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Frequently Asked Questions

Recently Asked FAQs

How do I know if the maps are installed properly?

If you don't get an error message you are probably in good-to-go. If you get "Can't Unlock Map" something went wrong. To be sure, you can always see which maps are loaded and enabled for use by following this procedure:

Check Map Info: From the main menu of your GPS, select the Tools (little wrench icon) and then go to Settings > Map. On the map settings screen you will see the Map Info button. Select Map Info to see the list of maps loaded. A check mark next to the map name indicates that the map is loaded and enabled for use. You can disable any map if you suspect there is a problem with one map obscuring another.

But I don't see the map and I can't find any points of interest, where are the POIs?

One thing to keep in mind is that if your GPS "thinks" you are in North America, POI search will not produce result for locations on another continent. The search radius is limited to a couple of hundred miles. If it wasn't limited, it would be searching forever. To see what POI are searchable for your destination you can tell your GPS to "pretend" you are somewhere else by following this procedure:

Go in to Demo / Simulation -On / GPS-Off Mode: From the main menu of your GPS, select the Tools (little wrench icon) and then go to Settings > System. Then select Demo Mode, On (also called Simulation On or GPS-Off Mode).

- and -

Set Desired Location: From the Main Menu , select Where To > Browse Map. On some models you will need to scroll down to find the Browse Map button. Now the GPS will show your last know location. Now zoom and pan to where you want to pretend to be. Zoom out ("+") and pan over (finger drag), Zoom in ("-") to the desired location.  When you can see where you want to be select the SET LOC button.  If you don't select the SET LOC button and go back to the main menu, you will have to do all that zooming and panning all over again. Try to search for POI's now.

OK, I can see the map in demo mode and I can find POIs, but the country I want is not listed.

Not all maps support search by address. This may be because the address system is in compatible with the English system, like in Japan for example. Or the map may not include this feature. Remember you can always select your destination by other means:

Select Destination: From main menu select Where To, then you can enter a destination by City name, Point of Interest, GPS Coordinates, or by Browsing Map.

OK so what do I do when I get to where I'm going?

As long as the map is loaded and enabled for use, your GPS will show your location on the map at your destination. It may take your GPS a little longer to lock on to satellites when you first turn it on after moving it a great distance, but it will eventually figure out where it is. And, you won't have to go through all these procedures. When you turn the power off, your GPS will reset from demo mode, so that when you turn it on, it will look for satellites as usual.

Older FAQ's

  1. Will the GPS say street name in English?
  2. Is my GPS compatible with Travel By GPS (tm) maps and guides?
  3. How do I download and transfer data to my GPS?
  4. What is the Username and Password?
  5. What can I do with the free GPS map data files?
  6. I don't own a GPS, so what's here for me to see and do?
  7. Where do I get the necessary software and cables to upload the data files to my GPS?
  8. Where does the information in the GPS maps and guides come from?
  9. How can I become a contributor?
  10. How do I know this stuff isn't just made up?
  11. Can I copy the GPS maps and tour guides and redistribute them?
  12. What is your Privacy Policy?
  13. What is Class A and Class B Data?
  14. What else should I know?

Will my GPS "say" street names in English?

Iif your GPS has text-to-speech (TTS) technology then it will say street names, provided that the map includes the name of the street.  Most premium map products include street names. Now - and here is the fun part - street names are typically in the native language.  And your GPS can be set to speak different languages. If you have your GPS set to speak English it will say the name of the street using English rules of pronunciation.  But if you set it to speak Spanish for example, it will say the name of a Spanish-named street correctly all while talking to you in a language you can't (or at least I can't ) understand.

How do I sign up for the newsletter and to be notified when new GPS maps are available?

Click here to sign up for the email newsletter or click on the link shown on the right side of every page at The newsletter is an opt-in service and you must provide a username and password. Email newsletter subscription information is provided in your Welcome letter. You may unsubscribe at anytime. Email newsletters are published no more than once a month. Maintain your subscription to insure continued access.

Is my GPS compatible with Travel By GPS Tour Guides?

At you will find GPS maps, tour guides, and data in various formats. GPS maps and guides are typically in a file format native to the products they were intended to be used with (i.e. .img and .gpi file formats are native to Garmin products). GPS map data (waypoints, routes and tracks) is typically provided in a generic format, like the GPs eXchange file format (.gpx) or Google Earth (.kml or kmz) file format.

TourGuides in Garmin (.gpi) format can be transferred directly to nüvi with MP3 playback capability, zūmo™ and the StreetPilot® c550, c580, 2730, 2820, 7200 and 7500. A nuvi comparison chat can be found here.

How do I download and transfer data to my GPS?

Most of the free map data hosted at is in GPs eXchange (.gpx) of Google Earth (.kmz or .kml) file format. Free data published can be opened with Garmin MapSource, Google Earth and many other software programs for use with GPS. Once you have searched this site and found what you are interested in, click on the "free GPS map" or "Download" link.

If you click on "Download" link follow on-screen instructions to transfer the data to a compatible device.

If you click on "free GPS map" link, in most cases you will want to save the file to your computer. However if the file type is associated with a GPS or mapping program on your computer, that program may automatically open the data in a new window. Otherwise, you must do a File > Save As... on your computer, remembering where you saved it. Once saved on your computer you can open the data with software programs for use with GPS.

For instructions on how to transfer TourGuide (.gpi) files to compatible Garmin GPS units, click here.

Commercial GPS Map Products are protected and have special procedures for unlocking. As a customer of commercial map products, you will be provided with detailed instructions for your purchase and direct, personal support is provided.

NOTE: Before uploading maps or data from your computer to the GPS, you should backup any user data you have stored in your GPS as it may overwritten when the new data is transferred.

Click to enlarge nuvi screenshotHow to transfer TourGuide (.gpi) files to compatible Garmin GPS units

1. Click on the special tour guide download link and save the file (for example atlanta.gpi) to your computer. REMEMBER where you saved the download.
2. Connect your TourGuide compatible GPS to your computer via USB cable
3. With your GPS in USB Mass Storage mode, Double-click the "My Computer" icon on your computer's desktop.
4. Browse your computer for the GPI file you want to transfer.
5. Highlight the file and select Edit > Copy
6. In the drive associated with your GPS, highlight the Garmin/POI folder and select Edit > Paste

Using tour guides on your GPS unit

Once you have the TourGuide file on the device, use the menu Where To -> My Locations or Extras -> Custom POIs to view the TourGuide points.

You now need to check you settings settings for Proximity Points (Note: unless you actually have a TourGuide loaded on your GPS you may not see these settings).

There are 3 options.

1. Off: if selected, TourGuide points will not be triggered when the user comes within the proximity of a TourGuide point.
2. Auto Play: if selected, TourGuide points will be triggered when the user comes within the proximity of a TourGuide point and the TourGuide audio will start playing automatically.
3. Prompted: if selected, TourGuide points will be triggered when the user comes within the proximity of a TourGuide point, but the TourGuide audio does not start to play automatically. The user can start playing the TourGuide audio by using the TourGuide link on the main map page.

What can I do with the free GPS map data files?

When the GPS map data is transferred to your GPS, points of interest will show up like "blips" on your "radar" screen, indicating where those places area around you.

For example, in a GPS tour of homes of movie stars, each waypoint would be one of the homes on a self-drive tour.  Likewise, a wilderness excursion would have waypoints for places like: ranger station, parking, camping, and nearby places to obtain equipment and supplies.

There are many adventures at, just search for one that interests you.

If you have a compatible device, you can play GPS tour guides which are multi-media presentations that play audio narrative when approaching points of interest.

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What can I do here if I don't own a GPS?

Even if you don't own a GPS, you can still search for areas that interest you and look at the screen shots of maps and aerial photos.  Just click on the binoculars!

If you are looking for a GPS receiver and/or GPS software, check out my hardware and software resource pages..

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Where do I get the necessary software and cables to upload the data files to my GPS?

See my recommend list of GPS and mapping software programs on the Software page.

At Adventure Station, you will find cables and assessories.

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Where does the information in the GPS maps and tour guides come from?

Travel By GPS maps and tour guides are authored by people that are familiar with subject matter and GPS navigation.  Typically, they have been using GPS in their travels for several years and they are excited about using this new media to communicate unique travel adventures.

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How can I become a contributor ?

You do not need to be a professional writer or cartographer.  Most contributors own a GPS and have used it to document their adventures.

I will pay for certain types of content (Scenic drive, off-road adventure, hike, water trail…) especially adventures outside the continental USA.

To submit your idea...

  1. Search this site to make sure that there is not a page which already covers your proposed subject matter.
  2. Review submission requirements.
  3. Send me an email.

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How do I know this stuff isn't just made up? I intend to provide useful information.  I do my best to verify waypoint locations and descriptions prior to publication.  If I later learn that there are serious errors with a particular map or guide booklet, I will remove it from distribution.  However, because of the inherent errors of GPS navigation, and the possibility that these guides could contain errors, Travel By GPS LLC does not guarantee the accuracy or validity of the information it provides.  Use these maps and guides at your own risk.  Travel By GPS LLC is not responsible for any damages or losses which result from their use. If you're skeptical, download the free data file and plot it on a map, if the results look reasonable, it probably is.

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Can I copy this information and re-distribute it?

No.  Travel by GPS (tm) maps and guides are protected by copyrights. Measures have been taken to discourage unauthorized redistribution. The data you find here is provided for personal use by patrons. Do not harvest information from and show it on another web site without first contacting me. Many of the GPS data files collected here were contributed by others who may not want to share by any other means. If you pillage, loyal patrons will track you down, and you run the risk of people saying bad things about you - not to mention possible legal action. If you want some legal advice in this regard I recommend.

McGarry Bair PC
32 Market Avenue SW Suite 500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Tel (616) 742-3500

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What is your Privacy Policy ?

Your contact information will not be shared with anyone without your permission. And your intellectual property will not be redistributed without your consent.

If you opt-in to the newsletter you are requesting to be notified by email regarding new content at You must provide a user name and password to sign-up for the newsletter. Your information, including your email, will not be shared with anyone else. And it will be used only for the purpose of providing you with up-to-date information about

You should also know that this site does not use "coookies" but some of the linked sites do.  Many of the software providers and retailers linked from this site will record that you were referred by Travel by GPS - that's how we can provide GPS Maps for free.  Thank you for using these links.


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What is Class A and Class B Data ?

Class A1 Data was acquired with at least a consumer quality GPS receiver with Selective Availability deactivated.

Class A2 Data was acquired with a consumer quality GPS during Selective Availability.

Class B1 Data was electronically read from a high quality digital map.

Class B2 Data comes from sources of unknown accuracy.

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What else should I know?

Before heading out, always check with local authorities for the latest information on routing, conditions, and restrictions.  The GPS map data and guide booklets are not intended as a substitute for tour guides in adventures that require expert or local knowledge, and experience dealing with situations that can be dangerous.

Be aware of the inherent error of your equipment and the GPS system.  The difference between your actual position and the position indicated by your GPS can vary.  You should never rely on GPS as being your sole means of navigation.   Also, be sure to set your equipment to the proper Map Datum specification.  Unless otherwise specified, the Map Datum is as defined using "WGS 84".

Due to the inherent errors of  GPS navigation and the possibility that my maps and guides could contain errors, Travel By GPS LLC does not guarantee the accuracy or validity of GPS data or text descriptions.  Use the GPS maps and data at your own risk.  Travel By GPS LLC is not responsible for any damages or losses that result from their use.  Read more about the usefulness of the information provided 

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