Note: This is the short version. Last week on my personal blog I wrote a very long-winded article about the Garmin City Navigator North America NT Map Update 2009. And yes the title of the product is in fact that long. But anyway, if you want to read up on what I think Garmin needs to do in order to keep up with the times as far as map updating goes, read up if you wish.

If you have a Garmin StreetPilot c3xx, c5xx, the big units like the 2720/2730 or any nuvi series and live in North America, this update applies to you. No, it is not free and yes, that makes people upset they have to pay for it. However that’s the way things are at present with Garmin and map updates.

We’ll leave the pay factor aside for the time being and concentrate on how to make the map update process smooth and easy.

Step 1. Where to get it?

Register your Garmin GPS at the Garmin web site. All you need is the unit so you can enter in the serial number that’s physically printed on it.

Once registered you will have the option to purchase the update you need.

Step 2. DVD or download?

Get the DVD in the mail. The download takes way too long. Remember, it is a DVD’s worth of information we’re talking about.

Step 3. Install the latest Garmin USB drivers.

Grab those from here. It’s a fast install and painless. To note: Windows (and even OS X) will usually automatically install the drivers, but it’s better to get them manually just to be on the safe side.

Step 4. Plug in the GPS to your computer.

Step 5. CLOSE apps

This is the #1 reason why people have any problem with updating a Garmin GPS. They have a bunch of CRAP running, such as instant messengers, web browsers and so on. This does nothing but SLOW THE PROCESS DOWN. Whether your using Windows or OS X, close those frickin’ apps and KEEP them closed until the update is completed.

Step 6. Pop in the DVD and follow the instructions.

Step 7. Wait. A long time.

The update process takes 1 to 2 hours to complete.

For those wondering why it takes so unbelievably long to complete, remember once again we’re talking about a DVD’s worth of data here transferring over USB. Have you ever transferred over 4GB of data over USB? If you have then you know how long it takes.

There many be instances where the updating program appears to lock up. Trust me when I say it’s not. You just have to wait and be patient. It will complete.

I have performed map updates several times on several different Garmin GPS units. It always takes a long time. As long as you have no apps (or as little apps as possible) running and are patient, the update will complete successfully.

The 2009 update to date has been the easiest by far. The updater app did exactly what it was supposed to do and now I enjoy the latest-and-greatest map data set on my c580.

How to report map inaccuracies

If while driving you see a road that is marked incorrectly, or the intersection that is labeled wrong, or a business listed that is no longer there or the like, remember the following:

Garmin does not provide the map data.

NAVTEQ does.

If you want to report a map inaccuracy, head over to This is where you report inaccuracies. It’s free and stupidly easy to report map errors there.

So if you ever wondered how you can easily report map issues, there you go. No calling or e-mailing necessary.