Author Topic: Garmin How To Upload Maps (waypoint) to Device - OR - Why buy Garmin?  (Read 7639 times)

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Offline ullearn

How do you upload the ACA waypoint routes to a Garmin Device?

I  know it's a obvious question and answered on the ACA GPS webpage, but it looks like Garmin upsells on everything so MapSource doesn't come with the $150 low end device (Garmin eTrex Legend H).  

Do I have to use MapSource or can I use a 3rd party app?
If MapSource is a must is the best map City Navigator ($60-$100) or will Waypoint Manager work ($30)?
With all the technology out there these days is this really the best way to get GPS on portable devices?  

It seems that even without cell signal my iPhone can provide gps (gpssport, gpstracker, mapmyride,etc..) data, but just lacking on the locally stored maps.  Or I could spend $200 on a netbook and download maps locally to manage with the free Google Earth application, plus have the ability of a full laptop.  I am not looking to carry around another device, but would like to forgo the cumbersome of physical maps.

Sorry for the frustration thread and I appreciate the advice of any response.  So far not impressed with the Garmin business model.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 06:25:10 pm by ullearn »

FredHiltz

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Re: Garmin How To Upload Maps (waypoint) to Device - OR - Why buy Garmin?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 08:45:28 am »
Hi Ullearn,

First, MapSource is a program that handles maps for a Garmin receiver, not the maps themselves. When you buy a map set (probably City Navigator), the program comes with it.

Basic receivers like the Etrex H do not handle maps. They can navigate point-to-point, following straight lines between the waypoints that you download from ACA. The Waypoint Manager and several free programs can load these waypoints into the receiver.

Mapping receivers like the other Etrexes use MapSource to load the maps. You see exactly where you are on the map as you ride along. All but the least expensive have enough memory to hold maps to cross the country and do automatic routing, following the roads with turn-by-turn guidance.

The GPS Data User Guide gives a lot more detail about all this.

There are third-party maps, mostly outside the US where Garmin's coverage is spotty. There are also some open-source individual maps and programs, which I do not recommend for the novice unless you are a computer geek. If you are one, you will easily find these.

Cell-phone GPS is coming on strong, but does not yet offer the complete self-contained function on your handlebar that the dedicated receiver provide, especially in remote areas.

I am not sure just what about the Garmin business model you dislike. It has certainly been successful. They have not fooled all of their customers all of the time and they have plenty of competition to keep them on their toes.

Do browse this forum for much more about using GPSRs on long bike rides.

Fred

Offline ullearn

Re: Garmin How To Upload Maps (waypoint) to Device - OR - Why buy Garmin?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 09:19:36 pm »
Fred I appreciate your response and it did push me in the right direction to do more searching to understand the GPS devices better. 

For my low-end Garmin device I didn't realize before purchasing that it didn't come with a waypoint manager, but did see a $50 higher version ($199 for the Garmin Summit HC) does come with the waypoint manager; though still doesn't have the automatic routing feature.  Also after a little more searching found the free EasyGPS tool can save me the $30 for the waypoint manager.

Looking into the GPSRs threads on the forum I did find the bigger answer I was looking for - "Mapping receivers with enough memory for a trans-continental route cost $300 - $550 with a handlebar mount. A set of U.S. maps adds about $100.".

The dig on the Garmin business model I can see being unjust, but I think it was because I wasn't prepared for the sticker shock to find a entry level device to handle Trans-Am maps.  Obviously Garmin is very successful in what they do, but I will stick to more of the open source and "cloud" apps that can provide all the same data to me for free.

But the physical maps and a small laptop are looking to be a more attractive option now to the $500 GPS alternative.

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Garmin How To Upload Maps (waypoint) to Device - OR - Why buy Garmin?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 07:35:33 am »
... the physical maps and a small laptop are looking to be a more attractive option now to the $500 GPS alternative.

Your priorities are absolutely right. None of the GPS devices can replace the Adventure Cycling maps for reliability and specialized information, but they are useful supplements.

I should have written earlier about weather-proof GPS. The hand-held units from Garmin, Magellan, etc. will ride happily all day on your handlebar in the rain. Cell phones and netbooks, not so much. Will you really want to stop and dig them out as darkness approaches on a rainy day and you wonder whether you have passed the turn-off to that campground?

Consider power supply as well, especially if you like to camp rough. Six AA cells will keep the hand-held going for six days of riding between access to power outlets (or stores to replace them). Cell phones and laptops will allow only spot checks of position. Would you stop for those? Maybe an intermittent, fair-weather solution is all you want, though.

Fred

Offline jfitch

Re: Garmin How To Upload Maps (waypoint) to Device - OR - Why buy Garmin?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 10:18:38 pm »
You can get a Garmin Legend HCx, a very capable mapping GPS with enough memory to get you at least halfway across the country, for less than $200. With  very careful preparation, you might fit the entire trip. You could reload for the 2d half, or just carry a 2d SD card with the second half pre-loaded. It takes just a minute or two to swap the cards. The maps would cost an additional $100, and would come with Mapsource.

I agree with Fred that they are a very useful tool, as long as you don't give them too much credibility. They can lead the uncritical astray. The ACA maps are the gold standard if you're following an ACA route.

Jim