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Old 02-05-2013, 10:56 PM   #1
guavadude OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Dallas, TX
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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.

guavadude screwed with this post 06-13-2013 at 08:25 PM
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