Author Topic: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?  (Read 8158 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pedelar

Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« on: April 28, 2010, 02:39:40 pm »
Hello everyone at ACA.  Longtime ACA member but first time poster.  How do "you" download routes from google maps to "your" gps?  Please advise what you use and what would be a good gps to do this with?  I will be purchasing a new gps for the car and hope to use it to navigate on bicycle as well.
Thanks,
Tony

Offline rvklassen

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 09:51:38 pm »
I too am learning this.  I'll be interested in what responses you get.

One thing of note - a nice GPS for the car includes "text to speech", which means when it gives you turn by turn directions it does so out loud.  That way you don't need to look.  Typically it has a touch screen for ease of programming on the road.   It typically has limited battery life when not plugged into the car's 12 volt supply.

A nice GPS for the bike is weatherproof.  Ones well suited for touring have good to excellent battery life when not plugged into anything. 

I've not encountered one that provides text-to-speech, and has significant battery life, and is light and weatherproof.

Based on various reviews/recommendations, here and on crazyguyonabike, I've recently picked up a Garmin etrex vista hcx.  I'm still learning how to use it, and its UI is substantially less intuitive than the one on the automotive GPS I got several years ago.  But it is weatherproof, has a 25 hr battery life, and mounts to handlebars.

All of which is to say, if you get one optimized for the bike, you can use if for the car, but it won't be even close to ideal.  If you get one optimized for the car, it will be useless for the bike.
Now, back to your regular programming. 

Offline waynemyer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • More PITA than PITA. That's our motto!
Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 04:16:06 pm »
I haven't tried it, but a quick Google search turned up this: http://www.bevhoward.com/G2WPT.htm.  There are also tools to convert KML/KMZ files from Google Earth to GPX.  And finally, you can get a utility to download raster maps to mapping GPS units.  I have read that the performance is painfully slow, though.

I also have the Etrex Vista HCx.  I am very, very happy with this unit and use it as my cyclometer, mapping unit, and cue sheet.  I find the UI to be intuitive given the amount of features.  Car units do not translate well for bicycle use because of mounting, interface, battery life (~4 hours for the Nuvi), and lower sensitivity antenna.  I have used my Etrex in the car without issue, but the Nuvi is a much better unit for driving.
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline Pedelar

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2010, 10:02:56 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I will look into what ya'll are using.  Does it have road maps and voice prompts?

Offline waynemyer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • More PITA than PITA. That's our motto!
Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 10:33:37 am »
Nuvi yes, Etrex no.

The Etrex will do turn-by-turn directions, but only with an audio prompt (a beep).  Depending on your settings, it will also display either a message or a cue sheet with an arrow indicating waypoint or course change.
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline rvklassen

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 11:19:11 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I will look into what ya'll are using.  Does it have road maps and voice prompts?
Wayne's response on the Etrex should be "no to the voice prompts"  it does have maps (after a fashion).  That is, you have to buy and load the maps separately.  The one I got (Etrex HCx) I added both memory (the maximum, since it is cheap these days), and maps (NA City Navigator).  The base machine comes with a "base map" which appears to contain all the major highways, and little else.  I found somewhere on Garmin's site where you can actually preview a map and see what's on it and what isn't.  To add the full map to the machine, you load the DVD onto either a Mac or PC, and then select which of its sub-maps you want to include (a sub-map typically corresponds to approximately one state, but it is approximately a constant number of roads/intersections, points of interest, so in densely populated ares it is less; in lightly populated areas, more).  It takes roughly two hours to download nearly all of North America (Canada and the US, not Mexico).  And it all fits. 

I've been playing around with building routes and such, have not got to the point of actually riding with it.  This morning I found the bike mount doesn't fit my bars, but fortunately it does fit my wife's bars, and we're on a tandem, so that's not too far away.  The good news is as stoker she can attend to the GPS; the bad news is that my reading vision is better than hers, and the text in the menus is small.

Offline Pedelar

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 11:55:50 am »
I found a TomTom that is for auto use but has bicycle routing.  It is their entry level gps.  I'm thinking about getting it to use for bicycle navigation as it has voice prompts, is 3.5" square, already has maps, and is cheap, less than $100.  Also will be getiing a battery booster like used with cellphones from The Shack which gives it considerable battery usage. 
What do y"all think?

Offline JimF

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 06:44:22 am »
I believe these (and other auto-types) are high energy users. Unless used sparingly, I'd suspect it would be difficult to keep it charged. Secondly, the car types are not built to the same spec for water protection, as trail-type GPSr are. You may want to run some web searches on these points. Good luck.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 10:04:22 am »
I found a TomTom that is for auto use but has bicycle routing.  It is their entry level gps.  I'm thinking about getting it to use for bicycle navigation as it has voice prompts, is 3.5" square, already has maps, and is cheap, less than $100.  Also will be getiing a battery booster like used with cellphones from The Shack which gives it considerable battery usage. 
What do y"all think?
I would echo the concerns about battery usage (they are typically intended to be plugged into the car's 12v supply) and weatherproofness. 
Other considerations, include - is there an available handlebar mount, and what sort of facility is there for adjusting the routes that it chooses - waypoints, downloaded routes, etc.  The Etrex Vista has bicycle routing, but I've not yet figured out what that means.  If it's about the same quality as Google Maps bicycle routing, it needs substantial tweaking after it comes up with its initial best guess.  I'll use its auto routing when going off of a planned and mapped route.  It's never going to do the same quality routing as on-the-ground experience from ACA or local bike clubs will: how well can it know the road conditions, traffic levels, etc?

Offline Pedelar

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 02:39:14 pm »
I'm still in the learning curve with gps for bicycle navigation.  I plan on somehow using my pc to downlaod ACA or other planned routes into my TomTom or other gps device by using google maps or one of the other bicycling mapping sites and then it would give me turn by turn.  I've heard of cyclist who are far sighted using car gps's to navigate by using the battery booster I mentioned earlier.  They download the cue sheet into the gps and the follow the voice prompts.  Some that do not have the battery booster just turn on the unit as needed at specific preplanned stops so as to not get off course. 
I am hoping to find someone here who was doing this for advice.
Would love to have a Garmin 705 but they are just more than I can afford.  Fixed income.:-)  Also they will be canging it soon and maybe the 705 will come down.  It alos does a lot os things I'm not interested in an don't want to pay for something that I will not be using.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 03:09:11 pm »

Would love to have a Garmin 705 but they are just more than I can afford.  Fixed income.:-)  Also they will be changing it soon and maybe the 705 will come down.  It also does a lot of things I'm not interested in an don't want to pay for something that I will not be using.
Actually the 705 is not generally recommended for touring, due to its limited battery life.  It has lots of cool-for-the-bike features, but they are really targeted at people who are training for the next race, and therefore will be at home overnight.

The Etrex Vista HCx is substantially less pricey (but still not cheap, once you add in the map), but its battery life is reputed to be 24 hours per set of AAs.  It isn't hard to find a tour in which you won't have a place to charge for several days, in which case it becomes much nicer to have 24-48 hours worth of battery, rather than something in the 8 hour range.

Offline waynemyer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • More PITA than PITA. That's our motto!
Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2010, 04:45:53 pm »
I did a rundown test on my Etrex Vista HCx using Rayovac Hybrid NiMH batteries.  Just a touch over 24 hours of continuous runtime. 
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Newbee here. Download routes from google maps to gps?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 07:30:30 pm »
Going back to the original question - I just found http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/. It uses Google maps to create a route, which you can save as a GPX and then send to your Garmin from your PC, or send directly to the Garmin with Garmin Communicator.