 500 tiles per map and a tile is 1Kx1K pixels (or maybe 2Kx2K).
  2. There can be only one "custom map" on a device at a time.
  3. There can be only one zoom level for a map.

In spite of that I am leaving my notes here.

I am downloading imagery from MarinMap, downloadable as zipped GeoTIFFs with 6" pixels, for a hike on Ring Mountain today.

Garmin wants to see Image Overlays with images in JPEG format. There is a QGIS extension, GarminCustomMap.

I use this to reproject then use QGIS to do the KMZ file.

# Find all the files ending in .tif
for src in *.tif; do
  # Strip off the extension
  dst=`basename $src '.tif'`
  # Reproject into WGS84 (unprojected) format, creating a virtual output file
  echo "Warping" $src to WGS84
  # Remove any leftover file from a previous attempt
  rm -f $dst.vrt $dst.kmz
  gdalwarp -of VRT -t_srs EPSG:4326 $src $dst.vrt

  echo Convert GeoTIFF to KML superoverlay with rasters in JPEG format.
  #gdal_translate -of KMLSUPEROVERLAY $dst.vrt $dst.kmz -co FORMAT=JPEG
  # This will create a giant JPEG image that will NOT work in Garmin.
  #gdal_translate -of JPEG $dst.vrt $dst.jpg

This will take the corner of one raster into JPEG N.B. Warp options -b... tell it input is RGB because it assumes 4 bands = CMYK which is wrong... its RGBA.

  rm -f $dst.tmp.vrt $dst.vrt
  # grab just the corner
  gdal_translate -of VRT -projwin 5981000 2158000 5981800 2157000 $dst.tif $dst.tmp.vrt
  # reproject
  gdalwarp -of VRT -t_srs EPSG:4326 $dst.tmp.vrt $dst.vrt
  # now just do less than 1K x 1K JPEG
  gdal_translate -of JPEG $dst.vrt -b 1 -b 2 -b 3 $dst.jpg -co SOURCE_COLOR_SPACE=RGB
  gdalinfo $dst.jpg

Now in theory the resultant KMZ files are ready to load into your Garmin.


From Groundspeak forums, something to look at

A selection of Geocache related bugs, problems and/or issues translated from the Norwegian Monterra Wiki by thomfre:

  • The default list of geocaches shows all caches, including the found once. CONFIRM
  • Found geocaches are not marked as found in the list. The only indication of a found cache is that it is shown on the map as an open chest. CONFIRM
  • When a geocache are tagged as found, it is still shown as the nearest geocache on the Geocache Dashboard. CONFIRM
  • The Geocache Dashboard does not update with the nearest geocache when on the move. CONFIRM
  • When navigating to a cache which is not the nearest one, the dashboard still shows the nearest cache. CONFIRM
  • The map zoom level is not stored when going out of the map page and back again. It defaults to 300 meters.
  • When navigating to a cache, it is not possible, as it is on the Montana, to push the dashboard to access the geocache description, hint and logs. One will have to select the geocache from the list again to gain such access. CONFIRM
  • Logs from GSAK in HTML are "unreadable" since the HTML codes are shown. I don't use GSAK
  • Only a few lines of the geocache description are shown CONFIRM THIS IS REALLY BAD!!!
  • The compass does not show the right direction CONFIRM
  • Some names on the maps are shown upside down. CONFIRM
  • The Garmin App does not work with other languages than english N/A!
  • When loading a GPX file with more than e.g 1000 geocaches, the list of all geocaches are slow and imprecise.
  • When navigating to a cache, the bearing line is fixed to the point where the navigation starts.

Notes here from someone else...

So far the GPSmap 62 is still better for geocaching.

Installing City Navigator

(I wonder how many times I have paid for City Navigator now. This time around I did not buy a "lifetime" version. Updates expired Dec 2014.)

  • First attempt: Macintosh running Mavericks and latest version of Firefox
  • Purchase City Navigator at
  •, log in, go to myMaps.
  • Click "Add to device" on dashboard. Get error:
Failed to get the latest software for DLC download for dl part num 010-D0035-00
  • Send request for help to Garmin. Get instructions to clear browser cache etc.
  • Repeat with Windows 7 + Firefox. Install Garmin Communicator Plugin. Same error.
  • Repeat with Windows 7 + Internet Explorer 11. Install Garmin Communicator Plugin.
    • Quick install of plugin fails. Downloading and running .EXE version fails.
    • Follow instructions send in email (below). Try again. Still can't use Garmin Communicator.
  • Repeat with Windows 7 + Chrome. Does not complain about missing plugin. Does not find device either.

Finally, the real problem: I had turned on USB debug mode in Developer Options. I turned it off and things were fine.

Conclusion based on above -- don't ever use Internet Explorer, it is a waste of time and crashes a lot.

Install City Navigator to SD card

Click "More Options" in the install page and select SD card. I put a fast (class 10) 32 GB card for map / data storage in the Monterra. I intend to keep the Garmin's internal storage as open as possible.


Getting access to internal storage via USB connection.

With Mac, it just works.

With Linux (Ubuntu 13.04), I had to update libmtp source and build it. See sourceforge libmtp project. Once it was compiled and installed then

sudo mkdir /media/Android
sudo chgrp fuse /media/Android
sudo chmod 775 /media/Android
mtpfs -o allow_other /media/Android
Unable to open ~/.mtpz-data for reading, MTPZ disabled.Listing raw device(s)
Device 0 (VID=091e and PID=2585) is a Garmin Monterra.
  Found 1 device(s):
  Garmin: Monterra (091e:2585) @ bus 2, dev 17
Attempting to connect device
Android device detected, assigning default bug flags
Listing File Information on Device with name: (NULL)
ls /media/Android
Internal Storage/  Playlists/  SD Card/


To unmount it,

sudo umount mtpfs