Using the Garmin GPSmap 62

Here at SEED we use the Garmin GPSmap 62 as our standard GPS device. All university staff and students can borrow one of the devices. This is a Quick Start guide for collecting data with this device.

(If you use our previous standard device, the Garmin GPS 60, see instructions here. Or see a list of all our GPS equipment.)

Get a Garmin GPSmap 62

Please note that occasionally all units are needed for teaching or fieldwork, so plan a bit in advance. To borrow a GPS device see the geography lab staff, Artur Lewis Building ground floor, Tel. 53663.

Garmin GPSmap 62
Fig. 1: Garmin GPSmap 62

Switch the GPS on and off

  1. Switch the device on by pressing and holding the power key on the right. The first time you switch it on it might display a data licensing message, press the ENTER key to accept.
  2. To switch the device off, press and hold the power key until the display clears. When you switch the device off, previously recorded data will be preserved.

The Display

Take the device outside where it has a clear view of the sky and switch it on. It displays the Map Page with the last known location.

Press the Power key. This displays:

  • Date and time
  • Battery status
  • Strength of the GPS signal
  • If you find it hard to read the display, use the Rocker key to adjust the backlight.

Press QUIT to exit.

Check and change batteries

  • Press the Power key to display the battery status. A brindled battery symbol indicates full batteries; a hollow symbol indicates empty batteries. Full batteries should last for about a day of continuous operation, but battery life depends on how you use the GPS device. Always take at least one set of spare batteries with you.
  • When you remove the batteries, previously collected data will be preserved.
  • The GPSmap 62 operates on two AA batteries. Alkaline (disposable) or NiMH (rechargable) batteries may be used, but do not mix Alkaline and NiMH batteries.
  • When replacing batteries, use only new or fully charged batteries.
  • Use rechargeable batteries if possible. These do not last as long as disposable batteries but are less harmful to the environment.

To change batteries:

  1. Switch the device off by pressing and holding the power key until the display clears.
  2. On the back of the device, lift the D-ring, turn it 1/4 turn counter clockwise, and then pull the battery cover away.
  3. Remove the old batteries.
  4. Insert the new batteries, observing the proper polarity as indicated inside the battery compartment.
  5. Reinstall the battery cover by connecting the bottom of the cover to the bottom of the device. Make sure the tab on the cover fits into the slot on the device. Press the cover closed and turn the D-ring clockwise to lock.
  6. Recycle empty batteries. There are battery recycling containers all over campus.


Press the PAGE key a few times. This flips through a series of page icons. When you release the PAGE key the corresponding page opens:

    Fig. 2: Garmin GPSmap 62 pages
Fig. 2: Garmin GPSmap 62 pages

Go to any page and press the MENU key.  This brings up a menu specific for this page. Do not change anything now and press the QUIT key to exit from the menu. Every page has a (different) menu.

Initializing / Main Menu

When you switch it on, the GPS automatically looks for satellite signals (Acquiring Satellites message). This should take a couple of minutes at most. The bottom of the screen displays the signal strength for each satellite.

Watch the satellite symbol on top of the display:

  • garminGPS60Sats Empty – signals are too weak to determine your location
  • 2D – signals are sufficient to determine X/Y coordinates
  • 3D – signals are sufficient to determine X/Y coordinates and altitude

Once the GPS finds sufficient satellite signals to determine your location, your current coordinates appear at the top of the screen. The coordinates are displayed in BNG coordinates (British National Grid) or another coordinate system, depending on the device settings.

Check the satellite signal

  • Press the PAGE key until the Main Menu page is displayed.
  • Use the Rocker key to select Satellite and press the ENTER key. The number and IDs of the satellites are displayed.
  • Press QUIT twice to return to the page sequence.

About GPS data

With the GPSmap 62 there are three types of GPS data:

  • Tracks, these are sequences of points recorded automatically as you move
  • Waypoints, these are points of interest that you record manually, e.g. sample locations
  • Routes, these are directions to predefined places or along predefined routes, like with a SatNav. Routing functions are not covered here, for more information on routing see the device manual.

Clear old data

The previous user might have left data on the device. To delete old data follow this procedure:

  1. Press the PAGE key until the Main Menu page is displayed.
  2. Use the Rocker key to select Setup and press the ENTER key.
  3. Use the Rocker key to select Reset and press the ENTER key.
  4. Use the Rocker key to select Delete All Waypoints, press ENTER, confirm YES, press ENTER.
  5. Use the Rocker key to select Clear Track and Trip Data, press ENTER, confirm YES, press ENTER.
  6. Press QUIT to leave Setup , and again to return to the page sequence.

Note on Reset All Settings: this clears Waypoints, Tracks and Trip Data in one go, but also custom settings, like your selected coordinate system. Use this option with care.

Recording a track

Whenever the GPS device is powered up and has a sufficient satellite signal, it automatically and continuously records a track log. It continues recording your track log until you switch it off. After switching it on again, it resumes recording.

  1. Switch the GPS device on and check if it receives a good enough signal (Main Menu > Satellite).
  2. Press the PAGE key to flip through the pages until you come to the Map page.
  3. Walk around for a couple of minutes. As you move, the GPS device automatically and continuously records a series of points along the way and displays them on the Map page as in Figure 3. This series of points is called a Track Log.
  4. Use the IN and OUT keys to zoom the display and the Rocker key to center it.

    Figure 3: Track recording
    Figure 3: Track recording

Saving a track

Save the contents of the track log in a Track file:

  1. After you finished a track, for example when you return from fieldwork to your base, go to the Main Menu page.
  2. Select Track Manager and press ENTER.
  3. With Current Track selected, press ENTER.
  4. Select Save Track and press ENTER.
  5. By default the track is named by the current date and time. To enter your own name for your track: use the Rocker key to highlight the Name field and press ENTER. A keypad is displayed. Use the Rocker key to highlight characters, pressing ENTER after every character. When finished select Done at the bottom of the screen and press ENTER.
  6. When asked of you want to “clear the current track and associated trip data”, select Yes. This removes the (now saved) track from memory and starts a new track.
  7. You now see your saved track in the tracks list. Press QUIT to return to the main pages.

If you want to start a new track log without saving the previous one: Press PAGE until you are at the Main Menu page. Press ENTER, go to Setup > Reset > Clear Current Track  > confirm Yes. This procedure only clears the log. It does not delete the saved track files.

Recording Waypoints

While the track log is great way of recording where you were, in many cases you want to record specific points rather than a whole track. These can be soil sample locations, landmarks, etc. These points are called Waypoints. Waypoints need to be recorded manually.

To mark a waypoint at your current location:

  1. Press the MARK key. The Mark Waypoint page appears (Figure 4).

    Figure 4: Mark a waypoint
    Figure 4: Mark a waypoint
  2. By default the waypoints are named with consecutive numbers (001, 002, etc). While you can manually change the number and add a note, it is much easier to write down the waypoint number in your field notebook, along with other data you are collecting at this location, e.g. a location name and sample values. (However, if you really want to change any of the displayed data use the Rocker key to highlight a field and press the ENTER key. This brings up a keypad, enter the desired data and select Done to finish.)
  3. With Done highlighted, press the ENTER key to save the waypoint. The display reverts to the previous page, displaying the waypoint.
  4. Go to the Map page to see your waypoints on a map.

Managing Waypoints

You can edit your waypoints, view them on the map or navigate to a previously recorded waypoint.

  1. Go to the Main Menu page, select Waypoint Manager and press ENTER.
  2. A list of previously recorded waypoints is displayed (Figure 5). Highlight one of them and press ENTER.
  3. To edit the waypoint’s data highlight any of the fields and press ENTER, then change it as described above, e.g. add a note to the waypoint, and finish with Done. If you change the coordinates the waypoint will be moved to the new location.
  4. To see a map with the waypoint highlight Map and press ENTER.
  5. To navigate to the waypoint, highlight Go and press ENTER. You can also select Go from the waypoint map, or from any page simply press the FIND key, select a Waypoint, and select Go.
  6. To delete a waypoint, go into the waypoint’s details and press MENU. Highlight Delete and press ENTER.

    Figure 5: Waypoint list
    Figure 5: Waypoint list

NB: Waypoints are stored separately from tracks. Therefore when you download or delete a track, the waypoints along that track will not be downloaded/deleted automatically.


You can switch the device off and on again during or after recording data. The data you recorded will be preserved.

Further options

See the Garmin GPSmap 62 manual for further options.

Downloading collected data to a PC

To download data from the GPSmap 62 to a Windows PC you need a USB cable (Mini B to Standard A).

Windows 7 SP1 and later have the necessary drivers built-in, if you use an older version of Windows, install the Garmin USB driver.

With the GPSmap 62 switched off, lift the rubber lid on the back top, plug the USB cable into the socket and connect the other end of the cable to a USB port on your PC.

Switch your GPS on. Windows installs the driver, this might take a minute or two. On the PC the GPSmap 62 is used like a USB storage device: Open Windows Explorer. You see the GPSmap 62 in your devices list, click on it, and you see a Garmin folder .GPSmap62PC

Go into Garmin > GPX. Here you can see various files:

  • A waypoints file for each day
  • A track file for each saved track. Note: while you record a track, it is automatically saved in the subfolder Current. Only when you explicitly save the track on the GPSmap 62, the track file is moved into the GPX folder and a new track is created in Current.

To download and archive your collected GPS data simply copy these files onto your computer. When you finish, right-click the GPSmap 62 and Eject.

Using the data

The GPSmap 62 stores the data in the GPX format.

With Google Earth: simply drag and drop the GPS data files onto Google Earth.  Google Earths ask for import options, you usually want to tick ‘adjust altitudes to ground height’, and for tracks also ‘Create KML line strings’.

With ArcGIS: From version 10.1 ArcGIS has a tool to covert GPX files into ArcGIS Geodatabase Feature Classes. You can find the tool in the Conversion toolbox > From GPS > GPX To Features. See here for details.


After you verified that your data was processed correctly, you can delete the data from the GPS device. To do so, follow the instructions above (“clear old data”).

Always delete your data from the GPS before returning the device .


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