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  1. #1
    nimble biker
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    New question here. how to use backtrack on GPS?

    I read about GPS ability to track backing and log track. Does it allow user to create the trail he went through earlier? Can he retrace his route? I check website but it doesn't explain how backtrack.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    I read about GPS ability to track backing and log track. Does it allow user to create the trail he went through earlier? Can he retrace his route? I check website but it doesn't explain how backtrack.
    Yes and yes, assuming about 100 different things. If you get a cheap- GPS it will tell you what direction to go to get to your waypoint. A better GPS will mark a trail as you travel, an even better one will mark the trail, and tell you how to stay on it. The real nice ones will not only mark you trail, but also save it, show you the profile, download to the computer, and a whole slew of other neat features. If you really want to get geeky (ahem...like me....) you can create your own maps and place them on the GPS. You can also load software onto them to have the GPS tell you where you are, and when to turn to get where you are going. In addition, you can buy software that will tell you where the closest Chinese food is, how far, and how to get there from your current position.

    I don't like the cheap ones, I usually know what direction the car/camp is, but I might not know HOW to get there. Having a trail is a real nice feature, imo. I prefer Garmin, you can't make your own maps for Magellin, but they have a lot of nice feaures also.

  3. #3
    nimble biker
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    New question here. which garmin do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    Yes and yes, assuming about 100 different things. If you get a cheap- GPS it will tell you what direction to go to get to your waypoint. A better GPS will mark a trail as you travel, an even better one will mark the trail, and tell you how to stay on it. The real nice ones will not only mark you trail, but also save it, show you the profile, download to the computer, and a whole slew of other neat features. If you really want to get geeky (ahem...like me....) you can create your own maps and place them on the GPS. You can also load software onto them to have the GPS tell you where you are, and when to turn to get where you are going. In addition, you can buy software that will tell you where the closest Chinese food is, how far, and how to get there from your current position.

    I don't like the cheap ones, I usually know what direction the car/camp is, but I might not know HOW to get there. Having a trail is a real nice feature, imo. I prefer Garmin, you can't make your own maps for Magellin, but they have a lot of nice feaures also.
    How did you create your own map? did you use topo map? Which garmin do you use? I like the 60CS with external antenna and colour screen. I am a geek too. I like to play around with the software. I will buy it when tax refund come back.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    How did you create your own map? did you use topo map? Which garmin do you use? I like the 60CS with external antenna and colour screen. I am a geek too. I like to play around with the software. I will buy it when tax refund come back.
    I have the 60, I think that series is the best out there right now, but I will only use Garmin due to their compatibility and custom mapping abilities. I can also plug my Garmin into my laptop and capture the real-time GPS feed.

    Making uploadable maps requires quite a few steps and multiple software. I use ArcGIS at home and work, and it's mostly cost prohibitive for most people, you can also use OziExplorer. You will also need cGPSMapper and SendMap. If you do some googling you will find several sites that do step-by-step instructions.

    To whet your appetite, you can create transparent topos that will overlay on roadmaps etc. You can then add your own trails on the topos and make them routable so that your GPS will tell you when a turn is coming. Nice stuff.

    the Garmin 76 is about the same thing, but has more memory and floats. I prefer the smaller 60 myself.


    Edit: all the software you need is available free on the web. The guys that write this stuff are in it for fun and can be very helpful. Enjoy!
    Last edited by Mapping Biker; 04-16-2005 at 06:51 PM.

  5. #5
    nimble biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I have the 60, I think that series is the best out there right now, but I will only use Garmin due to their compatibility and custom mapping abilities. I can also plug my Garmin into my laptop and capture the real-time GPS feed.

    Making uploadable maps requires quite a few steps and multiple software. I use ArcGIS at home and work, and it's mostly cost prohibitive for most people, you can also use OziExplorer. You will also need cGPSMapper and SendMap. If you do some googling you will find several sites that do step-by-step instructions.

    To whet your appetite, you can create transparent topos that will overlay on roadmaps etc. You can then add your own trails on the topos and make them routable so that your GPS will tell you when a turn is coming. Nice stuff.

    the Garmin 76 is about the same thing, but has more memory and floats. I prefer the smaller 60 myself.


    Edit: all the software you need is available free on the web. The guys that write this stuff are in it for fun and can be very helpful. Enjoy!

    Is ARC GIS a commercial software? How reliable is Garmin GPS? Does it get good signals under tree canopy ?

  6. #6
    nimble biker
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    New question here. memory shortage with all features downloaded ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I have the 60, I think that series is the best out there right now, but I will only use Garmin due to their compatibility and custom mapping abilities. I can also plug my Garmin into my laptop and capture the real-time GPS feed.

    Making uploadable maps requires quite a few steps and multiple software. I use ArcGIS at home and work, and it's mostly cost prohibitive for most people, you can also use OziExplorer. You will also need cGPSMapper and SendMap. If you do some googling you will find several sites that do step-by-step instructions.

    To whet your appetite, you can create transparent topos that will overlay on roadmaps etc. You can then add your own trails on the topos and make them routable so that your GPS will tell you when a turn is coming. Nice stuff.

    the Garmin 76 is about the same thing, but has more memory and floats. I prefer the smaller 60 myself.


    Edit: all the software you need is available free on the web. The guys that write this stuff are in it for fun and can be very helpful. Enjoy!

    With all this software download to the garmin GPS, doesn't overload memory? How do you deal with this problem?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    With all this software download to the garmin GPS, doesn't overload memory? How do you deal with this problem?
    I've not overloaded the memory. If you are concerned with it, you can just load the maps you want/need for the trip and leave the rest on you computer. You can also turn maps on/off within the GPS if youi have more loaded than you need.

    ArcGIS is a spatialdatabase. It's like driving a semi-truck to the store for a carton of eggs, for what you need. I make maps on it and I'm very used to it, but it is very expensive. OziExplorer does the same things (for what you would need) and is free, and more intuitive for the unexperienced.

    Basically you need to [1]get some maps, [2]georeference them (tell them where they fit on the globe using Ozi) and [3]convert them to the proper format for Garmin(cGPSMapper), [4]then load it to the GPS (SendMap). I have only made simple maps for myself as of yet, I'm in grad school and getting behind so the geek-play is on the back burner.

    All the maps (topos and road) files are also available online from gov't agencies for free. I know people also make routable maps themselves, but that is mostly for out-of-country maps, why bother when you can shell out less than $100 and get the whole US on a CD from Garmin? I'm all for geek-stuff, but I have my limits.

    Also, if you just want topos you can buy a 1:250,000 topo CD from Garmin, but that's not good enough resolution for me. You can also buy better resolution maps, but only of the National Parks. I don't believe these maps are transparent either, so they will replace any road maps you have of the area. The entire nation at 1:250,000 will fit on the GPS at once, so memory is not really an issue, imo.

  8. #8
    nimble biker
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    grad school ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I've not overloaded the memory. If you are concerned with it, you can just load the maps you want/need for the trip and leave the rest on you computer. You can also turn maps on/off within the GPS if youi have more loaded than you need.

    ArcGIS is a spatialdatabase. It's like driving a semi-truck to the store for a carton of eggs, for what you need. I make maps on it and I'm very used to it, but it is very expensive. OziExplorer does the same things (for what you would need) and is free, and more intuitive for the unexperienced.

    Basically you need to [1]get some maps, [2]georeference them (tell them where they fit on the globe using Ozi) and [3]convert them to the proper format for Garmin(cGPSMapper), [4]then load it to the GPS (SendMap). I have only made simple maps for myself as of yet, I'm in grad school and getting behind so the geek-play is on the back burner. All the maps (topos and road) files are also available online from gov't agencies for free. I know people also make routable maps themselves, but that is mostly for out-of-country maps, why bother when you can shell out less than $100 and get the whole US on a CD from Garmin? I'm all for geek-stuff, but I have my limits.

    Also, if you just want topos you can buy a 1:250,000 topo CD from Garmin, but that's not good enough resolution for me. You can also buy better resolution maps, but only of the National Parks. I don't believe these maps are transparent either, so they will replace any road maps you have of the area. The entire nation at 1:250,000 will fit on the GPS at once, so memory is not really an issue, imo.

    What are you studying in grad school ? Aren't you tired of school ? I finish my bachelor and I was exhausted, burned out. I slept for 2days straight. I didn't want to look at another text book.I am also disenchanted with employers outhere whom do not value a formal education. A degree from any school is considered toilet paper to them. Of all employers whom I had work in the past, none of them value education. It's consider as driver license. Most managers, CEO don't have formal education. They are arrogant as hell.
    Last edited by Picard; 04-16-2005 at 09:10 PM. Reason: add info

  9. #9
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    Very Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I have the 60, I think that series is the best out there right now, but I will only use Garmin due to their compatibility and custom mapping abilities. I can also plug my Garmin into my laptop and capture the real-time GPS feed.

    Making uploadable maps requires quite a few steps and multiple software. I use ArcGIS at home and work, and it's mostly cost prohibitive for most people, you can also use OziExplorer. You will also need cGPSMapper and SendMap. If you do some googling you will find several sites that do step-by-step instructions.

    To whet your appetite, you can create transparent topos that will overlay on roadmaps etc. You can then add your own trails on the topos and make them routable so that your GPS will tell you when a turn is coming. Nice stuff.

    the Garmin 76 is about the same thing, but has more memory and floats. I prefer the smaller 60 myself.


    Edit: all the software you need is available free on the web. The guys that write this stuff are in it for fun and can be very helpful. Enjoy!
    I am also a map maker that mountain bikes. I have been using GIS for the past 9 years. I just recently got back into Mountain Biking and carry a GPS on occasion (when I can borrow one from work). I have a software package at work called Expert GPS that enables me to download the route from the GPS unit into a shapefile. I can then display the route over topograhic maps and aerial photography. Not that it helps me on the ride much, but I enjoy seeing the route in relation to the topographic features that are on the maps and aerials.

    Glad to know there are other GIS Geeks that are mountain bikers.

  10. #10
    nimble biker
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    ... and if we just ... me geek too !

    Quote Originally Posted by saguaro
    I am also a map maker that mountain bikes. I have been using GIS for the past 9 years. I just recently got back into Mountain Biking and carry a GPS on occasion (when I can borrow one from work). I have a software package at work called Expert GPS that enables me to download the route from the GPS unit into a shapefile. I can then display the route over topograhic maps and aerial photography. Not that it helps me on the ride much, but I enjoy seeing the route in relation to the topographic features that are on the maps and aerials.

    Glad to know there are other GIS Geeks that are mountain bikers.


    Hi saguaro, its nice to meet other geeks here too! Phewww. i thought I am all alone in this world. They might lock me up in white pad room and throw the key away. I wonder how many geeks out there are also MTB riders.

  11. #11
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    hehe

    well, I don't consider myself a geek in general, but others may disagree with me. When it comes to mapping and GIS I can be kind of a geek. If I am talking about mapping and GIS, most people don't uderstand me, so I feel like like a geek in those circumstances.

  12. #12
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    No, no, no...

    Quote Originally Posted by saguaro
    well, I don't consider myself a geek in general, but others may disagree with me. When it comes to mapping and GIS I can be kind of a geek. If I am talking about mapping and GIS, most people don't uderstand me, so I feel like like a geek in those circumstances.
    You guys have this all wrong! If your going to be a geek, take the ball and run with it! I think it's cool that I have more electronic gizmos on the handlebar of my bike than I have in my car. If I could feel safe with my laptop opened across the handlebar on a trail, I'd probably try it out too. Grad school in Civil Engineering, at least it isn't Electrical Engineering (you can't speel geek without EE!!).

    saguaro, do you use Arc version 9? You can create a shapefile of your track on a laptop in realtime with their new GPS toolbar. The toolbar is kind of a watered down version, but you can also download ArcPAD and have a TON of GPS features. Get the free version and you have to save and exit every 15 minutes, but you get full functionality. Full version is like $800

    A friend of mine created maps from shapefiles of all the new lots for sale in a subdivion and used his 60CS to find the lots, then explore the exact boundaries as they were not staked well. Made shopping for a new house fun, and geeky I guess.

  13. #13
    nimble biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    You guys have this all wrong! If your going to be a geek, take the ball and run with it! I think it's cool that I have more electronic gizmos on the handlebar of my bike than I have in my car. If I could feel safe with my laptop opened across the handlebar on a trail, I'd probably try it out too. Grad school in Civil Engineering, at least it isn't Electrical Engineering (you can't speel geek without EE!!).

    saguaro, do you use Arc version 9? You can create a shapefile of your track on a laptop in realtime with their new GPS toolbar. The toolbar is kind of a watered down version, but you can also download ArcPAD and have a TON of GPS features. Get the free version and you have to save and exit every 15 minutes, but you get full functionality. Full version is like $800

    A friend of mine created maps from shapefiles of all the new lots for sale in a subdivion and used his 60CS to find the lots, then explore the exact boundaries as they were not staked well. Made shopping for a new house fun, and geeky I guess.
    hey mapping biker, do you think the 60CS is more rugged than the 76CS, new model ? The 76CS doesn't have external anntena thus I am concerned that it may not receive strong signal as the 60CS.

  14. #14
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    ArcGIS 8.2

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    You guys have this all wrong! If your going to be a geek, take the ball and run with it! I think it's cool that I have more electronic gizmos on the handlebar of my bike than I have in my car. If I could feel safe with my laptop opened across the handlebar on a trail, I'd probably try it out too. Grad school in Civil Engineering, at least it isn't Electrical Engineering (you can't speel geek without EE!!).

    saguaro, do you use Arc version 9? You can create a shapefile of your track on a laptop in realtime with their new GPS toolbar. The toolbar is kind of a watered down version, but you can also download ArcPAD and have a TON of GPS features. Get the free version and you have to save and exit every 15 minutes, but you get full functionality. Full version is like $800

    A friend of mine created maps from shapefiles of all the new lots for sale in a subdivion and used his 60CS to find the lots, then explore the exact boundaries as they were not staked well. Made shopping for a new house fun, and geeky I guess.

    Actually I am still on Version 8.2. The company I work for hasnt had the funding to upgrade to the current version. It is gonna cost us over $15,000 to upgrade, so they have been a little hesitant. But I am hopefull it will happen this year.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    hey mapping biker, do you think the 60CS is more rugged than the 76CS, new model ? The 76CS doesn't have external anntena thus I am concerned that it may not receive strong signal as the 60CS.
    I don't have any personal experience with the 76. I understand they have the exact same antenna, but on the 76 it is under plastic. The 76 is also lined with foam to make it float, and I wonder if that also makes it more shock-resistant, but again, no experience.

    They both take an external antena if that turns your crank. Some guys mount a small external to their helmets and run the cable down to the GPS, either in a backpack or on the bars(!!!). I'm not sure I like the idea of my head being tied to the bars myself...

  16. #16
    nimble biker
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    New question here. is it necessary to record waypoints?

    Do I need to enter a waypoint everytime I reach a crossroad on a trail or the Garmin records it on track log? How do you do record your route when you ride the trail? Can you describe it to me?

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    I have a 76s that works really well for me, however I am holding out for something in color now with removeable memory, on the trails it's not a big deal but making tracklogs and following them in conjested areas is nearly impossible in the monochrome screens. I'm also holding out for garmin to do something similar to the 60/76 in color with a memory card feature. I'm sure they are holding back because memory restrictions are one of the big reasons people buy new gps's so if you put memory cards in them people are probably not going to buy new ones as often. The 76 is also pretty big on the bars, I've actually toyed with the idea of getting a cheaper etrex unit to keep on the bars that would be a smaller package, and more expendable. I also concidered the foretrex unit, but it has no base map, and the more expensive units run only on an internal rechargeable battery (bad for trips).

    It's always good to see other arcGis users. Though I agree with what other's have said, at least for this kind of use ArcGis is total overkill and if you could buy a couple top line mountain bikes for what it costs non-educational pricing.

    However it is fun, I've been toying with doing a arcscene fly by of a trail, off of NED and areial data, however it's proving to be way too intensive for a little 3ghz desktop to toy with at least at the resolutions I'd like, so it's been sidelined for now.

    I've used trackmaker, and such before with a lot of success. In fact that's what I used to make tracklogs of the trails in moab, off of their east/west maps. I was surprized how accruate they were out in moab, easily close enough to keep you on the trail, and give you a very good idea where you were going.

    The garmin gps's have what they call a tracklog feature, you can get to your trail head, start the tracklog and it will basically take data as you move and compose that into a tracklog. This data can then be saved, and reversed in order that you can follow it back to the trailhead when you turn around. So you start the tracklog at the trailhead, ride up the trail, and when you get to the end, you stop the tracklog and save it. Then you can reverse the route and follow it back to the trailhead. Mapping units are very nice in the respect that you can buy and download topo maps as your basemap so many features such as roads, trailheads and such may already be on the map.

    However here is where memory becomes an issue. Most gps's only save so many routes/tracklogs, and a maximum of points along a tracklog/route as well. The more tracklogs and tracklog points you can have the more accurate you logs will be. Also they generally can be set so that if you run out of points in the default setting, it will auto extend the tracklog by putting more space between old points.

    For example, the 76s will hold 1000 waypoints, and keep 50 routes with up to 125 waypoints per route, it will also hold 10,000 tracklog points. If you go to say a cheaper, etrex venture unit for example will only hold 500 waypoints, 20 routes of up to 50 waypoints, and 2048 tracklog points.

    Routes are different than tracklogs. Routes are made up of waypoints, generally routes are done before you go somewhere from pre-existing data. I don't find routes very useful for biking because longer trails you cannot get a real idea of the trail shape by just having 50-125 waypoints over say 10-20 miles especially if you have a very winding trail. Since those waypoints have to be connected with strait lines you can end up missing a lot of trail.

    Tracklogs are done automatically by the gps. Spacing the points as needed depending on it's memory. You can essentially have 10,000 points on a single trail if you want. Which gives you a much more specific and accurate display of the trail.

    However if you want to record specific sites on the trail, such as the trailhead, a road crossing, a river crossing etc. and you do not have a topo map downloaded into a mapping gps you will have to manually enter the sites as you go.

    Another thing you may find useful is if the gps has an electronic compass built in. Many gps's can only give you a compass heading if you are moving, those with a built in electronic compass can give you a compass bearing stationary.
    Last edited by ToddM; 04-18-2005 at 01:11 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    Do I need to enter a waypoint everytime I reach a crossroad on a trail or the Garmin records it on track log? How do you do record your route when you ride the trail? Can you describe it to me?
    What Todd said-
    I really don't think memory is a issue. When you turn the tracking feature on you can adjust how often it "marks" a point. the more often, the better resolution your profile/track will have. Because I mostly use my GPS for biking and hiking, I set the timing to "most often". I left it set on that setting for a trip from Northern New Mexico to Salt Lake City, Utah, around town for several hours, during a funeral and all the way back. I had used about 70% of the total memory in over 1200miles of tracks, set to "most often"- the highest resolution. When I'm hiking/biking there is no way I could fill it up. If I want to save the track, just dump it to the computer, then you could add it to a map if you desire.

    Mostly, it's pretty intuitive and a lot of fun. Just get one, play with it for a while and decide you need more gadgets to waste your time and money on. Someone had them on sale for about 400 clams this week, can't remember who though. TVsomething, five letters that made no sense to me.

  19. #19
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    Good job! Garmin Etrex Legend

    I use the tracking feature most of the time. You don't even really have to use the backtrack feature when you return. The display reverses when you turn around. When you come to trail intersections, you just turn left or right or go straight ahead as shown on the map.
    2008 Trek Fuel EX 8
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  20. #20
    nimble biker
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    thanks for info

    thanks for the info guys. it is very informative. I think I will buy the 76CS that has compass. I can afford toys while still single. I can't do it when I get married. The wife will kill me if I buy toys.

  21. #21
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    New question here. 76CS color 115MB enough memory ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    I have a 76s that works really well for me, however I am holding out for something in color now with removeable memory, on the trails it's not a big deal but making tracklogs and following them in conjested areas is nearly impossible in the monochrome screens. I'm also holding out for garmin to do something similar to the 60/76 in color with a memory card feature. I'm sure they are holding back because memory restrictions are one of the big reasons people buy new gps's so if you put memory cards in them people are probably not going to buy new ones as often. The 76 is also pretty big on the bars, I've actually toyed with the idea of getting a cheaper etrex unit to keep on the bars that would be a smaller package, and more expendable. I also concidered the foretrex unit, but it has no base map, and the more expensive units run only on an internal rechargeable battery (bad for trips).

    It's always good to see other arcGis users. Though I agree with what other's have said, at least for this kind of use ArcGis is total overkill and if you could buy a couple top line mountain bikes for what it costs non-educational pricing.

    However it is fun, I've been toying with doing a arcscene fly by of a trail, off of NED and areial data, however it's proving to be way too intensive for a little 3ghz desktop to toy with at least at the resolutions I'd like, so it's been sidelined for now.

    I've used trackmaker, and such before with a lot of success. In fact that's what I used to make tracklogs of the trails in moab, off of their east/west maps. I was surprized how accruate they were out in moab, easily close enough to keep you on the trail, and give you a very good idea where you were going.

    The garmin gps's have what they call a tracklog feature, you can get to your trail head, start the tracklog and it will basically take data as you move and compose that into a tracklog. This data can then be saved, and reversed in order that you can follow it back to the trailhead when you turn around. So you start the tracklog at the trailhead, ride up the trail, and when you get to the end, you stop the tracklog and save it. Then you can reverse the route and follow it back to the trailhead. Mapping units are very nice in the respect that you can buy and download topo maps as your basemap so many features such as roads, trailheads and such may already be on the map.

    However here is where memory becomes an issue. Most gps's only save so many routes/tracklogs, and a maximum of points along a tracklog/route as well. The more tracklogs and tracklog points you can have the more accurate you logs will be. Also they generally can be set so that if you run out of points in the default setting, it will auto extend the tracklog by putting more space between old points.

    For example, the 76s will hold 1000 waypoints, and keep 50 routes with up to 125 waypoints per route, it will also hold 10,000 tracklog points. If you go to say a cheaper, etrex venture unit for example will only hold 500 waypoints, 20 routes of up to 50 waypoints, and 2048 tracklog points.

    Routes are different than tracklogs. Routes are made up of waypoints, generally routes are done before you go somewhere from pre-existing data. I don't find routes very useful for biking because longer trails you cannot get a real idea of the trail shape by just having 50-125 waypoints over say 10-20 miles especially if you have a very winding trail. Since those waypoints have to be connected with strait lines you can end up missing a lot of trail.

    Tracklogs are done automatically by the gps. Spacing the points as needed depending on it's memory. You can essentially have 10,000 points on a single trail if you want. Which gives you a much more specific and accurate display of the trail.

    However if you want to record specific sites on the trail, such as the trailhead, a road crossing, a river crossing etc. and you do not have a topo map downloaded into a mapping gps you will have to manually enter the sites as you go.

    Another thing you may find useful is if the gps has an electronic compass built in. Many gps's can only give you a compass heading if you are moving, those with a built in electronic compass can give you a compass bearing stationary.

    Is Trackmaker made for civilian use or pro map maker? The price look cheap. The site shows software cost $65.00US . Can you tie a landyard to the GPS so it wouldn't get lost? 76CS color has 115MB. Is this enough ?

  22. #22
    ronbo613
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    I have the Garmin eTrex Vista. It is an excellent GPS. I use it mostly for ocean navigation, but take it along when we go off biking into an unknown area. It's fun to play around with and download your trip onto a topo program.

  23. #23
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    I would say trackmaker is more of a sportsman/civilian program if you will. It seems to give very good results, but it is not really what I would call professional software.

    As for memory....there it's much like computers, more is better, even if you don't see a need for it right away. Mostly though it's only good for loading maps into the gps unit, so you will need garmins US topo, Metroguide or other garmin compatable software with downloadable maps.

    For reference with US topo you can put the whole state of utah into about 40 meg in topomaps, even on a trip you would only want topo maps for those areas you are interested in stopping/riding. I doubt anyone needs this many topo maps on any one outing. Metroguide is a little more iffy, and certainly if you start wanting both. I know that if you take a road trip and you want metroguide for a long say a 1000+ mile roadtrip, I have ran into issues with my 76s not having enough memory to hold the entire route. Granted my 76s only has 24 meg of memory as opposed to the 76cs having 115 meg.

    Now if you add to that, that you many want metroguide data for your traveling, and topo data for your destinations then memory becomes a premium. I really think garmin needs to step up here, I mean I can get a 1 gig flash drive for under $100, a 1 gig memory card for the same, yet I can't get more than 128 meg of memory in a garmin GPS unit. Magellan has been offering SD memory cards for their meridian series for awhile now, but when you have a few hundred dollars in software and accessories it's hard to jump ship from garmin to a new company. However my next gps purchase absolutely will have a removeable memory card or similar capability.

    Also it may very well be down the road more detailed versions of these types of maps may become available and certainly that will be at the cost of memory. Though by that time you will probably want a new unit, or need a new unit due to a new standard etc. Right now the US Topo from Garmin is at a scale of 1:100,000 if they were to come out with a 1:24,000 scale CD set or you were to get compariable data elsewhere it would seriously increase the memory requirements to hold the same area. Garmin does have some 1:24,000 topo data sets available but I don't know how much space they take up in comparision.

    http://gpsinformation.net/

    As to the etrex if you check out this site, which has more technical gps info than anyone would want to read, their tests have shown the etrex is not as good as the 76/60 series for satalite reception and accuracy. That said I've never seen a etrex fail in the field where my 76 would work. However I have seen my 76 pick up more satalites and give better accuracy readings. Never enough to be a problem in the field though. The nice thing about the etrex line is it's small, and compact, reasonably priced, perfect to use on the bars. The 76 is quite a large unit to put on handlebars, and I have no doubt in a crash it would probably be damaged, where the etrex is no bigger than my nokia cell phone, or many bike lights on the bars.

  24. #24
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    thanks for the link Todd

    thanks for the link Todd about gps information.

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    Garmin Geko 301

    The Garmin Geko 301 is ideal for mountain biking. Much smaller and lighter than all the others mentioned and fits unobtrusively on your bars (with the optional bar mount). It has all the useful features of the larger models including built in electronic compass and altimeter. I use it in the UK with Tracklogs software, which covers the whole of the UK in high resolution OS maps. I can easily create new routes to upload to the Geko and record/download all my trips. It works well in dense forests too, where many of the earlier GPS models suffer badly. It has loads of memory too and can easily record tracks in high resolution for days.

    The E-Trex series is ok too, but a little on the large size for bar mounting. The others mentioned in this thread are just house bricks by comparison!

    Check out the Garmin website for more details.

  26. #26
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    Maps are dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    thanks for the link Todd about gps information.
    What nobody said was "forget about maps". If you plan your activities, maps in a GPS are superfluous. To fret over how much map data you can load into a GPS is a waste of time.
    By plan I mean load in the waypoints that are going to be meaningful to your trip. You have a computer to help with that. A GPS can always tell you exactly where you are in relation to the those points (campgrounds, junctions, passes, river crossings, etc.)

    When I out in the woods the trail determines my steps because the trail has the brush cleared or a ledge craved out of rock. I don't need a map to keep me on the trail. The GPS tells me how close I am to an interim goal.

    The same thing for backtracking. All you need to do is find the trail that brought you where you are now. Find the trail - take the trail. If you're off the trail you can still follow the breadcrumbs on your GPS. But it doesn't matter what the background of the display is, it could be "map" or a blank sheet. Follow the points laid out on the screen.

    Maps are what you should have studied before taking your trip. Maps are from Pre-GPS era, when a map and a compass (to take sightings) were the means of finding "where" you were (triangulation). Maps can always be misread. A map on a GPS only works when your batteries are working and you have a signal, but that means you don't need a map!

    The only "map" I keep in my GPS is the street database with restaurant listings.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacman
    What nobody said was "forget about maps". If you plan your activities, maps in a GPS are superfluous. To fret over how much map data you can load into a GPS is a waste of time.
    By plan I mean load in the waypoints that are going to be meaningful to your trip. You have a computer to help with that. A GPS can always tell you exactly where you are in relation to the those points (campgrounds, junctions, passes, river crossings, etc.)

    When I out in the woods the trail determines my steps because the trail has the brush cleared or a ledge craved out of rock. I don't need a map to keep me on the trail. The GPS tells me how close I am to an interim goal.

    The same thing for backtracking. All you need to do is find the trail that brought you where you are now. Find the trail - take the trail. If you're off the trail you can still follow the breadcrumbs on your GPS. But it doesn't matter what the background of the display is, it could be "map" or a blank sheet. Follow the points laid out on the screen.

    Maps are what you should have studied before taking your trip. Maps are from Pre-GPS era, when a map and a compass (to take sightings) were the means of finding "where" you were (triangulation). Maps can always be misread. A map on a GPS only works when your batteries are working and you have a signal, but that means you don't need a map!

    The only "map" I keep in my GPS is the street database with restaurant listings.

    I couldn't disagree more. What good is a compass without a map? I know that the truck/camp is "That way", why would I want a GPS that has a blank screen with a few dots spread out labeled "camp" and "truck"? Set up a topo map and you have the entire topography at your fingertips. If the map doesn't have the trail on it (your first time on the trail), you can view the topography and decide which route. I don't stick to trails unless I'm on a mountain bike, in fact I do a lot of hunting where there are no trails. Topos are invaluble! This also applies to roads where you have not been before, the routing features are great, but just being able to see the map at any scale you want/need is a fantastic feature.

    the first several GPSs I used did not have mapping ability and they were little more use than a paper map and compass. Less in fact, paper needs no batteries.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I couldn't disagree more. What good is a compass without a map? I know that the truck/camp is "That way", why would I want a GPS that has a blank screen with a few dots spread out labeled "camp" and "truck"? Set up a topo map and you have the entire topography at your fingertips. If the map doesn't have the trail on it (your first time on the trail), you can view the topography and decide which route. I don't stick to trails unless I'm on a mountain bike, in fact I do a lot of hunting where there are no trails. Topos are invaluble! This also applies to roads where you have not been before, the routing features are great, but just being able to see the map at any scale you want/need is a fantastic feature.

    the first several GPSs I used did not have mapping ability and they were little more use than a paper map and compass. Less in fact, paper needs no batteries.
    Depends how you use your GPS. I pre-plot my routes on Topo maps using a PC and then upload them as tracks to my GPS (Garmin Geko). I don't need the Topo map on the GPS at all. I just follow the uploaded track using the trail view or compass direction indicator. It's exactly like following a waymarked trail. If I go somewhere I've been before I upload all my previous tracks for reference. In the UK there are no decent Topo maps you can load directly into your GPS anyway.

  29. #29
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    redundant info

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    I couldn't disagree more. What good is a compass without a map? I know that the truck/camp is "That way", why would I want a GPS that has a blank screen with a few dots spread out labeled "camp" and "truck"? Set up a topo map and you have the entire topography at your fingertips. If the map doesn't have the trail on it (your first time on the trail), you can view the topography and decide which route. I don't stick to trails unless I'm on a mountain bike, in fact I do a lot of hunting where there are no trails. Topos are invaluble! This also applies to roads where you have not been before, the routing features are great, but just being able to see the map at any scale you want/need is a fantastic feature.

    the first several GPSs I used did not have mapping ability and they were little more use than a paper map and compass. Less in fact, paper needs no batteries.
    One should study maps before starting out so that if all the equipment fails you will have a sense of where you are or how to get to the nearest road. Once the GPS tells me where (direction) and how far "truck" is and I'm not on a trail it's a matter of taking the natural path, following contours, easy path around boulders, avoiding heavy brush (bears?), staying in the shade if it's hot, etc. I don't need a map to tell me every baby step and I don't need a map to tell me contours because I am standing on one. Since I planned the trip intermediate waypoints help me find passes or river crossings. I don't need a map to tell me there is a river - I can hear the rapids!

    I like breadcrumbs, simple and easy. If my first path crossed a contour why do I need to know I'm crossing the same contour when returning? Isn't taking the right path enough?

    Comparing Topos to Road maps is comparing apples to oranges. You're never "lost" on a road and you can ask for directions. As I said I keep the street maps loaded because they're man-made, there's no predicting names of streets.

    I don't get your comment about compasses, I implied that a compass and map go together.

    If the first GPS held waypoints and could tell distance and bearing that should have been enough. Garmin, etal. introduced maps as selling points to get you to upgrade. Now they want you to add even more memory $$.

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    I agree with Pacman on this - for mtb use. Can't really see much point in a topo map loaded into the GPS. I like to pre-plan my routes and then just get on with the riding. I just follow the direction arrow and flick back to the breadcrumb trail now and then for an overview. Minimum GPS dicking and maximum riding is my motto here. The Topo stuff is all pre-planned on my PC the night before - usually takes an hour or so (which would be time lost on the trail if I did it as I went along). The end result is a nice simple breadcrumb trail to follow, with any useful features marked as waypoints. No topo required!

  31. #31
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    Just wanted to chime in here with a link to a very MTB-useful piece of software that was created by a mountain biker - topofusion

    A key feature of topofusion is the ability to take multiple tracks (with potentially redundant legs) and create a trail network out of them.
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    I agree that stricktly for mountain biking on well marked trails there is not a huge NEED for topo style maps. If you ride places where the trails are clearly marked, and are not confusing or intermingled with lots of other trails. While a person should of course look over maps before heading out it's pretty hard to memorize the details of a large scale area unless you have a photographic memory. In addition it's going to be hard to put a waypoint at every possible river crossing from every direction, from every point on the trail, in case at some point on the trail you have to make a bee line to the truck.

    However they are nice to have. A lot of times it's nice to be able to see if an alternate route you may need to take to get back to the "truck" is impeaded by things like a huge canyon, or a river that is uncrossable carrying a bike etc. Certainly during the day and if you were familar with the area that would not be a factor. However if I only rode during the day and was totally familar with the area I wouldn't need any GPS, mapping or otherwise.

    While one can always backtrack if you run into such an obstacle, it's nice to not have to hassle with it, in the case above if you were injured having to backtrack from an impassible route could be more than just annoying. I also like that it's much easier to find your position on a larger scale topo map say 1:250,000 or so if you have a reference to the topology you are already at.

    If we really want to get simple, we really don't even need anything but a "truck" point, because when you want to go back just have the gps steer you to that point. In reality that's all you "need" to get back, however when was anything in biking regulated by "need" However it's nice to have tracklogs and at times it's nice to have more detailed topo info as a basemap. So while I may not need the detailed basemap much, it's nice to have. If you stay on well marked trails, it's a non-issue, when you start venturing off the trail, having a topo map be it paper or on the gps is handy.

    Another nice feature of the 76/60 series is they will accept an external antenna. In places with lots of tree cover or in a vehicle in congested areas I've seen my 76s have some issues, however if I connect my external antenna and either put it on my pack or on the roof, it increases accuracy and satalites it tracks substantially.

    I personally am amused by those that think a map and compass don't requrie batteries. Try reading one in the dark on a cloudy moonless night without a flashlight, so while the compass may not need batteries you're going to need something with batteries to read it at night, unless it's one of the military style tritium versions. In which case you'll still need a light to read the map.

  33. #33
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    Todd, good post. Also, most of us that really get into mapping and mapping GPSs do so because we like making maps, reading them, customizing them, and then goofing around with them in the woods. It's been a long time since Lewis and Clark used a sextant (summer) and octant (winter) to estimate lattitude and a fancy clock set to Grenwich time for Longitude. I can't remember ever getting (seriously) lost in the past 20 years without a GPS (or any other map), so this is all pretty acedemic. But then again, I'm sitting at the computer instead of riding my bike right now anyway, and your sitting at your reading! (I did over 20 miles today, so I....should still be on a trail)


    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    However they are nice to have. A lot of times it's nice to be able to see if an alternate I personally am amused by those that think a map and compass don't requrie batteries. Try reading one in the dark on a cloudy moonless night without a flashlight, so while the compass may not need batteries you're going to need something with batteries to read it at night, unless it's one of the military style tritium versions. In which case you'll still need a light to read the map.
    Nah, this is when you light the less important parts of the map on fire and read fast!!!

  34. #34
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    Close to the truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Mapping Biker
    Todd, good post. Also, most of us that really get into mapping and mapping GPSs do so because we like making maps, reading them, customizing them, and then goofing around with them in the woods.
    do so because we like making maps, reading them, customizing them, and then goofing around with them on a PC! Not only that but viewing satellite images (Keyhole) of the same area - maybe overlaying with a map or viewing in 3D to get a better spatial awareness of what the terrain is. I reserve the outdoors time for using what I know.

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