Author Topic: MAC - friendly GPS?  (Read 5934 times)

Dibdib

  • Fat'n'slow
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2017, 07:16:08 pm »
Basically, there is currently nothing out there than is better at route planning than an experienced human audaxer. I guess this is what Kim meant about complexity - no algorithm is nuanced enough to design a route that perfectly balances enjoyability and challenge in the same way an experienced human organiser can achieve.

Exactly. So expecting someone to magic up an app which is both a) sufficiently nuanced and b) simple enough for Aunt Maud to use is enough of a moonshot without even considering the range of configurability to account for individual audaxer's preferences.

So you're left with, as Kim says, using more complicated tools and learning to use them.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2017, 07:26:20 pm »
I'm not suggesting that there should be a programme which spits out made to measure audax routes.

What I am saying is, that if I want to put together a route and have a GPX come out the end, I don't expect to have to read a user manual just to find the start button.

RWGPS is easy to use, the other one I tried, I still can't remember what it was called, wasn't.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2017, 07:27:47 pm »
I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a GPX route, which it then faithfully displays on a map, with minimal configuration options.

I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a GPX route, which it uses to provide turn instructions whenever the route crosses a node on its map, with minimal configuration options.

I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a CSV routesheet, which it uses to display the current instruction in large friendly letters based on GPS distance travelled.

I can imagine a small number of audaxers being extremely happy with these solutions.  I can imagine people complaining about it being too complicated to create the right kind of GPX/CSV file.  I can imagine people wanting a setting to change the colour of the foobar, and either being ignored, or it turning into exactly the sort of complex software that Aunt Maud is complaining about.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2017, 07:28:19 pm »
I'm not suggesting that there should be a programme which spits out made to measure audax routes.

What I am saying is, that if I want to put together a route and have a GPX come out the end, I don't expect to have to read a user manual just to find the start button.

RWGPS is easy to use, the other one I tried, I still can't remember what it was called, wasn't.

Oh.  I thought we were talking about GPS receivers.   :-[
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2017, 07:39:43 pm »
I'm even more simplistic with those.

Don't forget I like to hit bits of wood with hammers and chisels and measure stuff with a stick.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2017, 07:47:12 pm »
Hitting things with hammers can be very therapeutic after dealing with software.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2017, 08:02:01 pm »
So expecting someone to magic up an app...

 ???

I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a GPX route, which it uses to provide turn instructions whenever the route crosses a node on its map, with minimal configuration options.

Overkill for audax. Following a breadcrumb trail is easy enough and turn instructions are implicit.

Quote
I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a CSV routesheet, which it uses to display the current instruction in large friendly letters based on GPS distance travelled.

You can manually enter turn instructions on RideWithGPS and link them to points on the track. It works but adding all the instructions for a long route is labour intensive and creates very large files - you could probably get away with just entering key instructions at tricky junctions, or to warn you of infos/controls.

Quote
I can imagine a small number of audaxers being extremely happy with these solutions.  I can imagine people complaining about it being too complicated to create the right kind of GPX/CSV file.  I can imagine people wanting a setting to change the colour of the foobar, and either being ignored, or it turning into exactly the sort of complex software that Aunt Maud is complaining about.

You can imagine audaxers being happy with anything;D

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2017, 09:12:56 pm »
I can imagine a piece of software where you feed it a GPX route, which it uses to provide turn instructions whenever the route crosses a node on its map, with minimal configuration options.

Overkill for audax. Following a breadcrumb trail is easy enough and turn instructions are implicit.

You vision may vary.  I use auto-routing on the USS recumbent because the only sensible place to mount a GPS puts the screen further away from my eyes and it's not always easy to read the map without turn popups when it gets cluttered.  I expect some of those who have trouble reading in their cycling glasses would like to do similar.

It's not foolproof, and involves a lot more arsing about to create a suitable Route.  But that's arsing about that you can do beforehand at home in front of your computer rather than having to stop riding and squint at things.


(On the upwrongs and ASS 'bent I'm happy with a breadcrumb trail.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2017, 09:26:27 pm »
But the screen is a bit small, and if you can't read a routesheet it might not be much use to you.

Is that down to the maps making the screen cluttered? I don't have trouble with my eyesight but I would think that by reducing the amount of information on screen, it would make a small screen easier to use, so a device that uses breadcrumb trails rather than maps should be fine for audax.

The maps are fine - though zooming in and out is a bit fiddly with gloves - but the text displays can be hard to see while moving.  I think you can set the font size, so maybe it's not such a problem.  Actually following a track (I don't bother with routes) is pretty simple if you get the colours right, and you can remove the data fields from the map screen entirely if you want.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2017, 11:05:29 am »
Most GPSs have options for simplifying the map display, everyone can choose their own sweet spot between 'I want to see everything there is all the time'  'cluttered and laggy' and 'clear and quick' 'where the hell am I'.  Text data fields are certainly a problem on some models though - no font size options at all.

You can manually enter turn instructions on RideWithGPS and link them to points on the track. It works ...

Only for some models of Garmin (Edges, presumably) - other models will completely disregard any extraneous (non-positional) information embedded in a Track - possibly they don't even import it.
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2017, 11:14:45 am »
The maps are fine - though zooming in and out is a bit fiddly with gloves - but the text displays can be hard to see while moving.  I think you can set the font size, so maybe it's not such a problem.  Actually following a track (I don't bother with routes) is pretty simple if you get the colours right, and you can remove the data fields from the map screen entirely if you want.

I think this illustrates the paradigm shift that's required when moving from printed turn-by-turn instructions to GPS-based navigation.

Something like a Kindle, but slightly smaller, waterproof and GPS-enabled (to do what Kim suggests - ie link instructions to nodes) would be the kind of thing you'd need to effectively emulate a traditional printed routesheet.


Only for some models of Garmin (Edges, presumably) - other models will completely disregard any extraneous (non-positional) information embedded in a Track - possibly they don't even import it.

Fair point.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2017, 11:20:32 am »
I'd also like to see the population of the yacf audax board, not to mention the rest of the audaxing world, decide on which combination of shortest route / fastest route / avoid hills / avoid a-roads / avoid some a-roads / avoid COR / etc preferences constitutes "audax routing".

Audax or not, Garmin are very bad at routing.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2017, 12:06:30 pm »
Something like a Kindle, but slightly smaller, waterproof and GPS-enabled (to do what Kim suggests - ie link instructions to nodes) would be the kind of thing you'd need to effectively emulate a traditional printed routesheet.

You could do that one quite competently on a suitable smartphone, I think.  Since it's not displaying a map, the screen can be off except when approaching a turn or when prodded.  And it wouldn't need any of the telephonic stuff switched on, either.

If I had any interest in that form of navigation, I might have had a go at writing such an app.


I'm looking forward to an e-ink GPS unit though.  I suspect that manufacturers are too wedded to colour for a mono version to happen (maybe I'm unusual in my tolerance for viewing maps in greyscale), so the technology isn't quite there yet.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2017, 03:07:09 pm »
Well if you don't mind upping your budget slightly, or waiting for them to come on offer at £199 which they do from time to time I can thoroughly recommend the Wahoo Elemnt. It has an e-ink style mono display which is easy to read in different light conditions. I've been using one for the last few months and when linked to Ride with Gps it works a treat. You synchronize the device over wifi and it downloads any new routes to the device. The Elemnt then warns you 250 metres before your next course point which direction to take and at roundabouts which number exit to leave at.

You can also put in custom cues to warn you of upcoming controls which again it will prompt you about 250 metres beforehand. The 2 caveats to recommending this are that it doesn't like being switched off during a ride so it is best to leave it on during breaks and you need a smartphone with bluetooth smart to set it up with. It is not necessary to have the smartphone on you during a ride but all configuration of the device is done with a phone.

Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2017, 03:55:33 pm »
My solution to a simple, intuitive gps-based navigation device is a Suunto Ambit watch (specifically an Ambit2, which is the previous model to the current Ambit3 and hence can be picked up for under £200 if you shop around). I don't use a Mac, but know for a fact that they work perfectly with a Mac as I have at least one friend who uses that combination. Data transfer is via a cable and monitoring program constantly running on the computer, so transferring routes to the watch is just 'plug cable in' and the same for extracting data after a ride. Pre-existing gpx files can be uploaded to Movescount directly into routes and these will then sync to the watch.

It links to Suunto's Movescount web application, which includes a very easy to use, intuitive route creation facility. (It can be made complex, but the obvious way to use it is intuitive and effective.) All I do is create a route then annotate it with points of interest which, in the case of audax rides, tend to be simply left, right, bear left, bear right, cross, summit, etc. i.e. short statements which I put in at any junction or feature of note for navigational purposes. It's pretty much a transcript from a route sheet. It requires looking at where I'm going to go before setting off and considering whether an instruction is needed / interesting / useful, but I see that as  good thing since then I pretty much know where I'm going, as I would do from perusing a paper map in advance. 100m. before any of these instructions, the watch beeps (quite loudly) and displays the instruction in large letters for a few seconds. Between those nodes I have the watch displaying distance to the next instruction / node / waypoint, in large type. Very simple, very clear and very like a route sheet which is constantly highlighting the next instruction. If someone gave me a dedicated cycling Garmin device, I'd not use it. Oh, and the other benefit is that battery life is between 16h and 50h, with the gps active and recording, depending on accuracy settings.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2017, 06:14:00 pm »
My solution to a simple, intuitive gps-based navigation device is a Suunto Ambit watch...

Maps?

offcumden

  • Oh, no!
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2017, 09:16:48 pm »
Are you sure that a GPS device is going to be easier to read than a routesheet?  I have difficulties reading a routesheet without glasses, but my Garmin 200 is no easier.  I use bifocal safety glasses which are cheap and effective.  Going for a technical fix may involve a vertigo-inducing learning curve  ;)

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2017, 09:24:01 pm »
The current problem with Garmin devices is the distinction between Tracks and Routes.

With Routes, you specify a small number of points, and it auto-routes between them along the roads it knows about, with prompts.  And with routing assumptions you may not like.
With Tracks, it draws the track on top of the map, even where the map has no roads, but you have to follow it manually.

What we want is some kind of hybrid.
A 'Navigate Track', which actually works properly, and uses underlying roads where it can, and ignores any routing preferences, but goes off-road ( from the garmin maps PoV)  gracefully as required, but continues to navigate from trackpoint to trackpoint.



Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2017, 09:25:24 pm »
My solution to a simple, intuitive gps-based navigation device is a Suunto Ambit watch...

Maps?
If that's a question of 'does it have maps?', then no. The route you've loaded in can be shown as a line, and you can zoom in or out on said line, but there's no underlying basemap. Pretty much like having an accurate line on a piece of paper which goes bleep at you and tells you where you are on the line and can be annotated. You can see where you are in relation to the line if you do choose to go off route - I've done that - not as good as having a proper map in that instance, but viable. My usage is basically to decide where I'm going and then go there and not deviate, so pretty much like an audax really. It's definitely not useful for random exploring. Well, /really/ random exploring of the 'I wonder where I am now' type would be supported very well... You can read off position as OS grid of course, so having a proper, paper map definitely covers all eventualities.

EDIT: to be clear, all knowledge of roads or maps is external to the watch. This is like following a Garmin track which you've annotated yourself. It'll go from point to point and the track you're following will be on roads if you've created it that way in Movescount (though you don't have to).

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2017, 09:40:08 pm »
My solution to a simple, intuitive gps-based navigation device is a Suunto Ambit watch...

Maps?
If that's a question of 'does it have maps?', then no. The route you've loaded in can be shown as a line, and you can zoom in or out on said line, but there's no underlying basemap. Pretty much like having an accurate line on a piece of paper which goes bleep at you and tells you where you are on the line and can be annotated. You can see where you are in relation to the line if you do choose to go off route - I've done that - not as good as having a proper map in that instance, but viable. My usage is basically to decide where I'm going and then go there and not deviate, so pretty much like an audax really. It's definitely not useful for random exploring. Well, /really/ random exploring of the 'I wonder where I am now' type would be supported very well... You can read off position as OS grid of course, so having a proper, paper map definitely covers all eventualities.

EDIT: to be clear, all knowledge of roads or maps is external to the watch. This is like following a Garmin track which you've annotated yourself. It'll go from point to point and the track you're following will be on roads if you've created it that way in Movescount (though you don't have to).

OK, ta.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2017, 09:46:26 pm »
Are you sure that a GPS device is going to be easier to read than a routesheet?  I have difficulties reading a routesheet without glasses, but my Garmin 200 is no easier.  I use bifocal safety glasses which are cheap and effective.  Going for a technical fix may involve a vertigo-inducing learning curve  ;)

That's a fair point. However, what I have found on some events is that when the route is quite detailed I am having to stop and replace the route sheet far too often to be convenient (for example, on one last year the instructions for a >5km part of the route took up a whole side once reformatted. So there's an extra convenience factor involved. 

Added to that the fact that I could get rid of my erratic Cateye computer and also record rides for DIY validation, and I think it does make sense to go down the technical route.

(Thanks to all for the advice so far - I'm going to try our Jsabine's Garmin and see how that works before making any decisions)
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2017, 10:18:52 pm »
I thought I would lose the pooter after I got used to the GPS. It's still there :) The only function it has that the GPS doesn't is temperature and I suspect I could get some sort of ANT device to do that if I really wanted.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2017, 10:23:02 pm »
The current problem with Garmin devices is the distinction between Tracks and Routes.

With Routes, you specify a small number of points, and it auto-routes between them along the roads it knows about, with prompts.  And with routing assumptions you may not like.
With Tracks, it draws the track on top of the map, even where the map has no roads, but you have to follow it manually.

What we want is some kind of hybrid.
A 'Navigate Track', which actually works properly, and uses underlying roads where it can, and ignores any routing preferences, but goes off-road ( from the garmin maps PoV)  gracefully as required, but continues to navigate from trackpoint to trackpoint.

What I do is create a route which has a waypoint at each turn (plus some extra ones between turns if I feel like it). The waypoint is named with a simple mnemonic and a number which ascends (the numbers means it's easy to sort the waypoints by name to insert in a route).

So for instance:

001 STRT
002 L
003 E1

start, left, 1st exit roundabout

Navigate this kind of route in off-road mode. Auto routing doesn't get in the way.

I didn't invent this method. I was introduced to it by Jo. I've been using it since 2007, and have never found anything more reliable.

Generally I've found if I try to use on-road routing:

 - the GPS is more likely to crash
 - GPS recalculates routes to avoid perfectly good roads
 - often wants to take unnecessary detours

Now, for Redlight's purposes, there are still problems here. I've found that more modern Garmins often render the waypoint name in a stupidly small font which is unusable.

For a hybrid, I draw a track which follows the route faithfully, but don't navigate it. I just have it displayed, in a colour which shows clearly, e.g. bright green.

I've tried using this method with the Edge 1000 and can't make it work.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #48 on: February 15, 2017, 11:00:29 pm »
I thought I would lose the pooter after I got used to the GPS. It's still there :) The only function it has that the GPS doesn't is temperature and I suspect I could get some sort of ANT device to do that if I really wanted.

Temperature, cadence and a bike-specific odometer.  And it's there to tell the time and keep track of mileage when the journey doesn't justify the faff of a Garmin.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: MAC - friendly GPS?
« Reply #49 on: February 16, 2017, 08:50:31 am »
Eventually I used the follow the line on the screen method.

No notes, flags or other stuff.

Off road routing( whatever it's called). Basically I took the Garmins desire to decide for me, away from it.

Never bothered turning on the timer, as I never collected any ride data in the end.

It gives me a map, a line on it to follow and doesn't ever crash, even when the track is 1700km long. I can switch it of and switch it on without any issues.