The Garmin MapSource CD is available in one of four versions, Americas, Atlantic, Atlantic Small, and Pacific. Retail prices range from $136 to $250 per CD.
We reviewed the Bluechart Americas CD. It has marine chart data coverage for coastal waters of Alaska, Hawaii, the Continental U.S., Canada, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
All this chart data is divided into thirteen regional areas and accessible only with an unlock code.
Each CD comes with one unlock code, though additional unlock codes can be purchased separately. The retail price of an additional unlock key varies from $87 to $217 depending on the CD.
Each area is made up of a number of individual charts and all of these are accessible with the single unlock code.
To begin we downloaded the CD contents onto our PC. Once you start the software you’ll be prompted to open a Garmin account and sign in.
From here you’ll be asked to connect your GPS unit to the PC. The Garmin 60CSx handheld GPS we used for this review came with a USB cable to connect to a PC.
Your computer will then try to read the unit serial number, this may or may not work depending on the whether or not you have the correct USB driver installed.
We didn’t have it, so we had to manually enter the unit serial number. Later we did install the Garmin USB driver.
When your PC reads your unit’s serial number it basically locks that Garmin MapSource CD to that particular GPS unit. To upload map data to another unit you’d have to purchase an additional unlock code.
With the unlock codes entered and the PC recognizing the GPS unit nothing is left to do except transfer data. It is a simple process. You pick the maps or data you wish to transfer then hit the transfer. That’s it.
We just loaded a couple local charts into our 60CSx test unit so we could get a look at how the data appeared on the small handheld screen.
I guess the easiest way to describe it is to say it’s like looking a small corner of the screen on a large chartplotter. All the same data is there just not much of it is visible due to the handheld’s small screen.
Still, in our opinion, having all this marine data right at your finger tips in a handheld is phenomenal. It turns a basic Garmin handheld designed for land use into a mariner-ready GPS unit.