Garmin Edge 205/305 Maps

This is the first post in the newly added Garmin Edge category.  There are a lot of people out there that are of the mistaken belief that the Garmin Edge 205/305 supports maps, it doesn’t. It doesn’t support auto routing or postcode navigation either.

Do not be under the illusion that you can download the digital mapping products into your Edge, you can’t. Garmins high end devices store their maps using a vector format while the digital mapping software uses raster scanning. The two are not compatible.

All is not what it seems with the Digital Mapping Software producers either.They are great for uploading your tracks to view on your PC but they have difficulty with the  Edge as they don’t support Garmin Edge Courses. The only software that supports courses for the UK Ordnance Survey Maps is Tracklogs.

The problem with uploading your ride onto Digital Ordnance Survey maps is that they save your track or breadcrumb trail as Waypoints. a Garmin Edge 205/305 has 13,000 trackpoints but only 100 Waypoints. A ride of 5000 trackpoints  that you want to save to your Edge as a Course gets converted to waypoints and 5,000 into 100 just doesn’t go.

Just to clarify the differences between a Route and a Course that a lot of first time Garmin Edge users struggle with.

  • Route. 100 Waypoint limit. You Navigate a Route,  Edge bleeps when coming up to a waypoint and gives a 10 second countdown. A Route is a collection of Waypoints. Compass points to the next waypoint. Naming your Waypoints as turn directions gives you a clear concise direction at a junction.
  • Course  A track or breadcrumb trail of up to 13,000 points. You Do a Course. Turn direction Waypoints can be added to a Course in Garmin TrainingCentre but it is crude. Otherwise no turn direction. You are warned when you go off Course and when you rejoin the Course. You can race against yourself or someone else on a Course as this is where the training partner resides.

It is important to know the differences between the two methods as it has a bearing on your pre ride route planing. I tend to use Routes for special events where I just want the turns indicated as I come up to them. If you get lost because you deviated from your route you will have the compass pointing to your next waypoint.

Riding a Course means you have to be within about 25 metres of the entire course otherwise the Garmin Edge is going to be continually warning you that you are off it.

For most of the time I just use the Edge 305 as a logging device. It’s nice to go out do a ride and then upload it onto whatever package you decide to use. I’m using TraningCentre, Motion Based and exporting ride to Google Maps as well asusing Digital Mapping Software such as Tracklogs. Tracklogs supports Garmin Edge Courses and that is the reason I have purchased it.

With the new Edge 605/705 with maps hitting the streets soon it looks like I am going to have to get aquainted with the Garmin Mapsource  products as your not going to get very far with Garmins Basemap.

More posts on other Edge features to come, I’m still wondering if there is a need for a Course planning tutorial possibly using the Google map based sites.

16 thoughts on “Garmin Edge 205/305 Maps”

  1. Hi Frank,
    Hope you’re well, still getting plenty of miles in I see.

    Just wondering, I got the Edge 205 partly as a result of reading your blog, do you know if the calories burned figure in the Garmin is accurate?

    I’ve got my weight in it, and the bikes weight is in but am at a loss to know whether the calories burned figure is accurate or meaningful??

    What’s your view?

    All the best,


  2. Paul, I keep popping into into your blog to see how your doing. I’ll put a link down the side bar as it’s another site well worth a visit.

    The calorie counting on the Edge is supposed to over count as it is counting calories calories based on distance and speed. Freewheeling downhill still has it counting I’m told. I don’t know what the situation is with Edge 305 as that has a heartrate monitor to factor into the equation or not as the case maybe.

    The 305 said I burnt 7,000 calories on the Wild Wales which equals 2lb of fat. Now it maybe a coincidence but I was 1 kilo lighter the next day. This has happened on most of the long, tough rides that I’ve done. As my weight has now plateaued I tend to put it back on.

    There was a software update that was supposed to deal with the problem but I don’t know if cured the apparent over reading. The machines in the gym consistently over read according to the Crane Sports Heartrate monitor and that cost £12.

    Liked your post about buying an Edge off Ebay, I’ll link into that as the Edge page gets 1000 hits a month and yours is another story worth knowing about.

  3. Hi Frank, in response to Pauls query i’ve compared (briefly)two 10 mile time trials, the two events are on the same course and are of similar times. When comparing the calories to average heart rate these are the results.

    1st 10 = 21.15 avg hr = 185 cal = 494
    2nd 10 = 21.20 avg hr = 182 cal = 522

    Having used the Hac4 for(3yrs)and the Polar 725i for the last(3yrs)i’ve found the calorie count was around 900/1000 per racing hour but is around 1300 per racing hour for the Garmin, maybe dependant on an accurate overall weight settings.

    And with the altimeter function on the units i think that this also part of the equation (weight x time/distance x Elevation)


  4. I believe that the best way to upload your ride and log
    is at

    check it out.
    Let me know what you guys think… It works with google maps and
    best of all it is FREE……….


  6. Jim thats that a cracking site. Someone from this side of the pond should post the Llandegla and Coed y Brennin trails as they are supposed to be up there with the best.

    Anthony, check the settings. Settings: General: Tones = Key and Message are set on my 305. It only bleeps when you are Navigating a ROUTE. It does not bleep when DOing a COURSE in the TRAINING section. If you press the backlight button when navigating a route it will also light up the backlight as well. This feature is a godsend at night.

  7. Hi Frank – sorry if this is a really basic question …… this will be my first venture into the GPS for cycling market.

    Would a Garmin Edge 205 have the capability to upload a route I developed on something such as Marengo and then track it as i rode it?

    Many thanks.


  8. Mark, no problem. That is the whole point of a site like this. Once you select Navigate that is exactly what you are doing. Navigating your Route. There are various views that you can look at but as you approach a Waypoint your Edge screen will change to give you a countdown to to that junction. Just remember to press start at the start of a ride.

  9. Frank – sorry to bother – another generic question before I purchase a 205. Do you know if use of a 205 (not the HR version) would interfere with using my Polar S625x please? My Polar is just used for speed and HR functions. (The HR data is important to me and I don’t want to abandon in favour for 305).

    Thanks again.


  10. Hammy, it is not a problem. A 205 has no heartrate or cadence functions. A 305 has digital heartrate and cadence functions. If I wear my Forerunner50 to the gym it is not picked up by the analogue gym machines. It does get picked up by the the Forerunner50 and the Edge 305.
    My 305 data is the most important data to me ever, the most important part is being able to overlay it onto a map. As you may have gathered most of my site is based around 305 data and I trust it implicitly.

  11. Frank,

    Great site! Your info regarding Maps/Trackpoint/Waypoints/Routes/Courses is excellent, even Garmin’s own site & manual don’t make all this very clear!

    You seem to use Tracklogs with Edge devices, as well Google Maps based apps …. I agree with you, the Edge 205 is an expensive digital compass/cycle computer, on its own, but is transformed when used with an app like Tracklogs (which I use).

    You say “The problem with uploading your ride onto Digital Ordnance Survey maps is that they save your track or breadcrumb trail as Waypoints. a Garmin Edge 205/305 has 13,000 trackpoints but only 100 Waypoints. A ride of 5000 trackpoints that you want to save to your Edge as a Course gets converted to waypoints and 5,000 into 100 just doesn’t go”. This gives the impression that Tracklogs is limited when used with the 205/305. Maybe I’ve got the wrong message, or I’m missing the value that you put on waypoints and direction info.

    Anyway, I create very detailed “journeys” (I almost wrote “routes”) using OS maps in Tracklogs, at the 1:25000 level with many hundreds of points, and just transfer them to the 205 via GPS Transfer/Save as Course. Then as you say, just “Do Course” via the Training option. As I inherently trust the OS map, I also trust the little black triangle as it follows the black line on the 205 (ie without any map of any kind on the device)!

    I hope this adds to the discussion. IMHO the OS maps are the bees-knees and the Tracklogs/Edge 205 combination is remarkably efficient.



  12. Thanks for the comment Mark, I’ll have to keep updating the pages as Tracklogs now supports the .TCX TrainingCenter format. I’ve just loaded my Saturday ride into it.
    The 705 uses a different method of file transfer between the computer than the 205/305 so Tracklogs doesn’t see it as a GPS rather a file on Drive.

  13. Frank,

    Yes, Tracklogs allows a Windows-style drag-and-drop file transfer, but the fundamental approach to routes and courses is the same as for the 305 (and 205, which I have).

    Your discussion elsewhere alerted me to “coursepoints” (a Garmin term which equates to “waypoints applied to a Course”) and I investigated this in Tracklogs. It turned out to be available but not quite working, and correspondence with Support and some experimentation led to a considerable improvement in the actual use of the 205. I’ll post elsewhere …. but before I do, this post would be dedicated to using Tracklogs and a Garmin 205/305/705 …. Would this be a worthwhile and add value to this blog/forum, as most information seems to be associated with free software such bikeroutetoaster?



    ps, thanks for putting me onto coursepoints!

  14. Hi Frank,

    I like the new site, but I can’t find the page that used to follow this one about how you go about setting courses using waypoints, where you build the map on Marengo and download the .tcx files. Could you please point me in the correct direction ?

    Also, I don’t suppose you have any good routes around the Morzine Avoriaz area do you?

    Thanks mate

  15. On the subject of Maps for the 205 and 305: You might find my website usefull to create simple maps for display on the Edge 205 and 305 units. (Also works with the Forerunner versions)

    The online map software lets you manage your Courses, Tracks, Routes and History directly to and from the unit.

    Further to your battery pack problem: I have just purchased a CE01-IPO charger made by Henco. I am yet to test it, but the display of the unit seems to indicate that it is being charged properly. I hope to be in on the Marmotte 2011 before the battery is dead, but would want to miss out on the last hours, hence the insurance of the battery pack 🙂

    1. Henk, I’ll put up a link to your site. The problem your going to have is that you have to charge the 305 on the bike, this entails putting the charger in a small bag and tieing it to the stem or handlebar. It takes a while to put some charge back into your 305 so your method of charging needs to be robust.

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