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  1. #1
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    First GPS - "Navigation 101" Questions

    At the risk of asking a stupid question, I will anyway. I just bought an Edge 800. I wanted a GPS not just for Stats, but Navigation. Specifically, I want to be able to download free Topos as well as GPX tracks/routes others have done, import them, and be able to see a line over the Topo map that I can follow. I was able to find a free Topo of my State, selected a portion of this Topo, copied it onto my device, then proceeded to procure several gpx, and other file formats of a ride I will be doing. Once I imported them into Base-camp, I can see them over the base and Topo maps. So far so good.

    That's all fine and well, but how do I actually start to navigate to this route? In other words, is it as simple as being at the start of the ride where the route starts (3 hours from here), turning on the GPS, loading the map, and I will see my position as an arrow on the screen at the start of the route? I tried to Navigate from here, thinking it would show the route to drive to the trail head, but it says "no known routes" or something like that. I suspect this is because I do not have street maps loaded on the device? Once I do the drive up to the trail head in the mountains, and assuming the Topo is not super detailed, is it reasonable to assume I will see and discern any deviation off the trail, and it will be fairly easy to navigate to the line on the map? I have done a search for some of this, and the documentation that came with the 800 is pretty vague. Thanks for any help.

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  3. #3
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    +1 on OSM. I downloaded a SoCal section from this site, and it routes very well (admittedly in limited trials).

    There's also this one for the U.S. but I haven't tried it yet.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    That's all fine and well, but how do I actually start to navigate to this route? In other words, is it as simple as being at the start of the ride where the route starts (3 hours from here), turning on the GPS, loading the map, and I will see my position as an arrow on the screen at the start of the route? [...] Once I do the drive up to the trail head in the mountains, and assuming the Topo is not super detailed, is it reasonable to assume I will see and discern any deviation off the trail, and it will be fairly easy to navigate to the line on the map?
    My quick answer to all of your questions above would be "yes".

    At least, that's exactly how I've been doing it for years and the approach has served me well. Simply consult your GPS screen at any questionable junction and judge which actual trail direction the line of the downloaded track on your screen seems to correspond to. Glancing at the screen every now and then during continuous stretches couldn't hurt either. (Trails can be re-routed, and may therefore deviate from the line of older GPS tracks.)

    When I come to a junction that's particularly vague (e.g., multiple trails heading in roughly the same direction), I simply pay close attention to my GPS screen for a short while after taking a pick and starting to follow it. If I'm on the wrong path, it becomes obvious very quickly when my position marker seems to keep diverging from the displayed track even after 30 seconds or so of movement.

    I'm not sure I'd use prompted navigation of a track even if I had the opportunity (which I don't with my current unit; but some newer Garmin models do have that feature). I think any periodic audible prompts would quickly become annoying, not to mention the fact that tricky junctions would still remain tricky in figuring out which way the navigation prompt is implying.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney View Post
    I'm not sure I'd use prompted navigation of a track even if I had the opportunity (which I don't with my current unit; but some newer Garmin models do have that feature). I think any periodic audible prompts would quickly become annoying, not to mention the fact that tricky junctions would still remain tricky in figuring out which way the navigation prompt is implying.
    I agree with this poster, for off-road routes on my Garmin 705 I just choose to display the gpx trail on the map, rather than navigate it.

    For riding on the road I create routes in Garmin Map Source and then navigate them.
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney View Post
    When I come to a junction that's particularly vague (e.g., multiple trails heading in roughly the same direction), I simply pay close attention to my GPS screen for a short while after taking a pick and starting to follow it. If I'm on the wrong path, it becomes obvious very quickly when my position marker seems to keep diverging from the displayed track even after 30 seconds or so of movement.
    This is the most efficient approach for the majority of situations.

    Personally I like to convert my tracks of interest into overlay maps, so I'm not cutting into my track point limits. But the approach to following your path is the same as above.

    I'm not sure I'd use prompted navigation of a track even if I had the opportunity (which I don't with my current unit; but some newer Garmin models do have that feature).
    Actually this can be done for older models (if you consider an Oregon 400 to be old). There's a thread on how to do it in this forum.
    "Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left."
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    First, let me say thanks for the replies. Though I have only had this device for two days, I have managed to get a crap-load of free maps, set up the unit with custom menus, and laid down a couple tracks of my own, thanks in no small part to the amazing and detailed advice from some of you guys. This site is truly impressive in it's size and scope, and knowledge base.

    I was told by someone that I have to go to the start of the ride I have a track of, then hit "go" or something similar. Is this what you mean when you mention navigate vs just following the line? What would be the benefit of navigating to a location compared to just following the track?

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    If you have the GPS follow the track as a Course (you would have to tell the GPS to create the Course file from a .gpx in memory first), the GPS will compare your current performance to past performance. It's a way that you can race yourself on a particular route, a particular segment (like a climb), to to gauge your improvement over the course of a season.

    Simply visually following the .gpx on the screen is just a simple way to find your way in a complicated network of trails. You won't get all the comparison data, but some of us don't really care about that. You can use a website like Strava for that if you want.

    It's all just different ways of doing something depending on your goals.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    If you have the GPS follow the track as a Course (you would have to tell the GPS to create the Course file from a .gpx in memory first), the GPS will compare your current performance to past performance. It's a way that you can race yourself on a particular route, a particular segment (like a climb), to to gauge your improvement over the course of a season.

    Simply visually following the .gpx on the screen is just a simple way to find your way in a complicated network of trails. You won't get all the comparison data, but some of us don't really care about that. You can use a website like Strava for that if you want.

    It's all just different ways of doing something depending on your goals.
    Thanks Nate. This answered my question. So far I really like the device, although it is a bit overwhelming with all the options it has. I too will keep it simple, and follow the track as suggested.

  10. #10
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    800 tips

    Go to courses and select the course. Touch the wrench and you have many options. I'm not sure I've ever used guidance and may try it tomorrow. I normally just display the course on the map and follow it. I do not hit "go" from that screen. The course will also start when you hit the start/stop button.Try the other options under the wrench, e.g change track color. Some other 800 hints:

    Record to the memory card, not internal storage. Although Garmin Connect will load from your memory card (which shows up as a second device) the Garmin Training center won't. So I always manually move activities from the card to internal storage before uploading rides. They are in the "activities" folders.

    Record every second.

    Use auto pause. I set mine to "when stopped" for most accurate timing.

    Setup start notice to repeat every 15 seconds - I would sometimes bump the start/stop button and lose a lot of recording. It will beep to remind you that you are moving with the timer stopped.

    When I first got the 800 it took a long time for the altimeter to equilibrate so I always turned it on a half hour before I got to the trail. It is now very accurate (perhaps firmware upgrade). But I still do this out of habit.

    As soon as I arrive at the trail I put it outside to let the temperature equilibrate after sitting in a warm car.

    Buy this case. It is mostly to prevent me from bumping the start/stop or lap buttons when I stand up. But it offers good protection. I turn it around when it's wet out to cover the USB/Card slots.

    It appears whenever you load maps they replace the previous ones. Look on the internal storage/SDcard and you will see the files end in ".img". If you rename them you can have multiple ones on the unit, e.g. I have CA, UT and AZ maps. Also move them to the card or you may run out of space.

    Once you start a course it is displayed on the topo map (if you selected topo) and you just touch the screen to zoom in. It will zoom way in to give you all the detail you want. As I recall if you are near the start of the course it will let you know and ask if you want to navigate to it.
    Last edited by Wherewolf; 03-29-2012 at 10:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post

    When I first got the 800 it took a long time for the altimeter to equilibrate so I always turned it on a half hour before I got to the trail. It is now very accurate (perhaps firmware upgrade). But I still do this out of habit.
    If it's like the 705 it can immediately calibrate itself to a waypoint with the correct altitude when you hit start within a certain radius.
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

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