Author Topic: Mapping Software  (Read 15446 times)

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Offline paddleboy17

Mapping Software
« on: August 07, 2008, 10:31:17 pm »
I have sometimes made my own custom routes.  I have mostly used Delorme Street Atlas.  I find a lot of mistakes in their data, and when I have tried to send them corrections, they were not particularly grateful.  I currently have Street Atlas 2006 which is no more accurate than Street Atlas V7 and has an even more dumbed down user interface.  

I assume that GPS users might generate their own routes.  How do you do it?  What software do you use?

With Street Atlas, I can mark my start and end points, insert VIAs to adjust the route (go through here), and define stops.  The stop feature is a little frustrating as Street Atlas shows over all mileage, not mileage between stops.  I just can't do 80 mile days anymore, so the daily mileage is important to me.  Sometimes I want to incorporate Rail Trails in my routes, but they don't show up the map.  I don't even think the rail roads that used to be there show up half the time.

I also have scanned topographical maps from MapTech, but I think laying out a route on them would be painful.

I am not sold on loading waypoints into a GPS unit yet.  I would be perfectly happy to print paper maps.  I would appreciate any and all suggestions.



  • Guest
Mapping Software
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 08:21:14 am »
Hi Danno,

Maps from all the vendors contain errors and omissions, and from what I read on the web, all the vendors take a year or two to incorporate corrections and new roads.

I frequently generate my own routes using the maps and MapSource program that Garmin sells to go with its receivers. I use the mouse to drop a few waypoints along the way at points of interest (POI) and sometimes to make it use the road I want when it does auto-routing.

The "stop here" feature has never been much use to me. I don't know how long I will stop there.

For off-road navigation I load the topographic maps as well as the street maps and navigate point-to-point along the railroad or trail. Sometimes I can find a track log of the route--mine or one off the web--and navigate that.

The main advantages of the electronic map over paper for me: weather proof and visible without stopping, turn-by-turn directions when on the roads, and distance to go to a POI or the end of the day.

Occasionally the POI database is useful to look for a grocery store in a town off the route, etc.


Offline mdxix

Mapping Software
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 11:38:20 am »
I use MapSource that I received with Garmin and it works great.

It has a feature to automatically create a route between two points that is specific to bicycle riding. It is not always accurate but certainly helpful for a first cut that I modify slightly later.

For rail trails, I have the topo maps which in some cases have these trails.

When I know there is a trail but does not show up on the map, I search for the GPX file on the internet (such as on and superimpose it on the map.

Offline bragpdx

Mapping Software
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 03:42:04 am »
There is another option out there called OpenStreetMap It's an open-source map that is community-contributed similar to Wikipedia. You load your ride data directly to the world map. Membership is free and you can add, edit and export whatever data you want for your own uses.

The licensing (Creative Commons) opens up numerous possibilities for the creative things people can do with the data. Here's a really great example --  zoom into two areas, Rotterdam Netherlands and the northern rural area of England around Carlisle. In Rotterdam, you'll see all the cycle infrastructure given visual prominence over the rest of the data, and around Carlisle, once you reach a certain zoom, the map includes topographic information. This was done by someone that just wanted to see what he could do with the data, the same thing could be done for the US.

Take any GPX files of past rides and add them to the map using the Java editor that you can download here

And you can also download OpenStreetMap (OSM) data to any GPS device.

As for incorrect map features in most maps, FredHiltz is right. A large percentage are wrong on purpose because that is how the companies who own the data copyright it. If someone copies their maps, those markers get copied as well and the map companies know who to sue.

For the minimal investment (time) upfront to learn how it works, it really pays off in giving you total control how you track, use and share ride data. Check out the site, the wiki, or feel free  to send me a note directly if you want to know more.  

Offline tournut

Mapping Software
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2008, 10:23:25 pm »
I am new to the Garmin edge 705. First I purchased my GPS but it did not come with any software so I purchased a SD card City Navigator so that I have the information on my GPS. I still am not able to open the adventure cycling downloads or open up the routes from my GPS so I want to purchase Mapsource mapping software but am confused. Garmin has so many DVD's available I am not sure which software is the correct one. Cabelas has a Garmin City Navigator DVD but I did not know if this was the Mapsouce to access maps and upload data and exchange waypoints, track the routes and open the routes that my GPS receiver created. Any info would be appreciated.


  • Guest
Mapping Software
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2008, 01:15:52 pm »
Hi TourNut,

You found out the hard way that the maps Garmin sells on SD cards do not work on the PC. For that, you need the CD or DVD map products, all of which include the MapSource program to manage maps, routes, waypoints, and tracks; to display them on the computer; and to transfer them to the GPSR. This works best when the same map is in the PC and the GPSR. Then you can see the same roads, hills, points of interest, etc. I recommend the City Navigator for the part of the world that interests you for road riding and for the data you download from Adventure Cycling.

(For others reading this, consider buying the maps from Garmin on CD or DVD and a blank SD or micro-SD card from your favorite electronics discount store. Use your PC to copy the maps onto the card.)

Consider also the relevant Topo series map for back road riding, off-road routes, mountainous terrain, and the Great Divide Mountain Bike route. I keep both topo and road maps in my receiver, switching back and forth during a ride.


Offline skipratt

Re: Mapping Software
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2009, 02:56:50 am »
For a free software you could try EasyGPS, it's great for gpx files and it's what I use with my Garmin 201.

Offline tangodeltabravo

Re: Mapping Software
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2009, 10:23:44 am »
The licensing (Creative Commons) opens up numerous possibilities for the creative things people can do with the data. Here's a really great example --  

By the way, cloudmade has rendered Garmin IMG files for each state:

To get the map on my eTrex I extract the IMG from the downloaded ZIP, copy to the garmin directory on a MicroSD card and put the card back in my GPS. The maps don't support routing but are handy for calculating ETA (the GPS uses straight line distance but as long as your average speed towards the destination is roughly constant over 5-10 minutes it is pretty close) and navigating cities with poor road signs.

If you use the OSM maps please consider contributing back to fix and improve them. Once the quality is good enough we'll be able to have bike routing such as in the USA.