Garmin plunges into the backcountry hunting market with a subscription service offering premium, regularly updated maps.
Serious backcountry hunters, take note — Garmin’s new subscription service might compel you to rethink your current navigation setup.
Garmin today announced a subscription-based map bundle called Outdoor Maps+. The service is available for an annual fee of $50 and offers “frequently updated” maps complete with “premium elevation contours, landowner names, and boundaries for public/private land types, as well as other enhanced mapping content,” according to a press release.
The Outdoor Maps+ service is compatible with Garmin Montana 700 series GPS devices. To stay current, users can connect their devices to Outdoor Maps+ via Wi-Fi for map updates. Per Garmin, the subscription includes:
- Regularly updated mapping data for all 50 US states
- Downloadable, photorealistic imagery for a high-resolution aerial perspective
- Elevation contours with premium, high-density topo maps and detailed mapping of inland lake shorelines, rivers, and streams
- State plat (property lot) maps with parcel boundaries and landowner names to see where tracts of land are divided
- Public land maps including federal and state ownership. National wildlife refuges, state and national parks, Waterfowl Production Areas, and Wildlife Management Areas are marked, so users can better understand public land boundaries.
- Hunting management unit boundaries with multiple species where applicable
- Access to the latest US Geological Survey (USGS) 24k quad names as well as Bureau of Land Management township and range lines
“This collection is a significant value for customers because it bundles many of our more sought-after data sets into a single purchase that is always up to date, eliminating the need for multiple purchases or concerns of out-of-date cartography,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales.
Garmin Outdoor Maps+ Compared to onX Hunt
Garmin Outdoor Maps+ has several notable differences in comparison to the popular onX Hunt subscription service.
OnX Hunt comes at two subscription levels: Premium ($30 per year) and Elite ($100 per year). The Premium level includes land ownership maps for a single state, offline map capability, customizable waypoints, and a variety of 3D, topo, and satellite base maps. The Elite level comes with all of the above, plus nationwide land ownership maps and Canadian hunting maps.
But perhaps the biggest difference between Garmin Outdoor Maps+ and onX Hunt is that Garmin’s platform interfaces solely with its Montana 700 series of dedicated navigation devices. By contrast, onX Hunt is an iOS, Android, and desktop app.
The upshot? Hunters who would prefer the benefits of a dedicated GPS device over a smartphone (durability, longer battery life, not having to drain phone battery for navigation) now have a one-stop-shop mapping option with regular updates built in.
It doesn’t hurt that the Garmin Montana 700 has other noteworthy features, such as dog tracking and communication with other Garmin devices (such as the inReach).
The downside, of course, is that Garmin Outdoor Maps+ requires an additional $600 piece of gear in order to work.