Google Maps Export, iPhone, Turn-by-Turn... Finally!

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by bdolnik, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    The premise is simple... I want to define my route in Google Maps (or one of the other online route planners like TourStart and Harley Ride Planner which are both excellent), and export it to the iPhone where I can then get Turn-by-Turn directions.

    I've been pulling my hair out trying to get this to work. Lots of threads on here about it but none with a solution. I was about to give up, matter of fact I ordered a Garmin from Amazon yesterday because I was finally consigned to the fact that it just was not currently possible.

    Then later that evening I made a break through, and discovered it is indeed possible! Here's how...

    Requirements
    Navigon for iPhone ($ Depends on area) - http://www.navigon.com/site/us/en/mobile_navigator/iphone
    ITN Converter (Free) - http://www.benichou-software.com/index.php
    Dropbox (Free) - http://db.tt/MyhWwtkT

    In lieu of Dropbox you can also use email but I won't be covering that here, besides... if you sign up for Dropbox with the link above I get a little extra space :)

    Installation and Setup
    1) Install Navigon on your iPhone by downloading it from the App Store.
    2) Install Dropbox on your PC by downloading it from the link above.
    3) Install Dropbox on your iPhone by downloading it from the App Store.
    4) Create a folder under Dropbox on your PC called Routes
    5) Install ITN Converter on your PC by downloading THE TRAVEL VERSION from the link above and unzipping it to your Dropbox\Routes folder.

    Usage
    1) Run ITNConv.exe from your Dropbox\Routes folder. If you know anything about Dropbox you'll know this is very handy, as you can install Dropbox on multiple PC's, and always have the software available to play with.

    2) What I normally do to begin with is setup some Starting Points. So in the example I'm going to create a Starting Point at Oars & Paddlers Park which is just down the road from where I live, and is a good place to start out from.

    [​IMG]

    3) Click Editor and a map should pop up. You can set the program to use just about any map provider you want, I'm using Google Maps. I zoom into the Park and left click on it, then click Add to itinerary in the dialog box. You'll see it added in the Waypoints box.

    [​IMG]

    4) Hit the Green Check Mark in the upper right corner which will take you back to ITN Converter. You can double click on the waypoint and give it a different name, or just leave it as is.

    5) Select GPS eXchange 1.0 (*.gpx) from the Export File Format selection and hit Export. Save the file as SP-PaddlersPark.gpx. Go ahead and close ITN Converter.

    [​IMG]

    6) Now let's define our first Route and get it into Navigon. In this example I want to take a ride up Tropical Trail to Rotary Park.

    7) Open ITN Converter and select a Starting Point, in my case I'll open SP-PaddlersPark.gpx.

    [​IMG]

    8) Click the Editor button to open your map. At this point you could add your destination as a waypoint and let Google define the route for you, however I like to add waypoints myself. I find this works best otherwise Navigon may route you different than what you would expect.

    You have to remember you are just feeding Navigon the waypoints and it will use it's algorithm (which may be slight different than gooles) to route you. The more waypoints you give it the more likely you will get the route you expect.

    So here you can see I've added a waypoint at the start of Tropical Trail, this ensure Navigon does not try to route me up 513 instead.

    [​IMG]

    9) This is a pretty short route so I'll add one more waypoint and then my destination.

    [​IMG]

    10) Next I just need to click the green Check Mark in the upper right corner and my route will be transferred to ITN Converter.

    [​IMG]

    11) At this point I usually like to save the route in .gpx format for editing purposes, or to later refine it. Make sure GPS eXchange 1.0 (*gpx) is selected and click Export. Name the file R-PaddlersPark-RotaryPark.gpx. Now this file can be re-opened and editing at any time.

    12) Time to get it into Navigon. Believe it or not this is the easiest part! Select Navigon MN 7,iPHone (*route...) from the Export file format list and click Export.

    13) PAY ATTENTION HERE! You have to chage the extension to .target or it will not work!

    [​IMG]

    14) Ok, open up Dropbox on your iPhone, navigate to the Routes folder and click on R-PaddlersPark-RotaryPark.target and you'll get this nasty screen.

    [​IMG]

    15) Not to worry, see the little Down Arrow on the bottom left, click on it and you'll be give the option to open the file in Navigon.

    [​IMG]

    16) There it is, your route ready to be used for Turn by Turn Navigation. You can save the route in Navigon and interact with it in lots of ways. Another nice thing about Navigon is you can simulate the route, so you can play through it before your trip to make sure everything is working correctly. Enjoy

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. mflora98ss

    mflora98ss Dual Sportin'

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    Awesome write up! I'll be sure and use this.
    #2
  3. Halen

    Halen Suerte O Muerte

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    Thank you very much for the detailed write up. Now I need to figure out how to translate your instructions for use on the Mac. Hopefully there are similar programs made for my OS.
    #3
  4. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Lust for dust.

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    Thanks for the write-up. I was reading the FAQs for the Navigon software.
    It states,
    " A limited GPS signal can have different reasons:

    ▪ Bad positioning of the iPhone in the car. Like with every portable
    navigation device, the iPhone should always have a "free view to the sky".

    ▪ Metallized thermally insulated windshield.

    ▪ Usage of design or protective covers has a very negative
    influence on the reception of a GPS signal.
    "

    I have a LifeProof case and would want to leave it on for moto-navigation with the iPhone.

    Can you offer any insight to this?
    #4
  5. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    I've been using the Otterbox with mine and have not had any problems with reception. I've only done short day trips so far, plan on doing a longer trip from Florida to South Carolina soon, this will be a big test of the whole procedure. For the short trips it's been working really well though.

    Here's the Otterbox I have...

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Lust for dust.

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    Ok. I'll be :lurk and :ear

    The fact that when used on the motorcycle with a largely unimpeded view of the sky might outweigh the slight reduction in satellite reception. At least, I hope.
    #6
  7. Halen

    Halen Suerte O Muerte

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    Not sure what version of iPhone you have, but I went with a Mophie Outdoor case which provides a serious enclosure for the phone. It also extends the battery by 150% which is the main reason I went with it. Here is a link to details on the case (link): mophie juice pack PRO outdoor edition - iPhone 4 & 4S Battery Case

    The mount system that I've ordered is made by RAM Mounts. They produce a vast array of mounting devices for motorcycles (link): RAM Mounts
    #7
  8. Shooby

    Shooby Anti-Cager

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    bdolnik - Nice work! I'll be using this as well. Been using Dropbox for some time transferring E plans to/from clients. I'll load thru my home PC to get you some more space.
    #8
  9. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    LOL Vader, thanks... can never have too much space ;)

    Can't wait to hear how it works for others, so once you get it going definitely let me know how it works for you.

    I went on a trip this weekend to Disney where I mapped out all back roads over there and one thing I found is that you have to be careful where you put your waypoints, because what it does is route you waypoint to waypoint. What happens is that if I put a waypoint to close to a turn onto a new road, it gets you to the waypoint and then you don't get the next turn info in time, and are left wondering which way to go.

    This sounds confusing when I read it back so not sure if I'm explaining it well, but just boils down too... "DON'T place waypoints at intersections".
    #9
  10. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    One more thing on the Otterbox... the reason I chose that is I don't normally keep a case on my iPhone for every day use. I only wanted a case that I could quickly get the iphone in and out of for trail rides or inclement weather. This Otterbox fits the bill nicely because the whole back swings off and the iPhone just 'sits' inside. I use the this thing for attaching it to the bike...

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Shooby

    Shooby Anti-Cager

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    [QUOTE
    I went on a trip this weekend to Disney where I mapped out all back roads over there and one thing I found is that you have to be careful where you put your waypoints, because what it does is route you waypoint to waypoint. What happens is that if I put a waypoint to close to a turn onto a new road, it gets you to the waypoint and then you don't get the next turn info in time, and are left wondering which way to go.

    This sounds confusing when I read it back so not sure if I'm explaining it well, but just boils down too... "DON'T place waypoints at intersections".[/QUOTE]


    Thanks nik, understood and duly noted.
    #11
  12. lstuckey1

    lstuckey1 Pro Bench Racer (Retired)

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    Thanks for the write-up.
    I am having some trouble once I reach step 14. After I add .target to the name and attempt to open the file in dropbox, It does not show navigon as an option when I hit the drop-down tab. Mine just displays the "unable to open" screen. I did notice that my file is displayed as name.target.route I cant seem to lose the .route designation. Is that the problem here?
    Thanks
    Larry
    #12
  13. lstuckey1

    lstuckey1 Pro Bench Racer (Retired)

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    Never mind. I just needed to right click on the name and use the rename feature to drop the .route extension. After that it showed the Navigon link and opened right up. Thanks again!
    #13
  14. Superfish

    Superfish Been here awhile

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    A related question -- don't want to Highjack. Would putting an adapter on the bike and just plugging the phone into that solve the battery time problem?

    BTW: Thanks I've been trying to solve the "route to iPad" thing for a long time.
    #14
  15. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    Yea, Powerlet seems to have this covered pretty well although I have not got one yet.
    http://www.powerlet.com/shop-by-product/power-cables/PWRCBL

    Another option if you are camping is one of these which looks really cool, I'm really close to purchasing one myself.
    http://www.rei.com/product/846334/biolite-wood-burning-campstove

    <script src="http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?embedCode=1oZ2ZrNjqdeZbzK82jKvR-9Ap8WUjLXH&width=720&video_pcode=cyY2k6tWCpqG95PMo21fiYp6i-bX&height=405&deepLinkEmbedCode=1oZ2ZrNjqdeZbzK82jKvR-9Ap8WUjLXH"></script>
    #15
  16. guavadude

    guavadude de-composer

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    Nice writeup! You can also load tracks into Motion X GPS app but if I remember right it's more of a follow the track and not turn by turn directions.

    That wood stove charger is badass!! I might need that.
    #16
  17. jsameth

    jsameth n00b

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    Good job! This is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I've followed your steps, but have encountered a glitch at the last step:

    The file is recognized as a Navigon file, but I get the following message from the Navigon app on my phone: "The selected destination is not covered by the maps which are activated for this device. You can purchase the missing navigation maps now if you wish."

    This is definitely not the case: as test, I did a route around the block where I live. I'm guessing there's something a little off in the file syntax. I wonder if I could trouble you to send me a copy of a sample file that worked for you? This should allow me to figure out what the problem is. Looks like files can be uploaded to this forum, but if you prefer, you can e-mail it to me at: jim@sameth.com.

    Again, great job on figuring this out, and thanks much for any further help you can provide. Best, Jim
    #17
  18. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    Sure here you go. The site only allows images and .gpx files to be uploaded so I renamed it to Route-DisneyFortWild.gpx -- you'll need to download it and then rename it to Route-DisneyFortWild.target and then you can test it. I have purchased the U.S. East map set and I have just Florida loaded in my version of Navigon.

    Good luck, hope you get it working.

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. Camcow

    Camcow Adventurer

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    So I gave this a shot last weekend on my iPhone5, using Navigon, ITNConverter, and Dropbox. I was heading up to North Conway, NH with some friends, running backroads routes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Normally I have my big Garmin 2720 with the days routes loaded up, the audio wired to an amplirider and fed into my Sena headset. Since I'm now toting around a perfectly good GPS with a much nicer display, I have visions of using that as my navigator instead and getting rid of the 2 lb boat anchor.

    Everything worked great getting the .target file into the phone and opening it in Navigon. It was the routing on the fly that I had issues with.


    - There seems to be a 25-point limit on the number of waypoints

    - Each waypoint ended up being its own destination, not a via. I tried going back to the route editor, but there doesn't seem to be any way to modify this either in Navigon or ITNConverter

    - As such, the route only shows to each waypoint as you are navigating. Once you reach the 'destination', the route to the next one appears

    - If you don't hit that waypoint exactly, Navigon will keep telling you to turn around. Very annoying. (My Garmin will do the same, but once it sees you're on the route to the next waypoint, it automatically continues the route.) Don't put a waypoint where you need to turn, or you won't know which direction to turn towards

    - You can navigate to a menu and tell it to skip to the next destination, but it takes a press, a swipe, a press, then another press on the iPhone. Not easy to do on the move.

    I used some drops called 'AnyGlove' ($20 from Amazon) to try and turn my riding gloves into touchscreen gloves. They worked OK the first day, but by the third day the stuff was flaking off. You need to have about 1/4" diameter spot of the stuff for it to have enough capacitance to work with the screen.

    Thumbs up on the mount I bought (also from Amazon) from Ultimate Addons. Pretty rugged and seems to cradle the phone nicely for vibration damping and waterproofness.

    Overall, I will use the iPhone as my around town GPS for sure. But any trip I'm on, I'll be taking the 2720 along for now. I will be sending Navigon a note to see if they'll correct the shortcomings in their routing in a future software release.
    #19
  20. bdolnik

    bdolnik Been here awhile

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    Thanks for giving us your experiences with it Camcow, the 'route at the intersection' thing I ran into right away also, and is a major pain but can be worked around with good planning.

    I also had the missed waypoint problem, and you are right that is annoying. Have to stop and delete the waypoints so it will start on the next one.

    I did not know there was a 25 waypoint limit, I have not run into that yet. I guess on really long trips then you'd have to plan around that with multiple sections.

    As far as each waypoint being the destination, I found that to be a little distracting at first also, but got used to it. The one good thing is that it still adds the whole route up and gives you distance, and eta. At first I thought it was only going to give that info for the next waypoint, but it doesn't... it shows the whole route.

    Thanks again... hopefully we can hear from others who have used it. My next project is working on the Motion X thing since I'm riding a lot of trails lately.
    #20