The Garmin Emap-AU is a locally produced variant of Garmin's Emap. It comes preloaded with Australian maps and an Australian Cities Database. The latter is NOT available from any other variant of the EMap and hence if you purchase an Emap from overseas you will miss out on the Australian Cities Database.
Garmin also provides a SW package called MapSource with the only version providing Australian maps, being the WorldMap variant. MapSource has the ability to create waypoints, routes etc and transfer these back and forth between all Garmin receivers. In addition, it has the ability to load maps into map capable Garmin receivers, Emap, III+, 12MAP, Etrex Vista etc.
Unfortunately what Garmin does not warn you about, is that if you load maps from MapSource CD into a Emap-AU you will erase the Australian Cities Database. There is no user way back. You have to send the memory cartridge back to GME for reprogramming to re-establish the Australian Cities DB.
If you do load the maps via MapSource, what you will get however, is a very large world wide cities database without any Australian entries. You'll also get most of the navigation lights of Australian Waterways.
The technical person I talked to at GME Australia indicated that for a labour charge, GME could reprogram a non AU EMap with this data. However GME sales and marketing may have a different view. (ie they don't want to encourage overseas purchases)
The other issue that has generated a few e-mails has been the accuracy of the Australian maps on the EMap. The problem stems from the fact that the Australian maps are generated from a world wide map of a fairly small scale. Thus when you zoom in for more detail, the information is just not there. Its like trying to find your home street on a 1:4,000,000 map of Australia!
The good news is that GME is working with a mapping company to supply far more accurate maps for Australia along with some very detailed UBD style street maps of major cities. This is likely to be released mid 2001, along with a swag of other 'places of interest' databases. This is likely to be an add on product to MapSource.
More when it comes to hand.
Sept 28th 2001 Update:
OK more news, current ship date is late in the year maybe early 2002 for the update map product. Product will be like Magellan's, ie CD based, pay for what you need via Garmin's web site. Looks like being a fee per region, eg pay for NSW, and VIC and QLD etc etc. Detail will be the same as that available on the Magellans, ie Where'Is style UBD format. Covers most large towns and cities. Not likely to include any more detail for country areas than that already provided via MapSource. Will need MapSource to load maps & points of interest into the GPS. MapSource currently sells for around A$180.
"Everything is presently in production for Australia. We are now simply waiting for stock to arrive.
The initial release of the Map data will be the auto-routing City Navigator version for the Street Pilot and GPS V, followed shortly afterwards by a non auto-routing metroguide version for products like the eMap, Vista and Legend, Map76, Map176 and other suitable Map products."