Author Topic: So near but yet so far with my etrex Vista HCx - some beginner questions  (Read 4357 times)

Pippa

  • Busy being fabulous
I have just bought myself an etrex vista HCx and attempted to use it for the first time yesterday. Ideally I want to use my etrex to show me a preplanned route on the map with beeps/warnings to tell me when I need to turn left/right or do something. I used bikehike with coursepoints and I had some problems trying to achieve this and my BRANE hurts from trying to make it do what I want with the least amount of faff.... :( and so I have some (well quite a few) questions.....

1. If someone provides me with a planned route on bikeroutetoaster with all the coursepoints can I get this into my etrex to do what I want described about, rather than redoing it all in bikehike? I managed to download the GPX file from brt but when I opened it in MapSource it was just a track with no waypoints that I could see?

2. How do I get the coursepoints from bikehike to be in the right order in MapSource? My initial attempt I used the directional coursepoint options in bikehike but that meant they were ordered incorrectly in MapSource and so I plotted the route manually by clicking from waypoint to waypoint. I then tried a diffferent way by creating a bikehike route with generic coursepoints and named them 01 LT, 02 RT, 03 3E but then went to add more in between so had to get creative with the names i.e. 01aLT, 01b RT etc. This got them in the right order in MapSource but was a bit of a PITA so would I be better using bikehike to create the track and then something like Marengo the waypoints (Marengo seems to have much better naming options)?

3. If I have a load of waypoints in my etrex but no route, can I select some of them and get the etrex to create me a route?

4. I had to bail from the ride yesterday and tried to get the GPS to tell me the way to a train station. I did a Find and then Transportation and it came up with a very long list of “unnamed ground transportation”. How could I have used the etrex in this instance? And is there a way to filter for train stations as a lot of the things it was finding was bus stops – not great for a cyclist, unless of course you need to sleep in a bus shelter.... :)

Apologies for the length of the post but I feel like I’m just on the crux of getting the etrex to do a useful job but I’m not quite there yet......

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
    • Charity ride Durness to Dover 18-25th June 2011
I know this is a bit late, but I had a map*.  :P

As you know, I've been delaying getting a GPS, so it's been useful to find out about these issues, although it was very handy that you did have yours. :thumbsup:

Bikeroutetoaster does let you manually alter the descriptions of the coursepoints, but I have noticed before, that for any gpx imported back into bikehike, that it strips everything.  This could of course be due to the way I've plotted it though.


*I think that's why possibly the SatMap 10 might end up being the one I get, rather than the etrex, simply for the better OS maps.  That way you don't have to rely on the routing, as it does seem to me that people end up doing a lot of manual editing to create something useful.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
And I'll be really helpful here and say "you should have got an Oregon". Used mine today to find the way back to my place in Düsseldorf from Benrath and it directed me perfectly!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Martin

  • Give me bas relief
    • WWW
1. If someone provides me with a planned route on bikeroutetoaster with all the coursepoints can I get this into my etrex to do what I want described about, rather than redoing it all in bikehike? I managed to download the GPX file from brt but when I opened it in MapSource it was just a track with no waypoints that I could see?

yes it will appear as a track; waypoints have to be created on Garmin; if you have the Trip and Waypoint Manager you can do this but if you open the gpx track on TWM you will just see a line; the free map it comes with is very limited

2. How do I get the coursepoints from bikehike to be in the right order in MapSource?

don't think you can, mapsource only recognises its own way or viapoints


3. If I have a load of waypoints in my etrex but no route, can I select some of them and get the etrex to create me a route?

yes; go to menu>routes>new and click on the start on the screen, then move the arrow around the route and push the button to create an as the crow flies route between the waypoints (you may need to save each one). When you've finished go to menu>routes and the one you've created will appear as whatever the raod name you started on, highlight this and Navigate; should calculate a follow road route which will do all the beepy things at junctions.

alternatively if you have some waypoints go to menu>find>waypoints and select each one and add it to your new route; when you go back to the saved new route you can then highlight shuffle the waypoints up and down to get them in the right order.


4. I had to bail from the ride yesterday and tried to get the GPS to tell me the way to a train station. I did a Find and then Transportation and it came up with a very long list of “unnamed ground transportation”. How could I have used the etrex in this instance?

probably easier to find cities by name (press L button when in find cities to enable text input) from the menu; then when you've found the right town zoom around it until you find the station, click on it or near to it and Go To to navigate the way there.

NB this requires you to have a vague idea where the nearest town with a station is...

otherwise you could search for a railway track and follow it (extremely tedious as it has to be in about 1.2km scale IIRC)

*I think that's why possibly the SatMap 10 might end up being the one I get, rather than the etrex, simply for the better OS maps.  That way you don't have to rely on the routing, as it does seem to me that people end up doing a lot of manual editing to create something useful.

A word of caution. I have used a Satmap since they first came out. I am a fan generally, but the OS maps are very detailed and for cycling, particularly Audaxes, where you may have to read/interpret the screen quickly, I find my Garmin preferable. If I am going solo and not in a hurry, or navigating on the fly without a pre-prepared route loaded, the Satmap is very good, but........

For a long time, screen visibility on the Satmap was hindered by an arbitrary 80% limit on the backlight strength when using the (very necessary) "power save mode". This limit was removed last year but the latest software update has restored it. I have been trying to get Satmap to explain why this limit has been reimposed, as yet to no avail.

For this reason alone, I would not recommend purchase for cycling without trying it first.

And I'll be really helpful here and say "you should have got an Oregon". Used mine today to find the way back to my place in Düsseldorf from Benrath and it directed me perfectly!
I'm now looking very closely at the Oregon - can you tell me if:-

- you can chose the colour of individual Tracks you've loaded into it;
- you can chose the colour of the recorded track ridden
- it has "Proximity Alerts" and if so, how many

I understand it has heart rate monitor and cadence functions (at least, one of the models seems to have) a la the Edge705; does it also have the option to show the "Grade"?

Which maps are you using? Do you have the OS maps in it?

Any info would be much appreciated.

Kim

  • Timelord
4. I had to bail from the ride yesterday and tried to get the GPS to tell me the way to a train station. I did a Find and then Transportation and it came up with a very long list of “unnamed ground transportation”.

This smells map-related.  The OSM maps are absolutely bursting with POIs for all sorts of stuff, many without useful names.

If I'm doing the railway station bailout thing I switch to using the Garmin City Navigator maps first, because unlike OSM the routing data actually works, and it tends to avoid the worst of the information overload.

And sometimes the easiest way to tell it to guide you to a station (or whatever) still ends up being to unzoom/scroll/zoom around in the map window and click on it.  This is a non-terrible way to do things if using the GPS alongside a paper map, and I find works well in places like central London, where I have a reasonable idea where things are, but want the GPS to show me how to get there.

I vaguely recall there's some way to filter the Find results, but I don't have my eTrex to hand to remind me what.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

I've tried OS mapping and it is totally unsuited to road / audax cycling in most circumstances.

Getting back to the OP, it takes a little time to get the hang of the HCx. The problems you describe would be just as evident with any of the newer models.

First things to note are the differences between routes and tracks. Ideally, for a pre-planned route you need to have both on the device, as discussed here (and elsewhere in the forum):

http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=34268.msg644043#msg644043

Personally I now create a track anywhere (e.g. Googlemaps + Gmap to GPX bookmarklet http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/ ), using the resulting gpx in Mapsource to provide the basis of a route with appropriately labelled waypoints (to elaborate, use the displayed track, follow it along in Mapsource with the waypoint tool, make and label waypoints at appropriate turns etc).

tried to get the GPS to tell me the way to a train station

I find the above function very useful - I think you must just have been unfortunate in your choice of starting location as when I've used it the desired train stations come up very high on the list (edited in the light of Kim's reply: my mapping is Garmin's own).

As regards 3rd party software to use in combination with Mapsource, WinGDB3 is excellent.

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
And I'll be really helpful here and say "you should have got an Oregon". Used mine today to find the way back to my place in Düsseldorf from Benrath and it directed me perfectly!
I'm now looking very closely at the Oregon - can you tell me if:-

- you can chose the colour of individual Tracks you've loaded into it;
Yes and no. The standard track is purple and you can't change that; however, you can have a track showing on a map at any time, and you can set the colour for this from a choice of 15 or so (I find light green helpful), but you won't get the distance countdown etc if you're using this facility.
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- you can chose the colour of the recorded track ridden
I think it's black or black. I believe you can have it as a thick black line or a dotted black line, but it's black.
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- it has "Proximity Alerts" and if so, how many
Not sure I know what you mean about this - do you mean if you're following a route and it warns you when a turn is coming up? I don't think that's changeable, but it gives one alert a good 30 seconds before the junction and another about 5 seconds before (as far as I can estimate - it may be doing it on distance, but I don't use routes enough to know).

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I understand it has heart rate monitor and cadence functions (at least, one of the models seems to have) a la the Edge705; does it also have the option to show the "Grade"?
Dunno as I have the basicish Oregon 300 which didn't come with any of that gubbins.

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Which maps are you using? Do you have the OS maps in it?
I'm using OSM entirely and it's working well for me. I've experimented with several different flavours of OSM map, and the TalkyToaster one works best for me as the details is light in colour so you can see the track well in contrast. If I'm not following a track then AndyGates' map works well for me.

And that does lead me to the BIG disadvantage of the Oregon, which is that the screen is hard to read in bright sunlight. It's brilliant at night and it's OK in dull weather but it's tricky when it's bright.

Hope these ramblings help!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Kim

  • Timelord
I've tried OS mapping and it is totally unsuited to road / audax cycling in most circumstances.

Agreed.  The OS maps are very pretty, and give you an excellent idea of the terrain, but aren't all that useful for cycle navigation.  On foot is a different matter.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

can you tell me if:-

- you can chose the colour of individual Tracks you've loaded into it;
Yes and no. The standard track is purple and you can't change that ...
I'm not sure what you mean by "standard track" in this context - do you mean the path displayed when you're using the autorouting?

Quote
- it has "Proximity Alerts" and if so, how many
Not sure I know what you mean about this -
Proximity Alerts on my Map60 are an option reached on the main Menu. You can choose waypoints to set as Alerts when you get within a (user defined) distance from them; I find this extremely helpful as a reminder not to ride past Info controls. There are other ways to do this of course.

And that does lead me to the BIG disadvantage of the Oregon, which is that the screen is hard to read in bright sunlight. It's brilliant at night and it's OK in dull weather but it's tricky when it's bright.
That's my big fear with the Oregon; same problem with the Satmap.

Hope these ramblings help!
Yes, many thanks.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
I'm using OSM entirely and it's working well for me. I've experimented with several different flavours of OSM map, and the TalkyToaster one works best for me as the details is light in colour so you can see the track well in contrast. If I'm not following a track then AndyGates' map works well for me.

True that, my fat bright roads aren't best for route-following.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
can you tell me if:-

- you can chose the colour of individual Tracks you've loaded into it;
Yes and no. The standard track is purple and you can't change that ...
I'm not sure what you mean by "standard track" in this context - do you mean the path displayed when you're using the autorouting?
Yep, that's the one - a thick purple line with periodic white arrows when you're doing a junction.

Quote
Quote
- it has "Proximity Alerts" and if so, how many
Not sure I know what you mean about this -
Proximity Alerts on my Map60 are an option reached on the main Menu. You can choose waypoints to set as Alerts when you get within a (user defined) distance from them; I find this extremely helpful as a reminder not to ride past Info controls. There are other ways to do this of course.
I don't think this is possible - at least I haven't stumbled across anything in the menus and I've fiddled around with them quite a bit.

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And that does lead me to the BIG disadvantage of the Oregon, which is that the screen is hard to read in bright sunlight. It's brilliant at night and it's OK in dull weather but it's tricky when it's bright.
That's my big fear with the Oregon; same problem with the Satmap.
Yep, I think it is the real weak spot of the Oregon. Everything else I think is absolutely excellent, very much suitable for my kind of cycling. I have fitted an anti-glare screen on the Oregon but I think it's made almost no difference (apart from protecting the screen from scratches). I should probably invent some kind of sunshade for it - like a mini baseball cap; because of its location on my trike it is angled very much towards the sun.

Hope these ramblings help!
Yes, many thanks.
[/quote]
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Oh, "Unnamed Ground Transportation" = a bus stop or tram stop.  With no name.  Yes, it's clutter... but presenting bus stops seems worthwhile. 

Most stations are named "Dunny-On-The-Wold Station" so an All POI search for names containing "station" is a decent stab. 
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Pippa

  • Busy being fabulous
*I think* I might be finally getting somewhere after much experimenting.

1) Plot a route in google
2) EasyGPS FULL to get .gpx file
3) Open in Bikehike and go through and add coursepoints. I use the generic and custom name them i.e. 01 RT, 02 SO, 03 2E etc
4) Download from bikehike to a file.
5) Do a quick find and replace wpt to rtept and add a <rte> and </rte> around the route.
6) Open in Map Source and filter down to 500 trackpoints.
7) Transfer to the etrex, show the track on the map and navigate the route offroad.

I have yet to try this though  ::-) I attempted it the other day but the .gpx file wouldn't open in MapSource. I realise now that this was because I omitted to enclose the route in the <rte> bits  :facepalm:. So instead I used it as downloaded from bikhike but that of course uses waypoints instead of routepoints, and we don't have as many of those to play with.

I'll be testing it on the Dun Run.

Thanks for all the advice :)

Kim

  • Timelord
Reading that, I can't help but think of:



 ;D

(Not that I can suggest anything better - my route-planning method relies on the routing data of the Garmin maps, lovingly hand-crafting a route in Mapsource that persuades the auto-routing to take me on the route I want to go, and using 'follow road'.  Attempting this with OSM maps is, at present, a recipe for doom.  When I need to follow something the Garmin maps can't cope with (an offroad path or something) I tend to use tracks and live without turn by turn instructions).)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Pippa

  • Busy being fabulous
 ;D

I know. It does sound horrendously complicated. But it does what I want it to do (well I'm hoping it does!)


andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
(Not that I can suggest anything better - my route-planning method relies on the routing data of the Garmin maps, lovingly hand-crafting a route in Mapsource that persuades the auto-routing to take me on the route I want to go, and using 'follow road'.  Attempting this with OSM maps is, at present, a recipe for doom.

Really?  I get by just fine. I'll be using my Dunwich route for the third year running, this weekend.

Oh, FYI, "Follow road" routing is more battery-hungry, especially with auto-recalculate (something all GPSs seem to do for pleasure), than using an eyeball to follow a track.  It doesn't matter much until you're up to a century.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
(Not that I can suggest anything better - my route-planning method relies on the routing data of the Garmin maps, lovingly hand-crafting a route in Mapsource that persuades the auto-routing to take me on the route I want to go, and using 'follow road'.  Attempting this with OSM maps is, at present, a recipe for doom.

Really?  I get by just fine. I'll be using my Dunwich route for the third year running, this weekend.

Oh, FYI, "Follow road" routing is more battery-hungry, especially with auto-recalculate (something all GPSs seem to do for pleasure), than using an eyeball to follow a track.  It doesn't matter much until you're up to a century.

For a long time I had recalc turned off but lately I've set it to prompt as a failsafe against missing a turn.

Edit: FTR I think you can achieve much the same thing by using a track and the marine proximity alert (this has been discussed elsewhere but I havent got an etrex to hand to check it out).

(Not that I can suggest anything better - my route-planning method relies on the routing data of the Garmin maps, lovingly hand-crafting a route in Mapsource that persuades the auto-routing to take me on the route I want to go, and using 'follow road'.  Attempting this with OSM maps is, at present, a recipe for doom.

Really?  I get by just fine. I'll be using my Dunwich route for the third year running, this weekend.

Oh, FYI, "Follow road" routing is more battery-hungry, especially with auto-recalculate (something all GPSs seem to do for pleasure), than using an eyeball to follow a track.  It doesn't matter much until you're up to a century.

Battery life is certainly excellent with the luddite track-based "follow the pink line" approach.  A set of 2700mAH AAs has lasted me 20 hours with occasional backlighting, with more to come that I was too cowardly to exploit given that it's  easy to carry spares.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
You'll probably get 24h, provided the compass is off all or most of the time.  Having the compass on is a significant battery hit, according to Garmin's own literature.
We've recorded over 50h continuous use (with sporadic backlight at night) on a Legend Cx with lithium AAs (and battery type set to 'alkaline' in the menus).
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."