W Trans America Trail GPS tracks

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - West & PNW' started by retired motoman, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    As I understand from reading other posts: You simply shut off the route re-calibration on your GPS!:D ???? And you simply stay on the blue line....?
  2. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    No gps model, Garmin or otherwise, will create a route where it doesn't think there is a road. Even if the road is actually there. You should try creating a route in NM or wherever Mapsource doesn't show all the roads and see what happens.

    A track is the equivalent of a highlighter mark on a paper map. It doesn't move or recalculate in any way. It's just a line on the map. It doesn't care about whether there is any kind of road or not. If you are on the line, you are on the right path. If you are away from the line, you have gotten off your intended path (or the road changed, map was wrong, etc.).

    The problem is your Zumo automatically converts tracks into a route. You can't make it do anything else. So even if your handmade track goes exactly where you think you want it to, if there isn't a road on the Garmin map for that spot, it will route you around it in some way. It may not even come close to your route other than starting and ending points depending on what settings you have set for routing behavior. There are other gps units from Garmin; 76Cx, 60Cx, 276C, 376C to name a few, that will accept and display a track without converting it or otherwise messing around. This 'feature' of a Zumo is one of the primary reason it is somewhat less useful for serious off-road and single track exploring. That isn't what it was designed for anyway, so that's just how it works.

    Sometimes there are work-arounds. If the section of the trail that is not shown as a road on the Garmin maps is not too long or complicated, you can often make two routes; one from the start to the where the roads end and one from where it starts up again to your destination. You'll just have to navigate between those two points on your own. If you set a waypoint at the start of the next road, your gps can at least tell you how far and in what direction it is (I assume a Zumo can do that). New Mexico, for example has lots of wide open places and the road you are on may be the only one around, so the way ahead is pretty obvious. Sometimes it isn't so easy. In that case, Sams' roll chart likely has all the direction you need.

    There is a road in the mountains here in WA that is not shown on any map. Not even the forest service maps show it. Trying to route across that section is impossible on a gps, it will re-route you back to the main highway, across the pass, and on to your destination. Most of us around here just know where it goes, but we have used the two route solution for several folks with success. There is an intersection in the middle of it, but the correct way is obvious. If I made a roll-chart for that road, it would be even more obvious.

    Have a great trip! Some of the unknowns are why you are going, right?
  3. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    The problem is on a Zumo, the blue route line will _never_ be where you want it to be in the first place. The Zumo creates a route from the track. It will see there is a section without a road and so route around that in some way. You have no control over the route until it is finished with that process. Telling it not to auto-recalculate this route will do you no good since it _already_ isn't going where you want.

    The devil is in the details on some of these things. :nod
  4. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    Great explanation pckopp!! :clap
  5. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Thank you all for your education regarding "routing" and manually "tracking".

    Remember I am doing this at home now trying to pass the cold weather here in NC.

    The no re-calibration routing set-up from Tenn to the border of Colorado is straightforward and matches Sam's maps to pin point precision. I even zoomed the roads to 300' and it is on line. A bit of track drawing in NM near the Colo border was required and that's it. The only attraction that I could not find on Sam's map nor Mapsource is the Levee ride in Mississippi(thanks NorthernTraveler for the correction...it's in Miss not Tenn). GPS coordinates stop in the middle of Oklahoma and throughout NM. They return when entering Colorado. Believe me even Sam's roll charts with his coordinates match the routes the GPS has drawn using no-recalib.

    When I cannot find the precise location of some roads route number or state road number on Sam's maps due to print obscurity or even some roads not available on mapsource..I open googlemaps to guide me to where it really is and have been very successful.

    Do understand that for non-roads on Mapsource one has to manually draw Tracks in order to get across to the destination.

    Is it that Mapsource 2010.1 has more roads available now than before.

    It's been fun and educational; learning a lot about mapping geography. Regarding Sam's maps....guite old I must say. Yet you will still get there atop Sam's maps. Googlemaps tends to come to the rescue very much should you question a road while mapping at home.

    It's been an adventure and have yet to do Colorado and the rest of the west of it. I am sure I'll be drawing "tracks" manually unless googlemaps tells me this "jagged-line-is-it", the road that is!

    Cannot wait to hit the trail this mid-summer...with Sams maps/rollcharts of course, but YES, I'll lug along a supplemental toy backup...da GPS!:clap
  6. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    With respect; based on your comments here your education is not yet complete.

    You can draw tracks to your heart's content. It will be a useful exercise in Mapsource on your PC in that it will familarize you with the route you intend to follow. But you won't be able to send that track to your Zumo and get anything useful. Do you get that? The Zumo _always_ converts a track to a route. Since your track goes places your Zumo doesn't have a road for, it will do the best it can. The route the Zumo creates is unlikely to be anywhere near your intended travel, since you gave it a dead-end and the Zumo will do its best to get you from your starting location to your ending location.

    You should try this out with a track that does not follow a road and see what you get. Hate for you to get too big a surprise in the middle of nowhere and no PC or Google Maps to help out.

    BTW, my wife and I are leaving for Clemson in about a month. Glad its warmer now than it was a month or so ago. Yow!

    Again, good luck!
  7. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    Correct! Also, your routes will look fine at home when your going over them. It's when you get out there and start the TAT ride itself that you will find out that you are not on the same roads that you routed at home on Mapsource.
    We are not making this stuff up, it's has been covered many times on this forum by folks other than us.
  8. MotoJim

    MotoJim Been here awhile

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    I have no argument with what's been said about the Zumo and it's routing capability. These have been my findings also.

    I have recently been playing around with the new Garmin 24K Topo maps and I've found that about 80% of my offroad routes can be successfully autorouted if you have the same 24K Topo map detail on both your PC and your Zumo or other Garmin instrument.

    Of course the same holds true for converting tracks to routes if the roads are in the map detail.

    I have all the 24K Topo maps from Arkansas west to Oregon and when I have time I'll see how well my TAT track logs convert to routes with the 24K Topo option.

    The 24K Topo maps take up a lot of space though. It takes a long time to build a 3 to 4GB mapset. That's the major drawback with them.

    JimR
  9. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Joe, I promote Dual Sport rides in CA and as far as I know every promoter out there only gives out Tracks for their events. The Cal Poly club did routes once and every one got lost when their GPS rerouted them. Because riders were all track guys they did not know to turn off re-route.

    Because we proof and reproof our tracks, we absolutly do not need any machine changing them because there is no trail on its map.

    I love routes in my motorhome, gets me right to Camp Wal-Mart, gas, food, or where I want to unload my DIRT motorcycle. But then it is Tracks only.

    For riders convenience I have taken several riders active logs and made 20 saved 500 point tracks for the CDR (see GPSXChange.com). I would buy the cheapest e-trex to take along with tracks before I woild ever start a trip like that with a Zumo (street) unit alone.

    Jerry
  10. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Many thanks for being insistent in drawing "tracks" only. Is "routing" OK from the eastern part to Oklahoma then start "tracking" from there going west? If not...this is a lot of work I presume especially the Tenn, Miss, Ark area. Can one "track" the entire TAT trip onto the GPS without running out of memory or should most be saved onto S/D cards? Of course Sam's maps will accommodate me through thick and thin.

    I've learned a lot from you guys and really appreciate your input. This is a great forum:freaky .
  11. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    I'm like Countdown, I don't trust routes unless I'm just wanting to get from point A to point B. I have the whole TAT drawn in tracks. This only took me about 1 hour per state. You do not need to have a track point on every bend in the road. You only need them at major direction changes and intersections.

    My 376c does not use SD cards, it uses a 512mb Garmin card which was more than enough for all the tracks, City Select and Roads & Rec. I only loaded map sets that were needed along the TAT. I believe all of this was around 400mb.
  12. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    We probably haven't expressed ourselves as well as we should. Bear with us - or at least bear with me.

    Let me be clear about the specific circumstances we are trying to explain. You have the maps for the TAT. In most places where Sam's maps tell you to go, there is some kind of road AND that road shows up on your PC in Mapsource AND it shows on your Zumo. For the most part, this is easy. You can create a Route in Mapsource, transfer it to your Zumo and you will (almost always) have the same route in your Zumo you started with on your PC. All that is no problem.

    The problem starts when Sam's directions take you down a road that is NOT shown in Mapsource on your PC and NOT on your Zumo (I am assuming you have the same version of maps in both places.) If Mapsource and your Zumo don't show a road, then there is no way to create a Route down that road. It won't do it because Mapsource and the Zumo don't know the road exists. A gps, any gps, and Mapsource can only create a route on roads they know about.

    So what do you do when the path you want to travel goes down a road or trail that your Zumo and Mapsource do NOT have in their system? That is the crux of what I understood your question to be.

    What we have been talking about with tracks does not apply to your gps. A Zumo can only do one thing with a track - convert it to a route. If your track goes down a road the Zumo doesn't know about, it will do its best to create a route that will get you from the start to the end. It may or may not go anywhere near where you want it to. It will absolutely not route you down a road it doesn't know about.

    Some other gps units handle tracks differently than a Zumo. Most of them will just show the track on the map as a colored line. It is just there. Your Zumo will not do that, it can't.

    This is why I suggested breaking up your route into pieces that will get you to the beginning of the section of road the Zumo doesn't know about and then a second route that starts where the roads in the Zumo show up again.

    Imagine drawing a wiggly line from one side of a piece of paper to the other. If that is a road and your Zumo knows about that road, it will happily route you from one end to the other. Now take your eraser and remove a couple of inches in the middle of that line. Now there is no way for a gps to route you down that road, even tho you know there is a road there. It doesn't know that and so it will do its best to find another way. What it finds will not be where you want to go. The best you can do in this simple example is make two routes, one to the start of the unknown section and another from where the road starts again.

    Your challenge with the Zumo is to identify those 'unknown' roads that Sam wants you to go down and decide how you are going to navigate them. In these sections where the Zumo (or any gps) doesn't know about the road, you are on your own.

    I hope that's clear. To be frank, it took me a good while to understand that myself. I had to borrow a Zumo for a couple of months before I understood that particular feature. All gps units do some things the same and they all do some things differently. Engineering and marketing decisions we often can't fathom.

    But in this case, no amount of using tracks will do any good on a Zumo because the Zumo only does one thing with tracks - it converts them to a route. In fact, the Zumo will probably do more harm than good since it will do its best to get you where you say you want to go. So it may well decide the nearest freeway is how you should travel. Not the TAT experience you're looking for.

    Truly, the devil is in the details. I hope that helps.
  13. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    Ah, I feel a need to make a slight correction.

    Mapsource will indeed allow you to create a route where a road does not exist.

    To do so, go to Edit, Preferences, Routing, and select 'Use Direct Routes'

    Then, if you have a GPS that allows you to, turn OFF recalcuation for routes. My 276c does this just fine.

    This will then work perfectly across places where there are no roads in your mapsets.

    This does not apply to a Zumo, however.
  14. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Hi Guys,

    After this educational infusion, which GPS would suit me better on the TAT? Since my Zumo 450 is as you know made for the tarmac dwellers and it has served me OK, but according to you cannot "track" properly when "tracks" are downloaded from Mapsource.

    Should I be in the market for a Offroad/trail/enduro gizmo of a GPS which do you recommend? It has to be a bit not too smallish as my eyes aren't what they used to be. Thanks Guys..appreciate your input very much
  15. rjharris

    rjharris Been here awhile

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    I would check out a Garmin 276C or 376C. I have a 376C which has XM radio capability that I do not use. The screen is bright and a nice size.
    This is a good thread. I have learned a few things myself!:thumb
  16. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    Agreed! Also the 478!
  17. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    One more confusing point. The above "Route" information does not apply to non-routable maps like Roads & Rec or Topo.

    Another option is to use trakcs in small hand held 60/76 with zppm set at 0.2 or 800 ft. and have large screen Zumo to "find" and see the big picture points of interest..
  18. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    You have all the gps you need, IMO. I would use it if that's what I had. Unless you're rolling in greenbacks, just learn to use all the modes it has and you'll be fine.

    Your Zumo has several routing modes, one of which is 'Off Road'. What this does is create a straight line from where you are to where you want to go. (Imagine a giant rubber band pulled tight from that point to you. As you go around corners the rubber band always stays tight. Before the days of Auto-Routing, all gps models had only this mode.) The display updates the distance and direction to that point as you ride along so you know if you're generally headed in the right direction. What could be easier? As you build your set of routes along Sam's path, set a Favorite at the end of each unknown road section. When you get to the end of the road the gps does know about, tell it to route you to that Favorite and use 'Off Road' mode. When you get to that point. Start your next route in the normal mode and be on your way.

    Another alternative to explore is the older Roads and Recreation map set (long out of print but available here and there) or US Topo 2008. Both of these maps have lots of back country small roads that are sometimes not shown on City Nav. They don't support auto-routing, but they can show you if there is a road where you need to go, the Favorite points will show up and you can still route using 'Off Road' mode. You can load these maps onto a SD card in your Zumo and switch between them.

    I didn't mean to imply your Zumo is somehow less worthy as a gps than others, it just does some stuff a little differently than other models. It will work just fine for what you need. Remember, you have Sam's roll chart and maps as well, so I hardly think you'll get lost not having a gps generated auto-route for a few miles here and there.

    Go for it.
  19. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

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    Very informative thread here. I have learned a lot from it. Thanks everyone for taking the time to share your knowledge.
  20. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    You can create routes in non rout-able map sets such as Road & Rec or Topo 2008.

    It's just that they have to be 'direct' routes as I previously mentioned, otherwise known as 'point to point' routes.

    The routes will not follow roads, they will just be a straight line from each point you select to the next point that you select.

    In these non-routing routes you can have 250 (or 300 on the 276c/378/478) points per route - this is a combination of 'waypoints' and 'vias'. Between them the straight lines will be close to the road, not exactly on them.... but this stays the same across map sets and different map versions.

    A waypoint is a marked, named, location that that you set up ahead of time.

    A via is a location along a route that is created when you define a route that takes it's name for something at the place where you create it.... if there is nothing there, Mapsource will give it a name starting at '001' and going upward.

    Usually you create vias when you 'rubber band' a route between two waypoints to make it more closely follow the intended course you want to take. To do this, click on your route between two waypoints to select it (it will turn yellow), click on it again to start 'rubber banding', drag it to wherever you want to, then click again to place a via - thus creating a route that more closely follows your intended path.

    So the route you create won't follow the exact curves of the roads, but if you put in enough points it will get you where you're going.

    An auto-routing route is (usually) limited to 50 points.... fine if you're following roads in areas where there aren't many roads, but not enough for congested areas.
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