Routing and Riding

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by FixerDave, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    Victoria, BC, Canada
    I couldn't care less about routing. I ride where the wind blows me, don't know where I'm going when I hit the gas... vague ideas about areas I want to explore maybe. I do like to know where I am and I like to know what's around me, thus I love my GPS, but the last thing I want is some computer telling me where to go.

    I read, and it seems I'm the odd minority in this. Everyone seems like they're always going on about turn-by-turn routing. Why?

    Honestly, I'm curious. I'm not saying that routing is un-biker-like, though a bunch of people riding motorcycles on adventures do seem like the group least likely to stick to some fixed itinerary. I mean, yeah, having some little box tell you which way to turn when you're trying to find the next soccer field for your kid's game, or trying to beat the traffic on a daily commute, would be great, but for getting on a bike and just going out to have fun?

    I make my own maps. I have my regular riding routes... though, not routes in GPS specific terms. The regular trails I ride are highlighted in blue and labelled "connector between such and such" or whatever. Places I find in Google Earth that look interesting wind up on my map highlighted in orange, and also labelled. If I'm riding along and an orange bit comes up on my map, maybe I'll feel inclined to check it out, maybe not. If I'm riding along some blue path, maybe I'll stray off if something looks interesting. Nothing is fixed - I'm out there having fun. But, I'm an odd kind of guy. I seem to enjoy bashing my head against a computer, beating raw map data into submission, about as much as I enjoy beating the rest of my body while out on some trail a KLR as no business being. Are people using stock routing because it's the closest they can get to what I have, without all the pain, or are they after something entirely different?

    So, how odd am I? Are there others that don't bother with turn-by-turn routing? Is routing something particularly useful for groups of riders that want to end up in the same place but don't want to play follow the leader? Is there some other hidden magic to turn-by-turn routing that I'm oblivious too?

    Just looking at the rain, not quite ready to tear the engine down on the bike, and waiting for spring. Seems like a good time for some biker philosophy,

    David...
    #1
  2. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    Not odd at all, I do the same thing. The GPS is just one of several tools I use to navigate including dead-reckoning. At most I might load some waypoints for reference or to try to locate something, mostly I use my GPS for situational awareness.

    Bruce
    #2
  3. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    You are obviously a superior, evolved being. The world will be a better place when everyone does everything exactly like you do. :dunno







    :lol3
    #3
  4. Jäger 1

    Jäger 1 Osons

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    NW MT/SE BC
    I don't think you can even begin to resolve the question.

    As just one example, consider the dual sport possibilities on Vancouver Island versus, say, Utah.

    A road can get cut somewhere on the Island to access a drainage for logging - and be completely overgrown and impassable even by foot 20 years later. A trail on slick rock in Utah... that one will be around for a while.

    I personally don't think I've ever even looked much at routing on recreational GPS units. Perhaps because with a geomatics degree, I pretty quickly realized all the pitfalls when the mapping routing would depend on wasn't dead nuts accurate. The mapping we get in the military isn't even up to that dependability standard, so why would I assume I could find that standard on mapping that cost me something like $100 from Garmin, made to please as many different types of users and types of GPS units as possible?

    That isn't an argument for or against routing, just an observation that routing might work great in some areas where the geography and the quality of the mapping supports it, while in other areas, the geography and quality make routing more of a potential pitfall than anything else.

    You can add another aspect. Regularly riding and exploring in your local area, where you're regularly going "aha!" as you find yet another backroad that connects two or more other backroads you ride is far different than travelling a couple of thousand miles on some fixed holiday time to do a dual sport ride you've been dreaming of and planning for a couple of years.

    Moral of the story is that whatever works for you and the situation at hand.
    #4
  5. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    Oh, please, no! If everyone did what I did then I'd just have to go off and find something completely different to do :rofl

    And, actually, I was asking to see if I was missing something. Not the first time.

    David...
    #5
  6. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

    Joined:
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    Well, fixerDave, I use routing in a few different ways. One way is when I have to go to someplace I've never been before. Depending on the vehicle choice or task at hand, I may just punch in the address and let the GPS take me there. This is particularly handy at night since you don't really have to see the street names.

    Another way is for motorcycle pleasure rides that have a specific destination or one where I want or need to go through certain areas for whatever reasons. I will figure out a route that I want to take by looking at maps, either on screen or on paper (often both), and mark up my choices in a route that I load to the GPS. I may select a road for any number of reasons, but low probability of traffic and interesting terrain are my key factors. I used to mark up my paper maps and stage them for the tank bag map window. I don't tend to mark up the paper maps anymore, but I do put them in the tank bag map window as I go along, or try to.

    What I find is that either way, for a planned route, I am going to spend some time prior to the ride poring over maps. What sticking it into the GPS does is eliminate that time that would be spent during the ride itself trying to match the map to my position and determining where to take which turn. So, I now have much more time during the ride to look at the things around me and enjoy the scenery.

    I also take rides where I simply follow my big nose and go wherever whim suggests, but those are more likely rides of a shorter duration.
    #6
  7. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    If I'm understanding correctly, you're manipulating your route such that you force it to go down particular roads rather than just putting a destination in and letting it figure it out for you (not counting the "finding an address at night" routing which makes perfect sense to me). This is very much what I do except I just make my mark-up on the map I load into the GPS rather than uploading a route. I tend to update maps very often because, as Jäger points out, things change pretty quick around here.


    In thinking about this the last day, I'm starting to see a use for routing while touring about. Not the vocal "Turn.. Left.. in" stuff, which would just irritate the hell out of me. But, if you had an end-of-day destination put in and then just let it recalculate, over and over again, as you wandered about then the results might be good.

    That kind of gets back to the short verses long trips... short trips and the destination is home. Don't need routing to get home. Most of my longer trips are camping, and bush camping at that. No fixed destination... just go that'a way and find a place to stop when it gets late. But, on a reserved hotel to hotel or camp-ground trip then, yeah, makes sense to me. Set the destination then head out any which way you choose... when the ETA numbers start getting close then follow the suggested route. Flipping it around, if the ETA was early, then it's just noting that you have time to go off and do something interesting. Might work. Anyone do that? Is this the part about routing that I'm missing?

    David...
    #7
  8. Mudcat

    Mudcat Unregistered

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    I see the routes as suggestions, not something I must follow. I use auto routing all the time. I may have a target in mind I want to get too but I select the roads I want to ride. The GPS just lets me know if I can get to my target by the road I have selected.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    My Zumo 450 is much better at this then my Zumo 220. The 450 tends to route me the way I am traveling and just gives me a new route to my target.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Where the 220, at times, gets hung up on the route I have deviated from and tries to route me back onto it.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Anyway, I find auto routing very fun to ride with, easily discover new routes and new roads to ride. :D
    #8
  9. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Maine
    I most want routing when trying to get past a city or group of cities linked by sprawl. I always hope that GPS can help me sit in traffic less and still not use freeways.

    Here in the eastern U.S. roads tend to go to the major cities. I'm usually looking for a 2-lane bypass, but any bypass will do. The GPS can help me link together shorter 2-lane roads to get to my destination. Unfortunately the routing software looks for longer, straighter roads.

    The routing software on my nuvi tends to select either roads that go through every stoplight in every town from here to wherever OR select all-freeway routes. This is both the reason that I often ignore its recommendations AND the reason that I ask on ADV about routing options -- I know that the data is available and the logic can be easily programmed.

    When I'm riding without a destination -- as you said you ride -- turn-by-turn is off although I may still have a map displayed.
    #9
  10. Cromoth

    Cromoth Inspection due 5_31

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    Location:
    MA
    It's hard to find Class 4-6 roads in New England. There's also scenic spots or food. I plan my routes w/Delorme, internet maps & www.hillmap.com (when slope is a factor). For now, I need all the turns to get me to several destinations along the route.
    If an impassible natural feature or road closure occurs, then I wing it (zoom out) to get back on route, where I hope to find more good stuff.
    I guess I'm not a Sunday driver & haven't thought that the time planning a route could be used for other stuff, like actually riding for riding's sake. Maybe it's time to get a sidecar & dog? Interesting question about personal preference - makes me think I should try.
    #10
  11. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Hog Mountain
    I've used a GPS for a very long time simply for the moving detailed maps. That is the way I ride. When on group rides, they always put me in the lead. They know that I will be finding some new random cow path to explore, that I see on my GPS maps.

    A few times I have followed people that are using routing, and they get into a panic when they miss a waypoint. They will have to pull off the road and poke buttons on there GPS. I get a good laugh from that, but whatever.

    I now often use an Android app called OSMand. It lets you mark a destination, and it puts a simple arrow on the screen pointing to that destination. I explore any road I want, using the maps, and towards the end of the day I start looking more closely at that arrow, and end up at the destination. That can be an interesting way of getting to a specific spot.

    Or use routing, set to shortest distance, but ignore it. Go out and ride a few interesting roads then let it recalculate a new route through some interesting roads.
    #11
  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I plan a lot of multi-day trips in remote off-pavement areas of the southwest. Gas is often a major concern, so we need a plan that will maximize fun places to ride and get us back to gas. We also don't camp, so we need a motel and restaurant at the end of the day.

    I often spend months planning a long ride. I read ride reports and investigate places of interest from as many sources as I can find.

    But the reality is that the plan virtually never works as intended, so we have to be flexible.

    But I don't like routes for many reasons. I always convert the routes to tracks and follow the tracks.

    I will often create a special track when we are exploring an area on a day ride just to make sure I find the roads I want to explore.

    But we often just go down roads and trails that we encounter to see what is there.
    #12
  13. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

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    Some time ago I read a post by an inmate who described his use as follows:
    He identified the places where he wanted to spend each night (motel, campground, friend, whatever ...). Each morning he'd set that location as his destination on his GPS, then ride wherever and on whatever road appealed to him, letting the GPS auto-recalculate. When the 'arrival time at destination' on the GPS got to the time he wanted to be there (stop riding for the day), then he would follow the GPS route.
    At anytime during the day he could find gas/food close to his current location.

    -ceej
    #13