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Discussion Starter #1
Have a question about GPS navigation in regards to waypoints, tracks, and routes. Which one is best for navigating on the TW?



1) Generally, I navigate from one waypoint to another, and set this up in the gps as a route. When I do this, looking at the map feature on the gps, it draws a straight line from point a to b and so on. However, I'm usually looking at the compass pointer and stay on the road I'm traveling regardless of what the pointer is indicating and travel on the road. Making a route out of waypoints is easy, but I can't figure out how to make the route stay on the road in the gps. Does this make sense or am I confusing everyone?



2) In principle, I understand what a track is/does, but am I right in thinking that you can only use the map feature of the gps while following a track, and stay on (within) the line, so to speak, and not getting off track, no pun intended? Do tracks have waypoints per se?





P.S. I still use and like "real" maps!
 

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I am confused now
will wait for some more of the savy users to explain




LOL. I feel yer pain. I'd love to get a dumbed-down-for-technophobic-old-farts explanation of how to get mine to follow roads.



Gizmow, I think what he's referring to is the GPS displaying a direct line between 2 points rather than a route using the perfectly good roads shown in the display. I'm sure it's all button pushing logic for the rest of the world, but I've read all the materials and I still can't get it to fly unless it's ground that I've tracked previously.
 

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You need 2 things to have a gps follow a road. A gps that does turn by turn navigation and a GPS map that has your road on it. The second "GPS map" is the biggest problem when off the beaten path. The main feature that this gives you is it tells you which way to turn when you come to a intersection. There is a way to get close to this functionality when programming waypoints, when you can't do "turn by turn". When placing waypoints along the route place them 1/8 mile down the road after the turn that you want to take. As you get close to the intersection the pointer will swing in the direction you need to go. This means adding a waypoint at each intersection. Your distance to next reading will give you a reliable idea how far the next turn is.



PS: Most gps's go point to point "Don't follow roads" when offroad is selected under navigation method. Example from my Garmin. I pick a location and select route to. The GPS then pop's up a menu with 3 choices 1. Fastest 2. shortest distance 3. Offroad. The first 2 select roads and gives turn by turn directions. the third gives me a compass and distance as the bird flies.



Brad
 

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GPS units for hiking tend to have more dirt roads and trails.
 

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Just beware the built in error if you are following a "cookie crumb." The GPS in my boat will display that I am running up in the marsh when in fact I am in the middle of a deep creek. In the daytime, it's a quirk. At night, it's not so quirky...
 

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You need 2 things to have a gps follow a road. A gps that does turn by turn navigation and a GPS map that has your road on it. The second "GPS map" is the biggest problem when off the beaten path. The main feature that this gives you is it tells you which way to turn when you come to a intersection. There is a way to get close to this functionality when programming waypoints, when you can't do "turn by turn". When placing waypoints along the route place them 1/8 mile down the road after the turn that you want to take. As you get close to the intersection the pointer will swing in the direction you need to go. This means adding a waypoint at each intersection. Your distance to next reading will give you a reliable idea how far the next turn is.



PS: Most gps's go point to point "Don't follow roads" when offroad is selected under navigation method. Example from my Garmin. I pick a location and select route to. The GPS then pop's up a menu with 3 choices 1. Fastest 2. shortest distance 3. Offroad. The first 2 select roads and gives turn by turn directions. the third gives me a compass and distance as the bird flies.



Brad




Well said. You do need offroad turned off or not selected as this will give you only straight lines. Are you mapping your route out on the computer and sending it to your GPS or are you mapping out your route on your GPS?
 

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On a garmin hand held make sure it has a feature called "autorouting" that will make it plot a course using roads instead of just a line from a to b. The map software with all the units has auto routing but unless the unit supports it well...
My garmin only has "direct routing" I wish it had both. So I can plan a nice detailed route on the garmin mapping software but when I move it to the unit it converts the autoroute back to a directroute




I normally just turn on the tracks function when I start exploring and use it to find my way back out. I take some survey tape with me as a backup.
 

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I'm in the process of planning a fairly lengthy trip so hopefully can help a bit. The best method I found was to download 2 free programs. one is called TYRE, the other is called GPS TRACKMAKER - Tyre uses googlemaps so you can zoom in on roads, tracks forests etc and put waypoints where you want to go, you then tell it to plot a route (using roads or offroad - your choice). Then save the tyre file as a gpx and open it in Trackmaker. In trackmaker you just convert the file to a route and load it to your gps.



Works well - obviously only any good for gps units that allow you to transfer routes onto them from mapsource etc. The big advantage is that you can plan it all in googlemaps and (if neccessary) print off written instructions too.



This is ofourse probably overkill for a 10mile trip, but for 100 miles or so its a great tool for hitting the right roads/tracks as you can manipulate the route in googlemaps as much as you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Caveat, not all GPS's are not created equal which is part of my problem, the other problem is me! Brad and Rich gave me a couple of good clues to one of my dilemma's...routes.



Brad's clue's to me. 1) Waypoint locations and 2) "offroad function". My etrex vista H, does not have all the functions you mention, or at least I can't find them, but it does have the "offroad transition". So, I used the offroad function, and sure enough, if you are navigating using a road route, it bypasses any curves in the road and goes straight line from point A to B, cross country so to speak. Yeah, I don't think I will use that function. Thanks for that.



Second, was your waypoint placements of 1/8 mile beyond an intersection. Today, I used my previously built "Home to Work" route I created using waypoints to test this. I did not move my waypoints from their original placement, but what I did notice, for the first time thanks to your clue, was, as I approach but before I arrive at one of my waypoints, the compass pointer, points in the direction of my next waypoint, thus telling or pointing me as to which way to turn. I'm sure it was doing this before, but I just misunderstood what the GPS was telling me, "turn this way dummy". Again, I thank you as I don't think I would have understood this on my own.



Rich's clue. I don't think my GPS unit has the "auto routing" function. If the etrex vista H does, somebody tell me where it's at. This probably is why my routes, although done on the maping software, don't follow exactly on the roads in my GPS. It is becoming just a bit clearer to me. Thanks guys. Oh, I re-read what Rich said and may just now got what he said. "Auto routing" as in automobile routing. I'll have to look at my GPS as I previously thought "auto routing" was "automatic route making" not "automobile route making". Der!



More to mention. Maping on the computer per se, is not my problem, (or not that much anyway), but UKJ, you do mention something worthy others may or may not know about. Like your Tyre and GPS Trackmaker, I use some similar meathods. I'll share the different ways I do it, all with the same result, routes, waypoints on my GPS. I also download geocaches, but don't want to get this too confusing, eh!



I have a Garmin unit so.... I'm doing as much "practice" with making routes and such to augment my paper map usage before riding season, so one baby step for me was getting the information from map making tools, too my GPS.



I have "Basecamp", which was free. I downloaded my states topo map "free" from GPSfiledepot. I can do all the plotting, and transfer waypoints, routes, tracks; to and from my GPS. If someone knows of other "free" downloadable topo maps, I'll take it.



I also have "Mapsource", which may be free with the purchase of certain Garmin's, but not mine. I have to buy it. Howerver, with a little www research, I was able to get it for free. Essentially, it does the same thing as Basecamp.



I also set up routes in Google Earth, and transfer the file to GPSbabble (downloaded for free), which like your GPS Trackmaker, translates the Google Earth kml files and sends them to mapsource, where I can then send it to my GPS. Note, though I have set up routes in Google Earth and successfully put them on my GPS, I haven't tested them as the TW is still in winter hibernation. I've only used my "home to work" route so far for testing, but in this thread, I needed some clarification, which is being provided.



"Tracks" knowledge still needed. I get the "trackback" part of tracks, but how do people use tracks to navigate by? Reason for asking, and trying to make my original question clearer, I have come across places on the www that mention "sharing tracks". Presumably, I "copy" these tracks to put into my gps, and then can navigate with them. Problem is, I don't understand how to navigate using tracks from what I've read, and want more information on them before I try. I'm starting to figure out how to navigate using routes, so I want to learn about tracks. www ain't helping me understando!



Thanks for your help and patience with my GPS ignorance.

 

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Yesterday, 2-7-'11, I also became the proud owner of a Garmin eTrex GPS. The Legend H model. I down loaded the free topo map for Calif. and installed part of it on the GPS. At least I think I did. I also got the free forest service map and downloaded the part of Mendocino Nat'l Forest that I am interested in and trying to get that into the GPS. I even downloaded a free program that is supposed to enable that. I have read the posts and I am slowly figuring this thing out but rest assured, when I go into the forest, I will also carry a paper map and a real compass along with the GPS.
 

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"Tracks" knowledge still needed. I get the "trackback" part of tracks, but how do people use tracks to navigate by? Reason for asking, and trying to make my original question clearer, I have come across places on the www that mention "sharing tracks". Presumably, I "copy" these tracks to put into my gps, and then can navigate with them. Problem is, I don't understand how to navigate using tracks from what I've read, and want more information on them before I try. I'm starting to figure out how to navigate using routes, so I want to learn about tracks. www ain't helping me understando!


You talk about navigating from tracks you have read, read about? Your GPS has read?



I always travel by track, problem is, you have to go there and run your course before you can have a track. OR, if I have done a track I can send it to you and you can put it on your GPS to follow.



I feel your pain. A couple years ago, my Dad (age 62), our hunting parter (age 64), and I (age 29) all got Garmin Rinos (GPS and radio combined) for hunting. I had to put on demonstrations for them in the field and every year we go over how to use them because they forget!



There are sometimes classes available. Cableas and Wholesale Sports puts them on from time to time.
 

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"Tracks" knowledge still needed. I get the "trackback" part of tracks, but how do people use tracks to navigate by? Reason for asking, and trying to make my original question clearer, I have come across places on the www that mention "sharing tracks". Presumably, I "copy" these tracks to put into my gps, and then can navigate with them. Problem is, I don't understand how to navigate using tracks from what I've read, and want more information on them before I try. I'm starting to figure out how to navigate using routes, so I want to learn about tracks. www ain't helping me understando!


Tracks are actually easy. They have only 2 states: "On" or " Off".



A track is a line on your screen. You zoom out a bit and try to follow it. You quickly learn to not over-react to the line. The track may be 50 feet to the left of the road you're on. Just ride the road, and make sure that you can still see the line. If the line disappears, stop and figure out where you made a wrong turn.



Tracks are useful for where there are no roads that your GPS map would recognize. They won't give you directions, they won't continually act annoyed and proclaim that they are "Off-Route, Re-Calculating". With a Track, you are the arrow. Try to follow the line.
 

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For those that don't know about the site. Advrider has a whole section on gps routes and techniques. try

http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=37

You will certainly find some tracks and routes to play with in virtual space and on google earth until you get proficient or the opportunity to build your own. Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A track is a line on your screen. You zoom out a bit and try to follow it.

Tracks are useful for where there are no roads that your GPS map would recognize. They won't give you directions, they won't continually act annoyed and proclaim that they are "Off-Route, Re-Calculating". With a Track, you are the arrow. Try to follow the line.
Thanks Dyno for some confirmation of what I thought. Yesterday, I set up what I thought was a route in goggle earth. Long story short, when I went through my conversion from goggle earth, GPSbagel, mapsource, and to my GPS, it came out as a track and not a route.



So I used the track back feature to navigate from home to work. I tried using my compass page and another one which I can't recall right now, but it wasn't the map page. Anyway, I got annoyed at all the turns, when navigating using a track mine keeps telling me to turn NW at turn 1, 2...45,46 and so on. Although I could follow the pointer on the compass, I got frustrated and turned it off, and went on my way to work.



Not giving up, on my way home I tried the track again, only this time I used the map. At first I didn't like it for navigation, but as you mentioned, I zoomed out, and it read way better. I think I can now follow a track, which does follow a road, or a path that I set up way better than a route that seems to be a little straight line; point A to B, which isn't always that accurate when on a curvy road or hiking path.



For those that don't know about the site. Advrider has a whole section on gps routes and techniques. try



You will certainly find some tracks and routes to play with in virtual space and on goggle earth until you get proficient or the opportunity to build your own. Tom
Tom, I will revisit advrider again as this is where I got my "how to download free stuff" information from. All the conversation still seems confusing (on that site) as I don't understand all the terminology yet, but as you basically said, keep on practicing to get proficient. (Or when I think I'm proficient, but maybe not in someone else s mind) ha ha.
 

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I have the Etrex Vista HCX. I travel mostly offroad where I need to navigate with the GPS. I also use this GPS extensively for hiking. I almost always enter key waypoint in before leaving.



Tracks (a breadcrumb trail) can be created by

1) having the GPS record where you travelled by "dropping a bread crumb" point, which you can review later or by

2) entering in the bread crumb points in your software and transferring them to the GPS.



For the Vista, it's not always easy to see the track on the tiny screen, so that's why I put key waypoints in - they are much easier to see and if I get confused, I can ask for it to "navigate" to a specific waypoint - that usually clears the water. When I ride in an area near home where the trails are a labyrinth of intertwining paths, I mark all key waypoints (usually intersections) and print a map with the waypoints on it. I use the hardcopy map and the GPS to navigate.



If I download a gpx track file from another rider, I added key waypoints before loading it in my GPS. I don't straightline navigate from waypoint to waypoint, I use them like checkpoints in a rally - its a target, the path there has yet to be found, but I know where to head. The "track" can then help with the actual trail to follow.

Hope that helps.
 
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