What is the difference between a track and a route?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Rabid, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Rabid

    Rabid Comanche

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    New to this stuff. I do read before I ask questions, but nothing seems to spell out what the difference is between a route and a track.

    Help please.
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  2. Steve W

    Steve W Old Grouch

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    Simply put, tracks are where you've been, routes are where you want to go.
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  3. hoyks

    hoyks Tightass KLR rider

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    edit: What he said.
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  4. Rabid

    Rabid Comanche

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    Simple can be the best way. I understand it.

    Thanks.
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  5. rwamf

    rwamf Follow me

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    Originally Posted by Steve W
    Simply put, tracks are where you've been, routes are where you want to go.
    
    Yes and NO
    Tracks can be shared and are actual places someone or yourself has been, Tracks aren't that handy if you are a slab rider, but for off-road they are priceless and routes are worthless. So if you download a track and load it into your GPS it can be a guide to somewhere you have not been.
    You can share a track with friends, Very handy in the sticks, so as not to waste gas and time going down dead ends or closed gates, especially when gas can be a problem on long rides, It is like you have a guide and don't have to worry.
    And don't give any crap about it being an adventure, Tracks are just another great tool we have at our disposal.
    If you ride an unfamiliar area, tracks are like having a better map.
    So if you ride off road tracks are the only way to go
    Street GPS's generally do not do tracks, and people who have them will defend them till no end, but in reality they are missing the best GPS feature, sometime you don't know what you are missing if you have never experienced it.
    Tracks can be handy when in a strange city and you need to find your way back to your Auntie's house after a visit to the Pub.
    If you ever want to ride a Dual sport event you can throw that ancient Roll chart away and ride just following the tracks, Unless you have one of those ancient Garmin B&W units, they are worthless.IMO
    Tracks are great! and it is great to share with buddies etc,
    #5
  6. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    OK - so now I'll give my version:D (with specific Garmin references to simplify things)

    A waypoint is a specific location on the earth. You can create them in Mapsource, on your GPS, or import them from some outside source.

    Tracks are a collection of points, similar to waypoints, but you won't see them as waypoints on your GPS, or Mapsource.

    Tracks can be recorded on your GPS if it has the capability, and then downloaded to Mapsource, or can be created in Mapsource using the track drawing tools. Tracks saved to Mapsource can be manipulated, combined, split, modified, etc. using the track drawing tools.

    Tracks may be navigated on certain GPS units (like the 376c) with point by point directions. Not all units can do this. Some units, like the GPSMAP units can easily receive and store multiple tracks. Others, like the Quest, Zumo, Nuvi, don't easily accept, store, and navigate tracks. Not that it can't be done, it's just not easy.

    Routes are a collection of waypoints and a way to get from point to point. If you have map data that is not autoroutable (most Topo, Roads & Rec, etc.), a route is a series of straight lines between the points.

    If you have routable software, a route can be as simple as a starting point, and ending point and Mapsource selects the way to get there using information about the roads in between and preferences you set.

    Depending on the GPS you have, you may be able to download a route to it, and then navigate that route. Some do, some don't. And depending on the GPS you have, it may recalculate the route and give you significantly different results.

    You can try to make the route exactly follow your desired route by inserting intermediate waypoints. But again, on some units, like the 378 and 60cx series, it will recalc those.

    So - Tracks never change their configuration, routes may.
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  7. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    This is a new one on me. How does it do this?:ear
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  8. Steve W

    Steve W Old Grouch

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    I think he's referring to the "Track Back" feature of the X76/X78 chartplotters.
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  9. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    Here is how I look at the difference between creating tracks and routes from a similar thread in June. This relates to creating a track and a route in Mapsource (or any other mapping software) on your PC.

    TRACK: YOU tell the GPS exactly what path you want to ride. You use a magic marker (track tool) and draw the track on the GPS’s maps. The track is a series of points connected by straight lines The track NEVER changes, you can give your track to 50 different people with 50 different GPS’s and when they load the track they will see the exact same track you do, no matter what GPS, what maps or what version of software they are running. As a matter of fact they will see the same track even if they don’t have maps in their GPS. Modern GPS's allow you to use up to 10,000 track points in creating a single track.

    ROUTE: You give the GPS a series of points (waypoints or via’s) between you and your destination and THE GPS connects the dots using roads and trails it thinks are best. THE GPS tells you what path to ride. You can make the route more closely follow your desired path by inserting more via and way points. If you give your route to 50 different people with 50 different GPS’s you will probably end up with 30 different routes and 20 people that can’t even load your route. Once you start riding the route if you are not careful your GPS will calculate a new one for you.

    Can you make a route that looks exactly like a track? Sure, but the longer the path or the farther you travel off major byways the less likely they will be even close. It may look like they are the same but they will be far from the same when you hit the trail. The more pavement you ride the more likely the track and route will be the same, the more off pavement or secondary roads you use the less likely they will be the same. If you ride pavement all the time you may never use (or need) a track. If you ride off pavement all the time you may never use a route.

    So in a nutshell, if you are doing a ride and it is critical that you follow a particular path you probably need to use TRACKS. If you need to get from point A to point B and the roads and trails you take are not critical, or if you have to have your GPS give you instructions on when to turn, ROUTES will be your choice.

    Jim in Sacramento
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  10. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    +1 to JimC!
    I like it "you tell GPS tracks", "GPS tells you routes".

    Add the feature that tracks can be recorded (not just drawn on PC) by me so I can tell over 100 customers or share on the Internet exactly where to go on a ride.
    #10
  11. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Nope :D, well maybe -

    The 376c has a Navigate Track selection from the menu. You choose which track you want to navigate, just like a route. If you have a lot of points, it can get annoying, but it pretty much works like navigating a route.

    IIRC, with Trackback, you are retracing your active track. With Navigate a Track, you can choose.

    Just another reason I will give up my 376c when then pry it dead from its mount. And then I will buy another.:thumb
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  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    The problem I had with "Trackback" on e-map & 76 is that the GPS is only looking at the track and is not really navigating. When it sees a 90 degree turn in a trail it says turn even though there is no intersection. At a fork in the trail it doesn't say anything. The only thing I use Trackback for is to display "miles to go" and "ETA" as two data items on the map page (how far to Lunch and when will we eat?). I turn off "Navigation Prompts", they are useless. I just follow the track with R&R maps showing so I can see intersections.
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  13. Steve W

    Steve W Old Grouch

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    :lol3 Exactly...almost........ It's called TrackBack in the manual (pg. 38) and it works as you say. According to the manual when you initiate the feature, the 376 etal automatically filters the track back to a max. of 300 track points to "mark the most significant features of the track in order to duplicate your exact path as closely as possible." I have no idea how it determines the relative importance of various track points.

    Now would be an excellent time, they're going cheaper than a 276C at some etailers. I just ordered my second unit from getfeetwet.com. :D
    #13
  14. CanyonRider

    CanyonRider Celebrating Festivus

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    The 60csx will also let you select from a number of different tracks and navigate that track. I did a 6-day trip last spring and used 10 routes and 11 tracks. Used routes where the GPS reliably and predicibly could calculate the route. Used tracks mostly off road where there were no roads on the GPS basemap to calculate a route.
    #14
  15. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    :huh Not really. By "navigate" we are talking about like a route, with turn-by-turn directions, distance/ETA to next turn, etc. Can't do that with a track on a 60CSx. Just follow the track line.
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  16. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Not true. Try it some time. As I said above using trackback it will tell you all kinds of things about your progress on the track, it will also prompt turns even if they are not intersections.
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  17. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    OK, but trackback basically turns a track into a route, right?. I didn't think you could do a trackback on a saved track (I thought it was only the active log) but I see that you can. Obviously you would have to invert the track to get it to navigate it "forward", correct? Does the trackback follow roads or is it like an off-road (direct point to point) route?
    Honestly I've never ever used trackback so I stand corrected. I'll have to play with it some.
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  18. Countdown

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    My old e-map would just go forward or backward. On the 76, go to a saved track and open, then "Trackback" at bottom, then it ask you to "select point you want to Trackback to", a real PITA, I put the curser on the end I want to go to then keep zooming in and finally it gives you a table of track points and you try to pick the end. At that point you have to have navaigation prompts turned on, looks like go to "Routing", at bottom "Next Turn Pop-Up" turned on if you want to see that the trail you are following makes a sharp turn (Useless in my openion, turn it off) then I choose tw data items on the map and select them to be "ETA" and "Miles to destination". Like I said how far to lunch/gas and when will we get there.
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  19. scottmac

    scottmac Long timer

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    New question and I'm hoping this isn't a thread hijack...

    I've been making tracks lately with my 60CSx and have
    Topo 2008 installed. I've done some stretches of road
    clearly marked on the Garmin software and the track
    isn't even close.

    Is this just error that is in the software? These are some pretty
    popular back roads that motorcyclists use frequently so I'm suprised
    at the differences I'm seeing.
    #19
  20. Countdown

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    How close, What zoom level?
    #20