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Thread: Mapping Software Compatible With Garmin

  1. #1
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    Mapping Software Compatible With Garmin

    I was watching the Hard Miles video over the weekend and saw how the Iron Butt riders would take information from their rally packs and enter it into mapping/routing software within hours. It made me wonder what folks are using that may be better than what I am using.

    I started with a Garmin 2720 which was okay and then used Zumo 550 with Mapsource which worked okay but it is not the most intuitive program. When I updated to the Zumo 660 and BMW Nav IV the routes no longer transfer from Mapsource very well even if the version of maps within Mapsource match the maps on the GPS unit.

    I know some are having better luck with Basecamp but that seems even less intuitive than Mapsource. I've read through the various post on the Zumo forum and other places of the years to help make sense of the Mapsource program and before I start learning Basecamp was wondering if anything exist that is better.

    Is there a good non-Garmin program out there to create routes and have them transfer to the Zumo 660 or Nav IV without getting all jumbled up?
    2012 K1600GTL

  2. #2
    Registered User Woodbutcher's Avatar
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    The way to have the best success when creating a route on a computer for transferring to a Garmin gps is to have the latest version of Mapsource/Basecamp on the computer, the latest version of the firmware on the GPS, the same map sets loaded and selected on both the computer and the gps, and finally, as close as possible to having the same routing preferences set up on the computer and the gps. If possible on the gps (and you can on the zumos) set the unit not to auto recalculate.

    The key one is the maps sets (data) being the same, but having the routing prefs similar and recalc off then it usually will load giving you the same route you created on the computer.

    The problem with creating the routes in another software package is that the map data may not mesh and then you will end up with points on the route that are just a little off the road and you will have to clean up on the gps more. So it is much harder to control all the variables when you use something else to create the routes other than Garmin software.

    That being said, lots of people use other products and are satisfied with the results and I've tried some other methods myself, but I've yet to find one that is more consistent than using the Garmin software and the method I described. Each one has its quirks and I'd suggest trying some out and seeing what works best for you.

    www.zumoforums.com has some threads that talk about transferring google created routes to the the zumo. I find the google map interface really nice and do a lot of basic route planning in it, but tend to recreate in Mapsource/Basecamp for sending to the gps.

    I kind of reiterated some of the things you've already figured out, but the auto recalc and routing prefs might be the last step you need to make it work better.
    Rusty
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    Thanks for the response. Those tips do make the transfer of routes more effective but it is still not perfect. I was hoping there was something out there that was even better.

    The answer may unfortunately be that the limited Garmin software options will be my best option.
    2012 K1600GTL

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    Try Streets and Trips. You can download it free and try it. You can export way points to the Garmin. (you will need Garmin plug in, more free software) For example, you may have a trip that covers 500 miles. You want to stop at 3 points before you get to your final destination. Follow the instructions in Streets and trips and the places you want to stop at will be exported. You can then go from stop to stop. Most of the guys running rallies do it that way, stop to stop. Yes, the points may be a little off, but it will get you where you want to go.
    2013 Triumph Trophy
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  5. #5
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    I have become a HUGE fan of the Harley-Davidson route planning site here. I have been using Mapsource and other Garmin offerings since my first GPS, a GPS III, back in 1997, as well as DeLorme's Street Atlas mapping software, Microsoft's Trips, and a host of other ones, and I must say I think the HD online offering is the best all around for actually mapping out the route and getting it on the GPS - which, with my Garmin 2610 at least, is simply a matter of hooking up the GPS with the USB cable and hitting transfer to GPS.

    That said, I still use Mapsource to store and archive all of my rides. Though it is clunky and dated it is nice to have a single program to store all of my rides over the years. With the HD route planner you simply save the ride as a GPX file, open with Mapsource and hit "calculate route".

    Give it a try - these programs are really up to individual preference and what matters is getting one that works best for you.

    PS - I also love buying old 1920's road maps and hitting roads and towns that were big then but now are too-often bypassed and largely forgotten.
    Ted
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  6. #6
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashalina View Post
    I was watching the Hard Miles video over the weekend and saw how the Iron Butt riders would take information from their rally packs and enter it into mapping/routing software within hours. It made me wonder what folks are using that may be better than what I am using.
    Actually, entering the waypoint data takes minutes, not hours. Most rallies now provide the waypoints in the rally pack on USB flash drives for you to plug in to your computer.

    What takes time is determining where you want to go for bonuses, generally based on any required checkpoints, time, distance and point value, as well as alternates for every waypoint location in the event something prevents you from reaching a waypoint as scheduled, or you run short on time for teh required checkpoints. Have a route plan, always have an alternate. Once you have that information, getting it all sorted in the order you want it and naming waypoints in that sorted order so you can follow it from waypoint to waypoint is where you make or break your planned ride.

    There are tools we use to simplify those tasks that save time in planning. I personally use a combination of paper maps, MapSource and an old version of Delorme Street Atlas USA as my core mapping programs. I also use a modified version of Curt Grans most excellent EZ-Bake Excel spreadsheet - modified by Excel Genius extrordinaire Tim Masterson - ezTYPE-ezBake-v1.57. Tim also created some other rally leg planning tools that work well and a great video tutorial of how to use his modifications to help you along. It's not my place to speak for Tim and I can't offer you his tools but if you're interested, you're welcome to email me at steve@nmpcs.com and I'd be happy to ask Tim if I can give you his email address. There are other converter tools avaiable to convert almost any data file set into a GDB to GPX file for Garmin.

    As to what's best, it's personal preference and the user interface you chose to use.

    There are a number of tools available. It's just a matter of searching them all out and deciding what you want to make work.
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    Thanks guys. I'll check out the software options mentioned. Free trials and free software are great options.

    Steve, if I run the commercially available options do not work out I'll send you a note and see if the advanced spreadsheet options is something you can share.

    Thanks!
    2012 K1600GTL

  8. #8
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    I'm waiting for real-time Google Earth....
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  9. #9
    DougCampbell
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    Consider trying TYRE, works with Garmin & TomTom
    http://www.janboersma.nl/gett/index.php

  10. #10
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashalina View Post
    Steve, if I run the commercially available options do not work out I'll send you a note and see if the advanced spreadsheet options is something you can share.

    Thanks!
    Jsut let me know.

    Tim has gotten back to me and told me I am welcome to give one of his email addresses to those of you that want more information.
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    Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
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  11. #11
    Registered User road runner's Avatar
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    I used to use Mapsource. Lately I have started using Streets and Trips, I find it easier to configure, and there are a lot more features. GPX files transfer easily.

  12. #12
    Eschewing Obfuscation VTBeemer's Avatar
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    . I would agree that BaseCamp is not that intuitive, but is powerful and supported by some good forum sites. I picked a new 665 Garmin and began using BaseCamp. Killed a couple of Winter nights in Vermont learning it, but got it fine tuned now and like it. And the price is right - free.
    . Got a 4 week trip lined up and plotted on it
    Patrick
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  13. #13
    2009 R1200RT beemeup's Avatar
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    Ditto to both

    I have Microsoft Streets and trips and I also have used the mapping program on the Harley Davidson site. I like them both very much, the benefit of the Harley Davidson site is that it's free and a pretty nice mapping program. Don

  14. #14
    R100GS, '89 Guenther's Avatar
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    Ashalina,

    I don't understand what the problem is that you have with routes.

    Keep in mind that routes are downloaded as connected waypoints where the connections are undefined. So Mapsource may show you a different route than what the software in your GPS calculated.

    If you want to make sure that you get a close match between what Mapsource (or any other mapping software) shows and what the GPS calculates then make sure you select all the waypoints that you defnitely want to pass through.

    /Guenther

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guenther View Post
    Ashalina,

    I don't understand what the problem is that you have with routes.

    Keep in mind that routes are downloaded as connected waypoints where the connections are undefined.

    /Guenther

    The challenge is with the Zumo 550's I've had used in the past Mapsource effectively did define the connection of the waypoints on my Zumo just as I had laid it out within Mapsource. With the 660 or the Nav IV this is not the case even if I match maps and settings between Mapsource and the GPS.

    I'm not too concerned about getting from one way point to another in a random manner. The reason I plan the routes in Mapsource is to define how I connect the waypoints. When the GPS changes the intended route it dramatically detracts from the planned ride.

    I think some of the software suggestions above may help. If not it looks like I'll be learning Basecamp software and hoping for the best.
    2012 K1600GTL

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