Author Topic: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS  (Read 11777 times)

Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« on: April 06, 2011, 08:40:43 pm »
What's the best way to do this please?   We would like to be able to plot a route on the computer, download it onto the GPS then select it for navigation purposes.

Please keep instructions simple  :D  :thumbsup:   

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 08:46:21 pm »
For the route plotting I like bikehike. Mainly due to the ability to "auto follow" roads on the google map, but if necessary plot accross non "auto follow" tracks etc on the OS map.

From there you can download the route as a GPX file, to put onto your gps.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 08:46:52 pm »
PB, don't the methods outlined in this thread suit?

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=45686.0

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 08:49:12 pm »
Well, they may do but we're complete novices at this and have no idea where to start.   What program / app to use, what we might need to buy in software terms, or sites online that allow creation of routes with a good base map, etc.   

Totally green...   :)

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 08:50:59 pm »
Before you can get any suggestions we need to know:-

What GPS do you have, it differs greatly whether you've got
a) a (mapping) eTrex like the Legend or Vista
b) an older non-mapping eTrex like the basic yellow eTrex H or a Geko
c) a non-mapping Edge 205/305
d) or a mapping Edge 605/705/800?
e) something else like a Dakota or Oregon.

Also, do you want to:
a) follow an arrow that tells you which direction to go with no instructions
b) be prompted with at key places with preprogrammed instructions such as "turn left here"
c) look at the map screen and follow a line
d) have a combination of (b) and (c).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 08:54:19 pm »
Ah, I see.  Thanks.   

Unit:  Garmin GPS 60CSx
Has europe basemap and Andy's Munkymaps which is nice.

Combination of b and c would be preferable please.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 11:29:40 am »
What you are describing is often called the jwo method on here. The way it works is that you create a route (wiggly line) in bike hike, and import that into mapsource. You then make a waypoint for every routesheet instruction, and name it according to some convention (SimonP has talkied of standardizing these so that he can write a programme that automagically turns gpx files into routesheets). Look at Jo's (nee Jwo) excellent webpage for an example of the naming convention (Using GPS to navigate Audax Routes). If you name them like this

01 ST
02 TL
03 XO
04 BR

etc. then you can use mapsource to make a route out of the waypoints. You then make that route invisible. Save the file and transfer it to the GPS. Tell the GPS to navigate the route, but use off road mode. That way, (if you include waypoint at next on the map screen) you get the nice little wiggly track plus turn instructions (from the waypoint names) and beeps from the invisible route.

Francis' excellent pages give the same method too GPS Links and Information particularly -

Huge thanks to SimonP for passing all this on to me. His GPX files are invariably a work of art, and I wouldn't find my GPS nearly so useful had he not walked me through all this.

I've missed out loads of detail about compressing numbers of points in routes, etc, but you'll find all that on Francis' excellent pages.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 12:02:55 pm »
Hmmm.  I was sort of hoping that using GPS was not going to be a geek fest.  :(

So, I need to learn how to use bikehike, install and learn how to use mapsource, then I can do something.   Surely there must be a more straightforward approach?   

<daunted and put off by the complexity  :(

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 12:08:06 pm »
I'm sure there is, there is a much easier way with the Edge 605/705/800 series. I don't know anything about the GPS 60CSx to know how best to do what you want to do.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2011, 12:25:46 pm »
Just as a test I've created a 1 mile gpx test file using bikehike.  I've loaded this down to my computer and then onto the memory card of my gps.  Unfortunately the gps doesn't seem to be able to find this.   Any ideas why please?

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2011, 12:29:32 pm »
Hmmm.  I was sort of hoping that using GPS was not going to be a geek fest.  :(

So, I need to learn how to use bikehike, install and learn how to use mapsource, then I can do something.   Surely there must be a more straightforward approach?   

<daunted and put off by the complexity  :(

It might sound complex, but it's not when you have the workflow sorted. The problem is that there are several ways to do the same thing, each of which has some limitations.

Drawing a wiggly line, exporting it, opening it in mapsource, and compressing the number of points to make a route is a doddle. If you don't want turn indications and instructions and are happy to follow the green line, you are done.

Adding instructions does take time - you are basically learning the route before you go. In that sense, I find it helpful. Clicking on the map containing the wiggly line in mapsource and adding waypoints is utterly simple. Following a naming convention is simple. Making a route is a case of highlighting the waypoints and right clicking IIRC. Sending it to GPS is a button press. Navigating using off road is a choice you make when you select the route - really, none of it is hard once you get into a flow. However, it is time consuming compared to relying on the routing info in the maps and letting the device do it for you like on a car GPS. The reason I don't do that is that I don't trust the maps or the device to route for me. Maybe I should.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2011, 12:31:02 pm »
Unfortunately I've failed on the first button press.  See my previous post.    :(

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2011, 12:38:40 pm »
Just as a test I've created a 1 mile gpx test file using bikehike.  I've loaded this down to my computer and then onto the memory card of my gps.  Unfortunately the gps doesn't seem to be able to find this.   Any ideas why please?
The 60CSx can't read GPX files on the memory card. You need to load the route to its internal memory. You can use software like GPSBabel or MapSource to load the route. Or you can install the Garmin Communicator Plugin, then use the option in Bikehike to download directly to the GPS unit.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2011, 12:41:05 pm »
Ah, I see.  that's a bit limiting innit.   

Thanks.  I'll faff later.   

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2011, 12:53:07 pm »
Hmmm.  I was sort of hoping that using GPS was not going to be a geek fest.  :(

So, I need to learn how to use bikehike, install and learn how to use mapsource, then I can do something.   Surely there must be a more straightforward approach?   

<daunted and put off by the complexity  :(
All the above posters have put forward excellent procedures, but like you suggest you are, I am technically challenged in GPS (as in so many other ways!)

I too started with a Map60CSx and Mapsource but after I discovered that the "autorouting" function in Garmin is not sufficiently reliable, in my opinion, I got into the habit of simply using Tracks.

You may have already discovered that Routes are a series of marks between which the GPS unit navigates according to a path of its own choosing; if you set it to "Follow Road" it will (mostly) take a path which conforms to the mapping contained in the unit. I say "mostly" because it will occasionally decide to "avoid a Highway" (if you have set it to do so and you do need to do this to avoid really major roads) typically when your preferred course takes you across a staggered crossroads of a major road; it then looks for a 90 degree crossroads of the major road and may go miles looking for one! Since the GPS unit uses different programming to the mapping software the path it will calculate may not agree with the path the mapping software generates on your PC screen.

The knowledgeable ones amongst us (see above) have ways of minimising this nuisance, usually I think involving the intelligent placing of extra waypoints, but I didn't learn this until after I'd become accustomed to using Tracks.

Tracks are lines you draw manually on whichever software you are using and transfer as such to the Map60; the unit doesn't do any work on them, it just displays them. You just watch the screen and make sure that the position arrow follows the line. In truth, you don't even need maps on the unit although this does make interpreting junctions in advance much easier when in motion on the bike. It's handy though if as occasionally happens, the unit "loses sight of" its map - the line is still there as a sort of back-up. You can also display more than one Track at a time, in different colours, so if there are options you want available when at that point in the ride - say, "shall I go short and hilly or long and flat?" this is easy to do (I admit however, that if you are using a Route, you can still display the option as a separate Track and achieve the same result.)

If you presently have no mapping software on your home PC (i.e. you don't have Mapsource or Memory Map, Anquet, etc.) I would not rush to buy any just yet. I bought Mapsource years ago when I got my Map60 and found I desired OS mapping on screen so much I subsequently bought Memory Map and now use that almost exclusively, so I don't have much experience using on-line mapping. At the time I made these investments, my Broadband was so crap, I couldn't rely on the on-line stuff either, and this would still be a factor in my decision if I were starting again, since my desktop Memory Map is so much smoother and faster than on-line stuff. But things are changing fast and the free on-line stuff is much improved. You should get the advice of others more skilled in this area, but I have noticed this, which I think looks interesting for example: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=45801.0 although I haven't explored it enough yet to know.

I'd recommend you play around with Tracks versus Routes first to see which you like best. The Track has the advantage of cluttering the screen less; I found that the pop up instructions would often obscure the map just when I was trying to interpret it, at a complex junction say, and for me, it's easier just to read the map as if it was an conventional paper one; I even use it in North Up rather than the car satnav style of Track Up where the map swings around as you turn. I admit I may be the minority here but you should try-before-you-buy as with all the options! I suspect using Tracks consumes less power too than using Route navigation, so that's another plus in my book if I don't have to change batteries so often, although that's really a matter of self- organisation: change in advance at Controls, for example.

Composing a Track on your PC may seem a bit tedious but I have found that with a little practice, it's fairly quick and it has the merit of being simple. I find it also very helpful to review the journey to gain some familiarity before the ride and this follows naturally if you're drawing a line to follow.

As a P.S. - the Map60 is a heavy lump, especially with non lithium batteries (Energizer Lithiums are the best of the diposables, in my experience) so make sure the bike mount is firm. Put some Vaseline or similar on the lugs between the cradle and the bar mount - there will be movement here and the lugs grind away and snap - if you see white dust, this is happening. Also, always attach a lanyard as a back up. Be aware that the Map60 has a reputation for shutting down if subjected to heavy vibration; typically, when hammering downhill over rough surfaced Tarmac; it helps if it's not mounted horizontal but angled slightly up at the front; if it's dead flat, it tends to rock rapidly back and forth and it really doesn't like this!

In other respects, the Map60 is a great unit - good reception, easy buttons even with winter gloves, fair sized, legible screen, widely customisable. Enjoy!

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2011, 01:01:44 pm »
I'm sure there is, there is a much easier way with the Edge 605/705/800 series.

I've probably been told beofore, but like PB I'm a complete novice at this - so could you please expand on that comment for me? I have a 705.   :)
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2011, 01:19:38 pm »
I'm sure there is, there is a much easier way with the Edge 605/705/800 series.

I've probably been told beofore, but like PB I'm a complete novice at this - so could you please expand on that comment for me? I have a 705.   :)

More details in here: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=45572.msg898655#msg898655
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2011, 03:18:13 pm »
Ta, hadn't read all that thread  :) :thumbsup:
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2011, 04:20:28 pm »
I would endorse much of what PloddinPedro says on page 1.  However.

I use an Etrex, not the Map60, but everything PP described sounds much the same.  I have found that the unit's interpretation of sensible routes (and the speed of calculating them if more than a mile or two) differed from mine, so I stopped using "on road" or follow road or whatever, and instead have the unit permanently set to off-road, using routes rather than tracks.

I find following a track on the unit quite fiddly, and often find that I have to scale up to get a closer look at junctions (maybe that's just an eyesight issue!).  I prefer to set a route with a waypoint at each junction or major direction change, and then follow the arrow.  This following the arrow can either be the full-screen compass, or a tiny arrow in the corner of the map; I set it to two data fields, with the one bing the direction arrow and the other being "distance to next".  So as long as I am always travelling in the general direction of the arrow I'm confident I'm on the correct path, and the distance to next gives me an idea how careful I need to be.  I've never really found the need for naming routepoints to give instructions, though identifying controls on audax routes can be helpful.

There is a range of ideas about how to set the routepoints - just before a junction, at the junction, just after the junction.  I prefer the latter, as the pointer starts to swing as I approach (unless it's straight on, of course).

With routes, where the track along the road becomes unimportant, there is a wider range of mapping software available.  I have Memory Map, but since it was introduced last week have been looking at the Ordnance Survey on-line mapping.  This lets you create a route (but not, I think, a track) and then drop it straight into the GPS.  It's quick and simple (and free), though (perhaps because of unfamiliarity) I have found the outputting of the route to be a little bit flakey.

So there's a contrary view.  The only way to find out which suits you best is to try it.  Enjoy.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2011, 04:54:26 pm »
Phil, your post serves to illustrate what I’ve long believed and that is that there are almost as many different ways of using these things as there are users!

I have never used the compass arrow method, since I surmised, perhaps wrongly, that it could react too slowly if I arrived at a junction at speed (well, relatively, in  my case!) My brain seems to be able to cope with reading a simple map and that’s about all. As an example, I always set it to “North Up” - if I’m heading in any direction other than north, I don’t find it a problem to interpret the map to determine whether I next turn right or left, etc. What befuddles me is having the screen suddenly switch to Track Up mode at junctions if I have it Routing, with the next turn warning enabled. I also find the direction arrow can often obscure the detail of the junction just at the critical time.

But I suspect that different models may treat the next turn display in different ways - I also have an Edge 705 and when it’s auto-routing, the next turn screen isn’t the same as my Map60. This may be a consequence of differing set-up options or different options available. Since I don’t use Routing much, I haven’t experimented.

The Edge provides another illustration of how different models vary, because I find it irritating to have irrelevant side street names overlaying and obscuring the Track line when I'm going through "built up" areas. So far as I can see, unlike the Map60, there's no way of turning this detail off without losing the small roads altogether.

The only real drawback to using Tracks that I should like to see improved is that the Track line is quite thin and doesn’t always show up as clearly as I should like. This is worse on the latest models - I have upgraded to the Map 62 with OS mapping and of course there is more mess on the screen now and the Track is harder to see. A wider, semi-opaque line would be good.

This is where Greenbank’s method might score, since it combines Track with “hidden” routing and s he says, you get the turn warnings as back -up to the Track. Although it does seem extra faffing to put in all the route viapoints.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2011, 05:24:44 pm »
Hmmm.  I was sort of hoping that using GPS was not going to be a geek fest.  :(

PB, if your GPS was bought new it should have come with a software disk?
(I know some recent models don't, but I imagine the GPS60 does)

And are you using a Windows PC?

If yes to both those, on that disk are two important items, one is called 'Trip & Waypoint Manager' and the other is the USB driver.
The USB driver is essential (and there is a recently-updated version on Garmin's website which may be worth downloading).
T+WM is a pretty uninteresting program but it does make it easy to open GPX files (from any source, hopefully*) and transfer them to the GPS in the 'correct' way.  The learning curve is a lot steeper without it.
(If you have, or subsequently get, Mapsource - that is essentially T+WM beefed up.)
* actually, T+WM is a bit 'fussy' about imported GPX, still, you can but try.  (Actually, it's being highly standards-compliant - but the files we import often aren't.  Sorry, gone all geeky there for a moment.)

There is also a browser plugin called Garmin Communicator that might come in useful, if you use online planning sites and want to avoid Mapsource/T+WM.  I think it still needs that essential USB driver though.

You may have already discovered that Routes are a series of marks between which the GPS unit navigates according to a path of its own choosing; if you set it to "Follow Road" it will (mostly) take a path which conforms to the mapping contained in the unit. I say "mostly" because it will occasionally decide to "avoid a Highway" ... etc etc

I see this general comment rather often and I feel it gives the GPS and Routes generally something of a bad rep, by only telling half the story.
Yes all the above is true, "if you set it to Follow Road".

You don't say anything about how a GPS behaves if you don't set it to 'Follow Road'.
I would suggest that in this mode (confusingly described in the menus as 'Off Road') it behaves entirely predictably and does just what is wanted.

I can't help feeling that some people fall into the trap, early on, of configuring their GPS to 'use Follow Road' (or maybe, of foolishly ticking the 'Don't ask again' box).  Unfortunately, once you've done this (and I can see why it seems the obvious thing to do), you are never again given an opportunity to opt for the far more usable and understandable Direct (aka Off Road) mode - so missing out on near-50% of the GPS's functionality for ever more.

Far, far better to set it to 'Prompted' in the menus.  Nothing wrong with preferring Follow Road mode - but you need to be able to opt out at will.  That is what 'Prompted' gives you.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2011, 08:14:28 pm »
This is where Greenbank’s method might score, since it combines Track with “hidden” routing and s he says, you get the turn warnings as back -up to the Track. Although it does seem extra faffing to put in all the route viapoints.

Which method of mine?

The one I use for the Edge 705 (plot route in bikely using follow road) means I can generally plot a 200km Audax in under 10 minutes. I then download it once as a GPX track and then download exactly the same thing as a GPXX route.

If you mean the jwo-esque one routepoint per routesheet instruction method then, yes, that generally takes anything between half an hour and an hour for a 200km ride (rides like the Elenith and BCM 600 take roughly the same time to plot as they have about the same number of instructions as a typical local 200km ride for me despite being much longer).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2011, 09:26:05 pm »
This is where Greenbank’s method might score, since it combines Track with “hidden” routing and s he says, you get the turn warnings as back -up to the Track. Although it does seem extra faffing to put in all the route viapoints.

Which method of mine?

The one I use for the Edge 705 (plot route in bikely using follow road) means I can generally plot a 200km Audax in under 10 minutes. I then download it once as a GPX track and then download exactly the same thing as a GPXX route.

If you mean the jwo-esque one routepoint per routesheet instruction method then, yes, that generally takes anything between half an hour and an hour for a 200km ride (rides like the Elenith and BCM 600 take roughly the same time to plot as they have about the same number of instructions as a typical local 200km ride for me despite being much longer).
Ooops. Sorry if I've misremembered but I was referring to the use of a Route set to transparent together with a Track, so you got a line to follow combined with prompts at relevant turns. Apologies if that wasn't your post somewhere; I've read so much of this stuff .....

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2011, 09:32:22 pm »
This is where Greenbank’s method might score, since it combines Track with “hidden” routing and s he says, you get the turn warnings as back -up to the Track. Although it does seem extra faffing to put in all the route viapoints.

Which method of mine?

The one I use for the Edge 705 (plot route in bikely using follow road) means I can generally plot a 200km Audax in under 10 minutes. I then download it once as a GPX track and then download exactly the same thing as a GPXX route.

If you mean the jwo-esque one routepoint per routesheet instruction method then, yes, that generally takes anything between half an hour and an hour for a 200km ride (rides like the Elenith and BCM 600 take roughly the same time to plot as they have about the same number of instructions as a typical local 200km ride for me despite being much longer).
Ooops. Sorry if I've misremembered but I was referring to the use of a Route set to transparent together with a Track, so you got a line to follow combined with prompts at relevant turns. Apologies if that wasn't your post somewhere; I've read so much of this stuff .....

That on my Edge 705 takes 10 minutes to plot for a 200km Audax, but is relying on the GPS to give me the prompts based on its routing and its knowledge of the roads (sometimes it doesn't tell me about every junction which is why I need to have it on the map page to see the where the route and track go). The difference is that I'm not telling the GPS where to tell me what I want it to tell me, which is what you get with the other 'one routepoint per routesheet instruction' method.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Plotting routes for Garmin GPS
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2011, 09:40:27 pm »
You may have already discovered that Routes are a series of marks between which the GPS unit navigates according to a path of its own choosing; if you set it to "Follow Road" it will (mostly) take a path which conforms to the mapping contained in the unit. I say "mostly" because it will occasionally decide to "avoid a Highway" ... etc etc

I see this general comment rather often and I feel it gives the GPS and Routes generally something of a bad rep, by only telling half the story.
Yes all the above is true, "if you set it to Follow Road".

You don't say anything about how a GPS behaves if you don't set it to 'Follow Road'.
I would suggest that in this mode (confusingly described in the menus as 'Off Road') it behaves entirely predictably and does just what is wanted.

I can't help feeling that some people fall into the trap, early on, of configuring their GPS to 'use Follow Road' (or maybe, of foolishly ticking the 'Don't ask again' box).  Unfortunately, once you've done this (and I can see why it seems the obvious thing to do), you are never again given an opportunity to opt for the far more usable and understandable Direct (aka Off Road) mode - so missing out on near-50% of the GPS's functionality for ever more.

Far, far better to set it to 'Prompted' in the menus.  Nothing wrong with preferring Follow Road mode - but you need to be able to opt out at will.  That is what 'Prompted' gives you.
Fair point, but I have always puzzled over the attraction of the "Off Road" option. Ultimately I bow to your greater knowledge here because I haven't really used it, other than briefly to discover I didn't like it. My (limited) experience is that I got a series of "as the crow flies" straight lines from one way/viapoint to the next. If the path is curvy this means the screen displays a series of forks where the Route line diverges from the roads on the map. It's a purely personal preference thing, but as I said above, I'm primarily a "map" person and I wasn't comfortable with the constant requirement to interpret whether I was looking at just a general direction pointer or an actual fork in two roads. My brain is too small to cope with much information descending at 20 mph at 3 a.m. - I just want things simple!

The other aspect of this is that using "Off Road" (I think - correct me if wrong) requires a degree of intensity of numbers of viapoints to constrain the Route to approximate to the road on the map and I find preparing such a file more tedious than simply drawing a Track; but maybe that's just me!