I plan to travel to the US this year and would like to take my own GPS with me, the problem I have is the map in my Garmin is really old (it's from 2009) and I'd like to have it up to date for my trip.

One important feature for my is the display of the speed limit on the device, I use my Garmin here with a homebrew (ie unofficial map) that does NOT show such information, so when I went to the US with my Nuvi 2 years ago I was pleasantly surprised to see the speed limit info on screen (i had removed the homebrew and left the original US map on the device). Not being familiar with the US laws this represented a huge help in not getting a speeding ticket.

Open Street Maps is open source and free to use, while last time I checked the update for my Nuvi 760 was about $80/year. If I use Open Street Maps on my Garmin can I expect to get the same features as with the official Garmin maps?

  • Welcome to Travel.SE. Could you edit your title/question as per the faq please? They're currently two subtly different questions - eg the title could be answered with "OSM is free, Garmin isn't". In terms of your main question - are you talking about software features (interface, menu etc), or map features (topographical, distances, routing) or what?
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 16, 2013 at 6:41
  • I see what you mean... I care for features, not pricing
    – rantsh
    Mar 16, 2013 at 6:47
  • Since OSM is also a webapp this question may be more suitable to webapps.se. Apr 15, 2013 at 23:34
  • Maybe, I see it more as a traveling question, since people who go on trips would be the ones to know how to compare OSM to an actual/physical Garmin GPS
    – rantsh
    Apr 16, 2013 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


I would not rely on speed data in any GPS unit as a means of ensuring you are travelling the correct speed. Often-times I have experienced that they are not correct, especially with my Garmin unit. You will find that roads are well marked with speed limit signs. General speed limits can be looked up a head of time, so you can get a general idea based on type of road.

Speed data is sometimes available but limited within OSM. See here for more information on speed in OSM, including some discussions related to speed data. Note that some of this may be able to be transferred to your Garmin. See here for information about customizing maps and putting them on your Garmin.

Best regards.

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