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  1. #1
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    Garmin's recent changes to firmware and Basecamp

    GPS Tracklog noted some changes to activity types on some Nuvi models a couple of weeks ago and postulated that changes may be coming to other models.

    Well, those changes have trickled down to handhelds now.

    New Items on Joe and Jack's GPS Information Website

    It seems that this is mostly associated with Active Routing functionality and currently relates to some basemaps currently only available in Europe. So it so far does not directly impact those of us stateside. However, this discussion on Garmin's forums indicates at some of the implications for these changes.

    https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?t=27954

    So it appears Garmin is going to try cataloging every trail and that the way a particular trail displays on the map will depend on the activity profile your GPS is set to use. And furthermore, the GPS absolutely WILL NOT route on some trails if your activity profile is set incorrectly.

    Details on Active Routing.
    Get Active with Garmin

    Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea on Garmin's part? I have long thought it was a bad idea for Garmin to include SOME routable trails on its maps because it creates an expectation that ALL trails should be visible on their maps and that they should ALL be routable. This is only going to reinforce those ideas. Additionally, now Garmin is now going to try to enforce who uses what trails. In the states, user access changes from time to time.

    Additionally, we know how perfect maps always are. So are we to expect Garmin's maps to always have it right regarding permissible access? Now how long before we have someone who says to law enforcement, "but my GPS said I could ride my mountain bike on this trail"?

    I can't say I'm impressed with this recent change. When it comes to a mapping GPS, my expectations are simple: Show my location as a dot on a map displaying as much detail as possible about my surroundings. I do not care if my basemap shows me the map, as there are plenty of ways to get the most up-to-date trail maps already. How on earth does Garmin expect to keep all of its trail data up-to-date? It has a hard enough time with road data, and it's purchasing that data from a company that makes it its job to do just that.

  2. #2
    trail rat
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    The Basecamp forum on Garmin Forums has a thread going about it, The BC developer kind of sidestepped the issue, but he provides excellent support overall, so my impression is that he does not know the entire story.

    I think Garmin is trying to segment their devices to a specific market segment, hoping to increase sales. Whether it works remains to be seen. They may well drive the refurb business of Garmin products, or open the door for another manufacturer. I'm a little surprised we have not seen any dedicated GPS devices from the orient, given their electronics production.

    That said, the Android GPS device that you posted some time back might be a new market item for those of us that want a dedicated, real, full blown GPS chip grabbing the satellite signal for us. Smartphones are close, if they would just use a SRIF Star chip, and get rid of the cellphone stuff.
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  3. #3
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    I linked to a thread on the Basecamp forum. :-)

    Yeah, Garmin has been trying to segment their devices for awhile. And to some degree, I understand that. I don't really care to use a big handheld for running. Some amount of that makes sense.

    But this one seems to affect models that Garmin has positioned as versatile models. The activity profiles that provide preset trip computer dashboards are a pretty good idea. I use them and have further customized a couple of them for my specific needs.

    I am more bothered by what this means for maps. This "ActiveRouting" "feature" is not a "feature" that I want. While I am unlikely to use the actual routing function on trails, it also affects trail visibility on the map depending on which dashboard setting you're using. wtf? It seems to me like this "feature" is only going to create additional inaccuracies for the maps and make them less reliable overall.

  4. #4
    trail rat
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    Yes, that is the thread. Like you, I fear they will totally f'up the maps with this selective routing. On the other hand, I do not use any Garmin maps now, just the ones from GPS File Depot or Free worldwide routable Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap.

    Since I have my seven year old 60CSx and my 705 with these maps, using primarily Mapsource with some dabbling in Basecamp, this will not directly affect me. I can see them making changes to new head units that will not work with OSM maps though, not sure what I will do then.

    We both know the demand for plug and play maps and GPS units that will auto route you to the correct trail or viewpoint though. Ugh, leave me out.
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  5. #5
    dblblack
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    I couldn't agree more with what you guys are saying! I'm an Newb to this forum, (but not to GPS and Mountain Biking). Maybe I'm too old school, but personally i use GPS far more for researching new routes and analyzing my tracks. (I also use it heavily for off-trail and backcountry skiing). Other than using the waypoint features, once i'm on the trail or snow, I rarely have my GPS device out. I also know that map data should be used with caution and "user beware". So, I think by using the GPS device mainly has a tracking unit, I would not be impacted by these new "features". Is that correct?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dblblack View Post
    I couldn't agree more with what you guys are saying! I'm an Newb to this forum, (but not to GPS and Mountain Biking). Maybe I'm too old school, but personally i use GPS far more for researching new routes and analyzing my tracks. (I also use it heavily for off-trail and backcountry skiing). Other than using the waypoint features, once i'm on the trail or snow, I rarely have my GPS device out. I also know that map data should be used with caution and "user beware". So, I think by using the GPS device mainly has a tracking unit, I would not be impacted by these new "features". Is that correct?
    Yeah, so far. But like I mentioned before, these new "features" affect map visibility on a certain few of Garmin's maps so far. I'm sure as Garmin updates its other maps, use of this new "feature" will expand.

    As it does, I anticipate many of the free map downloads from gpsfiledepot to eventually include this functionality as the software used to generate them are updated to include support for this. When that happens, the fit will hit the shan, so to speak, and it will trickle down to more and more users. And then, in order to get good visibility of all the trails (because lets get this out of the way, no GPS screen is as visible in the field as a computer screen in the office), you will have to keep changing dashboards on your trip computer.

    Because let's face it, if I have any kind of trail data on a basemap when I'm in an unfamiliar place, I use trail intersections as navigation cues at minimum. If my GPS intentionally makes an intersection not visible (or less visible) simply because the cross trail does not permit the sort of use I am currently engaging in, I will be pissed about missing a navigation cue.

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