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guavadude 02-05-2013 10:56 PM

Google Maps to Basecamp Tracks/Routes for Dummies
This sunday I decided at the last minute to ride from FW to Houston to visit friends and watch the Super Bowl.
I plotted a route in google maps that kept me on the twisty farm roads but for the life of me couldn't find the export KML button that should have been right in front of me and I couldn't remember how the hell I'd converted the google maps to basecamp. Crap.

So I tried to make a route in Basecamp "real quick" but hadn't watched the tutorials and that software is anything but intuitive. By now I had lost an hour screwing around, was getting pretty cranky to say the least and was going to miss the game entirely if I didn't get out the door. I ended up writing out a turn list and putting it on my tank bag like I used to do, and then just used the Montana as an overview.
This actually worked well and I felt like I was looking at the gps less which I think is a good thing. Had a great six hour FM road ride there and an even better seven hour ride home with great weather, and I got to eat gumbo and made it by halftime.

Now that I'm home, I spent today learning basecamp. I even called garmin and cleared up a few things like how to merge routes, how to organize the lists etc. I also reviewed my google maps to garmin procedure and now that I know what I'm doing, I've decided that routing in google maps is the way to go.

Long story short, Basecamp maps are nowhere near as good as Google's. In Google I can use map view, satellite view or a hybrid, terrain view (my fav for finding interesting hilly roads) and even street view where I can look down a road and see the condition of the tarmac itself.
Google maps also are much better for searching for POI's or getting directions with multiple destinations. Also after saving the route to "My Places" I can view them on my iphone if needed and can quickly share the route's link with others and they can view them on any computer.

Here's how:

Sign in to your google account. If you don't have one, create one so you can save the maps in My Places.
Get directions between two points using terrain view or view of your preference.
Click on the route and drag to desired roads that are on the way.
(Every time you drag the route, it will "lock down" the previous section of the route so use this adding snap points as needed to keep editing your route without changing what you've already tweaked)

Save to MyPlaces- the Save button is at the bottom of left hand written directions. You'll then have to scroll to the bottom of the My Maps list to get to the "create a new map". Save your route as a new map then hit the EDIT button and rename the route.
Click SAVE, and this is important (and why I couldn't find the damn export KML button) click DONE.

Now you should see under the name a KML link. Right click this and "download linked file as" and save it where you can find it, in a GPS routes folder somewhere.

convert from KML to .gpx with
select conversion to be KML to GPX, choose the KML file you created in google maps, set options for Waypoints and Tracks (the default) and hit CONVERT.
Right click where it says "download new file HERE" and tweak the name so it's the same as the KML file. (gpx2kml will add some extra stuff to the name). On my Mac this creates an XML file but you can change it to a .gpx.

Launch Basecamp
Under File, Import the .gpx file you've created. This will create a track in Basecamp.
Select the track in the list and right click and rename since it will have added some extra stuff to the name.
With your renamed track highlighted in the list, under Basecamp's EDIT menu, use the "Create Route From Track" command.

Transfer your Route and Track to the Montana.
(note to self) Save these directions in your address book under Garmin so you'll remember!

Once you've done it you'll see it's much easier than it sounds in my description. You still need to learn Basecamp for organizing your gps generated tracks but for me this is the best of both worlds. You get the detailed awesome maps of Google, (which btw even Garmin uses when you hit the more info button of an Adventure), and you build a library of routes in two places for easy access if you have a computer handy. You also are creating a track and a route in case the gps wants to recalculate for you.

Hope this helps, if nothing else, it'll help me next time I'm in a hurry!

Update Edit: Looks like the KML import function in BC works now so you might be able to skip the step and go straight to importing your google maps track once you've created the .kml.

advNZer? 02-06-2013 01:27 AM


Originally Posted by guavadude (Post 20660397)
and then just used the Montana as an overview.

cant you just get the gps to route you to places you know ,even if it is from google maps,and bypass basecamp altogether?

guavadude 02-06-2013 06:44 AM

I did create a few waypoints on the gps on the ride there but for a complex route
where I specifically want to try certain roads, creating the route in google is better and much faster for me.

You can skip basecamp but then you'll only have a track and not a route. I like using routes so you get prompts and then setup the gps to not recalculate. Also using Basecamp ensures the route is right on the CNNA map.

Navigon on my iphone has neat way of routing. It will give you three route options, fastest, shortest and scenic. I wish the Montana would do this.
I use this sometimes for ideas. Walking directions is also a great way to get ideas in google maps. I always start with that.

jasonmt 02-10-2013 07:45 PM

I try to avoid using Garmin software for most things and just use this:

guavadude 02-11-2013 02:22 PM

bikeroutetoaster is a good option too. There are some advantages and disadvantages.

I need to learn it better but I'm not seeing a way to type in directions, like if I have an address but don't know where it is. I can see how it would be great when riding a bicycle because of the elevation info but I'm not sure it's faster when tweaking a route after getting Google directions. I do like how it adds course points at every intersection and the summary and cue sheets are awesome.

There are lots of options for routing which is a good thing. You just need to find what works for the way you want to see the data.

_cy_ 02-11-2013 02:23 PM

in ...

guavadude 02-11-2013 02:49 PM

I'm going to write a quick review of the good and bad points of each mapping software as I am checking them out.
Again this is based on what works best for me so far which is Google maps using Terrain view.

I've heard people recommend the Harley Davidson Route planner, found in the tools area of the HD site.

Advantages: direct communication to and from gps. You can type in an address and add waypoints by dragging the route.
It has user added routes recommending good roads, Harley Dealerships, Best Western Hotels and HOG events. This is an advantage to both Harley riders so they know where the parties are located and non Harley riders so they know where the parties are at and can avoid them!

Disadvantages: Really slow interface on my computer, especially if you have the "show user routes" enabled.
Uses Google maps Road and Ariel or mixed view but no Terrain view so it gets a thumbs down from me. It also seems to gets easily confused when you've created a route and added waypoints and then try to delete a waypoint or tweak the route. After deleting a waypoint I still get old route remnants and can't make them go away.

Google maps still in the lead for me since I have to have Terrain view, although I'd love to have direct communication with the gps.

guavadude 02-11-2013 03:09 PM

Also going to link up threads that recommend route planners.
Good ADV thread:

This seems to have most of the major route planning options listed.

In keeping with my initial post, I'm mostly interest in the fastest way to create a route and get it on my gps but the route planning sites are great for generating ideas and pointing out good roads others have found.

BladeRun 02-15-2013 04:55 AM

Thanks for the step by step directions, I also couldn't figure out the Google Maps to Basecamp tango. Also, to show that Harley guys can play nice with others ;) , Honda has a new trip planner up and running: . I haven't delved too deeply into it but it's another option.

raebear 02-15-2013 04:24 PM I found this as well, have not really used it yet though.

guavadude 02-15-2013 04:44 PM

Honda trip planner
checking out the Honda trip planner. I really like this, it may take the lead!


Full sized screen! Lots of the trips planners on the web are formatted small so they only use about 1/3 or your screen and the rest is usually ads. This one is full sized with an edit area that can be hidden.

Driect connect with your GPS in and out!

You can save and share routes and there's a search function for trips within a certain area although it appears you have to type in the search area. It can't just be a point on the map but this may be user error. You can add multiple stops along the way although each stop you add automatically becomes the last one and then you have to re-organize them which is a little clunky.

Map, Satellite, Hybrid and Terrain google maps!!

It also has quick search icons for gas, food, lodging, sites and Honda dealers, go figure.

I can't easily drag the route line to new roads. You can add stops but like I mentioned it always add the new stop last so that's a pain. You can drag the stop to a new location but then it picks the roads for you. I want to pick the roads.
In the help files it says that you can just drag the route to new roads and it adds waypoints. Perfect that's what I want, but it's not working on my Mac using Safari. I even made sure I have the latest Flash player and still when I try to add a way point, the whole map drags, not the route.

Can someone else please try this out so I know if it's me or the software. Make a route and then try to edit it by dragging on the route like you would in google maps. Does it let you do that and did it create a waypoint like it says it will in the help files?

Overall this one is pretty badass. Basically the best of google and the best of the community style route planning sites. The perk of sharing trips with others and having a routes database is only good if there are other people actually using it and sharing. It seems like the database of trips is slim....I'm pretty sure there's more than the one good route in the Ozarks it recommends. I just noticed it does say "beta" at the top!

One big disadvantage I just realized is that being flash based, the Honda trip planner isn't viewable on my iphone or an iPad.

I'm sticking with google maps.

guavadude 02-15-2013 04:51 PM


Originally Posted by raebear (Post 20734990) I found this as well, have not really used it yet though.

Tyretotravel is PC based only. You have to download their software, not good....that limits who can see it based on if they have the software or not.

By not including Mac users you've shrunk your user base of people to share with.

It's already throwing ads at me..

I'll pass. This gets two thumbs down from me.

guavadude 05-02-2013 10:28 AM

Still no terrain view for Montana
I've seen the ads for the new Oregon and the pic they use has a nice shaded relief terrain map, just what I've been wanting for my Montana. So I contacted Garmin to see how to get this.

Here's the reply

Thank you for contacting Garmin International.
The picture shown on the front of the Oregon 450 box is that of the basemap. It is zoomed out to a scale of 30 miles and is located over a mountainous area of Colorado. The purpose of the image is to showcase the shaded relief that is present on the device. Unfortunately, as you zoom in this goes away. I suspect it could interfere with properly displaying actual map detail. Topo line detail, like that in Topo 24k, will begin to show as you zoom in (provided it is installed to the device).
Topo mapping provides information about changes in elevation as well as some other basic terrain information. It is not the same as terrain mode in Google Maps. You also are unable to disable the lines as this is the main part of the map detail. You can disable the entire map, but then there is no reason to have the map.
You may want to consider BirdsEye imagery, even though it does not provide the exact same experience as terrain view on Google Maps:
It is the closest solution I can suggest to match what you are looking for.

"I suspect it could interfere with properly displaying actual map detail."
I suspect having the terrain view disappear as you zoom in could interfere with you knowing where the damn mountain is. :dog

So you either get a cluttered 24k map with contour lines you can turn off in Basecamp but not the Montana, or you get a base map with terrain view which is really only good for making pretty ads because it disappears as soon as you zoom in close enough to see the roads. Seems like every online map now has a terrain view except Garmin, a company that specializes in gps devices and mapping.

Mtl_Biker 05-02-2013 11:29 AM

Guavadude, forgive me for asking you about something you said in your original post (after all this time) but I can't for the life of me do what you imply is easy to do...

After using Google Maps to create and save my map, HOW can I view it on my iPhone or iPad? I have Google Maps on the iPhone and just don't see any way to log in and retrieve any of my saved maps.

Do you also have an iPad? I do, and recently came across a product called EggMapsHD for it which actually is a front-end for Google Maps to properly display them on the iPad. (If you don't know this you should check it out as it's way better than using Google Maps directly with the 2x viewing feature.) Anyway, likewise with this there doesn't seem to be any way to retrieve my saved maps.

Thanks for any help...


Originally Posted by guavadude (Post 20660397)
Also after saving the route to "My Places" I can view them on my iphone if needed and can quickly share the route's link with others and they can view them on any computer.

guavadude 05-02-2013 12:11 PM

There used to be an app called My Maps that worked but it's no longer available. You can use MotionX GPS and import your google map after you email the link to yourself.
I thought the new Google maps app that you download in the app store was letting me see My Maps but it looks like the new version might have taken that away. I know it's not as easy as it should be.

I don't have an ipad but will probably grab a mini when the retina displays come out. I have an iphone 4 and I'm on OS 5.1, the pre Apple Maps version.
I'm staying here because I use the OS Google Maps all the time as an overview and was having a hard time with the Apple Maps since as you zoom out a little the road names disappear much quicker than with Google's version.

Honestly, the main reason I got the Montana was because the iphone doesn't really work as a true gps. If I could just get a terrain view on the Montana I'd be happy. Now I go back and forth between my phone and Montana to get different perspectives on the terrain in the area which is a pain.

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