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ztbishop

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GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« on: September 14, 2015, 12:08:43 PM »

I might post this on mtbr or garmin forums but thought I'd ask here first in hopes that people I know won't flame me for my ignorance on the topic.

I finally broke down and picked up a Garmin 1000, thinking it would be a good way to manage rides, and more importantly to use for mapping - although this part isn't quite what I had in mind.  Note - I got the bundle with the spinning speed sensor you slap on the hub so my distance will actually be accurate.


1. What would be the best place to download maps?  Singletracks looks good, and I get that it costs money to run a service.  But I was looking for alternatives before paying an annual fee.  I came across mtbproject recently and this seems to be the best source I can find.  Which brings me to #2.


2. Sometimes the tracks on mtbproject or other sources are broken into loops rather than an entire 'park'.  The Garmin seems to only load one 'track' at a time.  Any ways around this? 
-I have tried loading several tracks into map editors and combining them, which requires (a.) lots of manual editing otherwise (b.) crazy lines all over the place connecting the (previously) individual tracks.


3. When loading a track into the Garmin it seems like this function is set more to follow the direction / points that are already IN the track, rather than just using it as a map to know where you're at.  Is there a better way to go about this if you're say....going to pisgah? 
For instance, Garmin has a 'Birdseye' paid imagery that can be downloaded and overlaid with your maps. 
Would there be a way to make your own type of 'birdseye' imagery lining the trails, and overlay that on your maps (rather than using a TRACK)?


4. The new Garmin uses OpenStreetMaps which has free upgrades (nice).  Has anyone tinkered with adding a type of free topo map to their memory stick to use alongside the included maps?  Again, Garmin offers paid topo, or subscription based topo maps with their 'birdseye' function.  But I'm trying to avoid annual memberships.


5. HOW to get tracks from the web TO THE DEVICE.
The Garminconnect function on mobile phone (bluetooth) turns out to be pretty much non-functional for sending gps tracks straight to the device without a PC.  Rather than using a web browser to import a gpx file as an 'activity' (not included in the mobile app), THEN convert the activity to a 'Course', THEN use either a pc or mobile phone bluetooth to send the 'course' to the device, you can do this:
Place the .gpx file into the Garmin/new files  directory on the Garmin device or a memory card, and the device automatically turns it into a course.  This actually works, as the first method mentioned fails most of the time.  Since my phone doesn't have a memory slot, I found a 'USB OTG (on the go) device that will plug into a mobile phone's charging port and act as storage with the right app.  So I suppose I could use this device to place place a .gpx file from my phone onto the memory card, then put the memory card into the Garmin and Voila!  It's almost TOO EASY, right?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 12:12:48 PM by ztbishop »

PKemppainen

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2015, 03:42:58 PM »
I might post this on mtbr or garmin forums but thought I'd ask here first in hopes that people I know won't flame me for my ignorance on the topic.

I finally broke down and picked up a Garmin 1000, thinking it would be a good way to manage rides, and more importantly to use for mapping - although this part isn't quite what I had in mind.  Note - I got the bundle with the spinning speed sensor you slap on the hub so my distance will actually be accurate.


1. What would be the best place to download maps?  Singletracks looks good, and I get that it costs money to run a service.  But I was looking for alternatives before paying an annual fee.  I came across mtbproject recently and this seems to be the best source I can find.  Which brings me to #2.


2. Sometimes the tracks on mtbproject or other sources are broken into loops rather than an entire 'park'.  The Garmin seems to only load one 'track' at a time.  Any ways around this? 
-I have tried loading several tracks into map editors and combining them, which requires (a.) lots of manual editing otherwise (b.) crazy lines all over the place connecting the (previously) individual tracks.


3. When loading a track into the Garmin it seems like this function is set more to follow the direction / points that are already IN the track, rather than just using it as a map to know where you're at.  Is there a better way to go about this if you're say....going to pisgah? 
For instance, Garmin has a 'Birdseye' paid imagery that can be downloaded and overlaid with your maps. 
Would there be a way to make your own type of 'birdseye' imagery lining the trails, and overlay that on your maps (rather than using a TRACK)?


4. The new Garmin uses OpenStreetMaps which has free upgrades (nice).  Has anyone tinkered with adding a type of free topo map to their memory stick to use alongside the included maps?  Again, Garmin offers paid topo, or subscription based topo maps with their 'birdseye' function.  But I'm trying to avoid annual memberships.


5. HOW to get tracks from the web TO THE DEVICE.
The Garminconnect function on mobile phone (bluetooth) turns out to be pretty much non-functional for sending gps tracks straight to the device without a PC.  Rather than using a web browser to import a gpx file as an 'activity' (not included in the mobile app), THEN convert the activity to a 'Course', THEN use either a pc or mobile phone bluetooth to send the 'course' to the device, you can do this:
Place the .gpx file into the Garmin/new files  directory on the Garmin device or a memory card, and the device automatically turns it into a course.  This actually works, as the first method mentioned fails most of the time.  Since my phone doesn't have a memory slot, I found a 'USB OTG (on the go) device that will plug into a mobile phone's charging port and act as storage with the right app.  So I suppose I could use this device to place place a .gpx file from my phone onto the memory card, then put the memory card into the Garmin and Voila!  It's almost TOO EASY, right?

Based on my experience creating the map for O'Bannon Woods, the MTBProject website has a different way of loading the trail information. From what I recall, instead of loading up an entire map of a park, they asked for each trail to be entered as a separate item. Then you  "link" them together to create a "featured ride". (Or maybe it was vice-versa, first the "featured ride" and then the trails that made up the ride.)

My understanding is that the idea wasn't so much to create a map of the place, but to create a "ride" to share with others. That's why you've had to load up all the different segments. If you load up the .gpx of the "featured ride" it will show the trails that make up the "featured ride", but not necessarily every trail in the park. (At least that's how it worked for me when I tried it.)

I know the Garmin Connect phone app isn't anywhere near useful as the web-based program, and loading up information doesn't appear to be possible, but by going through the Garmin Connect website via Safari on my iPhone, I was able to download a course onto my Edge. 

For now, try this as a test. This is a map of the new "featured ride" at O'Bannon. The MTB Project information for O'Bannon has not been edited since we added the new trails. The new featured ride is about 17 miles long and covers everything we recently finished. Let's see who can view it. It may only work for Garmin Connect users.:


https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/10766048

Nate may also be able to offer more insight. He seems to know his GPS stuff quite well.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 03:45:28 PM by PKemppainen »

ztbishop

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2015, 10:31:00 PM »
I was able to send your course straight to my Garmin Edge thru USB.  And after 1 day of owning the device I've answered most of my own questions.


1. mtbproject seems to be the best source as far as I can tell.  It may not have ALL of the most recent stuff but it seems like they have a QA in process similar to singletracks site.


2. The Garmin Edge 1000 has an option when selecting each course to set it as 'always on' - so I could set each stretch of trail in a park to 'always on' and have a full map.  Excellent!


3&4. Still not sure about doing a custom image overlay or having custom topo maps at the same time as the street maps - haven't had a whole lot of time to look.


5. No straight forward way of moving straight from phone to Garmin thru Bluetooth.  With enough shenanigans of using the web version of GarminConnect it sort of worked but half the time resulted in corrupted files causing all device sync to fail until I cleared the courses from my queue.


--I was able to plug a micro memory card into a micro SD to USB stick adapter, and the USB stick adapter into a USB OTG (on the go) adapter, and into my phone's USB charge port (since it has no memory slot). -USB OTG adapter was on sale for $0.99 at Fry's today.  I then downloaded a gpx file from the WEB version of mtbproject on my phone since I saw no way to do it in the mobile app. I then used ES File Explorer to copy the gpx file from my phone's download folder to the memory card, then stuck the memory card into the Garmin Edge and had the trail. 
I know it sounds like a PITA, but it was easy once I figured it out, and I can see that being useful if one takes an unexpected trip somewhere.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 10:33:06 PM by ztbishop »

allmountin

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2015, 10:09:13 AM »
You might try the newly released TrailForks app as well.  I haven't tried to download a gpx from it yet, but they offer more maps in some places and they use an overall map instead of a featured ride. 

I used TrailForks a few times for nav on my last vacation.  Pretty good, but maps are not exhaustive for all locations.  At Shindagin Hollow, for example, a lot of optional and connector trails were missing, including some of the gravity trails I was interested in.  I ended up using TrailForks for basic nav, and using Strava Explore to locate the missing segments. 

TrailForks had no data for Ellicottville, so it's best to check both for the best info.

mtbikernate

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 02:48:05 PM »
There are a few different ways to utilize mapping features on your Garmin.


MTBProject and other sites like that aren't exactly optimized for use with your Garmin. They sorta work, but the best way to do so would be to send "Rides" to your Garmin, not the "Trails".


You've figured out how to use the track navigation aspect of your GPS.


Next step is to make use of that giant screen to show some real maps.


Data availability can be a bit iffy, though. Garmin's maps suck for showing trails. Plain and simple. I avoid them.


The site you want is gpsfiledepot.com for basemaps. You'll load them onto your GPS with Garmin Basecamp. You CAN layer them. For example, there's are nice topo layers for every state. There's also a layer with trails for a big part of the country you can layer on top of the topo maps. It's not perfect, but it's more detailed for the eastern US than for the western US.


You can also create your own trail overlays from data you obtain elsewhere, if you can't find one already made.


I wrote about doing so awhile back here: http://thegpsgeek.com/blog/archives/849


These won't be routable unless you spring for the high dollar software that will do that job. But you can combine a basemap reference layer with a navigable track of the trail you actually plan to ride, and have a better overview of the trail network.

ztbishop

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2015, 11:03:17 AM »
Thanks I'll give the tutorial a look-thru!

ztbishop

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 11:39:24 PM »
Nate, what would you say are the best 'free' topo maps (or do you use any)?
The Edge 1000 actually uses (OSM) OpenStreetMap which is free and regularly updated, instead of the previous paid CityNav.  But there i was thinking a Topo map to lay underneath the trails would look pretty nice when going over elevation changes. 
Hopefully I will have some free time soon to try out your other recommendations.
Note - I was looking here for the Topo maps.  The free stuff doesn't seem to be regularly updated, but likely not a big deal.
http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/

mtbikernate

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Re: GPS 'maps' instead of 'tracks'
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 09:37:47 PM »
Update frequency generally isn't a big deal. Especially for topos. OSM maps are better for roads but gpsfiledepot has better topos.

 

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