‘could Use Some Garmin Mapping Help

Like I mentioned, I have an Etrex Legend Hcx.  The Legend is the same as the Vista, only without an altimeter.  I need to figure out the best way to load and use longer routes, and if possible, routes that involve a loop.

RidewithGPS works good for coming up with the basic course.  It has the elevation feature that is also useful for avoiding hills wherever possible.  The files can then be saved, exported to a .gpx file, or loaded directly to the Garmin.

If the file is too big (more than 500 points) it gets truncated, so I can take the .gpx files and “compress” them using some freeware called TCX Converter, and then manually load them into Garmin Connect as .gpx files.

All of these files get loaded as tracks, not routes.

So far, so good.  Where I’m running into issues is actually using the tracks.  The unit still wants to take me on the most direct route despite the track, and if it involves a loop, it tells me I’m at the end before I even start.

I know a lot of randos and tourists use this unit, so what is the best way to load routes/tracks?  and how do you follow them once they are loaded?

thx. in advance.


9 responses to “‘could Use Some Garmin Mapping Help

  1. Meant to reply to your other post when I had time, and comment on some of the stuff. GPS Babel is a great utility for downsampling tracks and lots of other modifications to make them work better with the etrex unit (like modifying waypoint and track tags to get them to show up the way you want them to…) Depending on what kind of bike mount you have, be careful and always lasso the unit around the handlebar with the wrist strap that comes with it. My bike mount clip for the back of the etrex exploded after maybe 5 rides or 60 miles. There’s other stuff, but work’s calling. Let me know if you have specific questions. I created a few small web scripts for modifying tracks to get cues to display properly too…

    • Thanks Dave. I’ll download it tonight and play around with it. Basically, all I want to be able to do is design a route on line, download to the Garmin, and follow it turn by turn, with some type of prompt at each turn. It seems a route makes the most sense, but all the .gpx files get loaded as tracks. Hopefull this download will help.

      • I have a workflow that I use to get everything in as both a detailed track and turn-by-turn cuesheet on the unit. for the life of me I can’t remember what it is when I’m not in front of the computer doing it, but it’s not hard. I’ll send you directions once I get home and have a chance to remember 🙂

  2. Awesome. thanks

  3. here we go with my most involved comment ever…

    2 pieces of software I use: GPS Babel and Garmin Roadtrip

    Directions from ride w/ gps to get stuff in my eTrex Vista HCX:
    1. download the gps track with no options selected.
    2. download the gps route/cue as a separate file
    3. run gps babel on the ‘route-track.gpx’ file to downsample to 300 points or less.
    4. open up garmin road trip app and create a folder for the ride
    5. import the track.gpx file and save to your ride folder.
    6. import the route/cue.gpx file and save to your ride folder.
    7. Connect your eTrex to the computer and then send the folder to your eTrex unit.

    The Trick is to get the CUE information in as a ROUTE and the TRACK (the 300 points) as a TRACK in the unit. Once you get the unit loaded up, turn it on, go to your ‘routes’ folder, select your route and click ‘navigate’.

    Bad news is the cue.gpx file that comes from ridewithgps has the turn-by-turn directions nested in a tag rather than the tag (which just gives you ‘left’ ‘right’ …). You won’t have street names in the unit, but you should get a prompt and direction before your turn.

    I wrote a php script that swaps out the tags and shortens the names so they fit in the field on the unit which I can give you, but you’d need to set it up on a web server to get it to work… Kind of makes me want to set up a webpage and correctly serve it with manipulable variables. Ride w/ gps has changed their .gpx files a bunch of times in the year I’ve been using them so I can’t say this will work forever but it’s how I do it now. Let me know if you have any more questions. Hope it helps… -d

  4. previous comment had some text stripped out of it… see below for edit…
    “turn-by-turn directions nested in a <cmt> tag rather than the <name> tag”

  5. Good stuff Dave. I was able to get the same results tonight by having RidewithGPS output a .gpx file with only the cue sheet entries. Then use GPS Babel to translate it to a route, and the entries become waypoints. Then manually upload it using Garmin Connect.
    The messages are a little weird, but it accurately prompts you beforehand that a turn is coming up, and then goes to the map to tell you what road you’ve turned on to. Not very elegant, but it works. At one point I had detailed cues showing up on the computer screen, but they wouldn’t load into the Garmin. I need to see if I can replicate that and somehow get it to load.
    I think what’s also nice is that you end up with far fewer waypoints than normal, so I should be able to load in some longer routes. I’m curious to try going off course and seeing how it responds. My route tonight had two “intersections”, and it handled them perfectly when I doubled back home.
    Anyway, thanks for the link to GPSBabel and the advice. I’ll keep playing with it and see how much trouble I can get myself into.

  6. that’s the way mine looks. I don’t have a basemap, but the track creates a stripe on the map where I need to go and I have the next turn and distance to it showing up as a field above from the route. If I miss a turn I watch my path deviate from the track and I always know something went wrong within 10 seconds if I have any speed at all.

    • Yup. It’s just a little weird when its telling you to “turn right at left”, but it seems to be working.
      I need to play some more, but I think I was getting the full cue prompts, at least on the computer, when I was messing with a program called “EasyGPS.”It wouldn’t load into the Garmin, but possibly I didn’t have it configured the way Babel is.

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