Author Topic: Using proximity alerts  (Read 4626 times)

Using proximity alerts
« on: July 20, 2008, 07:29:44 pm »
How do you use proximity alerts to warn in advance of upcoming waypoints, and what form do they take - audible or message on screen? Do I need to set this up for individual waypoints / groups of waypoints or is there a system-wide setting?

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 08:24:13 pm »
Proximity alarms are turned off on my Vista Cx.

However, when I approach a user waypoint or route point, I get an audible alarm, and between sunset and sunrise the backlight switches on. The "Name" of the waypoint/route point is displayed at the top of the map, and the map is zoomed in to a fairly close range - rather than the more normal "View from Mars" mode.

TBH I've not messed with the settings on this unit that I inherited from Manotea - I'm not sure if he changed anything from the default.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 08:32:23 pm »
Yes, they are off on my Vista and indeed the "light up" screen is good, but I noticed last night on the Dun Run that it would be better if I had had a little more advance warning.

It does rather look as if the most efficient way forward is to do this by careful WP placement / labelling during route planning.

Anyway, just playing around with the unit itself, I can go Setup > Proximity > waypoints, then add individual WPs to a list, then specify a distance for the warning. As has been pointed out that is not practical for large numbers of WPs.

What I was really getting at, though, is if there is a way of setting proximity alerts when creating WPs in Mapsource? And hence transferring the proximity settings to the device?

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 08:45:26 pm »
Do you use yours in Follow Road mode? If so, is the routing set for "Car"?

I have no idea if that sets a later warning or not. There are two tones used as you approach a waypoint/turn - Early and Final. I can't see any way of changing the range at which these fire, but it might be related to the navigation mode in use; when I'm following a car route on mine, I get much more warning of a turn compared to when I'm cycling. Perhaps it's speed related.

Whatever - something is different between yours and mine, because I seem to get plenty of warning most of the time - at least 30s.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2008, 09:25:08 pm »
If I am using follow roads I set if for "delivery".

I do, I must confess, have the audible tones switched off. Partly as I am a bit mutton so it's a bit hit and miss if I hear them or not. I've never even tried them though so no idea how loud they are.

It's the screen lighting up I'm keen on.

frankly frankie

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 10:18:02 am »
I have them turned off too.  I initially thought they were going to be a really useful feature (eg for signalling an approaching info control) but in practice it was found they just added confusion.  Mainly because, on the Garmin, you get an alert when leaving the proximity zone, as well as the one you want (ie when entering the zone).

What I was really getting at, though, is if there is a way of setting proximity alerts when creating WPs in Mapsource? And hence transferring the proximity settings to the device?

Yes, the proximity is one of the 'properties' of any User Waypoint in Mapsource.  You can switch it off/on - the default is 'unknown' aka 'off' - and set the distance.

The distance of the usual 'waypoint approaching' alerts that you get depends on your speed (presumably averaged a bit) - if you're hurtling down a long descent you might get up to 200m warning - if you're slogging uphill at walking pace it doesn't fire until you're right on top of it.
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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 02:24:50 pm »
Interesting. What I was doing, or trying to do on the Dun Run, was to look ahead / zoom out when I got the chance, and then slow down a bit when I knew there was a turn somewhere ahead.

From what you were saying I'd have been better keeping going full steam ahead as I'd have been alerted earlier.

  Mainly because, on the Garmin, you get an alert when leaving the proximity zone, as well as the one you want (ie when entering the zone).

Hmm. I'm rapidly losing interest in proximity alerts and moving towards extra WPs / altering how I place and name WPs.

frankly frankie

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 03:06:10 pm »
I would investigate your 'Distance to Next Waypoint' or if you prefer 'Time to Next Waypoint' fields.
These are very useful and are something that only GPS can do (unlike speed, odometer, altitude etc)

Set things up so that the 'Distance to Next' field is always showing, regardless of what page you're using.  I have it top right on both the Map and Trip computer pages (and I don't use any of the others).
If it displays more than, say, 400 metres - then your mind can just wander off and do something else.
Less than that, and at least a bit of you will start looking out for signage etc.
Less than 50m, and you would be preparing to make the turn.
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 03:07:55 pm »
Set things up so that the 'Distance to Next' field is always showing

Bingo. Ta  :)

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2008, 03:17:14 pm »
I really don't know how you (anyone) can go wrong if you've got a GPS unless you constantly play with it, put it on the wrong screen, scroll around "to see what's coming up", forget to look at it or are too tired to realise that it's trying to help you.

Trying to navigate by following a green line on a cluttered map page that is locked to be "North Upwards" is a nightmare and means you'll end up getting confused at least once.

I create my route on bikely with one routepoint per instruction*. The routepoints are directly on the junction, in the case of roundabouts I put the routepoint right on the road/roundabout junction of the exit I want. I also name the routepoint with the appropriate instruction.

For example: Bicycle Path - FP300 2008 at Bikely.com

Zoom right in on Point 3 (C3 E2).

The route-sheet said Exit 2 (SP Town Centre) at this roundabout. The first exit is a works access road and wasn't shown as a normal exit on the RAB. If the waypoint was bang on the middle of the roundabout there'd still be some confusion. Instead my GPS was pointing me to that 3rd exit because that's where I'd put the waypoint. As I turned onto the roundabout facing what could be considered the 2nd exit (Templer Way) it was correctly pointing to the right down Chart Road.

I then put the GPS on this page:-



and leave it there. It has everything you need assuming you've programmed the route with proper care and attention. It shows:-

1) The direction arrow pointing to the next point.
2) The distance to the next point. (Mine also gives the expected time to get to the next point.)
3) The name of the next point, which is the instruction of what to do.
4) One other bit of info at the bottom.

If the arrow doesn't point roughly in the direction you're going then either the road bends round (in which case adding extra routepoints can help reduce this) or you've gone the wrong way, especially if the arrow is pointing backwards. Another clue is the "distance to next" going up instead of down.

The only times I've gone wrong using a GPS to navigate are:

1) When I've misprogrammed the route (happened a couple of times on the weekend's ride). Once I'd assumed the route was the same as the year before. Secondly I named a right turn "12 L" but it was obvious I'd done this. In each situation I had the routesheet as backup just in case.

2) When I've been too tired to remember to look at it. Don't rely on it warning you with a beep or a glowing screen. I've missed this on many occasions. Just get used to checking that the distance is counting down every 30 seconds or so.

3) When I thought I remembered the route and assumed the GPS was wrong.

4) Have a backup of a map and routesheet. Ro-Sham-Bo say Paper cover GPS.

* Routesheet implies that one exists. If you're creating your own route then:

1. At a minimum; place a routepoint wherever you change roads (i.e. you cross white lines).
2. Label them with instructions L/R/SO/E3/LiR (Left/Right/Straight On/Exit 3 at RAB/Left Immediate Right, etc).
2. Use various mapping pages (Streetmap.co.uk gives you access to OS landranger maps of the entire country) and is better for working out road layout that google maps.
3. Use satellite pics to see the layout at junctions although remember they could be out of date.
4. Extra routepoints on long sections, or sections that change direction several times) are useful. After you've plotted the route look at the angle between a point and the next and compare it to the direction the road takes. If you think the arrow will be confusing then add a point to make sure.

For example, look at Point 18 of this route: Bicycle Path - TO_BETH at Bikely.com

When getting to that roundabout the arrow would be pointing South, but I wanted to go due East. The danger is that there is a little road going South which adds to the confusion. I knew I needed to go East at this point, but that's because I created the route and I've got a good (but still not perfect) memory. :)

For out-and-back style routes, or where the route uses the same bit of road more than once you must split it into separate routes so that no part of the route shares the same road(s). Otherwise the GPS will try and navigate you backwards to the finish rather than on the outwards part. The GPS will usually assume that you are further on in the route.

For example: Bicycle Path - FP300 2008 at Bikely.com

Near point 100 (the Hythe Control) the route doubles back and uses the same roads in West Hythe. This could have confused the GPS so I needed to split it. Although I created it all as one route, I split it into separate routes at Point 98/99 (which is why the prefix letter changes).

Loops can be done in one route if you know which way to go at the start to get you away from the confusing area.

Lots of other advice on jwo's GPS/Audax page: Using GPS to navigate Audax Routes
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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2008, 03:22:42 pm »
What Greenbank said. :thumbsup:

2. Use various mapping pages (Streetmap.co.uk gives you access to OS landranger maps of the entire country) and is better for working out road layout that google maps.

An extra mapping tool that I find useful is Get-a-map - this allows you to see a 1:25,000 map, as well as 1:50,000 and 1:100,000.

The default proximity alert on the Etrex H is 15 seconds (not distance) and can't be changed - I find that this works well enough, if I know there's a junction coming up - and the 'Distance to next' field backs it up.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2008, 03:36:23 pm »
Thanks Greenbank.

I'd say I never go badly wrong with the Vista, but I'm now at the tweaking stage to get things as good as possible. It's taken me a little while to develop faith in the machine and now I can focus on taking on board advice such as the above.

One factor in this is that everyone does things slightly differently, so if you are using someone else's route it may not always be done as you would do it yourself - no criticism intended of ChrisN's dun Run route which was excellent (and my issues are more about device display set-up), but it is best to go through the physical process of placing / labelling the WPs yourself as you get a mental image of e.g. 5-way crossroads or whatever. Plus you can use satellite images to clarify things.  

I really don't know how you (anyone) can go wrong if you've got a GPS unless you constantly play with it, put it on the wrong screen, scroll around "to see what's coming up"

That's what I was doing on the only occasion I missed a turn on the Dun Run. (Actually, I now realise that even if I had not doubled back a hundred meters to the route, I'd have ended up in the right place anyway after a brief detour of a couple of hundred metres).

My query about alerts really stems from a situation such as this: at night, in a village, two possible right turns off main street that are literally within sight of each other, tired and slightly unsure which of the two R turns is being referred to, note instruction from GPS a little late due to looking at other cyclists, audible alarm off / not heard... etc etc.

That little tip of having distance to next always visible is a goodun.

Lots of good advice there GB, some of which I've already learned the hard way, some not.

As you may detect, this was the first time I had used it on a long night ride and that definitely exposes weaknesses in device set-up.

PS: I like http://www.bikehike.co.uk/

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2008, 03:41:03 pm »
There are sometimes doubts about a waypoint - but I solve this by having my route also entered as a track, set to a nice fluorescent green so it shows up nicely on the map.

When the light comes on, even if there are several options for turns, I can see where my route will go next and usually work it out from there.

Off-road navigation using one route point for each turn, plus the rolling track on the map, is about as good as you can get it, I think.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 03:52:29 pm »
There are sometimes doubts about a waypoint - but I solve this by having my route also entered as a track

For some reason I had difficulty with this on Saturday for the first part of the ride... I could have sworn I had both route and track displayed when I tested it pre-ride. Is it in fact possible to do this - i.e. can you display both a route and a track, or are you simply displaying a track that just happens to run via the WPs on the (inactive) route?


Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 03:55:35 pm »
There are sometimes doubts about a waypoint - but I solve this by having my route also entered as a track

For some reason I had difficulty with this on Saturday for the first part of the ride... I could have sworn I had both route and track displayed when I tested it pre-ride. Is it in fact possible to do this - i.e. can you display both a route and a track, or are you simply displaying a track that just happens to run via the WPs on the (inactive) route?



It's pretty much the only way I use my Vista. When I put my route into Mapsource, one of the stages I go though is to save out the route as a track, using WinGDB. This allows me to navigate using Off Road mode, but have the detailed route (as a track) painted on the rolling map.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2008, 04:12:39 pm »
So you are sending both the route and the track to the device?

Then do you go to the tracks page, select track, display it on the map, then to the routes page, select route, then navigate?

The above is what I thought I had done previously (using GPSbabel to convert route to track), but I seemed to have difficulty doing this on Saturday. Or perhaps I had not chosen my track display option badly rather than choosing a bright colour that works well in night configuration. 

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2008, 04:18:42 pm »
So you are sending both the route and the track to the device?

Yes, that's correct. I'll have to mess around chopping up the track into pieces if it's long as there's a 500 track point limit for each track.

But there's nothing more to do - the track(s) just get(s) displayed.

Regulator

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2008, 06:31:29 pm »
The ones on the Colorado worked really well on Saturday night.  A loud 'ping' and the screen lit up, normally about 100m away from the junction.  The map also zoomed in and the pointer showed the direction of the turn.
Quote from: clarion
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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2008, 07:31:08 pm »
Must turn on those pings.

I have autozoom off, tried that and did not like.

... 100m away from the junction...

You must have been going faster than me  :) (see above).

Regulator

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2008, 11:36:09 pm »
Must turn on those pings.

I have autozoom off, tried that and did not like.

... 100m away from the junction...

You must have been going faster than me  :) (see above).


And pigs might fly.  On the Colorado there's an option to set a distance from the turn for the alert.  I've checked and it's actually set at 50m.
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2008, 11:57:10 pm »
That's handy. On the etrex you can set the distance for manually set proximity alarms, but not for the normal automatic alerts coming up to waypoints.

frankly frankie

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2008, 12:05:14 pm »
... but it is best to go through the physical process of placing / labelling the WPs yourself ...

I'm gradually coming round to this way of thinking myself.  When sharing a 'route' its probably better on balance to just present a Track (assuming you have one available) and let the recipient make of it what he will, rather than subjecting him to one's own idiosyncracies in the way of Route construction.

Tracks - give the Track a colour in 'properties' in Mapsource (I agree with Chris, green is good) and it should then automatically become visible overlaid on the map in the GPS.  If it isn't, then open the Track (in the GPS Tracks page) and tick 'Show on Map'.  On an Etrex C, you can display several Tracks simultaneously. 
(As an extreme example, I have used this feature to construct a 'road map' of part of Tasmania, where no basemap was available - just using Google Maps to generate tracks along the roads I wanted to see.)

Quote
(Actually, I now realise that even if I had not doubled back a hundred meters to the route, I'd have ended up in the right place anyway after a brief detour of a couple of hundred metres).

This IMO is the biggest downside of navigating by GPS (esp in off-road mode).  With such a tiny window on the world, the tendency is always to retrace rather than make grown-up decisions about how to adapt and regain your route.  (Of course in audax terms, this can be seen as good - you are supposed to follow the route laid down, you are supposed to retrace when you go wrong.)
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2008, 12:40:21 pm »
In retrospect, I think that a few more minutes making sure everything was optimised on my GPS before the start of the Dun Run would have been beneficial - in that I've already made use of some of the above advice in the past, but did not put it in place on the night. This is largely because I had an another route on the GPS (Monument to London Fields), which I deleted on arrival at LF - ensuring that the redundant route and associated WPs were deleted, and then standing about yakking, meant that I did not pay attention to, for example, the colour of the track.

It's all experience.

And it all worked well anyway - but room for a little improvement to the set-up.

Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2008, 12:47:05 pm »
The ones on the Colorado worked really well on Saturday night. 

Glad you are getting to grips with it. One thing's for sure, it has a much better screen than the Etrex. How are you finding battery life now?

andygates

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Re: Using proximity alerts
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2008, 01:16:51 pm »
I have used this feature to construct a 'road map' of part of Tasmania, where no basemap was available - just using Google Maps to generate tracks along the roads I wanted to see.

You could upload those tracks to OpenStreetMap and help map the World :)
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