Garmin has opened up premium mapping to some of its best smartwatches – enabling users to get a better experience when hiking and off-road cycling.
It’s part of its Outdoor Maps+ service, which improves on the TOPO maps built into the Fenix, Epix, and other premium devices. It costs $49.99 a year to upgrade, and it’s US-only for now.
Frustratingly for users of the Forerunner 955 (and Forerunner 965), it doesn’t seem to be picked for compatibility, despite currently running the existing TOPO mapping.
Outdoor Maps+ will launch for:
• Enduro 2
• Epix (Gen 2)
• Fenix 7 series
• MARQ (Gen 2)
• Quatix 7
• Tactix 7
So what does Outdoor Maps+ offer?
Satellite imagery is a big piece of the puzzle, so you can choose a detailed visual of your surroundings, and have waypoints plotted over the top if you desire.
The TOPO maps have also been enhanced, and crucially now show contours, rather than the flat, featureless landscapes of the currently included maps.
> Garmin Forerunner 965 vs 955
There’s also new information on state lines, public land boundaries, and Raster maps, that show trailheads, camping areas, water points, and more.
Essentially, this is the level of mapping that true outdoors adventurers really need.
We’ve criticized the TOPO mapping for not being as useful as we'd expect, and difficult to control on the watch itself.
These improved maps certainly seem to have addressed the issues around information and detail, and the introduction of touchscreen AMOLEDs across the range – as we’ve seen with the Forerunner 955 and Epix – is starting to address the usability issues, too.
It seems that slowly, Garmin is making its range much better for mapping and the outdoors.
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