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Messages - mdxix

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GPS Discussion / Re: Open Street Map?
« on: June 01, 2012, 11:44:18 pm »
Navigation worked exactly the same on both sets of maps: City Navigator North America & OSM.

Note the images below of navigation sequence for each map. They each contain:
  • Preview of the route
  • Preview of the cue sheet
  • First prompt with advanced notice to turn
  • Second prompt for immediate turn

The only difference between the two are the labels for roads, such as "Ridgewood Rd" versus "Ridgeweed Road", and "East St" versus "East Street (217)".

The first set of images below is for City Navigator North America:

The second set is for OSM:

GPS Discussion / Re: Open Street Map?
« on: June 01, 2012, 11:33:18 pm »
I have been testing the Open Source Map (OSM) on my Edge 705 for the past two months. I used it on the bicycle and in the car, in the United States and Canada.

For my most frequent use of the GPS, the map worked as expected:
  • Navigates roads that are previously mapped.
  • Shows detailed maps of all roads I was on, even minor ones in rural areas and inside state parks.
  • Shows some services and points of interest in nearby areas. These are dependent on the information entered in OSM
  • Shows turn by turn directions, prompts for each turn, distance to next, distance to destination, and other measurements.
  • Could not navigate to US & Canadian addresses. The maps do not seem to recognize states. They show data at the country level. Therefore, unless the city name is absolutely unique in the entire United States (or Canada), it was impossible to enter it as part of the address.
  • Because I was not able to enter my home address, I had to use its location so I can use the "Go Home" function
More details are in following posts to keep topics separate.

Meanwhile, I would at least try to use OSM in the following cases:
  • Do not own Garmin City Navigator maps. OSM is free. As far as I found, it is a snap to install.
  • Traveling to an area out of coverage. At the time of this writing, for example, I cannot find Garmin City Navigator maps for Japan. An OSM map for Japan is available though.
  • Traveling for a short trip to another country. Maps average at about $100. Buying a set for each trip will add up quickly.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: April 24, 2012, 08:31:51 pm »
They seem bullet proof
Says who? ;)

With less than 1,000km on this pair, I got the nastiest of punctures. This old curved handmade nail penetrated the tire and shredded the tube.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring On Car Free Paths
« on: April 07, 2012, 04:39:39 pm »
Thank you for sharing it. These trails offer very pleasant experience. Here are a few more suggestions from ACA:

GPS Discussion / Re: A GPS question: Garmin eTrex Legend HCx
« on: April 02, 2012, 08:20:00 pm »
I can see the two pictures on the forum page with the response.

GPS Discussion / Re: Open Street Map?
« on: March 31, 2012, 09:27:22 pm »
I downloaded the US map last night on my Edge 705 and have been experimenting with it all of today. So far so good. It took three simple steps:

  • Download the map image in compressed format from The file ( that I downloaded on 30 March 2012 was 2.47GB.
  • Expand the file to gmapsupp.img. Size is 3.31GB.
  • Copy the image file to the Garmin micro SD card under the "garmin" folder. Note:
    • My Edge 705 only supports one map image file that must have the name gmapsupp.img. Other units may support multiple files that can have different names. If you are not sure, then keep this one name.
    • It takes about an hour to copy the file when the micro SD is inserted into the computer, using an adapter. It takes several hours when copying to the GPS unit using USB cable.

In general, to be safe, I use the GPX Track option from (\garmin\gpx folder), and save the TCX course file as backup (\garmin\courses folder). Both options contain breadcrumbs of the mapped route. This is safer for two reasons:

  • Follow the same exact route as it was mapped on the web site. There is less risk of the GPS unit calculating its own route that may be different from the intended one.
  • Maintains the directions and route even when the road happens to be missing from the map, or when the route is on a trail that is not on the map. In fact, with a TCX file from, even without a map, I still get the cue sheet prompts at turns.

The following web site allows for building custom images from selected map sections:

Plenty of instructions are at

I am still experimenting with maps and languages outside the US. I loaded Japan's map and tested a few routes:

  • The text does not display properly. Kanji characters are replaced with commas and periods. Road numbers and other Roman characters do appear.
  • Small roads outside major metropolitan areas seem missing from Open Street Map, even on the web site. Probably will be added in time.

I found an old discussion on this forum circa 2008 at

There is an active discussion on this topic at

I will post more results as I learn more. Pleas share your experience as well.

Without spending a lot of time reloading the versions of MapSource that were current at these times and studying the files, I cannot answer why the old file worked, but not the new.
I answered my own question.

The old file worked because it only had the <rtept> tags, without any <extensions> tag. The Edge realized that it has to figure out the route details on its own. It then calculated the route automatically and navigated on the road accordingly.

The new file has the <extensions> tag. Therefore, the Edge assumed that the route details are within the <extensions> tag and never bothered to calculate the route. But in the case of the new ACA files, the details within the <extensions> tags are not there. The <extensions> tags are empty. Therefore, it just connected the waypoints in straight lines. The Edge does not have the option to force a "Recalculate"  and overwrite the information within the <extensions> tag (even though in this case the detailed breadcrumb information does not exist).

To prove this point, I manually removed the empty <extensions> tags from the new file AC01v007.gpx and created a test file A01010.gpx. That worked. It fixed the problem and the Edge did calculate the route and followed the road.

So I concluded that, to get the ACA routes to work better with the Edge, one needs to either remove the empty extensions or fill them up with the route details.

Again, it looks like the Edge works with what it is given. Given only the waypoints, it navigates straight lines. Given the breadcrumbs of the routepoint extensions, it uses them to navigate roads.
Not quite:
  • Given only the waypoints: it will calculate the route on the map and navigate on roads
  • Given the breadcrumbs of the route point extensions: it uses them to navigate roads. This can be very handy as it includes navigation on off road trails and bicycle paths. There is no option to recalculate and overwrite the given route points
  • Given only the waypoints, with fake route point extensions that are empty: it navigates in straight lines. There is no option to recalculate and overwrite the assumed route points

I will post more on this later.

GPS Discussion / Can you use POI Loader with Garmin Edge?
« on: March 28, 2012, 01:32:31 pm »
I am trying to load POIs onto the Edge 705.

POI Loader recognized the unit, created the POI directory, and placed the GPI file. But the unit does not seem to recognize the file, as I do not see the points on the map, nor get any alerts near them.

According to Garmin support team, and the POI Loader web site (, custom POIs work only on Outdoor and Automotive products.

Did you get them to work on your Garmin fitness product?

adding route-point extensions does not cause trouble for receivers that cannot use them.
Here is a curious discovery: it seems as if adding empty route-point extensions causes trouble for receivers that do use them! They are responsible for fooling the Edge 705 into not calculating the route.

I loaded an old copy (circa 2005) of ACA Atlantic Coast route onto the Edge. The GPS calculated the route, navigated the road, and gave me turn-by-turn directions. A copy of the file AC01v004.gpx is at

That does not happen with the latest copy of that route. The Edge displays it in straight lines and gives cardinal directions. The distance to next turn and distance to destination are not accurate, because they are calculated over straight lines. A copy of the file AC01v007.gpx is at

Why is that? Why did the old file work, but not the new?

I found the new file has the <extensions> tag without the detailed route extensions. The Edge uses these extensions and was relying on them to provide the route details, but the details never came.

I edited the file to remove the empty extensions. I did that for just the first portion of the route A01010. Voilà. The Edge calculated the route, navigated the road, and gave me turn-by-turn directions. A copy of the file A01010.gpx is at

I noticed that for some reason route A01030 in AC01v007.gpx has the full extensions details. The Edge was very happy to find them and navigated properly on the road.

That is, to get the ACA routes to work better with the Edge, one needs to either remove the empty extensions or fill them up with the route details.

I wonder if this same behavior happens with other recent Garmin units in the Outdoors line of products. Any experience there, say with 2011 and 2012 models such as GPSMAP 62 and eTrex 30? Do the new units rely also on route-point extensions?

For those who have not been studying trip planning software, MapSource is still current.
Here is the official response from Garmin that I just received:

Subject: Re: Support for MapSource  (KMM24591883I15977L0KM)
Date: 25 March 2012 22:54:50 EDT

Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I will be happy to help you with this.

MapSource has been discontinued, no further updates will be made.

Garmin BaseCamp is an interface designed for Garmin devices and mapping products. The software allows users to plan and manage trips, routes, tracks, and waypoints between the computer and compatible devices. 

BaseCamp has the following unique features:
   •   Displays 24K or 100K topographic maps with Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in 2D or 3D renderings with elevation profile
   •   Rotate maps to any orientation
   •   Playback feature allows simulating the routes and tracks
   •   Supports geotagged photos
   •   Easily organize data in folder format
   •   Users can view their data in Google Earth
   •   Supports all the geocache information presented on
   •   Prints full page color maps
BaseCamp for Windows:
BaseCamp for Mac :

With Best Regards,

Software Support Specialist
2nd Shift Software Team
Garmin International

5. eTrex: how do you navigate with an eTrex 10? I am looking at the picture on Garmin web site. It looks as if the little arrow is following some pre-determined detailed path. Is that a route (GPX), course (TCX), or something else?

I am also reading the manual. Page 16 indicates the "You can navigate a route, a track…". Is that for the 20 & 30 models only?

If this basic unit can handle detailed routes (GPX with route-point extensions or TCX), then this would be very promising and encouraging to add those details to ACA routes.

6. Compatibility: this would be great news. I am thinking that the current ACA routes contain only the waypoints, without the route-point extensions. Do you think that adding them now will not cause trouble? Otherwise, I am all for adding the route-point extensions. See separate private message.

Another advantage of having the route-point extensions is that users will not be required to purchase maps. I use this feature when navigating on the Edge in Asia, for which I do not have maps. I simply follow the detailed TCX course.

TCX courses have more advanced features that older CRS courses. They can include custom navigation alerts.

7. Edge navigation: I want to clarify that the Edge can use the ACA routes as is, without manipulating them with BaseCamp or MapSource. Only, they will appear as straight lines. The Edge will give compass navigations at these points such as go North and Northeast. As we established in #3 earlier, the Edge does not recalculate stored routes within the unit.

When there is a map on the unit, and the route follows the road on that map, the Edge will give all the directions you mention. There is even a page that displays all the cue sheet entries of all upcoming turns and distance to each.

I am using City Navigator North America 2012.4 (I have nüMaps Lifetime for North America & Europe, so I always get the latest).

I am not sure how widely applicable is a file with these route-point extensions. I would like to think most of the newer units do. For example, I was looking at the very basic eTrex 10 on Garmin web site:
It indicates that the GPS is compatible with Garmin Connect. That is a small hint that it does support detailed routes and possibly TCX tracks. I will call Garmin on Monday and check. I will also likely pick one up this week from REI and test it for sure.

The question I have is will it hurt older units to have this extra data? Ideally, units can either use it or ignore it without causing trouble. This will need some testing.

I am not very clear on your last question about ACA routes. I am able to load ACA routes onto MapSource & BaseCamp, recalculate, send to Edge, and navigate. Is that what you meant?

You seem to remain under the impression that a route exists as a series of straight lines or as a path that follows a road,
GPX routes contain the waypoints within the <rtept> tag and bread crumbs between waypoints in <extensions> tag.

When a program like MapSource is set to Use Direct Routes (Edit > Preferences > Routing > Route Style > Use Direct Routes), then the GPX route file contains only the waypoints that the user defines.

For example, I created file mstestd.gpx. I dropped three random waypoints in Missoula using direct route method. MapSource drew straight lines between these three waypoints. Inside the GPX file, there are three <rtept> tags, each containing one of the three waypoints. There are also three <extensions> tags, but they are empty because this is a direct route. Here is the first waypoint as an example:

    <rtept lat="46.87122224830091" lon="-113.99796235375106">
        <gpxx:RoutePointExtension xmlns:gpxx="">

Without making any changes to the waypoints or the type of the route, I recalculated it to follow the roads. I set MapSource to Use Auto-Routing (Edit > Preferences > Routing > Route Style > Use Auto-Routing). I right-clicked on the route name and selected Recalculate Route. The straight lines were replaced with lines that follow the road. I saved this recalculated routed in file mstestr.gpx. Inside the GPX file, there are the same three <rtept> tags. The main difference is that the <extensions> tags have intermediate waypoints that connect the main waypoints. Here is a portion of the first waypoint as an example:

    <rtept lat="46.87122224830091" lon="-113.99796235375106">
        <gpxx:RoutePointExtension xmlns:gpxx="">
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.871087467297912" lon="-113.99817190133035">
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.870808601379395" lon="-113.99778842926025">
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.871151924133301" lon="-113.99727344512939">
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.870765686035156" lon="-113.99675846099854"/>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.870379447937012" lon="-113.99598598480225"/>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="46.870121955871582" lon="-113.99529933929443">
          … and so on

Both files are routes. They appear under the Routes tab of MapSource, not under Tracks. They are not a course either, since MapSource does not deal with courses and the file does not have .crs or .tcx extension.

What do you think?

I am not able to attach the files to this post. I put a copy on Dropbox at
mstestd.gpx at
mstestd.gdb at
mstestr.gpx at
mstestr.gdb at

MapSource is a great piece of software. It is very fast. I particularly like the way it handles files and the simple user interface. When I switched to a Mac last year, BaseCamp was Garmin's product for it. Since then, BaseCamp became also available on Windows. And it looks like Garmin stopped developing MapSource. The latest version for MapSource 6.16.3 was last updated 15 months ago on 25 October 2010, compared with BaseCamp 3.3.1 as of last month on 10 February 2012:

3. You are correct. The Edge does not recalculate stored routes within the unit. That is the case for changing the routing method and reversing the route.

4. I am curious now, why save the routes as direct lines? That limits usage to specific units, and risks the possibility of the unit calculating the route differently from the original intention. Also, CityNavigator maps do not include trails. When the unit recalculates the route, it will move it onto roads, not knowing about the intended trail option. A full route with bread crumbs also allow anyone with any unit to use the file after a quick and easy conversion to their format, using a web site such as GPSies to KML, TCX, and others.

Is it file size? I tried to find the difference using Section 1 of the Atlantic Coast route from Bar Harbor, ME to Boston, MA. The file AC01v007.gpx is 670KB. Using BaseCamp, I changed all the routes to follow the roads and saved them as such with bread crumbs. The result was a file size of 1,536KB, more than twice the original.

The entire Atlantic Coast route files are 3,135KB. For following the road & trails, assume the size will triple at 10,000KB or 10MB. That is still a very small amount, given the internal storage capacity of these units is more than 500MB (1,700MB in GPSMAP 62 & eTrex 20, 850MB for Dakota 10 & Oregon 450), not including SD cards that are 2,000–4,000MB.

Is there more to it?

Receivers that are more suitable for touring can switch modes as you go along. I do not know whether the Edge can do that while following a course. Let us know when you find out, please.
I know how to recalculate the route from straight lines to follow the roads using MapSource (discontinued Garmin product) and BaseCamp (current Garmin routing product).

1. Are you saying there are GPS units that recalculate the route from straight lines to follow the roads? In other words, can you download a GPX file from ACA web site with straight lines, copy to the Garmin unit, recalculate the route within the unit itself to follow roads, and navigate it?

2. What Garmin GPS unit are you using for that?

3. The Edge has the two options to "Follow Roads" and "Off Road". That is used when the GPS is creating a new route or navigating to a waypoint. Are you referring to this feature in your unit? How do you use it to recalculate an existing loaded route?

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