Is it just me or is Garmin Basecamp terrible?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by tibbon, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. tibbon

    tibbon Adventurer

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    I'm a software developer. I know how to use a computer. Complex software doesn't bother me (Final Cut Pro, XCode, etc).

    Yet, I've been trying to use Basecamp to plan a ~7,500 mile trip and I find it nearly unusable. It is exceedingly slow on both my i7 desktop with Windows, and my 2013 Macbook Pro w/Retina display. I'm using it with a somewhat older Garmin GPS, but I figure that shouldn't matter too much right?

    Is there an alternative? I'd use Google Maps for everything, except it doesn't do everything I need.
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  2. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Microsoft Streets and Trips is decent planning software. You can plan routes and then save them as a .gpx file for export to Basecamp which you can then use to load the .gpx file into your gps. Other programs may be just as good or better but I've been using S&T for so long that it's second nature.
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  3. Merlin III

    Merlin III Long timer

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    I agree about Basecamp. What doesn't Google Earth do that you want it to do? It is one powerful program.
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  4. tibbon

    tibbon Adventurer

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    Google Earth just might actually!
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  5. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    MapSource?

    I don't do Routes but it does everything I want with Tracks.
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  6. Merlin III

    Merlin III Long timer

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    There is a learning curve, but Tyre (free version) works fairly seamlessly with Google Earth. You can develop a route in Tyre and switch back and forth with Google Earth and incorporate all Google Earth's power to some extent. You can then export the final product via Tyre to your GPS in various formats.

    I have played with the program, but never really put a lot of effort into it, but I think it has potential.
    #6
  7. udoggie

    udoggie Top Dog

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    Agreed, it sux.

    I use Mapquest.com these days. It works well for me, and from the web browser can export to my Garmin.

    -Jeff
    #7
  8. tibbon

    tibbon Adventurer

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    I've been poking around with Google Earth Pro and its working quite well. I don't know why Garmin is so bad. Like... my computer isn't slow by any means, but it makes it feel ancient.
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  9. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    If you really want to see bad, look at Delorme's TOPO USA. That makes Basecamp look utterly fantastic.

    Still, that doesn't help. I agree, it's a bit of a pain. I find myself using good ole Google Maps to plan most of my trips... then I use Basecamp with the Topo 24k maps to examine trails and topographical features more closely. I tend to google campground names to find more info on them, etc, etc. I'll also use Google Earth to look at the satellite view (tilted so it gets that slightly 3D appearance) to look for potential campsites, etc. Sometimes I have all this stuff open at once. I really need a third monitor!!

    I honestly think Garmin really has no clue how to write usable software. It shows in their GPSes too. Having used an iPhone and Android for a few years (phone/tablet/etc), when I go to use my Montana, it just seems so damn clunky in how it does things. They have that new Monterra GPS which is basically an Android phone without the phone plus their own mapping UI, but I have yet to hear much good about it. I know the Garmin Oregon still has various issues that have yet to be resolved.

    I think it'd be way cool to have Basecamp that'd run on an iPad. Much as it does suck, being able to carry that with you would be great. Easier to pack than even a netbook or 11" MacBook Air and better battery life too.

    Rob
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  10. tibbon

    tibbon Adventurer

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    I agree. Garmin seems to be stuck in the past. I was thinking of buying a Navigator V for my R1200GS LC, but it sounds like there are some critical bugs with it that they aren't in the mood to fix anytime soon with bluetooth and Schuberth headsets (C3 Pro here). I'm ok to pay a lot, but for that type of money it needs to be beyond perfect. Why it costs more than an unlocked iPhone, and is way slower and less bug fixed? It isn't like they just started making GPSes last week...
    #10
  11. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    I had a Zumo 665 that I bought almost four years ago. I bent over to buy it, since the sucks are $$$. Unfortunately I bought it from a seller on eBay and was unable to return it when I realized what a complete POS it was. I put up with that f'ing thing for three years and finally sold it and got a Montana. HUGE improvement, but far from perfect.

    I'm currently going through all 28 pages of the Zumo 590 thread to see how many of the 665's issues have been fixed. So far, so good. But it still sounds like the Montana is the better unit, and quite a bit cheaper to boot. I got the 600 because I didn't need their stupid 100k maps (I have the 24k's) and I also had my own City Navigator CD, which is what I use most of the time.

    I've also started using my phone -- a Galaxy Note 3 -- in a RAM X-Mount holder on my handlebars. The mount has proven very effective even when riding hard off-road. I plug it into bike power so I can keep the backlight on, and can use Google Maps (if I have service), or one of the many topo maps apps from the Play Store with downloaded maps. I used to do the same thing with my iPhone 4S, but the screen was so small it made it difficult to see anything. The phone also pairs nicely to my Sena SMH-10 for playing Pandora or just regular onboard music.

    I'll admit I'm tempted to try mounting either an iPad Mini, or one of the cheap 6-7" Android tables on the bike and running some of the topo apps on it, but honestly, I dunno where I'd put the stupid thing. The Mini is the better choice from the standpoint I could get a waterproof case for it (Lifeproof), but the Android tablet is less than half the price for the same features.

    If I had the time, I'd make a go at writing my own Nav software (I'm a developer too), but I don't. :)

    Rob
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  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    How do you create your tracks?

    I assumed you created a route first and then converted it.

    Mapsource is much faster than Basecamp.

    Here is a link on how to get a copy of Mapsource. I assume the procedure works.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=757088

    My Basecamp was unusably slow with my old XP machine. But I upgraded to a new Dell All-in-One earlier this year, and now Basecamp runs fine from a speed standpoint.

    But I still prefer Mapsource for serious trip planning.
    #12
  13. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I have to add to this. I upgraded my machine about 8 moths back. I installed Mapsource and Basecamp. I removed the Mapsource icon to 'force' me to use and learn Basecamp. I played with it a few times, and didn't think any more of it.
    This morning I was looking at doing a little more planning for a cross country trip I am taking next week. Not a big deal, as it will be 95% highways, just double checking. I had already planned everything in Microsoft Streets and Trip. But I decided to pull up Basecamp and see what it did for routing.
    :eek1 Holy crap, what a PITA. After an hour, I went back to MS S&T, exported those maps, and used Mapsource to copy it to my Garmin. In just a minute or two.
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  14. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Nope I just hand draw them. However I don't do big trips like you do, I usually go to an area in motorhome and scout optional routes then edit and post on Internet.
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  15. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I used to hand draw tracks too before I discovered WinGDB3. And I still do for short segments that aren't in City Navigator or Topos 24k.

    Even for long trips it wasn't very hard. It probably took <10 minutes to do a 120 mile leg. But I did usually create the route first and drew the track over the route.

    And a few times I have had to hand draw tracks in Google Earth for roads that don't show on any map.
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  16. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    I've been using WinGDB3 for quite a while now. It works perfectly and what is really nice about it is that you can filter the number of points in the track to share with others.
    #16
  17. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    MapSource does this and assume BaseCamp does also. I actually use my Garmin 76Cx to filter because it has different algorithum and always filters to 500 points exactly.
    #17
  18. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I found I didn't like the WinGDB3 filtering in a couple of cases and now just use Mapsource.

    I can't remember what the problem was. I think maybe I just didn't like the looks of the results.
    #18
  19. abruzzi

    abruzzi Long timer

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    I use base camp to plan routes every year for a seven day, mostly street trip. I haven't had any issue with it. I use it in 2d mode only. I use it the same way I use google maps. I give it the start and end point, and let it come up with the route, then I dag the rout around to force it to go the way I want it to. The only issue I've run into is every now and again, it really doesn't want to go the way I want to, and I end up adding a half dozen via points to force it down the road. I can see it would be frustrating if all the roads I was going to ride we're like that and I was constantly fighting to keep it on track.
    #19
  20. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    I agree with abruzzi. Routing waypoint to waypoint, adjusting the route, generating a track from the route, and sending it to my Oregon 450 works quite well. Sometimes it's a pain to create a long route having to zoom in and out while managing the route but it's workable.

    With that said, the search in BaseCamp is absolute garbage. I know how to make it work better by adjusting the search area, etc, but this shouldn't be necessary in the days where Google Maps search works so well.
    #20
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