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Messages - mdxix

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All this blood, sweat, and tears to generate the GPX routes is labor of love!

Thank you Fred and your crew of volunteers. Hats off.

You can chart you route over the trail on a map such as Navigate to Redland, MD. Select "Bike Paths" view from the top right corner of the map. Drop a point at the start of the trail and another at the end. RWGPS will follow the trail and generate a GPS file for you.

You can add pre- and post-sections of your ride to the map as needed.

General Discussion / Re: No ride reports???
« on: January 16, 2012, 10:03:58 pm » is very active with trip reports.

General Discussion / Re: Crossing Canadian Border
« on: January 15, 2012, 11:33:26 pm »
Keep your passport handy.

Be careful not to cross with any "green" uncooked food (vegetables or fruit). I am sure that some are allowed, but that seems to be the exception. I would rather avoid all that headache and keep it to cooked food, dried fruit, and  packaged snacks.

I have crossed the border several times on a bicycle (BC-WA, AB-MT, QC-VT, QC-NH, NB-ME) and never had any trouble.

Note also the new Garmin device GTU-10:

It does rely on mobile phone signal and costs $200. Like a mobile phone, it does not need direct contact to a satellite, so it can be stuffed in your bags. The software has nice features for sending alerts for various conditions. First year of coverage is included.

It uses AT&T service with good coverage across the continental US:

It still seems a high price for a passive device.

SPOT is a great choice: full coverage, long battery life, and emergency support. It costs $100–150 for the unit + required $100 per year to send messages + optional $50 for continuous tracking.

Unless you are looking for continuous coverage at all times, the phone may still be a good option. I understand your concern about signal availability. For traveling on roads in the US (where coverage is expected more often than not, depending on your carrier), and at no additional cost (if you already have a smart phone), the solution with a phone works great for me.

My budget is limited so I use the iPhone in two ways:

- For family members with an Apple mobile device, they track me on 'Find My Friends' app

- For others, I use Google Latitude and they can track me on smart phones and web sites

These apps are always on, and they do not add too much drain to battery life.

I have used my Garmin Edge in the US, Europe, Middle East, and East Asia without problems. Reception seems as strong as ever, indicating accuracy of about 3m.

Have you had problems with satellite signal reception when traveling outside the US? Where?

I am planning a trip to Japan's Shikoku island to bicycle the 88 temple pilgrimage route. My Gamin Edge 705 does not have Japan map on it.

What tools do you use to chart the route? What type of data do you store the file in: route, track, or course? What problems have you had?

I plan to use an online mapping service, like Once the route is complete, I will transfer it as GPX track.

I tested this in the US and seems to work. I removed the maps from the unit. Charted a route. And tried to navigate it.

Everything worked fine. I was able to follow the route without problems. Instead of specific prompts, like "turn right on Main Street", the GPS displayed more generic ones like "Go South". And of course there was no map in the background.

What is your experience with using the GPS without a map?

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Garmin Edge 800, will it work...
« on: December 24, 2011, 11:19:51 am »
For charging on the go, think about:

- AA battery chargers. For example:

- Solar power chargers

- Multi-option pack

They all provide USB output that you can connect to the GPS unit, phone, and others.

I have the Edge 705 for the same exact reason that I use it all year around when training and riding. I use it on bicycle tours and backpacking trips with mobile chargers, that I can use with my iPhone as well.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / GPS accuracy controversy
« on: December 22, 2011, 12:01:56 am »
Many are picking up on NYT article about unreliable GPS receivers:

The AMC is not surprised:

Ray Maker strongly disagrees:

The author of the article, Ms Kolata, does not say where the route was, the density of trees, the surrounding high rises of NYC, or weather conditions. These can cause major distraction to the GPS signal.

I use the Edge 705 on my bicycle. The altimeter is more random than the stock market. But the distance has very small error. For example, here are a few rides I charted and recorded:

122.28km GPS vs 123.7km map (98.9%)
76.6km GPS vs 76.8km map (99.7%)
113.2km GPS vs 111.5km map (101.5%)
36.8km GPS vs 36.9km map (99.7%)

This works for me.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: December 19, 2011, 08:42:58 pm »
I just switched to use the Marathon Plus in 700x32. They seem bullet proof, can go anywhere, with good traction on corners and loose gravel.

There are hundreds of internet reviews on these classics. They are mostly positive. I read two common complaints that I did not experience:

1. Difficult to mount: this seemed a bit harder than usual, taking a few extra minutes to get used to it and figure it out. The hope is, because of their construction, you never have to take them off.

2. Heavy: I suppose they are a few mg heavier than others, but I did not notice.

There is surely more rolling resistance than the sleek ones I was using before, but that was what I wanted, to ride on multiple terrains.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Just bought a Garmin Edge 705
« on: December 08, 2011, 04:26:30 pm »
This is in many ways depend on the type of route you create. It can get very confusing.

There are at least three types of routes you can store on the Garmin Edge:

1. Route: the file extension is GPX. It allows for 100 points

2. Track: the file extension is GPX. It allows for 2,300 points. Garmin and some web sites state this as 16,363. Whenever I load a route with points more than 2,300, it gets truncated.

3. Course: the file extension in TCX. It allows > 18,000 points. Garmin manual state 16,363, but I tried a route at 18,000 points and there was no problem. The unit did not truncate it and displayed the correct total distance.

There are many details that compare the three types at

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS camera
« on: December 08, 2011, 04:02:30 pm »
It seems that finally there is one with a GPS, water proof, and rugged. Thank you Panasonic for the Lumix DMC-TS3.

I have bought it about four months ago and has been with me on many adventures. The GPS takes a few minutes to lock in the location the first time, and then it keeps up nicely.

Is Kettle Valley Trail on ACA maps? Which set?

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