I use them differently on each trip, depending on my technical skills and the tools I am using. These are ever changing, as the technology advances and GPS units get more capable. There are also many ideas on this forum how people use these maps—there seems to be endless creative ways.
In that light, the maps are easiest for me to use when they are open & accessible.
You are already using an open GPX file standard that has worked for me with any unit & software. It almost always require me to process it manually in three ways:
- Separate the routes from the waypoints. As Fred and I discussed earlier, the GPX file contains both waypoints and routes. I prefer to keep and manage them separately.
- Coincide the routes with paper map sections, as Pat suggested earlier.
- Calculate the route to follow intended path as compared with the paper map. Many (not all) ACA GPX files have routes that are straight lines between marked route points. Some GPS units can calculate the route internally and some others (like my current Edge 705) cannot. Either way, there is a chance that the calculation will not follow the intended route. Besides, this calculation depends on the map set being used, which may not have all roads, and likely do not have off-road trails.
I am not sure why ACA has some routes with all their details and others without. I hope that the move is in the direction of more details, not less.