Bicycle Travel > GPS & Digital Data Discussion

Combining routes

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I have a question about combining the ACA gpx routes into a larger route for me to follow on my bike. Using MapSource, I have pulled all the gpx route files corresponding to the 11 map sections I plan to cycle (TransAm 4-12, Lewis & Clark 6-7, westbound) into a single route, including spurs and alternates where I think I might ride them, omitting them where I am sure I will not. That gave me a total of 69 ACA gpx routes folded into one big route and with a total of 1,754 waypoints. I transferred the routes, waypoints and relevant City Navigator map areas from my PC to my Garmin Oregon 450 internal memory (no need for an SD card). It surprised me a little that I was able to do this since I have read that on a continental crossing, capacity constraints make it necessary to reload the GPS receiver at least once en route. Anyway, so much the better. But when I go into Route Planner on the device I find that the 69 routes are shown individually. I had hoped they would have been fused into one. I am new to GPS and can't test how this works on the ground since I am in Australia, far from all ACA routes. My question is this: once I am physically in the USA, on the route, will I need to work out which of these 69 routes is relevant to my present location and select that one or will the Oregon somehow seamlessly display the route as a continuous line stretching from coast to coast, so that each day I just turn it on and it points me in the direction I should go? Is there something else I should be doing to manipulate the routes pre-departure? The ACA's GPS User Guide assumes that I will want to edit the waypoints. I'm not sure what changes I should be making or, indeed, how to make them. Grateful for any help to a beginner.

Hi Alasdair. Putting all the GPS routes into one file does not combine them, as you found out. MapSource does have a way, though. Open a route on the Routes tab in the left pane. Select all the waypoints in the route and copy them to the clipboard. Open a new route that will become the combined route and paste the waypoints after any that are already there. This is fast if you keep two instances of MapSource open.

That said, the Oregon 450 does limit the number of waypoints in a route. I think the wording is "up to 250 stops and turns." Does that include turns created by the auto-routing function? I do not know.

Depending on how much work you want to do at home on the computer, you can choose to ride with the routes as they come from ACA or you can do as much editing as you like. I prefer to change the waypoint name to the name of the road I will turn onto, so the screen shows both the road name and the distance to go. I rarely change the names of intermediate waypoints. Double click a waypoint in MapSource to open a dialog where you can change its name.

I then set up routes that overlap, so I can switch from one to the other anywhere in a stretch of ten or twenty miles while keeping continuous navigation. Some people like to set up a route for one day's riding, in order to see time and distance to go.

Others will choose to do more or less customization. Read the sticky "Using..." thread at the top of this group and the User Guide that it mentions. They will give you the tools you need.


Thanks, Fred. I appreciate the speed and helpfulness of your responses. I'm afraid I'm not very competent at this sort of thing, however, and I'm a complete beginner with GPS, so I need to ask for some further support, if you don't mind. I tried to carry out the steps you outlined in your first paragraph and ran into difficulty. First, I opened in MapSource the gpx file corresponding to TransAm section 12. It contains 8 routes and 403 waypoints. I selected all the 403 waypoints and copied them, via the clipboard, to a new MapSource window and repeated the procedure twice more, adding the waypoints from TransAm sections 11 and 10 to my new window. This gave me a file with 1,169 waypoints - but no routes. I had expected that in this way I would have obtained a single route covering the three map sections. I concluded that I had misunderstood your directions and that this was not what you meant. I started again. This time, when I opened the gpx file for TransAm section 12, I double clicked on the last of the 8 routes listed (which will be the first one I ride). This opened a Route Properties window which listed a number of Via Points. I couldn't see how to proceed from here, so again I stopped. Could I trouble you, please, to spell out in more detail exactly what I should be doing to combine the route files? I have read the sticky and the User Guide, as well as quite a few threads on this sub-forum, but it's not getting through to my non-technical brain.

The MapSource user interface is clunky, to be polite. It does function well after you get used to it.

You were almost there. When you copied and pasted the waypoints, you transferred them as an unordered collection of waypoints. You need to use the Route Properties window, which presents the waypoints in sequence as a route. Here's how, in more detail than you probably need. It is faster to do than to read:

1. Start two instances of MapSource and arrange their windows so you can see both at once. In one, which I will call Left, we will open the routes as ACA publishes them. In the other, which I will call Right, we will build combined routes. Since you are riding westbound, we will start with the easternmost routes.

2. Open TA12v007.gpx in Left. File > Open.

3. Open a new Mapsource file in Right. File > New.

4. Optional. Do this if you want to combine the points of interest (POI) waypoints as well as the route waypoints.

In Left, click any waypoint in the Waypoints tab in the left pane. Ctrl+A selects them all. Ctrl+C copies them to the clipboard.

In Right, click anywhere in the waypoints tab in the left pane. Ctrl+V pastes the waypoints there.

5. In Right, start a new route. Ctrl+R. A Route Properties windows opens.

6. In Left, double-click on the last route in the Routes tab.

7. Its Route Properties window opens. Ctrl+A selects all the waypoints (via points) in the route. Ctrl+C copies them to the clipboard.

8. In Right, click on the top-most waypoint, if any. Ctrl+V pastes the copied waypoints above the one you just clicked.

9. In left, close the Route Properties window.

10. If you wish to combine more routes, on the Routes tab, double-click the next route to be combined and go to Step 7. Otherwise, go to Step 11.

11. In Right, uncheck Autoname. Enter a new name for the combine route. Click OK.

12. If you wish to make more combined routes, go to Step 5. Otherwise, go to Step 13.

13. Save the file containing combined routes. File > Save As. Navigate to the folder where you wish to save it. Enter a file name. From the drop list in Save as Type: select GPS eXchange Format (*.gpx). Click Save.


Sigh of relief! Thanks so much, Fred. That's exactly what I wanted and not at all in excessive detail. Even with every step spelled out so fully it took me three goes before I was able to combine the routes from three map sections into a single route without error. I'll now experiment further to see how large a route can be and still transfer successfully to my Oregon 450. Following your instructions carefully, I should be able to merge all the gpx files for my trip across the continent into a manageable number of routes. I'm sure an explanation at the level of detail you have provided will prove useful to other non-experts who are struggling with GPS. Thank you very much indeed.


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