ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Layin' down tracks
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-18-2012, 05:42 AM   #1
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 215
Two weeks in northern Italy with the Montana: impressions

I just got back from two weeks in the Dolomites and Tuscany, assisted greatly by the Montana and City Nav Europe. I offer some impressions for future googlers and also to angle for pro tips in case I've been missing some great feature.

I just did not warm to the unit at first because I get very impatient with user interface approaches that are anchored in the 90's. Now that the unit trained *me* how to use it, obviously things are a lot smoother, but I still feel Garmin has missed the memo entirely on human machine interaction. That said, you don't get this level of customization without some headaches for the user: you need to know what the thing can do and then you need to know what exactly you want to do, and make those things line up if possible. The learning curve could be a lot less steep given the state of the art, but punch through that, and there are rewards.

I had pre-built very few routes in BC beforehand, but had loaded in key waypoints for our trip. My approach was to browse the amazing paper Touring Club Italiano 200k maps in the evenings and mornings, pick a target route based on some loose notes we made beforehand, where we'd happen to land, and where we were headed. I'd gone through some some suggested routes from ADAC-UEM and scribbled these onto the paper maps, which was largely redundant as many of the same roads are highlighted in green as scenic on the TCI maps. I didn't see much point in programming all these in as routes or tracks beforehand.

So once a route was picked out, I would go through the exercise of using Route Planner on the unit to build the route with Use Map, and also preprogrammed waypoints. I got reasonably good at it, but there were a few annoyances:

- perhaps it is NAVTEQ, but at various zoom levels on the screen, the place names the Montana displays rarely correlate with boldfaced larger population centres on the map. For example, an intersection of two roads ending in SIENA will display some obscure village name on the outskirts instead. This makes trying to get your bearings on the screen very difficult. Perhaps there is no population data in the routeable maps, which would surely make things a lot easier, especially in a place like Italy which such a massive density of small villages. In the end I had to hunt for intersections of 'major' roads, of which, again, there are legion. So this transferring our plan from the paper map into the unit was only really painful because of trying to match maps that did not display anywhere close to the same information.

- every time I would do route planning I would have to reset my map for North Up, and then set it back again for actual riding to Track Up or Automotive. A pain when this is happening every day, sometimes more than once. Correlating the maps is that much harder when north is not up...

- maybe I haven't yet got it, but when you are navigating, is there no way to take a detour to a found fuel waypoint off of your active route, for example, and then get directed back to your original route? No way that I could find. This is relatively minor, but if off-route calc is disabled, which it is for me, you are on your own to find your way back to the purple line after you've fuelled. It seems like a pretty common scenario.

- buttons are little small for gloves, especially in the nuvi-look mode.

- default track name prefix for saving tracks would be nice to have.

- yeah, that red pin is HUGE

- tunnels notwithstanding, the track got wildly off the map a few times, but then recovered. May be a map data problem, or could have lost the satellites. It sorted itself. I got messed up with a crazy intersection and too much lag on the unit, only once, and missed an important turn that put us on the autostrada and completely changed our plan.

Really, other than these points and the too-deep menu system, the Montana was a total champ. We would have wasted a whole lot of time navigating and a lot less time enjoying. My North American brain is just not wired for the incredible density of twisty roads, great villages, and roundabouts here.

TORNANTE!





shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 08:44 AM   #2
DRTBYK
Long Haul Adventurer
 
DRTBYK's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: North Central Washington (state)
Oddometer: 5,011
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaweetz View Post
I just got back from two weeks in the Dolomites and Tuscany, assisted greatly by the Montana and City Nav Europe. I offer some impressions for future googlers and also to angle for pro tips in case I've been missing some great feature.

I just did not warm to the unit at first because I get very impatient with user interface approaches that are anchored in the 90's. Now that the unit trained *me* how to use it, obviously things are a lot smoother, but I still feel Garmin has missed the memo entirely on human machine interaction. That said, you don't get this level of customization without some headaches for the user: you need to know what the thing can do and then you need to know what exactly you want to do, and make those things line up if possible. The learning curve could be a lot less steep given the state of the art, but punch through that, and there are rewards.
Exactly why it is best to learn this before trying to use the Montana
I had pre-built very few routes in BC beforehand, but had loaded in key waypoints for our trip. My approach was to browse the amazing paper Touring Club Italiano 200k maps in the evenings and mornings, pick a target route based on some loose notes we made beforehand, where we'd happen to land, and where we were headed. I'd gone through some some suggested routes from ADAC-UEM and scribbled these onto the paper maps, which was largely redundant as many of the same roads are highlighted in green as scenic on the TCI maps. I didn't see much point in programming all these in as routes or tracks beforehand.

So once a route was picked out, I would go through the exercise of using Route Planner on the unit to build the route with Use Map, and also preprogrammed waypoints. I got reasonably good at it, but there were a few annoyances:

- perhaps it is NAVTEQ, but at various zoom levels on the screen, the place names the Montana displays rarely correlate with boldfaced larger population centres on the map. For example, an intersection of two roads ending in SIENA will display some obscure village name on the outskirts instead. This makes trying to get your bearings on the screen very difficult. Perhaps there is no population data in the routeable maps, which would surely make things a lot easier, especially in a place like Italy which such a massive density of small villages. In the end I had to hunt for intersections of 'major' roads, of which, again, there are legion. So this transferring our plan from the paper map into the unit was only really painful because of trying to match maps that did not display anywhere close to the same information.
This is predominantly a "map" issue. You can adjust the zoom levels at which some data is shown on a given map.
- every time I would do route planning I would have to reset my map for North Up, and then set it back again for actual riding to Track Up or Automotive. A pain when this is happening every day, sometimes more than once. Correlating the maps is that much harder when north is not up...
If you have the map page in Track Up just touch the compass arrow and the map will temporarily switch to North Up.
- maybe I haven't yet got it, but when you are navigating, is there no way to take a detour to a found fuel waypoint off of your active route, for example, and then get directed back to your original route? No way that I could find. This is relatively minor, but if off-route calc is disabled, which it is for me, you are on your own to find your way back to the purple line after you've fuelled. It seems like a pretty common scenario.
No. Those advanced routing features are most likely not going to make it into the Montana.
- buttons are little small for gloves, especially in the nuvi-look mode.

- default track name prefix for saving tracks would be nice to have.

- yeah, that red pin is HUGE

- tunnels notwithstanding, the track got wildly off the map a few times, but then recovered. May be a map data problem, or could have lost the satellites. It sorted itself. I got messed up with a crazy intersection and too much lag on the unit, only once, and missed an important turn that put us on the autostrada and completely changed our plan.

Really, other than these points and the too-deep menu system, the Montana was a total champ. We would have wasted a whole lot of time navigating and a lot less time enjoying. My North American brain is just not wired for the incredible density of twisty roads, great villages, and roundabouts here.
I can't help your "North American brain" but try exploring the Shortcuts feature a bit more. It will help with some of those menu layers - depending upon what you want to do.
TORNANTE!
Great part of the EU to ride.

Cheers,
__________________
Cheers,

Dan
All Things GPS
Reviews at www.GlobeRiders.com
DRTBYK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 09:25 AM   #3
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRTBYK View Post
If you have the map page in Track Up just touch the compass arrow and the map will temporarily switch to North Up.
YEARRGH!!! Great tip. This would have saved me some swearing. And a lot of poking. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRTBYK View Post
Exactly why it is best to learn this before trying to use the Montana
I concur, and put in as much time on the unit as I could beforhand trying to anticipate how I'd use it. In some ways a streamlined user interface for this covering a few limited usage cases would utterly demolish one of the few remaining value propositions for a standalone GPS. Regarding the UI, you either agree they have missed the boat on the last decade of UI advances or they haven't. *Once you figure it out* it is great. Tapping on the compass arrow easter egg is a case in point. There is nothing there to suggest that this UI element is something that can be touched and does something useful. That is a fail. However, it's pointless to rehash the obvious.

Elsewhere, I was extremely impressed with the ease I was able to program complex routes into it without the aid of a laptop. So that is a big win. Being new to the GPS world and browsing the threads, one is inclined to think that everything has to built in MapSource or Basecamp ahead of time, or else you are stuck with the unit's random routing choices. It is not so. It's a great tool for a spontaneous trip, using as much route guidance as your care to give it. I was worried having GPS along would rob the trip of the paper map mystique. Also not so... it made our trip *way better*, and I could not be happier with my decision to bring it.

I played with the zoom levels and map detail quite a bit and still found the decisions for town names shown to be really odd. As you say, this is a probably a flaw with City Nav Europe rather than any Montana algorthim.

Eventually I was able to rejigger my main menu to show the stuff I was always grabbing for. Route planning, routing preferences, track manager, fuel POIs, Satellite, etc. Once you have it set up to reflect how you are using it, it's great.
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 10:20 AM   #4
FatChance
Road Captain
 
FatChance's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Oddometer: 10,080
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaweetz View Post
Eventually I was able to rejigger my main menu to show the stuff I was always grabbing for. Route planning, routing preferences, track manager, fuel POIs, Satellite, etc. Once you have it set up to reflect how you are using it, it's great.
There lies the big advantage/disadvantage of the Montana. Since it is designed for a large, varied superset of users and activities including on road travel, off road travel, hiking, airplanes, boating, geocaching, etc. (as well as a number of different map and data types), each user has to figure out how to tailor the GPS to his own uses and needs. The profiles help a little bit, but there simply isn't a good alternative to taking it out on your activity and figuring out how to use it best for your own uses. The capabilities are there for a lot of different activities but every user has his own priorities. Setting out to design a UI that is intuitive and works for all those disparate uses would be a daunting task and unlikely to be any better than the one they decided to use.
__________________
Pain in the Butte Ranch
Durango, Colorado

- Calculated risk or forbidden fruit?
FatChance is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 215
EDIT: I updated to 4.50 and this issue is fixed:

One more. Route Planner -> select a route -> Edit Route -> click a point -> Review is a useless button. Review really ought to *show you that via point on the map*. Instead you get elev, distance, location. Otherwise to edit the route you have to view map and zoom and pan around like an idiot until you figure out which blue pin is "Viale Spartaco Lavagnini", or some such, remember which one it was, go back to edit route, then delete it or insert another one before it accordingly.

Reviewing using the actual map would make it a winner. Editing a pre-built route is a bit painful because of this oversight.

/EDIT


Better still, being able to select blue via points on the route and have the move up insert remove menu appear would be fabulous. But would also break certain paradigms.

shaweetz screwed with this post 09-18-2012 at 08:42 PM
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 08:04 PM   #6
DRTBYK
Long Haul Adventurer
 
DRTBYK's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: North Central Washington (state)
Oddometer: 5,011
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaweetz View Post
One more. Route Planner -> select a route -> Edit Route -> click a point -> Review is a useless button. Review really ought to *show you that via point on the map*. Instead you get elev, distance, location. Otherwise to edit the route you have to view map and zoom and pan around like an idiot until you figure out which blue pin is "Viale Spartaco Lavagnini", or some such, remember which one it was, go back to edit route, then delete it or insert another one before it accordingly.

Reviewing using the actual map would make it a winner. Editing a pre-built route is a bit painful because of this oversight.

Better still, being able to select blue via points on the route and have the move up insert remove menu appear would be fabulous. But would also break certain paradigms.
I'm not getting the same menu's you seem to be getting. When I press Route Planner -> select a route -> Edit Route -> click a point -> Review, it takes me to that point on the map(?).

Cheers,
__________________
Cheers,

Dan
All Things GPS
Reviews at www.GlobeRiders.com
DRTBYK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 215
That is indeed odd. I am still on 4.20. You?

EDIT: I updated to 4.50 and now I get the map review. Much better. Nice!

shaweetz screwed with this post 09-18-2012 at 08:41 PM
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 04:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014