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Thread: garmin software compared to google

  1. #1
    Less is more. samuelh's Avatar
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    garmin software compared to google

    Please forgive the rant: Why does Garmin's software suck so bad compared to Google Maps? Specifically, I use BaseCamp on the Mac, and I've also tried Road Trip. Google is leagues better in almost every comparison: address finding, panning and zooming... It freezes, it lags, it crashes...

    I haven't figured out a way to plan a route using google maps and the Garmin exporter plug-in, but its pretty good for finding addresses.

    I wouldn't have posted this, but I'm pretty frustrated. In Google I type "philadelphia to Greenville SC" and I get a bright blue line on a map and directions. In Garmin's software it is a total trial to plot this route and upload it to my gps.

    SH
    "The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
    --Randy Pausch
    (2011 C14 6500m) | (2009 G650GS - 20,135m) | (Suzuki GZ250) | (Honda 250 twin)

  2. #2
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    The trick is to plan the route using Google or MapQuest and then use the Google/MapQuest options to send the .GPX file (as a route, NOT waypoints) to your Garmin unit. There are a number of post on the forums that will step you through doing this.

    THIS might start you off...
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  3. #3
    R100GS, '89 Guenther's Avatar
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    I use Garmin's Mapsource program. I just click on "Route Tool" then on the map I click on "Philadelphia" and then "Greenville in SC". Another click to download the route to my GPSMAP 76C (a handheld).

    A remark to using downloaded routes: The route may be slightly different when finally used in the GPS. The reason is that Mapsource only saves a few locations along the route and then the software in the GPS does its own optimization to navigate between these locations. To get a closer "copy" of my intended route I click on many more "support" locations along my route.

    /Guenther

  4. #4
    Less is more. samuelh's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like Google Maps lets you download routes, only waypoints... at least without going to a third party website. (correct me if I'm wrong please!) I looked at mapquest quickly, and my first impression is that they have a lot of intrusive, annoying adds, and that the interface, particularly wrt natural language, is not as good as googles. But they do support uploading GPX to a GPS.

    I may try mapsource in a virtual machine on my mac, but my experience with that is that the VM does not have enough graphics throughput to make mapping apps usable.

    Thanks for the input
    SH
    "The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
    --Randy Pausch
    (2011 C14 6500m) | (2009 G650GS - 20,135m) | (Suzuki GZ250) | (Honda 250 twin)

  5. #5
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuelh View Post
    I may try mapsource in a virtual machine on my mac, but my experience with that is that the VM does not have enough graphics throughput to make mapping apps usable.
    FWIW I use DeLorme Topo 9 in a virtual box VM. It's fine as long as I don't even attempt to use 3D. I tried once and had to re-buil the windows partition with out the VM 3D drivers and then tell Topo 9 not to look for them. I have not tried windows mapsource in the VM.

    I wish I could combine the good features of Topo and Mapsource into a native Mac application. (DeLorme is windows only; Garmin's Mac software leaves a lot to be desired).

  6. #6
    Registered User Jim Rogers's Avatar
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    Now here is something interesting. I just used both BaseCamp and RoadTrip to do a route from Phili to Greenville, SC. Both came up with almost identical time and distance but each used a slightly different route to get out of and into the cities. Then I put both in the Zumo 660. I had my settings on the software to the Fastest. When I looked, I saw both routes in the zumo were the same length as the software but were about 30 mins shorter. Then i checked the settings on the zumo and verified it was set to fastest. Yet, when i checked the individual route settings, there came in as shortest. I then set to fastest on both and another 12 minutes was taken off of both routes. 10 hrs 6 mins to 9 hrs 30 mins to 9 hrs 18 mins. Not that it means alot other than interesting data.

    I have noticed that RoadTrip is a bit slower and jerky where BaseCamp is nice and smooth. I use a MAC PRO - the floor model with lots of memory, two quad processors and tons of storage. When I get time, I will try the MACBOOK PRO.

    Overall, I really like the Garmin software. But it does take some time to learn how to efficiently find your cities, addresses, POI's etc. But once I got it, it is a breeze.
    Gear Up and Ride Safe
    Jim Rogers
    2010 R12GSA aka Heidi/2005 DR200SE aka Pennsy
    Yorktown, Va

  7. #7
    R100GS, '89 Guenther's Avatar
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    Digital road maps divide roads/streets into sections. Two important values for each road section are length and category (highway, interstate, city street, dirtroad etc.). Depending on which map you use all could be different: what is a road section, its length and its category.

    Some mapping software on your computer or your GPS unit allow you to specify how fast you go per road category (Mapsource allows for that... even for pedestrians !?).

    So no wonder that when you download a route from whichever program on your computer to your GPS unit distance and travel time do change (not 'may'). Especially when the digital map used on your computer differs from what is loaded in your GPS. Just one road section with a different category and whoops the routing software on the GPS unit may ignore this road section.

    And then there are a lot more 'facts' attached to a road section like One-Way, actual speed limit and more. Too bad that they don't let us look at this per-road-section information.

    This is some of the 'magic' with GPSes that sometimes let you shake your head and you doubt that this unit knows about streets and neighborhoods.

    One day I was riding through the Colorado Rockies with friends. Because I am the 'GPS guy' they suggested I should lead. Plan was to go to Del Norte, CO. So I searched for Del Norte, found it, clicked on navigate and off we rode. The GPS was calculating and calculating and came up with thousands of miles. Suggested turns and roads which I knew where wrong for Del Norte, CO. At lunch I checked the GPS: By a small glitch I selected Del Norte, CO'L' (for Columbia). Short to say that we were not ready yet for South America.

    So when in doubt, doubt again.

    /Guenther

  8. #8
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
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    Yes, Garmin software is not exactly cutting edge, or particularly intuitive. I had been using Mapsource on PCs since 2005 (when I got my first GPS for the bike). I thought it was awful at first, but grew to understand it, at least. Last summer I switched from PC to Mac at home and converted/loaded my maps onto the iMac. That meant switching to Road Trip and/or Base Camp. Certainly not like Mapsource, and another learning curve, but I still have Mapsource loaded on the netbook I take with me on the bike. Having read a fair bit on ADVRider and Zumo forums about Garmin software for Macs, most recommend Base Camp over Road Trip. Base camp is the one Garmin seems to be putting resources into (a new Beta version was just released a few days ago). Road Trip, on the other hand, has not been updated in quite some time. I'm getting much more comfortable with Base Camp lately, but I haven't really tried uploading anything from my Mac to the GPS. Guess I'll give it a real test in the next month, or two.
    Last edited by marcopolo; 04-03-2011 at 11:58 PM.
    Mark
    2006 R1200RT

  9. #9
    Registered User Jim Rogers's Avatar
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    Just hit the 'send' button. Since I have a separate PC drive on my MAC PRO, think I will give it a whirl.
    Gear Up and Ride Safe
    Jim Rogers
    2010 R12GSA aka Heidi/2005 DR200SE aka Pennsy
    Yorktown, Va

  10. #10
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    I took me awhile to figure out Mapsource but now that I have, I like it better than Google. I do a lot of route customizing and it is really easy to do with Mapsource. Plus, I can view my Mapsource route in Google Earth right from Mapsource!
    Last edited by BMWPhreak; 04-03-2011 at 07:29 PM.
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  11. #11
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWPhreak View Post
    I took me awhile to figure out Mapsource but now that I have, I like it better than Google. I do a lot of route customizing and it is ready easy to do with Mapsource. Plus, I can view my Mapsource route in Google Earth right from Mapsource!
    What he said, the small twisty secondary roads are much easier to see when zoomed in on MS, and once I figured out the "rubber band" tool it worked pretty well. I just wish the small road detail was still in view when zoomed out another level or two.

  12. #12
    R100GS, '89 Guenther's Avatar
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    With Mapsource not only can you lookup your planned route in Google Earth but also the track log from your last trip.

    Like the other day my wife asked about "where was this nice fish restaurant where we had lunch on the deck overlooking the ocean"? Brought up the track log from that trip in Google Earth and with a bit of zooming and moving around...VIOLA - there it was.

    /Guenther

  13. #13
    Steve rockbottom's Avatar
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    Personally, I find Google kind of squirrely, particularly for long routes. Many a time I've toward the end of a 300-400 mile route and just can't make it do what I want. I use Google to get an idea of what I want to do since it's easier to visualize routes than on MapSource, but then design them on MapSource. I also use Google to share routes.

  14. #14
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Computerized trip routing, whether in the computer or internal to the GPS is nothing more than quickly analyzing a large number of "links" (road segments) from "node" to "node" (points - maybe intersections, maybe just where a road turns).

    Most software has more than one algorithm - eg; fastest, shortest, etc.

    The links, nodes, and algorithms will invariably vary from data set to data set. Even a route done on Garmin Mapsource will vary from what the GPS computes unless the map sets in the two computers are absolutely identical.

    I stopped making routes on my computer years ago and simply transfer waypoints to the GPS. Then I can enter a destination and use other waypoints as via points in the GPS. The long distance riding community - think Iron Butt Rally - has developed procedures and spreadsheets and lots of other methods to efficiently route to dozens of waypoints. But the methods need to be precise and the data needs to be consistent. In the end you are stuck with the links and nodes in the mapset internal to the GPS (or on a data card in the GPS) so my practice is just to start there because that's what I will wind up using in any event.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  15. #15
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    What you say is true Paul, but with Garmin making "lifetime" updates pretty affordable, I have gone to that. When a map update becomes available it updates both my computer and my GPS so they are always in sync. I have never had an issue with my GPS (Zumo 450) reprogramming a route built on my computer as a result.
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