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  1. #1
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    which GPS would work for the following case?

    Yesterday on a group ride we encountered a dog that was obviously lost and really suffering in the heat at the top of a plateau. Two of us agreed to walk the dog out (much slower than riding) but we ended up getting lost. We managed to exit the trails about 30 minutes after sunset but it could have ended with us stuck in the trails at night if we hadnt gotten lucky. We certainly were not in any danger since there were houses very close. We actually followed the sound of a dog barking to find our way out. The terrain is very hilly forest so we couldnt see any landmarks. It didnt help that I had been carrying lights in my bag for weeks and literally took them out of my bag the day before to charge and forgot to put them back in for this ride.

    We both tried to use our phones to navigate but my phone gps put us miles away. His was better but ran out of batteries. At the very least the phone compasses were accurate which helped guide our direction.

    The challenge was the trails are designed to loop and hit lots of technical features, not to get maximum distance in a straight line. This meant that even though we knew which direction we wanted to go, the trails would start off in the right direction then head in the opposite direction. Many of the trails were side loops and it was easy to go in circles.

    What I want is a gps that I can download strava segments to (all the trails have been logged in strava or on possibly in gpx format even) and if I am on one of those known segments I can get the gps to help navigate me out. It would also be nice if I am riding a trail that matches a segment it tells me what segment Im on. Finally it would be great to setup a route in advance using segments.

    Is this typical functionality? Which GPS devices are best for this?

  2. #2
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    not typical functionality.

    you are essentially asking for a device that knows the entire network of trails, that they all connect to each other, and can give you a shortest distance to parking.

    The hardware capability is there, honestly. Any Garmin mapping unit can do it.

    The problem is the trail data in the maps. You need current, navigable trail maps. You can make the maps yourself (download .gpx files of the different trails, merge them with gpx2img, load as transparent map layer onto Garmin). The problem is making them navigable. That process currently requires some pretty expensive software to pull off. As such, few people have done that with their trail networks. Some map products that Garmin sells contain routable/navigable trails, but the trails included in those mapping products are old trails that may not even exist anymore (basically digitized from old USGS topos).

    Really, in your situation, being better prepared would be the best choice. Having a backup LED headlamp and a paper map of the trail network would be a very solid start.

  3. #3
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    the trails are rogue but are all listed in strava so no paper maps. I would be good if the GPS could just tell me which segment Im on and help me to navigate to the next segment.

  4. #4
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    ever thought of making your own paper map?

    that would require strava or somebody else to create additional programming to handle those strava segments as interconnected, two-way routes. strava oftentimes can't tell if you've ridden a segment in the first place (or mistakenly assigns you to a segment you didn't ride at all) so I don't see how this would be a practical solution.

    segments are currently handled as individual entities, ideally with starting and ending points, and most importantly, they don't "connect". the programming required to do that would be a pretty serious step and would change what strava is.

    in the end, it's your responsibility to understand where you are and where you've been. the fact that the trails are also rogue is not really helping your case very much. I have been in similar situations on legit trails before and have understood that it's my responsibility to learn the area better. I have taken my own time to map said trails to help others in the future and in the process have learned the trails well enough that I didn't need the map anymore. win-win. with rogue trails being the ones in question, your options are limited, but the ball is still in your court. you can still make a map for your own purposes.

  5. #5
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    Strava and Nav.

    Strava is not really inteneded to be used for navigation. Strava is a high tech stopwatch. A strava segment is just series of points with which strava complies times of people who have cross all of those points. Strava is not a navigation program.

    What would help you in your situation is a mapping GPS. Something like a Garmin Edge 800, Oregon, Dakota, Etrex etc. These devices can display a map and show you where you are on that map. They also show the path that you have traveled making it easier to determine the fastest way back to where you started. Depending on the map you have in the device some trails might be marked and you could follow them easily, but at least where I ride very few trails are marked on usgs and forest services maps, and no trails are marked on garmins included topo maps.

    You can display trails in in.gpx format on the device but you need to find the file. There are a few ways to do that. You can ride the trail and create a gpx file. You can download other peoples rides from strava or other websites as .gpx files. If you upload a few different rides in the same area you can get a decent overview of a trail network, but unless someone has gone to the trouble of creating a single gpx with the whole network of trails its very difficult to get the complete overview like you are looking for.
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  6. #6
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    From the start of this month I think you have now lost the ability to download strava segments as gxp through 3rd parties with the change of their API. Currently I think only whole activities can be download to gxp
    Self employed picture framer, selling the odd cycle part/light as a sideline
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  7. #7
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    if i download gpx files can i get the segments to all show up simultaneously on a map kind of like stravas segment explore? I dont actually need turn by turn navigation just the ability to see where I am on a map in relation to known segments.

    We have over 80 miles of rogue trails so Im not going to make a paper map.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    if i download gpx files can i get the segments to all show up simultaneously on a map kind of like stravas segment explore? I dont actually need turn by turn navigation just the ability to see where I am on a map in relation to known segments.

    We have over 80 miles of rogue trails so Im not going to make a paper map.
    No. you can use those to make a map, but you will have to do a little bit of work.

  9. #9
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    You can add the segments as "courses", downloaded or from your own track logs. You can send them direct from Garmin Connect so I'd be surprised if Strava can't do the same. If you set them to display "always", they will show up on the map when nearby. You could do that with known good bail out trails and see the closest exit points. They can even be color coded on the newer color units. I only have an old Edge205 and don't even look at the map, but I'm considering a new 800 or maybe a used 705.

  10. #10
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    In order to have a strava segment display as a course you would have to export it from strava as a GPX. (If strava allows it.). Then you would have to upload to garmin connect or similar software to communicate with your GPS, and then send it to the GPS. You would have to repeat this for every segment you want to see Most rides I do have at least 20 segments most of which I don't even see on segment explore because there are so many overlapping ones.

    Strava has announced real time segments on iphones and android. I have not tried it since I don't have a strava premium membership, and I don't use my phone on rides. Its supposed to show what segment you are on, and your place on the leaderboard, PR's etc as you ride. Maybe there is a map view showing your location, and the segments.
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