Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => GPS => Topic started by: Blodwyn Pig on February 29, 2020, 05:05:15 pm

Title: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Blodwyn Pig on February 29, 2020, 05:05:15 pm
I hear these names Gramin, e-trex,wahoo, etc,and I don't have a clue what they are , what they do, and how they differ and do I need one.

As I understand it,

there are things that record your ride, so you can 'map my ride/stava' type thing, are they the same?
there are things that you download audax routes on to?
there are things that have maps,  I think?

I use a halfords trip computer, ( 5 function, so super basic) and I am a techonumpty.

Do I need something new, what should I be looking for, what is a good mix of the above? if at all possible, and what do they cost..

Sorry to be so vague, but I have noo one else to ask, but you lot..... :)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 29, 2020, 05:13:22 pm
Do you need something new? Only if you want to do something not possible with your trip computer.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: telstarbox on February 29, 2020, 05:14:50 pm
Do you want to use it to navigate, to record your rides on a map, and/or something else?
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on February 29, 2020, 05:29:51 pm
*passes a tin opener for the can of worms*

There are various products that do various combinations of the above things, and they're all bad.  The trick is working out what you want to use it for, so you can decide where to compromise...

For example, a mobile phone will be brilliant at showing maps, but means you have to think about battery life[1] and probably waterproofing and how to attach it to the bike and so on.  It might not be ideal for logging because you can't rely on apps staying running in the background.

A simple tracking-only device will reliably record where you've been, but won't give you any navigation features at all.

A Garmin eTrex is designed for hiking.  It will run for ages on AA batteries, is completely weatherproof and is pretty good at logging rides, mediocre at maps, hopeless at turn-by-turn navigation and has a steep learning curve appropriate to its heritage as a device from the 1990s that you'd use alongside your compass and paper map.

The Garmin Edge series sacrifices the battery life of the eTrex for the (in)convenience of USB charging, a neater cycling-specific form-factor and a load of training/racing related options that are mostly of interest to PE teachers.  The user interface and map-rendering performance suck in broadly similar ways, and it's just as bad at turn-by-turn navigation.

Wahoo are a competitor to Garmin, who seem to have a more user-friendly workflow, but seem quite wedded to things like Strava and mobile phones.

Basic cycle computers are hard to beat for the simple tasks of telling you what time it is and how far you've ridden.


In general, logging is easy.
Displaying maps is eminently achievable, but if you want to scroll around and get a 'big picture' view, you'll need something with more CPU grunt (and probably a bigger, high resolution display) than a power-optimised GPS receiver - think Android and IOS devices.
Displaying a map with a line on it for some audax or other is a little harder, but most devices will do it.
Getting turn-by-turn instructions from point A to point B is achievable on more expensive models.
Getting turn-by-turn instructions from point A to point B on a route suitable for your bike and motor traffic/hill/COR preferences is much harder, and will frustrate you.
Getting turn-by-turn instructions along the pre-planned route of some audax or other is the holy grail; none of these devices are really designed to do it, and while there are various methods of mis-using their navigation features to achieve something close, it will require more than a little voodoo, and the expectation should be that it will go wrong and try to send you off-route down some 70mph dual cabbageway or Sustrans bog-snorkelling course at some point.
It should also be said that paper maps and routesheets have all sorts of horrendous failure modes too, but you're probably used to working around them.


(If you have a smartphone, I'd strongly suggest playing with some likely looking apps on that for a bit to work out what you do and don't want it to do, before investing in an expensive device that will infuriate you.)


[1] Anything require you to connect a power source while riding along is well into "now you have two problems" territory.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Blodwyn Pig on February 29, 2020, 05:35:04 pm
Wow Kim! yet another stunning answer...................So, not simple then ??? :facepalm:  din't think it would be really :-\
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: hatler on February 29, 2020, 05:49:16 pm
I was at BP's stage a few years ago (and I haven't exactly progressed very much).

I tried really hard to follow any number of threads to try to gain an insight into how the mysterious world of GPS worked. I even asked a couple of questions along similar lines, with the emphasis on KISS, but typically, about five posts in, it had got to a level of detail that made it all sound hideously complicated and faff heavy.

I worked out that what I wanted most of all was to not get lost, so a map and a pointer on the map saying where I was was enough. Referring to paper maps during a ride is tedious, especially so when trying to combine that with a dot on your phone screen.

I ended up getting a secondhand SatMap. It displays OS maps (and I know how to interpret those without any special training), and shows where you are on that map. That's all I need/want. No special skills really required to get out of it what you want.

As a bonus, I can load a gpx track onto it which I can follow, and it will record where I've been (fun when it comes to recording off-piste routes when skiing with a guide, so that I can go back and find them at a later date). (It doesn't do route creation, A to B, but I don't want that.)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on February 29, 2020, 05:59:27 pm
I ended up getting a secondhand SatMap. It displays OS maps (and I know how to interpret those without any special training), and shows where you are on that map. That's all I need/want. No special skills really required to get out of it what you want.

Objection: You know how to interpret those because you've already had the special training.  It's not innate, it's a learned skill just as much as Tracks and Routes and RideWithGps and OSM and GPX and FIT and USB storage and so on.

I should also point out that much as I love an OS map, they're not actually very good for display on a GPS device, both because you can't see very much of one on a small screen (the Satmap is a relatively large device specifically to address this issue) and because they lack detail at the how-does-this-junction-work level.  Hence GPS devices tend to use vector maps, that can be zoomed in on more usefully for that sort of thing, and optionally interpreted by the device itself for "take the second exit" level instructions.  The downside to vector maps is clutter management.  OS maps are lovingly hand-crafted by cartographers at a few different scales, where a GPS device or smartphone has to work out what not to show at a given zoom level algorithmically.

FWIW, my general approach to cycling navigation is to use a Garmin eTrex with a vector road map, uploading a line-on-a-map 'Track' for things like audaxes, and doing some extra fucking about with Routes and Waypoints to arrange for not-always-correct prompts so that I don't miss turnings and info controls.  When just-in-time planning is called for, I dig out my Android smartphone or tablet, and display an Ordnance Survey map (complete with "you are here" arrow), because that's much better for big-picture and does-this-bridleway-join-up-with-the-road stuff, while the Garmin is better at how-does-the-next-junction-work (and logging).  Very occasionally, I'll use the Garmin like a car sat-nav to automagically calculate a route to a railway station or something, because that's better than stopping to look at maps in urban areas.

(I'm not necessarily recommending this approach to anyone.  A lot of it hinges on being familiar with both OS map navigation and having used Garmin's hiking GPS receivers since the early noughties, and wanting to have as little to with web-based services as possible.)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Paul H on February 29, 2020, 06:55:40 pm
So, not simple then ??? :facepalm:  din't think it would be really :-\
Well, it's as simple or as complex as you make it. 
I have a Garmin Touring, which I find simpler to use than the Etrex that preceded it.  In Kim's list, the Touring is an Edge with most of the sport elements removed.  I don't often bother to go beyond the line on a map, Audax, touring, day rides, it's very simple. Plan the route on the PC, load it, switch it on, follow it, I have it zoomed in and just glance when there's a junction coming up and again once through it, on the odd occasion I've miss read it that's obvious before going very far.  Recording is just a matter of pressing a button to start, though there's no sign that you've remembered to do that :-[  I have occasionally let it decide a short bit of route for me, to a campsite, or railway station or supermarket... that works OK, maybe not the best route, but it's always got me there.
On the other points - I use paper maps for the bigger picture, I wouldn't be riding through an unfamiliar area without one anyway.  It lasts several days on a powerpack, so I've never found it less convenient that the Etrex's AA batteries.  Cost was about £150 and comes with the maps installed, it's about five years old, I think the current equivalent is the Explore.
I wouldn't be without it, it's enhanced my cycling considerably, I'll plan a route with a lot of turns because it looks a nicer route where I'd previously go for something simpler if the navigation looked like a faff.  Others are of the opposite opinion, you'll have to make your own mind up.

Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Ham on February 29, 2020, 07:06:04 pm
Let me try to simplify, a little.

There are four main activities for which a GPS can be used, first decide which of those you want to do, and then how much you want to optimise, and finally how much you want to spend.

1 - Cycling
2 - Running/other physical activities
3 - Motoring, especially in furrn parts
4 - Hiking

If you want to do 1, 3 & 4 and you can afford it, the Garmin Oregon is the likely best option. (excellent for hiking, very good for bikes, good for motoring (IPX7 waterproofing, AA batteries with decent life, larger screen than all but phones, multiple map capability, vaguely acceptable routing adaptable to activity)

If it is only a subset of that, you have to resolve all the questions raised by everyone else.

Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: cycleman on February 29, 2020, 07:07:27 pm
The problem I find with most online mapping is a lack of distinction between roads bridlways  and paths. With os maps you can see what you are getting into. I used to have a satmap and as long as I was prepared to take the time to load a route it saved me stopping to check where I was going at every junction. I now use the Garmin edge touring which will plan me a  circular route in a  strange area for me at my choice of distance and the routing is generally okay. Battery life is it's main drawback for me but I am going to get a backup battery for it sometime later in the year  .😀
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: hatler on February 29, 2020, 08:35:39 pm
I ended up getting a secondhand SatMap. It displays OS maps (and I know how to interpret those without any special training), and shows where you are on that map. That's all I need/want. No special skills really required to get out of it what you want.
Objection: You know how to interpret those because you've already had the special training.  It's not innate, it's a learned skill just as much as Tracks and Routes and RideWithGps and OSM and GPX and FIT and USB storage and so on.
Upheld.

I've become slightly tech-averse having had to continually re-learn yet another way of doing something I already know how to do. As such, if I can avoid learning another 'way' (by avoiding 'newtech') then I will. Given that OS is something I was fairly familiar with, Satmap was an easy choice.
Title: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: perpetual dan on February 29, 2020, 09:56:22 pm
I think a sense of what you’d like a GPS to do would help with the guiding. Expanding on your three a bit, and overlapping a fair bit with the above, I can think of:
 - replace the map you normally navigate by, with the convenience of a “you are here” indicator (I like a map, mostly I know where I am, but a pointer saves time when I don’t)
 - replace the map with a preplanned route overlaid (I’ve found this useful for audaxes)
 - let you make up routes in an ad-hoc way (never tried this, mostly I’d want a bigger screen or sheet of paper for that)
 - tell you how to get to point B and work it out for you (never tried, a good route is a pretty personal thing)
 - read or show text instructions (never tried this on a bike and I don’t fancy it)
 - record routes for Strava etc (yes, I find this handy)
 - show speed, distance time etc (like a typical bike computer)

As to which one, I have limited experience so will just offer anecdote...
I used to have a SatMap. I could already use (and like) an OS map. It’s a bit bigger, OK for a general view but I mostly used it with around a km around me. It worked well for following a planned route.

On Kim’s point, I never found I missed detailed junction layout information - at my speed road signs and looking mostly suffice to fill in what a 50k OS map doesn’t show. Sometimes it’s a bit cluttered, and vector could improve that. Equally, OS being reliable with paths, bridleways and byways is handy.

When water got in and fried it’s brain I went back to paper OS on a bar bag. I quite like the broader sense of where I am and have stuck with that for navigating.

I now have a Lezyne for recording and computer functions. It draws a track, but it’s a bit like an etch a sketch and has yet to prove useful.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on February 29, 2020, 10:35:07 pm
On Kim’s point, I never found I missed detailed junction layout information - at my speed road signs and looking mostly suffice to fill in what a 50k OS map doesn’t show. Sometimes it’s a bit cluttered, and vector could improve that. Equally, OS being reliable with paths, bridleways and byways is handy.

For cycling it's an urban vs rural thing mostly.  OS is most useful when you're interested in terrain (particularly paths, bridleways and contours) but would be almost useless for navigating in central London, where you care more about junction topology and - crucially - road names.

I find the usefulness of GPS changes, too.  In rural areas it's more about showing you where you are (and the convenience of light-up, waterproof, self-folding maps), whereas in urban areas you generally have a pretty good idea where you are, and it's more about giving you enough of a warning of what's coming next so that you don't have to stop to plan.

Hence I use both, depending on context.  (For completeness, I've used OS 1:50k maps on my eTrex, and concluded that while it's acceptable for hiking, the screen's just too small and sluggish at scrolling to use them effectively for cycling.  I've not used a Satmap, but the extra screen width[1] probably helps.)


[1] As OS maps are bitmaps, the device can't re-render the text on the fly.  Which means they're hard to read unless you have the device set to display the map 'north up'.  Vector maps are better suited to being rotated for 'direction of travel up' mode, which makes better use of the available space on a tall, narrow screen.  (Again, this is one of those things where what's best for walking isn't necessarily best for cycling or driving.)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: grams on February 29, 2020, 10:53:52 pm
The problem I find with most online mapping is a lack of distinction between roads bridlways  and paths. With os maps you can see what you are getting into.

A few planners can show road and surface type sourced from Open Street Map - cycle.travel and Komoot that I know of.

I’ve found the data is pretty good, but not fine grained enough to distinguish between the various different flavours of silly Sustrans path and your tolerances for each.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Bolt on February 29, 2020, 11:51:23 pm

(If you have a smartphone, I'd strongly suggest playing with some likely looking apps on that for a bit to work out what you do and don't want it to do, before investing in an expensive device that will infuriate you.)

I think this is very good advice :thumbsup: As far as apps are concerned, I would perhaps suggest Komoot as a good starting point being a relatively easy to use app that incorporates all of the features listed by Perpetual Dan. 

Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: andyoxon on March 01, 2020, 12:00:57 am
Starting Audax rides provided the impetus, but I use my etrex for all rides when I need navigational help (e.g. explorer rides).  I don't carry any backup paper maps, but do have a phone with offline OsmAnd mapping, if needed. I started in 2014 with a older style Garmin Etrex Vista HCx* (2xAA), using downloaded OSM free routable maps, and am still using a Vista HCx (not the same unit) for following tracks, constructed on RidewithGPS / Strava.  I buy secondhand units for <£30-60.  A few years ago I settled into simply following the coloured line track on the screen, glancing down when approaching a junction etc.  I have the free Garmin software BaseCamp & also Mapsource on the PC to download tracks to Etrex, fairly easy to use. Managing some level of quirky details seems to be the thing. FF's site info was/is very useful...  http://www.aukadia.net/gps/  At some point will probably get an 'Etrex 30' variant.

*Can't really recommend a Vista HCx, with design issues/ not the most robust; usually end up scavenging and generating a franken etrex.  But when mine is working it's pretty good, & does the job well.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on March 01, 2020, 08:24:47 am
My first answer probably didn't seem helpful but I still think it's the place to start. What do you want to do?

You've got a trip computer which will tell you how far and fast you've gone and are going, so if you're content with using paper maps, routesheets, following people, riding known routes, following your nose or getting lost for navigation, and a notebook if you want logging, you don't actually need anything else.

I got an eTrex several years ago because it was much easier than a routesheet for audaxes. I find the preloaded maps decent and use them in follow-the-line mode rather than turn by turn. I don't use the Garmin itself for planning, I do that online using something like rwgps or cycle.travel. If I rode more in unfamiliar urban areas, I'd probably want to use turn-by-turn navigation, more for cities, where
you tend to get more complex junctions, than towns. But I don't.

Some of its other functions, such as average speed and time of day, are useful for audaxing as is the logging for validation of DIYs. Apart from that I'm not concerned about logging or stats, so nothing to say there.

Where follow the map, rather than turn by turn, is really useful for me, is two situations: Getting lost – it's easy to look at the screen and see both where you are now and where you should be (the pink* line) and how to get there; Deliberate but impromptu detours from the planned route – same thing really.

*It's always pink on my device, I know other people call it purple.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: perpetual dan on March 01, 2020, 09:43:30 am

For cycling it's an urban vs rural thing mostly.  OS is most useful when you're interested in terrain (particularly paths, bridleways and contours) but would be almost useless for navigating in central London, where you care more about junction topology and - crucially - road names.


True. My urban cycling is mostly limited to places I already know my way around, and getting between Victoria / St Pancras and other mainline stations. “Do you care about cities? “ is probably a reasonable addition to the list of questions.
I seem to remember having a street name layer of mapping, but rarely used it. The bigger screen certainly helps with more detailed bitmap maps, though zooming beyond 2* or 0.5* isn’t terribly helpful.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: quixoticgeek on March 01, 2020, 10:28:58 am


Buy a Garmin Edge, someone will tell you you bought the wrong device.

Buy a Garmin etrex, someone will tell you it's 2020, and you bought the wrong device.

Buy a wahoo, someone will tell you you bought the wrong device

Buy another brand, someone will say "who?" And tell you you brought the wrong device.

Use a smartphone, and someone will ask "what about battery life?" And "how do you keep it waterproof?" And tell you you brought the wrong device...

I used an etrex 10 for years, it gave me a line on a screen, my speed, and nothing else, no map, nothing. Great for geocaching, shit for everything else.

I use a Wahoo elemnt bolt. I love it. I have 2. It works for the way I use a GPS. I don't do turn by turn directions, I use pre planned routes (Strava or komoot), and it provides me with a auto scrolling map with a "you are here" arrow and a line to follow. I can zoom to see more detail at junctions etc... The default screen is a map, with speed and cadence. I have a second mount on my Brompton. Some have commented that it's a bit of an unusual juxtaposition to have a Brompton with a wahoo, but I have the device, and it works fine for the urban cycling I do.

On a 300k Audax I picked up 3 other riders with faulty GPS (2x Garmin and 1x smart phone). And navigated all 4 of us to the finish. We had between us 2 working GPS. One on my handlebars, and a spare in my saddle bag...

Ultimately they will all probably do what you want, even if right now you're not sure what you want. Your choice will be considered wrong by some people. So pick what looks nice to you.

I like my wahoo

J
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: mzjo on March 01, 2020, 08:50:58 pm
I am about at your stage except that I have already taken the plunge and coughed up. New they are all relatively expensive (as Orwell's pigs might have said "all equally expensive but some are more equally than others") Living in a part of the world where a gps for my perceived need secondhand is about as common as rocking horse crottes I bought new (but it was a christmas present with contributions from the extended family).
I got it to help with route planning for club stuff. Our regular on-line route planner (Openrunner) is becoming more and more gps orientated (no longer produces route cards like it did a few years ago) so it seemed a logical step for the future. My need is really to download a trace that I have made myself and then ride it to test and debug before writing a paper route card (because I am one of the few in the locality who actually has bothered to get a gps). So far since the beginning of the year I have yet to achieve the slightest useful thing with it other than using the trip computer (which gives non-moving time, which would be useful if I could make it stop - at present the time spent consulting it just adds on to the non-moving time until I wipe it to reset). I will get back to reading the downloaded manual (which looks a bit like my first smartphone manual - 41pages of technoguff before it told me how to make a telephone call). As has been said, the learning curve is steep - and brutal!
If you know what you want a gps for then you can look further but speak to real people, because the publicity can be most misleading (I might have bought a Wahoo if it hadn't been for the emphasis on phone apps in the publicity and the uploading to strava aspect which turns me off completely).
If you don't know that you need a gps then you probably don't need one.
If you have aging eyesight be prepared for getting bifocals!
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 01, 2020, 09:16:42 pm
From your profile you are in North Kent.

It’d probably be really useful if people near you could meet you over a pint and show you some if the features of the one they have and answer any questions face to face.

We all have different needs and preferences from GPS. The preferences will change over time depending on what you are primarily using the GPS for. So you’ll never get a consensus on which one to get.

Garmin and Wahoo are manufacturers
Whilst eTrex  is a series / model range from Garmin.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 02, 2020, 01:49:11 pm
Here is a screen print from my Etrex 30x in map mode, navigating a track. You can load custom maps to the device for any part of the world. The mapping you are looking at is Open Street Map. You follow the purple line, with no prompts.  I've never bothered with prompted navigation, like a car satnav, as I've yet to see a GPS that does it well for bike rides. Besides I like my GPS to remain silent rather than beeping all the time.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JjpwmpFAgoIw-owv2Wi4ltiOvUOa5cJqBsRL_eOOlX_7Uoq4uyVfTa0kUJVECX-A-ytXlNsuqsBVk4J-YYZwA9hb0yVGwV2jApk8ZTabDlhQUgGhVQ8Srg5UEeyB5LZoVlOYA0Q-6Q)

Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 02, 2020, 04:58:43 pm
Besides I like my GPS to remain silent rather than beeping all the time.

Alternatively, getting your attention when you need to make a turning into a minor road, stop for an info control or similar is one of the best things about using a GPS receiver for cycling navigation.  I suppose it depends on how often you find yourself daydreaming and missing a turning (I always seem to do it downhill, making it twice as annoying).

Regardless, I'm reasonably sure that sounds (and lighting up the backlight) are optional for any sort of navigation.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 02, 2020, 05:23:16 pm
Besides I like my GPS to remain silent rather than beeping all the time.

Alternatively, getting your attention when you need to make a turning into a minor road, stop for an info control or similar is one of the best things about using a GPS receiver for cycling navigation.  I suppose it depends on how often you find yourself daydreaming and missing a turning (I always seem to do it downhill, making it twice as annoying).


Oh I have it beep for controls but other stuff no.  I don’t trust it to decide a route besides it’s woefully underpowered for that activity so only suitable if trying to cross London a few miles to reach a station etc. I do occasionally drift past turns on audax but usually because talking or enjoying a fast descent.

It’s the beeping you are off route every 9 seconds (Edge special) or every turn that would drive me mad.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 02, 2020, 05:30:30 pm
The really annoying one that Edges seem to do is that "you're riding very slowly" beep.  I assume that's related to the fussy (compared to the outdoor models, which just quietly get on with it) way they handle logging, which is only useful if your ride involves laps and start/finish lines.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Feanor on March 02, 2020, 05:42:50 pm
None of my Edges have a 'Riding Too Slowly' beep.
Is it perhaps some configurable option if you are using a 'virtual partner' and they pass you?
I never use that feature, it's switched off.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: chrisbainbridge on March 03, 2020, 06:47:13 am
None of my Edges have a 'Riding Too Slowly' beep.
Is it perhaps some configurable option if you are using a 'virtual partner' and they pass you?
I never use that feature, it's switched off.
Is that a subtle form of boasting?

Although I have not heard it either so a very weak boast!
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: psyclist on March 03, 2020, 07:28:35 am
None of my Edges have a 'Riding Too Slowly' beep.

I think it might be auto-pause coming on and off when the speed dips below a threshold. It could also be caused if the Garmin is connected to a dynamo for charging, where again the unit can beep when the speed drops below the threshold to maintain the charging.

Thankfully the Wahoo Bolt doesn't have this 'feature'.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 11:59:46 am
I think it might be auto-pause coming on and off when the speed dips below a threshold.

That's the one!  Couldn't remember the name for it.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: quixoticgeek on March 03, 2020, 12:01:09 pm
I think it might be auto-pause coming on and off when the speed dips below a threshold.

That's the one!  Couldn't remember the name for it.

Wahoo has this, but you have to be essentially stopped. I've had it tracking just fine at 2kph. It helps to have a speed sensor on the wheel.

J
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 12:06:27 pm
Whereas the outdoor models only 'pause' if you turn the GPS reception off.  Much better for audax, touring and other real-world riding, as the clock's always running and you can't forget to start them.  It's a pain for racing, as while you can hit 'yes' on the reset menu almost as easily as pressing the start button on an Edge, there's no simple way to stop recording as you cross the finish line, and no concept of laps whatsoever.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Paul H on March 03, 2020, 12:09:56 pm
I think it might be auto-pause coming on and off when the speed dips below a threshold.

That's the one!  Couldn't remember the name for it.
On the Touring (So I assume on other Edge models) you can chose when that happens:  when stopped - never - custom speed.
I've also turned all the beeps off, which you can do whatever functions you 're using.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: mzjo on March 03, 2020, 12:49:05 pm
Whereas the outdoor models only 'pause' if you turn the GPS reception off.  Much better for audax, touring and other real-world riding, as the clock's always running and you can't forget to start them.  It's a pain for racing, as while you can hit 'yes' on the reset menu almost as easily as pressing the start button on an Edge, there's no simple way to stop recording as you cross the finish line, and no concept of laps whatsoever.

So that's how I stop it drawing a dirty great straight line and adding 20kms to the track if I go for a walk in the woods. This could be very useful to know!! Thanks Kim, I feel I might have made a quantum leap forward!!
What could be more alarming is the way variations in gps reception can result in a track of 500m while the unit is stationary (it seems to be going round in tiny circles -and I am assuming that it's the gps reception that does it; now I'm a bit more careful about turning it off!)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 12:58:15 pm
On an eTrex 30, turning the GPS off is achieved by going to the constellation display and selecting "Demo mode" from the menu.  Clear as mud.

And yes, GPS noise will appear in the tracklog, unless the filtering (log interval settings) is very aggressive.  It's always a trade-off between noise and missed detail, and there is no general case right answer.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Blodwyn Pig on March 03, 2020, 01:40:07 pm
 ??? :facepalm:
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: trekker12 on March 03, 2020, 01:43:02 pm
The Etrex 30 (and other models of Etrex) also have an annoying 'feature' when you are travelling slowly if dynamo powered. It decides the input feed isn't strong enough so it asks you if you want battery mode and if you haven't said yes it turns off after 30 seconds. You look down five miles later to notice it's been turned off since that steep hill you have only just recovered from
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 01:50:22 pm
??? :facepalm:

Sampling theory is beyond the scope of this thread, but a GPS receiver can never be accurate at measuring distance travelled, for the same basic reason that you can never accurately measure the amount of climbing between point A and point B.  (Consider you have a magic perfectly accurate elevation-measuring device and a 1-metre ruler.  Go and measure your hill at 1-metre intervals, and add up all the changes in elevation.  Now try it again with a half-metre ruler.  Which is the correct result?)

GPS brings these problems into focus, because you have fundamental system limitations (accuracy of a few metres, with random drift over time), combined with the sampling algorithm applied by your logging device (over which you may have some degree of control).  If you want to map that curve in the road accurately, you turn up the logging interval, and get a better fit for the curve.  Then you stop moving and record hundreds of metres of small movements due to drift in the GPS position.  Alternatively, you filter out the small movements and do a better job of detecting stoppedness, but find the track is cutting corners...

(I'm handwaving a bit, but that's the general principle.)

Just as applicable to traditional cycle computers (how much did your wheel wobble?) and drawing lines on paper maps (we're back to rulers again), but you tend not to be aware of those as a sampling problem.  Nevertheless, it's what happens when you try to turn the real world into numbers.

The practical answer is you can happily not think about this stuff and pretend your GPS is accurate, just like you did with your bike computer.  But you have to not get upset when you look at the track and see it going off piste, cutting corners or a spider-scribble at the points you stopped.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 01:52:55 pm
The Etrex 30 (and other models of Etrex) also have an annoying 'feature' when you are travelling slowly if dynamo powered. It decides the input feed isn't strong enough so it asks you if you want battery mode and if you haven't said yes it turns off after 30 seconds. You look down five miles later to notice it's been turned off since that steep hill you have only just recovered from

This was one of the 'simplifications' in the 10/20/30 series.  The HCx let you configure the loss-of-external-power behaviour in a menu somewhere.

Fortunately, it's an eTrex, so you probably don't need to power it from a dynamo in the first place.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: trekker12 on March 03, 2020, 01:59:58 pm
The Etrex 30 (and other models of Etrex) also have an annoying 'feature' when you are travelling slowly if dynamo powered. It decides the input feed isn't strong enough so it asks you if you want battery mode and if you haven't said yes it turns off after 30 seconds. You look down five miles later to notice it's been turned off since that steep hill you have only just recovered from

This was one of the 'simplifications' in the 10/20/30 series.  The HCx let you configure the loss-of-external-power behaviour in a menu somewhere.

Fortunately, it's an eTrex, so you probably don't need to power it from a dynamo in the first place.

That is true. I don't tend to, but have done on tour when I didn't carry enough batteries
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 03, 2020, 05:20:02 pm
I’d be wary of trying to power GPS from USB whilst riding. I broke the USB socket on my Etrex 20 back in 2016 doing just that . I just run off AA now and take spares. You get 600km out of one pair, so no need to power off USB really.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Davef on March 03, 2020, 06:28:28 pm
I’d be wary of trying to power GPS from USB whilst riding. I broke the USB socket on my Etrex 20 back in 2016 doing just that . I just run off AA now and take spares. You get 600km out of one pair, so no need to power off USB really.
I power my edge through the usb cable permanently - the cable is hot melt glued in !


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: hatler on March 03, 2020, 07:33:08 pm
??? :facepalm:
I'm completely with you.  Ask what seems on the face of it a straightforward question and it isn't long before the thread derails into the most esoteric detail.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 03, 2020, 07:48:03 pm
??? :facepalm:
I'm completely with you.  Ask what seems on the face of it a straightforward question and it isn't long before the thread derails into the most esoteric detail.

It's a complicated subject with a need for more than one highlighter pen, and any straightforward answer will be dangerously inadequate.  I've been trying to keep things general, with a minimum of technology specific evangelism.  That precludes nice easy answers like "Go and buy a Garmin Edge 1000, it's the best GPS receiver for cycling".

But it's also the nature of threads to drift (or, since this one is still mostly on topic - discussion of the inevitability of random noise in tracklogs or the irritating power-down habits of the later eTrexen are quite specific, but might still be relevant to a purchase decision - get bogged down in details).  Half the problem is the lack of proper threading, but it's mostly the tendency of humans not to want to sit in silence once a question has been answered.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: zigzag on March 03, 2020, 10:05:24 pm
gps's do take a bit of time to figure out (few hours?), more for someone who considers themselves an "idiot". the good news it's less complicated than rocket science (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nf3OiPmJpeg/VaWHi_JbriI/AAAAAAAAG_U/gk0BPSwbt4c/w530-h666-n/space%2Bscience.jpg) - so there's hope.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: mzjo on March 04, 2020, 05:33:31 pm
gps's do take a bit of time to figure out (few hours?), more for someone who considers themselves an "idiot". the good news it's less complicated than rocket science (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nf3OiPmJpeg/VaWHi_JbriI/AAAAAAAAG_U/gk0BPSwbt4c/w530-h666-n/space%2Bscience.jpg) - so there's hope.

There's optimism!! Few months more like for the non-technocrat. Total immersion (for the user in the use of the gps) helps (before it becomes total immersion by the user of the gps in a vat of boiling oil!). This is why you really need to have a specific need for a gps. Otherwise it is too easy to lose interest in the beast and go on riding your bike with a map and pencil (which has well served generations of cyclists), unless you are more interested in technical gadgetry than riding your bike (or building rockets?).

Devise des Shadock "Pas de solution sans problème" ("no solution without a problem"). It applies to gps too!
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Wowbagger on March 05, 2020, 12:17:31 am
I've had a Garmin Oregon for some years. i still possess the old-style Etrex.

I used very few features of mine. I like to record tracks when I'm out walking and cycling, and every so often I put them on line somewhere.

I plot routes for rides using Bikehike, but save them as "tracks" on the Garmin, so that I simply have a "breadcrumb trail" for navigational purposes.

Like Kim, I'm a fan of OS maps, and have a large collection, but I now subscribe to OS and have access to their maps on my i-devices - as long as I have a signal. Having said that, recent paper map purchases have included a download so that the map in question is saved on my i-devices and I can access them without a signal.

For my limited uses, the Oregon is fine. It has never complained about me cycling slowly. It must be very patient. Either that, or it likes scenery and birdsong, just like me.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: frankly frankie on March 05, 2020, 01:09:52 pm
The Oregons are touchscreen devices, which I personally consider a serious drawback in a cycling GPS.  With a button-driven device like the Etrex you can fiddle with the GPS (zoom level, for example) without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

I should also point out that much as I love an OS map, they're not actually very good for display on a GPS device, both because you can't see very much of one on a small screen (the Satmap is a relatively large device specifically to address this issue) and because they lack detail at the how-does-this-junction-work level.  Hence GPS devices tend to use vector maps, ...

All that plus OS maps don't rotate very well.  The (optional) ability of GPS map displays to rotate as you turn is despised by some but loved by others.  I think it is one of a GPS's best party tricks (along with 'distance to next').  Vector maps inevitably disappoint anyone who has been wedded to OS maps all their life (like we all have) but they are actually very powerful accurate and detailed in their own way.

I don't think anyone has mentioned that in the context of a long tour away from home - 2 or more weeks - a GPS is much smaller and lighter than carting a load of paper maps around.  And although people will object and say that a GPS can fail, my solution to that is to carry a spare one - still a far more compact touring solution.  (Actually in my experience GPSs are very reliable, for an electronic device.)  Although we usually plan tours in meticulous detail, we have also gone the other way and toured across France ad hoc and paperless, just programming the next day's route into the Etrex the evening before, sitting outside a bar - it's perfectly doable and fun if you enjoy winging it.  For the bigger picture and general evening browsing we have the IGN maps on a big-screen phone - but that is evening use only, we wouldn't use it to navigate.

Oh and by the way ...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JjpwmpFAgoIw-owv2Wi4ltiOvUOa5cJqBsRL_eOOlX_7Uoq4uyVfTa0kUJVECX-A-ytXlNsuqsBVk4J-YYZwA9hb0yVGwV2jApk8ZTabDlhQUgGhVQ8Srg5UEeyB5LZoVlOYA0Q-6Q)

That is a very unrepresentative example of what navigating on a cycle GPS looks like, for all sorts of reasons.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 05, 2020, 01:15:13 pm
The Oregons are touchscreen devices, which I personally consider a serious drawback in a cycling GPS.  With a button-driven device like the Etrex you can fiddle with the GPS (zoom level, for example) without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

The little joystick thing on the eTrex is about as annoying as a touchscreen in normal use (the 'press down' can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially on a moving bike), but it's much more glove-friendly.

That said, when in motion, I rarely need more than the zoom controls or a random nudge of the joystick to wake the backlight up.  Depends how much you like to fiddle, I suppose.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: quixoticgeek on March 05, 2020, 01:28:59 pm
The Oregons are touchscreen devices, which I personally consider a serious drawback in a cycling GPS.  With a button-driven device like the Etrex you can fiddle with the GPS (zoom level, for example) without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

More over if you have big thick winter gloves on, touch screens can be a bitch.

Quote
All that plus OS maps don't rotate very well.  The (optional) ability of GPS map displays to rotate as you turn is despised by some but loved by others.  I think it is one of a GPS's best party tricks (along with 'distance to next').  Vector maps inevitably disappoint anyone who has been wedded to OS maps all their life (like we all have) but they are actually very powerful accurate and detailed in their own way.

I think something here worth mentioning is the way some people when they read a map will pick the map up, and rotate it round so that its alignment matches the place they are in. If a woman does this, the nearest man will usually tell them they have the map upside down and then take the map off them. When people do this to me I like to beat them repeatedly with my orienteering trophies...

OS Maps are a work of beautiful art, I love them, and have a nice collection, even if I don't have much direct use for them these days. In the event of a discrepancy between reality and the OS map, the OS map is of course the one in the right. Travelling far and wide by bike often makes me long for OS to map outside of the British isles...

Quote
I don't think anyone has mentioned that in the context of a long tour away from home - 2 or more weeks - a GPS is much smaller and lighter than carting a load of paper maps around.  And although people will object and say that a GPS can fail, my solution to that is to carry a spare one - still a far more compact touring solution.  (Actually in my experience GPSs are very reliable, for an electronic device.)  Although we usually plan tours in meticulous detail, we have also gone the other way and toured across France ad hoc and paperless, just programming the next day's route into the Etrex the evening before, sitting outside a bar - it's perfectly doable and fun if you enjoy winging it.  For the bigger picture and general evening browsing we have the IGN maps on a big-screen phone - but that is evening use only, we wouldn't use it to navigate.

I have OSMAnd offline maps on my phone as the ultimate backup, I also have a backup wahoo in the saddle bag. On tours, I do like to carry a very large scale paper map. My trip to Hell I carried a map of all of Scandinavia. It can be useful for laying out on a table in a hostel and get a good idea of what's ahead, without having to keep scrolling on even the relatively large screen of my phone. I didn't carry paper maps on the TCR, but my ultimate backup option was to cycle to the nearest gas station and buy a paper map.

Quote

Oh and by the way ...

That is a very unrepresentative example of what navigating on a cycle GPS looks like, for all sorts of reasons.

Agreed.

The little joystick thing on the eTrex is about as annoying as a touchscreen in normal use (the 'press down' can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially on a moving bike), but it's much more glove-friendly.

That said, when in motion, I rarely need more than the zoom controls or a random nudge of the joystick to wake the backlight up.  Depends how much you like to fiddle, I suppose.

Zoom, change route gpx, switch screens to see more data, etc...

I like the buttons on the wahoo, I can operate them all with my big thick buffalo mitts, in the rain. It's a bit fun when the rain freezes on the device, but it can work. I don't understand how people think touchscreens are a good idea for devices you operate in a moving state... That includes the fuck off big touch screens in modern cars, looking at you Elon!

J
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 05, 2020, 01:36:05 pm
I like the buttons on the wahoo, I can operate them all with my big thick buffalo mitts, in the rain. It's a bit fun when the rain freezes on the device, but it can work. I don't understand how people think touchscreens are a good idea for devices you operate in a moving state... That includes the fuck off big touch screens in modern cars, looking at you Elon!

Agreed.

I haven't fondled one, but I'm sure Elon's touchscreens are Mega-Global Fruit Corporation quality, unlike the poorly calibrated resistive rubbish you get in lesser makes of automobile.

(Of course, a resistive touchscreen makes sense if it's going to be rained on.)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Wowbagger on March 05, 2020, 01:42:00 pm
Agreed about the annoying nature of touch screens in the rain. I put it on battery-saving mode so that the screen goes blank when it's raining - and, quite often, when it's not. I do think the Oregon is more electron-hungry than the old Etrex, which isn't surprising because it has a larger screen.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Blodwyn Pig on March 05, 2020, 01:48:27 pm
 ::-)   Oh dear...............................goes off to sit in the corner, with a tall pointy hat , with 'D' on it   :-[
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on March 05, 2020, 02:36:00 pm
Quote
All that plus OS maps don't rotate very well.  The (optional) ability of GPS map displays to rotate as you turn is despised by some but loved by others.  I think it is one of a GPS's best party tricks (along with 'distance to next').  Vector maps inevitably disappoint anyone who has been wedded to OS maps all their life (like we all have) but they are actually very powerful accurate and detailed in their own way.

I think something here worth mentioning is the way some people when they read a map will pick the map up, and rotate it round so that its alignment matches the place they are in. If a woman does this, the nearest man will usually tell them they have the map upside down and then take the map off them. When people do this to me I like to beat them repeatedly with my orienteering trophies...
This is one of the principles of Legible City. In that context, it works very well and makes me wonder why everywhere doesn't do it.
https://www.bristollegiblecity.info/portfolio-items/on-street-signage-system/

In GPS terms, I started off having my map always north up and relying on the little compass arrow, the sun or general memory to orient it in my brain. For the past couple of years I've been using it heads up. Helps sort out those upside down left and rights. However, I'm not sure this would work well at walking speed – the directionality tends to flip itself through 180 degrees when stationary, which happens a bit more when walking.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 05, 2020, 03:26:12 pm


Oh and by the way ...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JjpwmpFAgoIw-owv2Wi4ltiOvUOa5cJqBsRL_eOOlX_7Uoq4uyVfTa0kUJVECX-A-ytXlNsuqsBVk4J-YYZwA9hb0yVGwV2jApk8ZTabDlhQUgGhVQ8Srg5UEeyB5LZoVlOYA0Q-6Q)

That is a very unrepresentative example of what navigating on a cycle GPS looks like, for all sorts of reasons.

Didn’t say it represented all GPS but that is a direct screen print done on my etrex. That’s how it looks for me on my Garmin etrex using OSM mapping and in automotive display mode. This display mode is critical for the 3D head up type look. I’ve found it far better (and very different) than the other map display modes.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 05, 2020, 03:41:05 pm
Quote
All that plus OS maps don't rotate very well.  The (optional) ability of GPS map displays to rotate as you turn is despised by some but loved by others.  I think it is one of a GPS's best party tricks (along with 'distance to next').  Vector maps inevitably disappoint anyone who has been wedded to OS maps all their life (like we all have) but they are actually very powerful accurate and detailed in their own way.

I think something here worth mentioning is the way some people when they read a map will pick the map up, and rotate it round so that its alignment matches the place they are in. If a woman does this, the nearest man will usually tell them they have the map upside down and then take the map off them. When people do this to me I like to beat them repeatedly with my orienteering trophies...
This is one of the principles of Legible City. In that context, it works very well and makes me wonder why everywhere doesn't do it.
https://www.bristollegiblecity.info/portfolio-items/on-street-signage-system/

In GPS terms, I started off having my map always north up and relying on the little compass arrow, the sun or general memory to orient it in my brain. For the past couple of years I've been using it heads up. Helps sort out those upside down left and rights. However, I'm not sure this would work well at walking speed – the directionality tends to flip itself through 180 degrees when stationary, which happens a bit more when walking.

If the GPS has a 3 axis compass built in, you don’t get this problem.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: frankly frankie on March 05, 2020, 04:57:06 pm
That is a very unrepresentative example of what navigating on a cycle GPS looks like, for all sorts of reasons.
Didn’t say it represented all GPS but that is a direct screen print done on my etrex. That’s how it looks for me on my Garmin etrex using OSM mapping and in automotive display mode. This display mode is critical for the 3D head up type look. I’ve found it far better (and very different) than the other map display modes.

Not questioning your usage Phil but for anyone wanting to know what a GPS display looks like, that image is too big (your original), far too bright and colourful, doesn't properly illustrate navigating along the purple line, and there's probably not one cyclist in 10 who chooses to use that 3D-style display in preference to a flat map.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Kim on March 05, 2020, 05:24:36 pm
In GPS terms, I started off having my map always north up and relying on the little compass arrow, the sun or general memory to orient it in my brain. For the past couple of years I've been using it heads up. Helps sort out those upside down left and rights. However, I'm not sure this would work well at walking speed – the directionality tends to flip itself through 180 degrees when stationary, which happens a bit more when walking.

I mildly prefer north up when I'm walking, if only because it stops the map swinging around unexpectedly due to the vagaries of GPS error or the magnetic compass being lead astray by metal, but direction-of-travel-up is a definite win at vehicle (including cycle) speeds.  It also makes more efficient use of a portrait aspect display - showing you more of where you're going.

OS maps are better with north up, because that's the way the text is permanently oriented.  (YMMV vis ability to rotate a map in your head vs read text upside-down.)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 05, 2020, 05:24:53 pm
That is a very unrepresentative example of what navigating on a cycle GPS looks like, for all sorts of reasons.
Didn’t say it represented all GPS but that is a direct screen print done on my etrex. That’s how it looks for me on my Garmin etrex using OSM mapping and in automotive display mode. This display mode is critical for the 3D head up type look. I’ve found it far better (and very different) than the other map display modes.

Not questioning your usage Phil but for anyone wanting to know what a GPS display looks like, that image is too big (your original), far too bright and colourful, doesn't properly illustrate navigating along the purple line, and there's probably not one cyclist in 10 who chooses to use that 3D-style display in preference to a flat map.

Actually that is what the purple line looks like in automotive mode. That’s why I have it in that mode. Agree looks different with sun on the screen but it’s pretty close at night time (though I have different colours for night time). The brightness and colours are exactly what the GPS is rendering they are not adjusted. But yes, I up sampled the number of pixels by 2  to post here

But anyway not sure OP is any the wiser as to what they want given the choices.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Phil W on March 05, 2020, 05:31:32 pm
Here’s un resampled shot of the display, taken with my iPad in low light. That how bright and colourful it is in reality in low light. At the moment I think only e ink displays would make a significant difference when direct sunset is hitting the screen. But on the recumbent the display sits vertical so perhaps I’m getting a better view than those who have the screen horizontal and getting all the sunlight reflected.

Tomorrow I’ll take another picture outside in brighter conditions (forecast to be sunny) for comparison

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/YS84zbQJZdBpXmsQ1Fb3WcLGyrW83bVxF4jLet4AK8Prb_qD8VVr5Qb45ncqaH9PqXIgqwV9GOhSAKgPR-dEVOKHJs_fsEn7fNqy25RDREoeMppLbkbz_L0QdtrKogOldjwQ7Ev-yA=w2400)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Ham on March 05, 2020, 05:32:11 pm
The Oregons are touchscreen devices, which I personally consider a serious drawback in a cycling GPS.  With a button-driven device like the Etrex you can fiddle with the GPS (zoom level, for example) without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

Bearing in mind that my endorsement for the Oregon as the best unit is only if your requirement is cross activity, it's worth mentioning your interpretation of the apparent drawback of the touchscreen aspect isn't correct.

The zoom example is not accurate because as a multi touch device, even if you don't like the on screen touch buttons, which are arranged usably. There are also two buttons which are user configurable, one to two actions, the other to three (short press, long press, hold) which would handle lap or whatever.

It isn't perfect as a cycling gps, but the touch screen doesn't really count (especially as it works with gloves)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Blodwyn Pig on March 06, 2020, 07:38:13 am
Ok, I've just discovered that I can use my old android phone , as gps does not need a sim. ( possible whoop whoop moment) what would be the best app to use. Can I use strava, map my ride, can I download audax routes,if some how will they be shown. Which one is best? Is this a waste of time? Can a phone app do what a ... garmin , wahoo etc do?
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: andyoxon on March 06, 2020, 07:58:15 am
Ok, I've just discovered that I can use my old android phone , as gps does not need a sim. ( possible whoop whoop moment) what would be the best app to use. Can I use strava, map my ride, can I download audax routes,if some how will they be shown. Which one is best? Is this a waste of time? Can a phone app do what a ... garmin , wahoo etc do?


Good summary from Kim, on mobiles...

...
For example, a mobile phone will be brilliant at showing maps, but means you have to think about battery life[1] and probably waterproofing and how to attach it to the bike and so on.  It might not be ideal for logging because you can't rely on apps staying running in the background.

...

Some people only use phones, and have the waterproof mounts etc.  Pre-Etrex (few years ago), I tried Android with OsmAnd app navigation (can download and follow a gpx track), but in my hands - app crashed occasionally.  Strava app - for me crashed when I took photos / unreliable.  Ridewithgps do a 'handlebar' nav app, not really used it (can download offline mapping for gpx).  I had a simple silicone mount device to attach phone to bars.  (Placky bag for water resistance)

I still use a non-mounted mobile for shorter journeys;  logging only, with MyTracks.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: drossall on March 06, 2020, 08:48:14 am
I still think the first question for Blodwyn Pig is why. You mentioned Audax, and like andyoxon that's why I first got one. I've now had several, but I still don't think I'm an expert.

For Audaxes, as you probably know there's now usually a GPX file available from the organiser, or occasionally an enthusiastic fellow-participant. Since Audaxes specialise in twisting, turning routes using obscure back roads then, as others have said, following the box on your bars can be much easier than using a paper map, and more certain than relying on a route sheet when there may be several turnings all signed towards Littleton. Since you can choose the screen zoom, you decide between getting a very close view that gives a few hundred metres' warning of a turn, and a somewhat wider view that gives a pretty good sense that the next turn is more than a mile away. I prefer the former. A line on the map shows your route. Some versions of the file may give turn instructions, such as "go left arrows" that appear as you approach the junction, and/or beeps. You don't usually get the annoying voices that you hear from car sat-navs!

In this mode, you (or whoever set up the GPX) are in control of the routing decisions, and the box is just showing you where you are and where you planned to go next. That's not like a car sat-nav of course, which tends to take you where you want to go, but make the decisions on how you get there. This extends quite easily to your own rides, which you can plan in advance on any of a number of PC-based systems. Then you download a GPX and use it as above. I've occasionally used this for urban riding as well, going across London to suppliers, or to railway stations on the way to Audax events - I get Cyclestreets, which I trust much more than any GPS box, to plan me a route, sense check it, and then upload the GPX to the GPS.

But you absolutely can let the GPX behave more like a sat nav, and choose the route for you. This always comes with a frisson of excitement; just as car sat navs have got lorries stuck down narrow roads, so bike ones, as others have mentioned, may happily take your best road bike down steep, bumpy, muddy tracks that would challenge an MTB. One additional thing that a bike unit may understand, that still seems to perplex car ones, is the idea of going, instead of from A to B, from A to A. So, if I'm in an unfamiliar area, mine will set up a 30-mile circular route for me. To be honest, I never use mine like this; I love paper maps (or, now, electronic representations of paper maps), and would never dream of going anywhere without spending more time than the ride will take, just looking on the map at where I'm going and what's around. So, the idea of not knowing in advance where the thing is going to take me is anathema. But, having decided, I might record my plan on a PC-based tool, generate a GPX, and use it in the same way as above again.

Something I've developed into more recently is recording rides. With the whole social media thing has arisen the idea of sharing the rides you've done with others, either so that they can admire them, or so that they can benefit from your local knowledge when visiting your area. I'm fundamentally of the view that I'm too boring for anyone to care, so I don't share my rides, but two things have happened to me. One is the club starting an annual mileage competition. I'll never come near the top of it, but it's given me impetus to track my mileage, and try at least to beat 10 miles a day (average). The second is a heart bypass, and being encouraged to exercise. OK, I'm a cyclist, so I was never exactly inactive, but the upshot is wearing a heart monitor and an "exercise watch", and tracking what I've done more. All these things connect easily to GPS units - so, on my last Audax, I can see what happened to my heart in the hilly bits, and how it recovered in the cafe stops, and generally be sure that I'm neither over- nor underdoing it. (Anyone riding near me next time needn't worry; I'm no more likely than the next rider to keel over, but a certain amount of checking does no harm. Those doing serious training would want the same information for different reasons. I'm just trying to illustrate what you can do.)

And then that has extended into using the tracking for virtual racing ("Strava segments"). Since everyone's riding is being recorded, it's not difficult to figure out who has done the fastest ride ever up any given hill. All you need is set start and finish points. But I guess that's not your first thought for a use of these things. It's about my last (probably because I'd be more likely to be slowest ever).

And yes, once you've decided that you want to try these dark arts, then the whole issue of which product opens up. And using a phone is an increasing possibility. It used to be that the phone's battery wouldn't last a day ride. That's improving I think. It may be that just trying it on a phone, or buying a basic GPS second hand, or borrowing/asking about one from a friend, may be the best way in. It's like buying a bike really - you probably won't get your ideal one first time, because you won't know what your ideal one would be like anyway.

If none of these things interests you, you maybe don't need a GPS ;D
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Wowbagger on March 06, 2020, 11:48:58 pm
In GPS terms, I started off having my map always north up and relying on the little compass arrow, the sun or general memory to orient it in my brain. For the past couple of years I've been using it heads up. Helps sort out those upside down left and rights. However, I'm not sure this would work well at walking speed – the directionality tends to flip itself through 180 degrees when stationary, which happens a bit more when walking.

I mildly prefer north up when I'm walking, if only because it stops the map swinging around unexpectedly due to the vagaries of GPS error or the magnetic compass being lead astray by metal, but direction-of-travel-up is a definite win at vehicle (including cycle) speeds.  It also makes more efficient use of a portrait aspect display - showing you more of where you're going.

OS maps are better with north up, because that's the way the text is permanently oriented.  (YMMV vis ability to rotate a map in your head vs read text upside-down.)

My brain is hard-wired to expect North to be Up. I can't deal with a GPS which has direction of travel up.
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: Legs on March 09, 2020, 09:38:30 am
I think I must be one of a very tiny minority who use a Garmin Forerunner 230 watch on a bit of pipe lagging on my handlebars, rather than a cycling-specific GPS.  If I want to follow a specific route, I can upload one using the dwmap app on the watch - it lacks the details of any roads/paths off my route, but it's pretty serviceable.  The plus-side of it all is that it's a smartwatch in its own right; I went out yesterday afternoon while my youngest son was asleep; Mrs L sent me a text when he woke up, and it flashed up on my handlebars... (I was about a mile from home  ;D)
Title: Re: Is there an 'idiots guide' for an.....idiot
Post by: frankly frankie on March 09, 2020, 12:07:14 pm
Here’s un resampled shot of the display, taken with my iPad in low light.
...
Tomorrow I’ll take another picture outside in brighter conditions (forecast to be sunny) for comparison
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/YS84zbQJZdBpXmsQ1Fb3WcLGyrW83bVxF4jLet4AK8Prb_qD8VVr5Qb45ncqaH9PqXIgqwV9GOhSAKgPR-dEVOKHJs_fsEn7fNqy25RDREoeMppLbkbz_L0QdtrKogOldjwQ7Ev-yA=w2400)

This is an older-model Etrex in daylight.

(http://www.aukadia.net/gps/setup16a.jpg)

This (Etrex Legend) is actually a brighter screen (without backlight) than the 30x, and the same dimensions.  I have both and the 30x screen is noticeably dimmer even than the 30 - though higher resolution and more colour depth.  Using a 30x, I have to switch the backlight on to view it in daylight, whereas the older models were usable without the backlight.