Tools for charting a course

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Amsterdamm, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Amsterdamm

    Amsterdamm Lone Rhino

    May 27, 2011
    Gainesville, Virginia
    Greetings ADV Delphi,

    I am looking to tap the collective knowledge out there for recommendations of what tools or procedures exist to assist in charting custom courses for long rides. The plotting functionality of my Garmin Nuvi is woeful at best; so specifically, I am looking for a software package (either fat client or web based) that will allow me to chart a custom course and then export that custom route to my GPS.

    What software tools do you use to plot your trips? What tools do you use to export these plotted courses to your GPS? And what GPS' do you use that provide the means to easily import custom routes?

    Much obliged! :freaky
  2. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Feb 21, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Do you not use Map Source or Base Camp? I also use Microsoft Streets&Trips too that I can plan with and plug my GPS into my laptop for live locations.
  3. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Farto Motografist

    Jul 23, 2010
    Twin Cities, Minnesota USA
    Am Ster Damn,

    I hear where you are at, and am in a similar boat, but I cant afford to upgrade my electronics. I try to get all the "tech" from my Nuvi that I can. If you are running county roads, blacktop and routes that appear on Google, I just plug in the names of the small towns along the route, and then if I go off course or off road, I have the next puny little town punched in as my next "go point". It's low tech, but have put together 500 mile days in this fashion, by having maybe 10-12 cities or little towns plugged in as "legs" of the trip.

    I have discovered it's fun to not be relying on the electronics for every foot of the adventure, but it's there if horse sense does not keep me on the right gravel road, trail or county highway.

    If I had the money, I would go with something I could plot with, and bite the bullet and learn MapSource, but there are still adventures to be taken with just the little Nuvi too.
  4. Genehil

    Genehil Adventurer

    Jan 13, 2012
    Panama City, Florida
    This is how I do things. I'm using a Zumo660... so I'm guessing the Nuvi may or may not be a similar process...but, I'm unsure what capability the Nuvi has for uploading GPX files...
    In any event, here's what I do which may or may not be on the mark for the Nuvi... but another Zumo user may trip over this thread and find something useful.
    I'm using my Firefox browser which has a GMapToGPX link on the tool bar (
    1: I plot out the trip using Google Maps.
    2: Once I have the route mapped out on the way I want it to be - on Google Maps, I click the GMapToGPX link on my toolbar which then generates a GPX file.
    3: I click the "Full" tab which makes the GPX file much longer as it displays each and every direction change along the route.
    4: I select ALL and Copy the contents of the GPX file to Notepad so I can save it as a text type document..
    5: Inside the GPX file I change it's NAME to what I want it to be named (from the default name it was given when the GPX file was generated in Step 2 above). That line is near the top of the file between the "name" "/name" brackets.
    6: I save this GPX file to my hard drive as an appropriately named .gpx file. (Not a .txt file... but a .gpx file.)
    7: I then go to my MapSource program and open the .gpx file I just saved in Step 6 above.
    8: Once that .gpx file is open in MapSource I transfer it to my Zumo660 using the "Transfer" button.
    9: Last step is to disconnect my Zumo660 from my laptop... fire it up and import the route so it will be one of my "where to" choices.
    I just mapped out a 19 day trip - 5500+ miles from Panama City, FL to Billings, MT this way. It consisted of 8 days getting to Billings... Two days in Billings... and then 9 days back to Panama city, FL. A total of 17 different routes. Using GPSVisualizer - I was able to generate a Google Earth .kmz file which can be used to visualize all of the routes either in Google Earth or in Google Maps.
    Here is my kmz file for the entire trip:
    You can download that file and open it into Google Earth, or you can copy that URL (by right clicking on it) and put it into the Google Maps search box and it should display my proposed July routes.
    Hopefully, this link will open up Google Maps with my kmz already loaded... displaying all of my 17 routes (days) that are planned for July -
    I planned all 17 routes using Google Maps... Converted those maps into GPX files using GMapToGPX... then used my MapSource program to load all 17 maps into my Garmin Zumo660.
  5. RidingUpAndDown

    RidingUpAndDown Been here awhile

    Aug 21, 2011
    Central MAss
    I have a ZUMO 220 and so have found ways to make it do what I want, which typically is to ‘follow the Route I created’ in MapSource(prefer as seems to be more documentation/tutorials) and download to the GPS, then want the bike/GPS to follow My Route or .gpx files/routes shared by other inmates that I download e.g. often back roads and/or dirt roads.

    On the Garmin I go into the SETTINGS and set RECALCULATION MODE to OFF or PROMPTED, as well as set ROUTE PREFERENCE to SHORTER DISTANCE or OFF ROAD. Otherwise the Garmin is Always trying to to get me to the destination by following its pre-set/default factory algorithms/intelligence; and not mine. [​IMG]

    I alao set Route Preferences when creating Routes in MapSource.

    This is the guy who really helped put it all together and the mutha of all resources GPS-wise from what i've found: :clap

    Some additional good info I’ve found is here:

    Devices and users' needs are different so It’s hard to get/give exact directions, but in general I find that if I do a Bing or Google search on

    "site:www.any-web-site” “item to search for”

    e.g. recalculate or mapsource tutorial

    this should bring up a bunch of links/tutorials to dig into.

    hth, d :ricky
  6. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

    Dec 22, 2007
    Point Hope, Sitka & Biorka Island- all in Alaska
  7. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Long timer

    Jan 5, 2010
    I create my routes in Mapquest Route Planner (not to be confused with Mapsource) - which is almost, but not quite, as good as Google, and then send them to my Nuvi. There is one trick you must learn.... after it creates a route for you (with starting and ending addresses), when you drag the blue line to make it go on roads of your choosing, you must right click on the red dot and choose "make this a route stop" from the dialogue box or it will default to the route of its choosing.... sounds complicated, but once you play with it a bit it becomes clear.

    Make sure to practice before doing an actual trip...
  8. DinX

    DinX Been here awhile

    Mar 2, 2012
    Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
    I like myself. Pretty simple to use (just doubleclick on a road to create waypoints, move them bij dragging, delete them by double clicking again).

    Example for my summer trip:

    Detail of the maps are very good (imho). On my map you can see the road to Monte Jafferau for example, you can't find that on the regular google maps or on my satnav.

    You can export the maps in dozens of formats.