Question about Garmin GPSMAP 196


New Member
I would like to buy a Garmin GPSMAP 196. I live in Europe (Portugal) but also want to use it flying in the US when I'm back visiting. I looked at Sporty's and I can get the Atlantic (European) version of the GPS for a lot less than I can buy it for here in Europe.

I assume that I have to buy the Americas database separately. I have scoured lots of websites but can't find any info on how easy it is to change the database back and forth between Atlantic and Americas, or even how it's done. Does it work via a USB cable? Does anyone know how much the software (Jeppesen database) costs?

Can anyone help me?


I believe the users Flyitup and Ophir had / have the GPS 196 so they may be able to help if you email them.

I don't know how active they are on here anymore so you might need to run a search. Also, do a search on Garmin 196 and you're bound to find some good stuff.


New Member
Thanks SkyGuyEd. I did run a search but didn't come up with anything that answered my question. It's quite specific so I didn't know if anyone could help, even if they do have a 196. Thanks for the tip on Flyitup and Ophir.


New Member
If you have any questions, GARMIN's Product Support Department can be reached Monday through Friday 8am to 5 pm Central Standard Time, by phone at 1 800 800 11020, or by E-Mail at

That from pg. 1 of the manual. [P.S. good piece of equipment]


Thanks SkyGuyEd. I did run a search but didn't come up with anything that answered my question.

[/ QUOTE ]

Whoops missed the fine print on that one; ahhh well it's still good stuff!


New Member
I have a 196 but I am not sure I understand your question. Are you asking how you up date the database or If you can change the base map from US to Euro? As far as updating the database its pretty straight forward the 196 attaches to computer via a special serial cable. I don't think you can change the base map. You can add data cards and load jepp databases, the data carda load via USB.

This is from Garmin FAQ!

Q. Can I load one of the International Jeppesen databases into my Garmin GPS unit if I currently have an Americas database?

A. Yes. You can get a diskette for whichever database you want to download to the unit. It is important to realize that the old database will be erased, so if you want to restore the original database at a later time, you will also need an additional diskette in order to change back.

It is also important to note that models with built-in mapping (such as the GPS III Pilot, GPSMAP 195 and GPSMAP 295) will show built-in ground map detail for only one of two regions: North/Central/South America or Europe/Africa/Asia/Australia. Updating the Jeppesen database will not affect the built-in "base map". For example, if a GPS III Pilot with Americas Jeppesen database and Americas basemap is updated with an Atlantic International Jeppesen database, the Jeppesen data will then cover Europe and Africa. However, the built-in base map will still cover North, Central and South America - so the ground detail will not be the same quality provided by a GPS III Pilot with the International base map. The base map in your GPS receiver cannot be updated or changed. (Two notable exceptions are the GPSMAP 195 or GPSMAP 295 coupled with additional data on a plug-in cartridge . With the GPSMAP 195 or GPSMAP 295, you CAN have BOTH base maps in the receiver simultaneously. For the GPSMAP 195, base map data is available on plug-in cartridges allowing you to have one base map built-in and the other on a cartridge. For the GPSMAP 295, you would use a blank programmable plug-in cartridge and one of our MapSource line of CD-ROMs. This makes the GPSMAP 195 or GPSMAP 295 an ideal choice for the international traveler!)

Hope this helps!!!


New Member
Thanks for the replies. Here is an email I wrote to Sporty's customer service and their reply - for the sake of the JC knowledge database.

By the way, I was more specific in my question to Sporty's than in my original post; I'm sure that helped! I sent the email to Garmin, as well, but they might as well not have a sales email address because they never responded.


I have some questions for which I have had a lot of
trouble finding the answers. I live in Portugal but
travel often to the United States and would like to
purchase the GPSMAP 196 to use in both places for its
aviation and street navigation features.

1. If I purchase either the Americas or Atlantic
version of the unit, is the base map of the same
quality for all areas worldwide? For example, if I
purchase the Atlantic version, is the base map detail
for North America of a lesser quality?

2. What do I need to purchase in order to use the
GPSMAP 196 with equally good results in both Europe
and the United States for aviation and street

3. What do I need to do to the unit each time I travel
between Europe and the US to make it usable as I've
described above?

Thank you in advance for your answers to my questions!
Reply from Sporty's:

Thank you for your e-mail reply. The base map included with the Garmin GPSMAP 196 is not a detailed worldwide database. It is more detailed specific for the area the database covers (i.e. Americas - North, South, and Central America). There is the MapSource World map software available that will give you the basemap detail in a world-wide format. This is not an item we stock, however, it may be special ordered. The cost for this software would be $116.65 plus shipping and handling. There is also a $15.00 fee for all special ordered items and a 50% restocking fee for returns of special ordered items.

Once you have purchased aviation database updates for the Americas database and Atlantic International database you may switch the aviation information between the two.

For more detailed street information for the United States we recomend the 7138A Auto Kit ($299.99). This kit includes the MapSource City Select US CD with full coverage. This will provide you with complete street-level detail for the entire United States. There is also a Mapsource European City Select CD available for the street-level information in Europe. This item is also something that we do not stock but can bve ordered as a special order. The cost for this item would be $349.99 plus shipping and handling. The special order fees would also apply to the purchase of this item.

You may also find a little more information on these products by logging on to Garmin's website at Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.