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  1. #1
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    Total Ascent w/Garmin 60CSx

    What software and/or maps do I need in order to enable the total ascent field on the altimeter page of my Garmin 60CSx?

    Everything works great with this unit, except when I'm riding, the total ascent field on my altimeter page never changes and just remains at zero. Also, when I export the track to mapsouce and view the track's profile, I can see distance and elavations of the track, but not the total feet ascended.

    Page 36 of the owner's manual says, "profiles are only available if Garmin MapSource U.S. Topo 24K map data is used." Doesn't Garmin only make 24K maps for the National Parks (no use to a mountain biker)? I've even tried this custom Califorina topo, http://www.vr6.com/gps/, which the website description says is based on 24K USGS topo maps to no avail. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I believe you need to calibrate your altitude in the unit - My battery's are dead and need to be recharged, So I am doing this outa my head... Go to "altimiter" in the icon page or in "system" - Hit the enter or menu button, look for calibration, You also need to calibrate for true north by turning s l o w l y 2 times while holding unit level.
    If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. --- W. Edwards Deming

  3. #3
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    Yep, gotta calibrate, and do so religiously if you want the best accuracy possible. I'm not THAT concerned, so I just allow the GPS to calibrate periodically based upon satellite calculation (which yours should allow you to do).

  4. #4
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    For accurate climb, don't use Automatic Calibration

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Yep, gotta calibrate, and do so religiously if you want the best accuracy possible. I'm not THAT concerned, so I just allow the GPS to calibrate periodically based upon satellite calculation (which yours should allow you to do).
    The satellite altitude is off by as much as +/-150', roughly. So if you turn on Automatic Calibration as you suggest, the calibration will slowly be adding and subtracting 100' noise to your profile. This can add an artificial climb of maybe 200-300' per hour on your ride, even if standing still or riding on a level road. I instead turn off the Automatic Calibration, and set the altitude manually once at the start of a ride. I can get a fair estimate of altitude from a paper map, the topo map on my GPS, or if nothing else, the satellite altitude reported - which may be off by as much as 150' but it's only a single offset at the beginning of the ride, unlike Automatic Calibration that's adding noise over the entire profile. The barometric altimeter may drift from air pressure changes, but it's slow and roughly linear, rather than noisy, and usually less than 10' drift per hour of ride.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rippling over canyons
    What software and/or maps do I need in order to enable the total ascent field on the altimeter page of my Garmin 60CSx?
    Everything works great with this unit, except when I'm riding, the total ascent field on my altimeter page never changes and just remains at zero.
    It should work fine. The altimeter has 1' resolution, so I can raise and lower the GPS down to my knees and up over my head and watch the altitude change and accumulate.

    First, do you see the altitude changing when you raise and lower your GPS? You may want to check some of the setup screens and make sure some of the altimeter or barometric settings are correct. For instance, you can set the GPS in a mode where you're assuming you're at a constant altitude and want to monitor the barometric pressure changes. This will by default keep the altitude constant.
    If you can't figure it out, I'd maybe update my GPS firmware (or software as Garmin calls it), just to make sure the GPS isn't in a weird state. Then call Garmin.

    Quote Originally Posted by rippling over canyons
    Also, when I export the track to mapsouce and view the track's profile, I can see distance and elevations of the track, but not the total feet ascended.
    That's right. It bugs me that for some reason Garmin's MapSource software doesn't total the elevation gain, even though it should be an easy software function. I suspect it might be deliberate, as the measure of altitude gain is somewhat difficult, and the measure is very error prone is users don't do things just right, like turning on Automatic Calibration adds climb noise, or so on. I just save as GPX and upload to file to Motion Based. I find this gives the best climb accuracy, within a couple percent. Incidentally, I find the total ascent indicator on the 60CSx unit is very poor. For example on a 1000' constant climb, verified by accurate topo maps, the 60CSx altimeter is great and also shows 1000' difference. But the vertical ascent only shows 850', which is impossible mathematically as the GPS does measure the right altitude difference. And if I upload the 60CSx track into Motion Based, it indeed comes up with 1000' within a percent using the 60CSx data. So something's messed up with that Garmin data field anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by rippling over canyons
    Page 36 of the owner's manual says, "profiles are only available if Garmin MapSource U.S. Topo 24K map data is used." Doesn't Garmin only make 24K maps for the National Parks (no use to a mountain biker)? I've even tried this custom Califorina topo, http://www.vr6.com/gps/, which the website description says is based on 24K USGS topo maps to no avail. Any suggestions?
    I suspect it's talking about deducing altitude from a track position without altitude data. You need high precision terrain altitude data for that to work at all, which is only available on the 24K maps (which I don't use for the reason you mention). However, if you already have the altitude data on your track from your barometric altimeter, this is by far the best and most accurate at all. So that function's useless unless you want to plan a route and calculate the profile in advance. What I do for planning is look at other's MotionBased and GPX tracks to get an idea. It's far better than any deduction of altitude from position. A small position error on the side of a steep hill can have you jumping up and down 100's of feet, which really doesn't happen.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by oohsh_t
    You also need to calibrate for true north by turning s l o w l y 2 times while holding unit level.
    That enabled it! I never calibrated the compass because I just purchased the unit, and I'm mostly using it to track my rides so I can share the information with others. I've read on this forum that the electronic compass uses more battery power, so I disabled it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    I instead turn off the Automatic Calibration, and set the altitude manually once at the start of a ride. I can get a fair estimate of altitude from a paper map, the topo map on my GPS, or if nothing else, the satellite altitude reported.
    Thanks BigLarry for your advice. I'll try to stay away from Automatic Calibration. My usual ride is an hour drive away (unfortuntely), so I'll calibrate before each ride from home using the known elevation of where I live. Once I arrive at the trailhead I'll turn on the track log.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    I just save as GPX and upload to file to Motion Based. I find this gives the best climb accuracy, within a couple percent.

    What I do for planning is look at other's MotionBased and GPX tracks to get an idea.
    I appreciate this advice, too. So, I guess I need a motion based account to compare the gps's accumulated elevation against.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The satellite altitude is off by as much as +/-150', roughly. So if you turn on Automatic Calibration as you suggest, the calibration will slowly be adding and subtracting 100' noise to your profile. This can add an artificial climb of maybe 200-300' per hour on your ride, even if standing still or riding on a level road. I instead turn off the Automatic Calibration, and set the altitude manually once at the start of a ride. I can get a fair estimate of altitude from a paper map, the topo map on my GPS, or if nothing else, the satellite altitude reported - which may be off by as much as 150' but it's only a single offset at the beginning of the ride, unlike Automatic Calibration that's adding noise over the entire profile. The barometric altimeter may drift from air pressure changes, but it's slow and roughly linear, rather than noisy, and usually less than 10' drift per hour of ride.
    Yes, exactly. Read my post carefully. I don't care much about my elevation profile, so I just let the GPS auto calibrate. Manual calibration is better...if you actually calibrate it before every ride.

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