Use garmin gps at linux

Some weeks ago I bought a Garmin G20 GPS to use it with my mountainbike. Maybe someone of you are familar with a garmin gps. The garmin g20 is offered with just a basic setup like a small map and no routes on it. To manage your garmin they offer a windows software. With this software you can download new cards, configure new tracks and all that stuff which is needed to use your garmin gps device correct. Thats the point where I started. I don’t want to use windows for that stuff, also not in a virtual machine. I want to use my linux host.

So I describe here how to handle your garmin gps device with linux.

To do that there is a programm for linux called QLandkarte GT. QLandkarte GT is a powerful Open Source GIS application to display your GPS data on a variety of maps.

Install needed packages

First of all we need to install the program:

sudo apt-get install qlandkartegt qlandkartegt-garmin

start program

After we installed the qlandkartegt, we can start it with a simple call from the command line

$ qlandkarteqt

The starting program should look similiar to the following screenshot:


Use a new Map

I primary use my garmin device on my mountainbike. As it is just shipped with a default map, I wanted a more detailed map from my area (bavaria).

I found some pretty cool mountainbike maps based on open street map, openmtbmap called. To get an overview about downloadable maps you can visit the download page.

All these maps can be downloaded as .exe files which is not really helpful for Unix and garmin systems. So we have to convert them in a readable format.

make openmtbmap usable for linux

To convert the .exe files in for garmin readable .img files, I found the repository openmtbmap_openvelomap_linux on github.

Just clone it and use the contained shell script to extract the .exe file.

$ git clone 
$ openmtbmap_openvelomap_linux/ mtbbayern.exe thin -o mtbbayern

Here I downloaded a bavarian map (mtbbayern.exe) and extract it to the subfolder mtbbayern (-o-Option for output). The shell script creates the .img file right in the subfolder.

copy map to SD-Card

I now wanted to use the new map on my garmin device. To avoid size limitations, I bought a micro sd card for my garmin device. On the sd card we just create a subfolder called garmin and place the .img file ther. That’s all. Now we can insert the sd card in the garmin gps device and use the new map. If you have multiple maps on your sd/garmin device, you can select the map on your garmin at settings -> map.

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