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Thread: garmin software compared to google

  1. #31
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    OK i admit the spoof. but seriously.
    does it really need to be so complicated?
    It's only as complicated as you want to make it. A waypoint is the same as a pushpin on a map. You put it there for whatever reason you like. Maybe it's an intersection, or a restauarant, or a campground, or anything else you like. No rules. It is just a point that you want to remember for some reason.

    A route is a path between points. You may use waypoints to influence the direction of the path if you like. But you don't have to. Many folks first set some waypoints down then use them them to define the route. That is a convenience, not a requirement.

    A via point is like a mini-waypoint. It *is* part of a route, used to influence the path taken. When you don't like the path between point A and point B and drag it so it uses this road instead of that road you are creating a via point.

    Some mapping software also has the concept of a stop. With that software a route is something like: start via via stop via stop via via finish. The mapping software fills in the turn-by-turn information between the listed points.

    The turn-by-turn information is something that that you don't care about. Mostly. If you care at all its because you are fighting with software that wants you to go this way when you want to go that way.

    I personally find Garmin software to be terrible for my use. I constantly had to fight with the software. It worked great if my desire was "take me to 5th and Main". It sucked when my desire was "take me to 5th and Main via these twisty curvy roads that sometimes crossed". Usually I am trying to do the latter.

  2. #32
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    MarchyMan & Theo,
    copy that.

    i'm simply trying to get a handle on this GPS thing, *researching* vicariously thru these threads, if you will...

    in the past, when putting together a rural route, i've gone into Google Maps, chosen legs of a route, A-B'd 'em, and *assembled* a way to and back again on a given destination, so maybe i am not too far off the mark?
    just lacking the actual GPS to then save that route to? well, that and i wasn't using MapSource or whatever software....

  3. #33
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    No. Use paper maps.

    But learning how to extract the most out of your GPS involves a bit more time. It can be a simple as putting the start and end in and letting the GPS auto-route you. But if you want to customize the auto-routed route (!), you'll need to spend more time with your GPS/computer. Yes, you can change your route using the GPS device itself, but that can be quite maddening. Best to use a computer program (like MapSource or BaseCamp) to customize your route and faithfully download it to your GPS.

    As we have discovered, the problem with Google AND MapQuest is that they download isolated waypoints instead of routes. When viewed in your GPS, it will show "as the crow files" connections to the waypoints; the paths between them are not constrained by roads, buildings, oceans, etc.

    And, yes, you can write all your waypoints down on paper then enter them into your GPS, but most folks prefer to omit that step and simply adjust the route using software instead of brute force.
    well of COURSE we want to maximise everything, and of COURSE we want to customize our route. am i to understand that MapSource or BaseCamp override the shortcomings of Google Maps or Mapquest in terms of clearly laying it out so your intended route doesn't *morph* unrealistically within the parameters of the GPS's "play-back" capabilities?

    also, i might guess that which ever method one chooses, time-wise, it's probably a wash. i can see that if i'm on the computer anyway, why NOT then, just use it as the only tool? (tho i have always been one to utilise EVERY tool in the theoretical truck IF they all may be used expeditiously towards the end-goal)

    additionally, not being so much "strong like bull, smart like tractor", i've always found that a little finesse will get the job done as well as brute force, only without the *collateral damage*.

    not that there's not a time when brute force may be appropriate... but i digress.

    as you were, men.

  4. #34
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Rider --

    Remember that in Google maps you need not assemble multiple A-B routes into a final route. Just identify your whole-route Start point and whole-route end point. Google Maps will auto-route the path. If you want to alter the path just put the cursor on the blue path line and drag it to a new road. Google will then auto-route you through that new "via" (thanks, Marc). You can keep dragging until you have your final, customized route.

    Having said that, neither Google nor MapQuest will download a route to the Garmin, just the waypoints. Even though the MapQuest allows you to download directions as a "route" or as "waypoints", by the time the resulting GPX file is downloaded and imported into the Garmin, it displays as waypoints with "as the crow files" connecting paths.

    Based on my research, I have only found three programs that allow you to create a drag and drop route on the computer and have it faithfully load into the Garmin:

    1) MapSource -- The Garmin route planning software for the Win platform. Not exactly the most intuitive software until you become familiar with it. Even then, it seems a bit clunky to me.

    2) BaseCamp -- basically MapSource functionality (and vagary) for the Mac platform. I have got BaseCamp to create something that can pass as backup tankbak maps (big arrows and distances).

    3) Microsoft Streets and Trips -- I have begun using the 2011 version recently and have been favorably impressed with its features and its ability to faithfully transfer routes to the Garmin. It allows changing routes by the drag and drop method. The POI database is fairly complete and is DOES have the ability to set stops and define the amount of time to be stopped. It also has some handy sliders to adjust your speed preferences +/- average speed (which I take to be the speed limit value). One of really swell features of S&T is its connection to a national road construction database to find out whether your chosen route will encounter construction. If so, it highlights the part of the route where the construction occurs. This may become my everyday favorite for route planning.

    There is other route planning software out there (Delorme for instance), but I haven't had any experience with it. BTW -- I use a MacBook Pro with Fusion to allow me simultaneous OSX and WinXP environments. Others with Macs use Bootcamp and reboot into Win.

    HTH,
    Theo

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

  5. #35
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    {snip}...am i to understand that MapSource or BaseCamp override the shortcomings of Google Maps or Mapquest in terms of clearly laying it out so your intended route doesn't *morph* unrealistically within the parameters of the GPS's "play-back" capabilities?...{snip}
    Precisely, Rider! Microsoft Streets & Trips works too.
    Theo

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

  6. #36
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    THANKS, Theo!
    i think i am beginning to see the light here. i'm going to begin using Microsoft's Street and Trips now. just to familiarize myself with it. i was reading the thread about Garmin's Nuvi 500 and 550... seems there is a weatherproof GPS now that won't cost an arm, a leg and a new-born son? yee haw. i have no problem throwing down good dosh for something i am familiar with but it seems a natch to drop the small dime on a Nuvi and work up to a better machine after having mastered it...

    i wonder:
    would any purchased maps and satellite data package transfer from one Garmin unit to another, if both were registered in my own name?

    would the Nuvi 500 or 550 maps, data and software cross over to or be compatible with an up-grade model Garmin?

    Tom

  7. #37
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    {snip...would the Nuvi 500 or 550 maps, data and software cross over to or be compatible with an up-grade model Garmin?...{snip}
    Unfortunately, not for maps or software. Garmin's maps (and map updates) are purchased for a single GPS. If you went from the N??vi 5XX (great low cost, waterproof units, IMHO) to a Zumo at a later date, the maps could NOT be transferred.

    However, any routes that you have created CAN be transferred to another unit.

    Cheers,
    Theo

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

  8. #38
    Yeah, what Theo said with rare exceptions. I bought a lifetime map upgrade for a 450 and the unit went bad a few weeks later. I replaced it with a 220 and talked the Garmin people into moving my subscription over.
    Last edited by rockbottom; 04-21-2011 at 11:54 AM.

  9. #39
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    Theo,

    I agree with you that Garmin's MapSource is really clunky and requires a lot of OJT to learn how to use it so that the routes follow where you really want to go; especially on those back roads we motorcycle riders like to explore. Even then my Zumo 660 sometimes tries to recalculate the route so it requires the use of extra "shaping" points to force the 660 into following the desired route.

    Your tip on using MS Streets and Trips is interesting. Are you finding that you can drag and drop routes in Streets and Trips, transfer them to the Garmin GPS, and the GPS won't recalculate the route?

    Which Garmin are you using?

    Lee

  10. #40
    I turned recalculating from automatic to prompt after my Garmin led me to a few "shortcuts" on unpaved logging roads.

  11. #41
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    Unfortunately, not for maps or software. Garmin's maps (and map updates) are purchased for a single GPS. If you went from the N??vi 5XX (great low cost, waterproof units, IMHO) to a Zumo at a later date, the maps could NOT be transferred.

    However, any routes that you have created CAN be transferred to another unit.

    Cheers,
    mmm. guess it is marketing pure and simple?

    do you save your routes on your PC (or MAC) or in an SD card or thumb drive?

    if you use an SD card, (i saw in one post that the Zumo will take an SD card)
    do the SD cards empty completely out each time and re-load clean? so far i have only used SD cards for cameras but may begin to use them to store music and use them in other ways as well.

    or is there X amount of built-in memory in each GPS unit? OR can you save your routes within the parameters of software apps like Street & Trips?

    (sorry if this is straying off topic, don't mean to hijack)

  12. #42
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    I don't save my routes on the SD card as my Zumo 660's internal memory still has plenty of space for routes.

    I do save all of my MP3 files on the SD card and they play just fine from there. I have tested saving routes on the SD card and they will work; however, the Zumo typically recalculates the route when the routes are imported from the SD card. This may or may not be a problem depending how many "shaping" points I used to design the route.

    Once anything is saved on the SD card, it stays there until deleted. There is no need to clean the card unless you want to start from scratch. Nor does the Zumo ever delete anything from the card.

    Every GPS has internal memory; the newer Zumo 66X series has much more memory than the 550 series.

    Lee

  13. #43
    Registered User rcbernhardt's Avatar
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    Base Camp routes to Google Earth

    I have used the Base Camp feature under the VIEW tab of View map in Google Earth feature successfully to visualize road features. Has anyone found a way to view Base Camp routes in regular Google Maps? I prefer to print them out from Google over Base Camp.
    Rick Bernhardt
    2006 R1200RT
    1998 R1200C (loved but sold)
    rcbernhardt@me.com

  14. #44
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    {snip}...
    3) Microsoft Streets and Trips -- I have begun using the 2011 version recently and have been favorably impressed with its features and its ability to faithfully transfer routes to the Garmin. It allows changing routes by the drag and drop method. The POI database is fairly complete and is DOES have the ability to set stops and define the amount of time to be stopped. It also has some handy sliders to adjust your speed preferences +/- average speed (which I take to be the speed limit value). One of really swell features of S&T is its connection to a national road construction database to find out whether your chosen route will encounter construction. If so, it highlights the part of the route where the construction occurs. This may become my everyday favorite for route planning.
    Hold on a minute, Bucko!

    Earlier, as I was planning a route to Bloomsburg with MS S&T, I was overjoyed at the results! However, after having been off the grid for a few days, I returned to planning some other summer trips this afternoon and early tonight. Much to my utter disappointment, my New Hampshire routes (Kanc, Hurricane Mtn. Road, etc.) got murdered in the GPX exchange to the Garmin. CRAP! I thought I had found a winner.

    I can only assume that my Bloomsburg drag and drop route I chose in S&T followed the natural routing algorithms built into Garmin, and/or that S&T natural routing was out of whack enough that my corrections more sensibly followed a new route.

    Also, in my research, I noticed that BaseCamp creates a version 1.1 GPX (XML) file. However, Google, MapQuest, and S&T output a 1.0 version of the GPX file format. If I create a custom route in BaseCamp (dragging and dropping the auto-routing version) and save it as a GPX file, it creates a huge file with many, many "vias". I created the identical route in S&T using drag and drop to modify the auto-routing, and then exported the new route as a GPX 1.0 file (my only option). It yielded a GPX file with only three vias!

    So, jumping to a grand conclusion based on only this minute amount of research, it may be that a Garmin unit (at least mine) needs a GPX version 1.1 schema to preserve a source's exact routing. If anyone knows of another routing program (Delorme Street Atlas USA?) that can export a GPX 1.1 schema file, it would be interesting to see how Garmin would handle that file.

    So, that means we're back to the Garmin offerings. Yuck!

    None the less, I have become fond of the resources available in S&T when route planning, so I may use it to define the route, then use drag and drop in BaseCamp to match the route and faithfully download it to the N??vi.

    Lee200 -- Hope the above (disappointing news) clarifies your first question, and I am using a Garmin N??vi 550.
    Theo

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

  15. #45
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    {snip}
    (1) do you save your routes on your PC (or MAC) or in an SD card or thumb drive?

    (2) do the SD cards empty completely out each time and re-load clean?

    (3) is there X amount of built-in memory in each GPS unit?

    (4) can you save your routes within the parameters of software apps like Street & Trips?

    ...{snip}
    Rider --

    (1) I save my routes (GPX files) on my SD card in the Garmin. Actually, it is a MicroSD card in my N??vi 550. That makes my GPX files easily transportable from device to device and frees-up the built-in memory of the unit.

    (2) As mentioned earlier, the card retains files written to it until you delete them.

    (3) Yes, the amount of memory differs from unit to unit. You should be able to find out how much memory each unit has by looking up the specs on the Garmin site.

    (4) Yes. The various programs store your routes in the software's native format (".est" files in S&T). Exporting the native formats to GPX files is up to you to: (a) create the files and (b) manage the files' storage locations.
    Theo

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

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