complete noob with GPS so many questions

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by dirt hokie, May 26, 2020.

  1. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    back ground
    just got a Garmin GPSMAP78s
    going to do the western portion of the TAT
    first time using a modern GPS ( i like paper and will take paper with me )
    1. what maps should i get, it just came with basic no detail map
    I need to see all the regular street stuff, and also dirt roads and trails ( lower 48 )
    how do i know beforehand.... Does it have to come from GARMIN?
    2. what is the difference between a track and a route
    3. If I download the TAT routes from the TAT website, is it automatically compatible with what ever maps I installed on my GPS?
    4. Do i have to have a mapping program on my PC to receive and install tracks, routes, maps onto my GPS.
    5. If i install a better map on my gps, does it automatically use that one

    As you can see, I don't know crap.....hows this shit work
    #1
  2. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    1. IDK GPSMAP78s, but I was going to do large sections of the TAT with a Garmin Montana with City Navigator plus Open Street Maps. CNNA is $72 with Canada, There used to be a cheaper one with just 48 states. https://www.gpscity.com/garmin-city-navigator-north-america-card . (EDIT: that's the price for an SD card version. May be cheaper as download. Download has other advantages.) Open Street Maps is free and works with Garmin if you get them here: http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

    You can get topo maps such as Garmin 24k topo or Garmin 100k topo. The 24k supports routing if you ask the GPS to find gas for you, the 100k does not support routing. You could use 100ktopo plus OSM to get that routing.

    There are also free topo maps other places, but you'll need a Garmin program on your computer to install them on your GPS.

    2. A track is like a picture of a set of points that are connected. The picture doesn't change if you wander off course; you just go away from the line. A route is also a set of points, but the GPS tries to get you to ride over each point in the set. With a route, if your GPS is set to avoid freeways or toll roads, then the GPS will modify the line to "help" you get to the points while adhering to your avoidance preferences.

    So they're both sets of points, but the track never changes if you wander off course. The route does change to get you back on course from wherever you wander, but it's also likely to make changes you don't want when you're riding roads that may not connect on the map.

    3. TAT info from either Sam or GPSKevin is in tracks in GPX format. That is compatible with every GPS that I know of but there may be an odd one out there.

    4. I install maps and tracks without any special program on my PC; I just use the computer's file manager. I do, however, like to have a program on my PC to view tracks of where I've been and tracks I plan to ride. I use QMapShack and GpsPrune most. They work on Linux which is my OS. I don't use Basecamp although I like its capabilities. This choice means I cannot install a lot of free maps from sites like GPSFileDepot. (EDIT: Installing a Garmin map download requires a Garmin program on a Windows or Apple computer. Installing OSM does not.)

    5. IDK your device, but I've had a couple Garmins and they let me choose a map from a list of the maps it finds on the GPS. The Basemap must stay there to orient the others. I switch between CNNA and OSM depending on circumstances, but mostly use CNNA because it's better where I ride.
    #2
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  3. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1 Google "free Garmin maps" and you'll find several sources. this one is good
    http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl

    2 track = someone recorded it, and it's lots of points. aka "gold"
    route = someone's computer program used mapping data and THINKS THERE MIGHT BE ROADS where it routed you, but it may only give you 4-5 waypoints and expect your GPS to figure out the rest, and recalculate when you least expect it.
    aka "garbage, untrustworthy devil lies, etc"

    3 tracks don't care about which map you're using. that's why they're golden. routes will vary wildly between maps used, that's why they're garbage.

    4 lol yes, this is ancient Garmin technology in your hand, that requires ancient Garmin software called "basecamp" that's infuriating to use once you've figured out all its stupid quirks. years later you'll be doing everything on a smartphone and wonder why you wasted so many hours trying to make basecamp work on the desktop, and with your plugged in gps unit... when there are such better MODERN ways of plotting tracks and routes.

    5 no... the Garmin units don't know what is better, or more appropriate, for your current terrain. you have to select each map to use, and if your using the devil's lies(routes) , be ready for it to go haywire.

    6 you'll know you want a better solution after about 4-5 weekends are the computer googling how to do stuff on it. it will be too late then. ;-)
    #3
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  4. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Why do you use both CNNA and OSM?

    I have always considered OSM kind of inferior to CNNA, but it makes up for that by being free. I guess there may be some locations where users have contributed tracks that aren't in CNNA?
    #4
  5. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    thanks for the replies
    let me ask this a different way
    1. How does someone determine which Garmin map product has the info they want/ need prior to spending $ on it.
    2. It seems like you need software on your PC to download a map from Garmin and then get it installed on the GPS? Cant you download directly to the GPS?
    3. Same question with downloaded tracks or routes.

    I have tried to find tutorials in the internet, but none i can find start from the absolute beginning and walk you throw step by step....Garmin website is garbage when it comes to help.
    #5
  6. flamingm0e

    flamingm0e Long timer

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    Welcome to Garmin, where you are tied to a computer.
    #6
  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    As noted above IMHO the most useful Garmin map products are City Navigator and Topo 100 and/Topo 24k in that order.

    If you buy the download version, you probably do need to have Garmin Basecamp/MapInstall to prepare and transfer the maps to the Garmin gps deivice.
    (I have a Garmin Montana. And it is the only model I am very familiar with.)

    If you buy the SD card version, I don't think you need Basecamp. You can just plug the card into the GPS device. But you can't see the maps on your computer unless you have the gps device connected to you computer.

    If you already have tracks and routes, you do not need Basecamp to transfer them to the GPS device. You can just a file transfer program like Windows Explorer to do move them.

    For many of us Basecamp is a good trip planning and track/route/waypoint management software tool. I can't imagine planning any kind of complex trip on a gps screen.
    I use it almost daily for planning rides. Seeing maps and tracks on a large screen works for me.
    (disclaimer: I actually use the program Mapsource for creating new tracks. Mapsource was the predecessor to Basecamp.)

    But as I am sure you will quickly hear, some people absolutely hate it.
    #7
  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1 you'll have to specify your wants/needs, and ask other people to help determine which map to BUY from Garmin. otherwise, you can use the Osm map database to pull one and try it out, or use it forever. no time limits, no restrictions about using it on either the GPS OR the desktop, etc

    2 yes and no. if the map is tiny, out you buy JUST the sdcard, you can drag/drop it onto your stand alone GPS, it pop it into the sdcard slot. the problem is..... route planning on Garmin GPS units is terrible. so you'll want to do your planning on a desktop/laptop, and subsequently you'll have to use basecamp or BETTER mapping software.... which means the sdcard purchase won't work there.

    3 gpx files (tracks or routes or waypoints) are just files. you can drag and drop them just love any other file, but yes, because the Garmin can't do Web browsing or download tracks on its own (in 2020 LOL!) , you'll have to plug into a computer to do that process also.

    4 if you think the website is garbage, wait till you start trying to use basecamp lol
    #8