Author Topic: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .  (Read 2663 times)

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Offline Rixtoy

ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« on: May 31, 2021, 06:43:20 pm »
So,
I have the Pacific Coast ACA hard maps for an upcoming tour and felt like it made sense to get the GPX files for my Garmin Edge Explore.
So, I did.
THEN I got looking at all the caveats on routes versus tracks versus too many waypoints for Garmin versus blah, blah, blah.
Ice cream headache #1.

Saw this caveat from ACA and wonder if it is just to cover their a** if someone has a problem:
"Do not rely on turn-by-turn instructions. While they work most of the time, they give false confidence of their reliability. There are many areas where the device does not calculate the route correctly. This will vary depending on device, base map and apps. We highly recommend you simply follow the track line on your screen to avoid incorrect turn prompts."

Simple question -
What have people found to be the useful extent of the ACA GPX files on tour?
 - Reference back up to hard maps?
 - Primary navigation tool with hard maps as back-ups?
 - Turn by turn DOES work well with Edge Explore device?
 - Don't risk turn by turn usage?

I am sure I will be able to navigate fine - just wondering about the usefulness of the gPX files.

Thanks.

Rick


Offline John Nettles

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 01:20:39 am »
I use the GPS Routes primarily (assuming the route not using bike paths, divided highways, etc. which throws off the GPS) but always verify with the maps.  I also familiarize myself with the maps that morning so I sort of know what to expect, i.e. I make a turn in Town X then go 18 miles before turning onto Road Y. 

I prefer Routes over tracks as, at least with my device (64s I think), I get a beep to notify me of an upcoming turn whereas the Tracks are silent.  This is my personal preference.  Others have the opposite preference.  Tracks are only my preference when using a lot of bike paths since my device's routing can not handle paths.

That said, as ACA says, do not rely ONLY on the GPS Routes. While not certain, I think some of the newer routes do not offer GPS Routes, only GPS Tracks.  For instance, on the PPP route, I have had to create Routes based on using the Tracks as no Route waypoints are included, only Service waypoints.

Speaking of which, I have found the Services data to earn a grade C at best.  They are frequently off by a block or more, missing key info, hard to search on outside the immediate area, and are not kept up to date. Why they don't keep the data up to date and give more info than the maps can, I do not understand.

In summary, both are good provided you know the pluses and minuses of each format and use them accordingly.

Hope you have a great ride, John

Offline Rixtoy

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 07:56:07 am »
I use the GPS Routes primarily (assuming the route not using bike paths, divided highways, etc. which throws off the GPS) but always verify with the maps.  I also familiarize myself with the maps that morning so I sort of know what to expect, i.e. I make a turn in Town X then go 18 miles before turning onto Road Y. 

I prefer Routes over tracks as, at least with my device (64s I think), I get a beep to notify me of an upcoming turn whereas the Tracks are silent.  This is my personal preference.  Others have the opposite preference.  Tracks are only my preference when using a lot of bike paths since my device's routing can not handle paths.

That said, as ACA says, do not rely ONLY on the GPS Routes. While not certain, I think some of the newer routes do not offer GPS Routes, only GPS Tracks.  For instance, on the PPP route, I have had to create Routes based on using the Tracks as no Route waypoints are included, only Service waypoints.

Speaking of which, I have found the Services data to earn a grade C at best.  They are frequently off by a block or more, missing key info, hard to search on outside the immediate area, and are not kept up to date. Why they don't keep the data up to date and give more info than the maps can, I do not understand.

In summary, both are good provided you know the pluses and minuses of each format and use them accordingly.

Hope you have a great ride, John

Why am I not surprised you are the one to give a thoughtful, factual and useful answer, John?
Much appreciated, as always and the dots are starting to connect a bit for me (er, breadcrumbs . . .).

Thanks, as always . . .

Rick

Offline Steve_Sr

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2021, 10:08:12 pm »
Hello,

As far as I understand the ACA GPX route data consists of a breadcrumb trail only that you can follow on a phone app or device. A GPX "route" is really a misnomer as I don't know of anyone who has actually implemented this functionality.

There is one phone app that can TBT navigate a suitably formatted GPX file and that is Locus Pro Classic. Unfortunately, the ACA data is not currently formatted to provide this functionality. Tracks (routes) created on Plotaroute.com will generate a Locus compatible TBT GPX file.

I am also working with an app developer to create a direct interface for routes created in RwGPS to import them directly into Locus with no file manipulation involved. Once imported into Locus the routes are TBT navigable.

As far as functionality as with any computer it can only be as good as the provided data. Garbage in = Bonus Miles!

Let me know if you want more info on Locus and/or the RwGPS converter.

Thanks,
Steve

Offline Rixtoy

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2021, 08:34:06 am »
Hello,

As far as I understand the ACA GPX route data consists of a breadcrumb trail only that you can follow on a phone app or device. A GPX "route" is really a misnomer as I don't know of anyone who has actually implemented this functionality.

There is one phone app that can TBT navigate a suitably formatted GPX file and that is Locus Pro Classic. Unfortunately, the ACA data is not currently formatted to provide this functionality. Tracks (routes) created on Plotaroute.com will generate a Locus compatible TBT GPX file.

I am also working with an app developer to create a direct interface for routes created in RwGPS to import them directly into Locus with no file manipulation involved. Once imported into Locus the routes are TBT navigable.

As far as functionality as with any computer it can only be as good as the provided data. Garbage in = Bonus Miles!

Let me know if you want more info on Locus and/or the RwGPS converter.

Thanks,
Steve

Thanks for the information, Steve.

Offline Steve_Sr

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2021, 03:36:22 pm »
As far as I understand the ACA GPX route data consists of a breadcrumb trail only that you can follow on a phone app or device. A GPX "route" is really a misnomer as I don't know of anyone who has actually implemented this functionality.

Actually a little clarification is in order... The GPX schema was defined and released about 2 decades ago. In this there was the concept of a GPX "route". With this a GPX "route" was defined as a set of points that the route must pass through. It was up to the device (Garmin, dedicated GPS, etc.) or the phone app to figure out how to generate the route to connect from one point to another. Needless to say devices and apps of that era didn't have near enough horsepower to accomplish this act. To my knowledge this was never implemented by any device or app. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Due to the non-defined way to connect two "route" points this isn't generally what you want for following a pre-defined cycling route anyway.

There is one phone app that can TBT navigate a suitably formatted GPX file and that is Locus Pro Classic. Unfortunately, the ACA data is not currently formatted to provide this functionality. Tracks (routes) created on Plotaroute.com will generate a Locus compatible TBT GPX file.

Sometime after the GPX schema was released Garmin co-opted the schema and made their own proprietary TCX (Training Center Exchange) which consisted of a breadcrumb track with some embedded navigation commands. As you might imagine the TCX format is somewhat limited by today's standards. The main limitations are that it only supports about 16 different waypoint icons and all of the icons have to be on the actual track. Freely positioned waypoint icons for anything off-route is not supported.

About a year or so ago Locus Map began to support GPX files that include embedded navigation commands to allow TBT navigation. The GPX file also supports freely positioned waypoints for things such as services. etc.

Currently Plotaroute.com and the previously mentioned RwGPS converter app will produce TBT navigable GPX files or import similar directly into Locus.

Thanks,
Steve

Offline John Nettles

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2021, 03:49:52 pm »
Steve,

I am not a technical guy by any means.  However, I have been doing routes (not tracks) for 10+ years easily on my Garmin devices.  By routes, I mean what you say above.  I create up to 50 waypoints then connect the route as outlined in Garmin's BaseCamp and its predecessor MapSource. 

For me, the huge advantage of a route is that it automatically has turn by turn (TBT) alerts, at least on my various Garmin devices.  Another advantage of routes over TBT is that if I miss a turn in a city, it will automatically redirect me.  It will beep every possible turn so I don't ride too far out of my way.  Granted, on a bike, this is really not needed but I also use routes for various time when I am doing a route by car.

A tracks (breadcrumb) does not do TBT or reroute, again at least on my Garmin devices when used with BaseCamp.  I have heard it can but it sounds a bit complicated to deal with converting so it can give do TBT and as I said above, I am not the most technical guy around so I just stick with what I prefer. 

I know I am in the minority but until they make it EASY to create a track in BaseCamp which automatically has TBT, I will stick with routes.

Your project sounds promising but it would need to be able to also be used entirely when hundreds of miles away from cell towers, think northern Alaska, NWT, YT, etc. for me to use it.

Tailwinds, John

Offline Steve_Sr

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2021, 03:54:33 pm »
So,
I have the Pacific Coast ACA hard maps for an upcoming tour and felt like it made sense to get the GPX files for my Garmin Edge Explore.
So, I did.
THEN I got looking at all the caveats on routes versus tracks versus too many waypoints for Garmin versus blah, blah, blah.
Ice cream headache #1.

Saw this caveat from ACA and wonder if it is just to cover their a** if someone has a problem:
"Do not rely on turn-by-turn instructions. While they work most of the time, they give false confidence of their reliability. There are many areas where the device does not calculate the route correctly. This will vary depending on device, base map and apps. We highly recommend you simply follow the track line on your screen to avoid incorrect turn prompts."

Simple question -
What have people found to be the useful extent of the ACA GPX files on tour?
 - Reference back up to hard maps?
 - Primary navigation tool with hard maps as back-ups?
 - Turn by turn DOES work well with Edge Explore device?
 - Don't risk turn by turn usage?

I am sure I will be able to navigate fine - just wondering about the usefulness of the gPX files.

Thanks.

Rick

As you have already found out the ACA digital data that you have does not currently contain navigable turn instructions. I don't believe that the ACA BRN does either (please correct me if I am wrong) You can "follow" the breadcrumb route on your device but it won't protect you from accumulating "bonus miles" from a missed turn.

Personally I use Open Cycle Map (free maps) and Locus Map as the map viewer. Let me know if you want to try this as I have developed a "cheat sheet" that I can send you to get you started.

Thanks,
Steve

Offline John Nettles

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2021, 04:03:48 pm »
The older ACA data did have routes (when they were free); but the new ones do not.  I have no idea why they quit providing route waypoints other than I guess it is much easier to create a track since the waypoints would need to be custom named.

Steve, I have over 2200 routes (think of a smashed car windshield and each of the little cracks are a route that interconnects with another route) and over 50k waypoints that I have created over the past 12 years or so of creating routes.  If the conversion is VERY SIMPLE to do, I would consider it, especially once your app is completed.  I just don't want to have to re-learn a new system.  That said, I will take a look at Locus to see if I like it. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline Steve_Sr

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2021, 04:13:34 pm »
Steve,

I am not a technical guy by any means.  However, I have been doing routes (not tracks) for 10+ years easily on my Garmin devices.  By routes, I mean what you say above.  I create up to 50 waypoints then connect the route as outlined in Garmin's BaseCamp and its predecessor MapSource. 

For me, the huge advantage of a route is that it automatically has turn by turn (TBT) alerts, at least on my various Garmin devices.  Another advantage of routes over TBT is that if I miss a turn in a city, it will automatically redirect me.  It will beep every possible turn so I don't ride too far out of my way.  Granted, on a bike, this is really not needed but I also use routes for various time when I am doing a route by car.

A tracks (breadcrumb) does not do TBT or reroute, again at least on my Garmin devices when used with BaseCamp.  I have heard it can but it sounds a bit complicated to deal with converting so it can give do TBT and as I said above, I am not the most technical guy around so I just stick with what I prefer. 

Basecamp is likely generating a TCX file that is imported directly into your Garmin device. This is a good solution if you have a Garmin device.


Your project sounds promising but it would need to be able to also be used entirely when hundreds of miles away from cell towers, think northern Alaska, NWT, YT, etc. for me to use it.

Actually it does! Locus (and other Open Cycle Map readers) are what is known as an off-line reader. The required maps and POIs are downloaded directly to the phone prior to the trip for use when needed. Another benefit of an OCM offline reader is like having a world atlas on your phone limited only by the maps that you have previously downloaded. No problems going off-route anywhere.

This came in real handy when I did a 1400 mile self contained trip in the Midwest and then down the Atlantic coast. This tour included the C&O and the GAP trail. I was really surprised to loose (native Verizon) cell coverage 50 miles out of D.C. and not regain it until reaching Pennsylvania 4 days later. During that time (and the whole tour) I ran with the phone in airplane mode to conserve battery.

Offline Steve_Sr

Re: ACA GPX data and turn by turn . . .
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2021, 04:24:47 pm »
The older ACA data did have routes (when they were free); but the new ones do not.  I have no idea why they quit providing route waypoints other than I guess it is much easier to create a track since the waypoints would need to be custom named.

Yes, I remember this ACA early "route" data. However th e issue with this is that either you (by looking at the map) or your device or app had to figure out the best way between the waypoints.

I actually used this on my 1400 mile tour but had to use the computer between my ears to figure out the best way. This may be the reason for all of the caveats in the OPs original post.

Steve, I have over 2200 routes (think of a smashed car windshield and each of the little cracks are a route that interconnects with another route) and over 50k waypoints that I have created over the past 12 years or so of creating routes.  If the conversion is VERY SIMPLE to do, I would consider it, especially once your app is completed.  I just don't want to have to re-learn a new system.  That said, I will take a look at Locus to see if I like it. 

I have attached my OCM "cheat sheet" for you and anyone else who may be interested.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Steve