Garmin GPSMAP 78

Waterproof handheld GPS

  • Garmin GPSMAP 78


  • Garmin GPSMAP 78



Our take on the Garmin GPSMAP 78

by Jon Paulette

Ready to go anywhere

Garmin designed the GPSMAP 78 for boaters, jet skiers, kayakers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who need a powerful navigation device that's compact, rugged, and ready for adventure. With a crisp color display, a high-sensitivity receiver, molded rubber side grips, plus a microSD™ card slot for loading additional maps, the slim, lightweight GPSMAP 78 is a terrific companion on land or sea. It even floats!

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The versatile GPSMAP 78 comes with built-in worldwide basemap, so you can navigate anywhere with ease. With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix™ satellite prediction, the GPSMAP 78 locates your position quickly and maintains its GPS location even when you're in heavy cover — trees, canyon walls, or skyscrapers.

Need more maps?

Garmin offers a wide selection of detailed marine, topographic and road maps (sold separately) on microSD card. Plug in BlueChart® g2 preloaded cards for a great day on the water or City Navigator NT® map data for turn-by-turn routing on roads. The card slot is located inside the IPX7-rated waterproof battery compartment, so it won't be damaged by rain or spray.

The GPSMAP 78 also supports BirdsEye™ Satellite Imagery (subscription required), that lets you download satellite images and integrate into with your maps. In addition, this Garmin is compatible with Custom Maps, free software that transforms paper and electronic maps into downloadable maps fthat work on your device.

Get connected

After a busy day of exploring, you can connect the 78 to your laptop and visit the Garmin Connect™ website for a detailed analysis of your activities. This site offers an activity table and allows you to view your activities on a map using Google™ Earth. You can explore routes uploaded by other Garmin Connect users, and share your experiences on your favorite social media platforms. The GPSMAP 78 also supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit.


  • designed for boating, watersports, and outdoor activities
  • 65K color display (160 x 240 pixels)
  • store up to 2000 waypoints and 200 routes
  • navigate to geotagged photos
  • includes tide tables, sun/moon info, and hunting/fishing calendar
  • compatible with Garmin Connect™
  • USB and NMEA 0183 compatible
  • 1.7 GB internal memory
  • accepts optional microSD cards
  • waterproof rating: IPX7
  • display size: 1.43" x 2.15" (3.6 x 5.5 cm); 2.6" diag (6.6 cm)
  • dimensions: 2.6" W x 6" H x 1.2" D (6.6 x 15.2 x 3.0 cm)
  • requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Hand-held marine GPS
  • Wrist strap
  • 19.5" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Mini-B USB 2.0 on other end)
  • Quick Start Manual (English)
  • Quick Start Manual (French)
  • Quick Start Manual (Spanish)
  • Quick Start Manual (German)
  • Quick Start Manual (Italian)
  • Quick Start Manual (Portuguese)
  • Specialized maps for land and sea (brochure)
  • Important Safety and Product Information
  • Getting Your Manuals from the Device sheet

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.


Overview: The Garmin GPSMAP 78 is a hand-held GPS designed for use on or near the water. This IPX7 waterproof navigator includes a worldwide basemap. It also has a microSD card slot for optional maps, such as detailed coastal charts, or topographical or highway maps for your travels on land. It is powered by two "AA" batteries (not included).

GPS Receiver: The unit has a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver which lets you quickly locate your precise location within 10-to-16 feet. HotFix satellite prediction helps the unit maintain your GPS location, even when your overhead view is restricted.

Compass/Altimeter: The GPSMAP 78 is equipped with an electronic compass that is accurate to within 2 degrees. The bearing pointer appears as a red arrow at the top of the compass screen when you are traveling directly toward your destination.

Display: The device has a 2.6" vertically-oriented, 160 x 240-pixel, backlit TFT 65K color display. It is not a touchscreen display.

Included Maps: The GPSMAP 78 comes with the worldwide DEM basemap. You can purchase additional maps on microSD cards, such as BlueChart g2 coastal maps, City Navigator NT to give you turn-by-turn routing on roads or topographical maps for exploring on land.

Geocaches: If you are active in Geocaching, you can connect the unit to the Internet via your computer and download the coordinates. The unit has a Geocaches menu position where you can find your downloaded Geocaches and navigate to them.

Data Storage: The unit has a built-in memory of approximately 1.7 GB. A microSD card slot is provided inside the battery compartment for additional maps or data storage.

Water Resistance: The GPSMAP 78 is designed for use on or near the water. It is made of high-impact plastic alloy, so it can withstand rough treatment. The rubberized side grips let you keep a firm grasp of the device, even in wet conditions. The fully-gasketed navigator meet IPX7 standards, and is waterproof to withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Power Requirements: The GPSMAP 78 operates on alkaline, Lithium, or rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. Alkaline batteries can fail in temperature extremes, and it is recommended that Lithium batteries be used in below-freezing temperatures. Battery life is approximately 20 hours with typical usage.

Connections: The unit has three connectors under a water-resistant cover:

  • MCX: The MCX connector allows you to connect an external GPS antenna, such as the GA 25MCX Low Profile GPS antenna.
  • USB: The Mini-B 2.0 USB port lets you connect to your computer with the supplied USB cable.
  • Serial Port: This 4-pin serial port is designed specifically for use with the Garmin A/C PC Adapter (item 010-10277-00). It connects the device to A/C power and to your computer.

Additional Tools: For convenience, the GPSMAP 78 has several tools that you can use:

  • Calendar: for checking dates at a glance
  • Calculator: for calculating basic math functions
  • Sun and Moon: displays sunrise and sunset times, and moon phases
  • Alarm Clock: you can set an audible alarm, or to turn the device on at a specific time
  • Hunt and Fish: displays the predicted best dates and times for hunting and fishing at your current location
  • Stopwatch: perform basic stopwatch functions, including marking and timing laps
  • Waypoint Averaging: allows you to refine a waypoint location with multiple samples for the most accurate location
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