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mtb'er
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I'd like to get a GPS unit, but really have no idea what I should be looking at (so many choices).

Wants:
o I'd like to track my rides, my mileage, and map them
o I'd like to know elevation profiles
o If my GPS unit had a map feature that identified where I was at any given time, that'd be good too. (My Blackberry does this, and I like it.)
o Strong battery life

Not necessary:
- heart rate
- cadence
- speed
- calories burnt

Really, I'd like a GPS unit that goes with me on my adventurous rides, which are sometimes long, so I can have a map of them (and mileage/elevation info) when I'm done.

Any input or suggestions is appreciated!
 

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I'm using RunKeeper (an iPhone app) which does everything except identify where you are at a given time. Basically I just have the phone in my pocket or camelbak and stop RunKeeper when I'm done riding. It then uploads the ride to the runkeeper website where you can view your course on google maps, plus elevation, average speed at any given time etc.
 

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trail rat
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Look at the Garmin 605 or 705 training GPS, or the Garmin Etrex Vista HCx. Those match what your wishes are at this point. If you ever think you want to add cadence or HRM, then the 705. So far, GeoMan (MTBR member) has the best prices and service, and will also answer any questions you might have.

I have a 305 and it does all but mapping, and a 60CSX for exploring (I'm searching out old mining roads); the 705 will be my next GPS.

Then look at TopoFusion for outstanding mapping software. The author, Krein, is also a member here on MTBR and an avid adventure rider.
 

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OP, which Blackberry? If yours has GPS built in, you can you a program like GPSed, which will store your coordinates throughout your ride, and you can upload them to many sites that accept GPX file formats. It also shows your speed, location, and several other statistics. I just downloaded it the other day for my BB Curve 8310, and tested it on my drive home. I uploaded the output to trailguru.com. Trailguru will show you an elevation profile, show your average speed over each mile, and calculate calories for you if you input your weight. Here's a link if you want to see the output.http://www.trailguru.com/wiki/index.php/Track:3EYS. It looks promising so far. I plan on trying it out on my bike tomorrow. It also has a nice feature that allows you to SMS/email your location, which I see as a great safety feature for emergencies since I ride solo often.
GPSed works with a lot of phones, and here are other similar programs out there too. If your phone doesn't have GPS, an upgrade to one that does might be less expensive than a dedicated device. My brother-in-law is trying it too, but he's having issues with his Windows Mobile based phone going into standby and losing satellite fix. I'm sure he'll work it out though.
 

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Glad to see some enduro / mapping pro's recommend the Garmin Vista Hcx - as it made it to my short list of affordable mapping receivers....

Here's my question - aside from the 'MapSource' maps - can you load up tracks/maps in other ways? I've scoured the Garmin site - and of course all roads lead to MapSource Maps. It's not imperative - but would for sure 'seal the deal'

I'd love to be able to upload gpx (or whatever Garmin specific formatted) trail tracks and either 'follow' them, or see where I am relative to where I ought to be!

Seemed like this thread was a good one to piggy back onto.

Thanks!

glen

Krein said:
Thanks for the mention, slocaus.

I'd echo the recommendation on the VistaHCx. It seems like the best GPS to fit your needs and Geoman sells them for pretty cheap.
 

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Holy Moly.

After searching some more, I have to admit I am now a bit more confused.... I'm pretty savvy with Google Earth, and with the National Geographic's 'TOPO' - so I'm most curious about creating a track/route to follow. Honestly, I'm not sure a background map is all that important - but of course would be pretty cool. It sounds like with MapSource - like TOPO - you can open a region, make a track, save it and view it later. I never owned a receiver that I could upload anything to - but have downloaded tracks into different mapping software. What I'm unclear on is the process(es) one can utilize to make routes/tracks on a PC, save them into a usable format, and upload them to a receiver to take out onto the trail / into the backcountry.

Not really worried about elevation profiles - but primariy interested in uploading a track - mine or someone elses, and 'following it'.

My old method was to use an early eTrex unit to simply mark / check coordinates, then refer to a paper map in hand. That may still be fine - and save a bunch of cash, but I admit if I can look down, see my location in reference to a track, I'd be pretty stoked - provided I don't need to spend $99 per state for MapSource backgrounds!

So the short version is, is it as simple as drawing / importing a route into say Google Earth, saving it as a .gpx file, then uploading it to the receiver....?

And christ on a bicycle - TopoFusion looks great Krein! Is it the answer to all my needs/desires? :)

Good stuff - but intense!
 

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GeoMan
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glenzx said:
Holy Moly.

After searching some more, I have to admit I am now a bit more confused.... I'm pretty savvy with Google Earth, and with the National Geographic's 'TOPO' - so I'm most curious about creating a track/route to follow. Honestly, I'm not sure a background map is all that important - but of course would be pretty cool. It sounds like with MapSource - like TOPO - you can open a region, make a track, save it and view it later. I never owned a receiver that I could upload anything to - but have downloaded tracks into different mapping software. What I'm unclear on is the process(es) one can utilize to make routes/tracks on a PC, save them into a usable format, and upload them to a receiver to take out onto the trail / into the backcountry.

Not really worried about elevation profiles - but primariy interested in uploading a track - mine or someone elses, and 'following it'.

My old method was to use an early eTrex unit to simply mark / check coordinates, then refer to a paper map in hand. That may still be fine - and save a bunch of cash, but I admit if I can look down, see my location in reference to a track, I'd be pretty stoked - provided I don't need to spend $99 per state for MapSource backgrounds!

So the short version is, is it as simple as drawing / importing a route into say Google Earth, saving it as a .gpx file, then uploading it to the receiver....?

And christ on a bicycle - TopoFusion looks great Krein! Is it the answer to all my needs/desires? :)

Good stuff - but intense!
Hi Glenn,

Take a look at our links page (at the bottom of our home page). There are many sources for free topos - including Santa Fe, New Mexico (where you and GeoMan Gear are located :) ).
 

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Scott in Tucson
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glenzx said:
And christ on a bicycle - TopoFusion looks great Krein! Is it the answer to all my needs/desires? :)
Heh. :D It may be. TopoFusion won't upload background maps like Mapsource, but it's pretty good at uploading tracks to follow.

Once you draw it (whether in GE or TF), just get it to GPX. There's a 500 point limit on "saved tracks" (which are readily available to be followed on the GPS), but in TF you can either simplify your track down to 500 or split it into twenty 500 point tracks.

I do this kind of thing all the time (e.g. the preferred way for following the AZT 300 course is with a 10,000 point track split into 500 point chunks: http://topofusion.com/azt/race-route.php.)

The short answer is just about every Garmin GPS will allow you to upload tracks to follow, but there are some subtleties to it. VistaHCx is a good choice.
 

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GEOMAN said:
Hi Glenn,

Take a look at our links page (at the bottom of our home page). There are many sources for free topos - including Santa Fe, New Mexico (where you and GeoMan Gear are located :) ).
I've heard of that dude ;)!
 

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Great feedback Scott!

Any reason to bother with a background map then, on the receiver? With a track, the ability to check location, and a paper (as well as SOME common sense) map I'd feel free pretty confident. I suppose it's sort of neat-o to see the terrain and auch on that little screen, but not too imperative.

Krein said:
Heh. :D It may be. TopoFusion won't upload background maps like Mapsource, but it's pretty good at uploading tracks to follow.

Once you draw it (whether in GE or TF), just get it to GPX. There's a 500 point limit on "saved tracks" (which are readily available to be followed on the GPS), but in TF you can either simplify your track down to 500 or split it into twenty 500 point tracks.

I do this kind of thing all the time (e.g. the preferred way for following the AZT 300 course is with a 10,000 point track split into 500 point chunks: http://topofusion.com/azt/race-route.php.)

The short answer is just about every Garmin GPS will allow you to upload tracks to follow, but there are some subtleties to it. VistaHCx is a good choice.
 

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Scott in Tucson
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glenzx said:
Great feedback Scott!

Any reason to bother with a background map then, on the receiver? With a track, the ability to check location, and a paper (as well as SOME common sense) map I'd feel free pretty confident. I suppose it's sort of neat-o to see the terrain and auch on that little screen, but not too imperative.
I think it's helpful to have the background maps, yes. Gives you better perspective when following a track. (Otherwise it is difficult to get a sense of scale)

That said, I "raced" a ~60 mile track just yesterday using a GPS that cannot load background maps. It's doable, but you have to pay a bit more attention.
 

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Krein said:
I think it's helpful to have the background maps, yes. Gives you better perspective when following a track. (Otherwise it is difficult to get a sense of scale)

That said, I "raced" a ~60 mile track just yesterday using a GPS that cannot load background maps. It's doable, but you have to pay a bit more attention.
OK - I think I'm getting a fuller picture. Do you know if with the Vista Hcx you can have a background map - say the fancy expensive one offered via MapSource - and load up a track in the unit as well? I know some units rely entirely on the cards you can swap in and out for this sort of data (as well as maps, of course) but others have enough memory to store track data onboard the base unit.

If I infer and understand all what you've posted here, it sounds like if that track (or series of tracks) is less than 500 points, then I'd be able to load it/them up and view them on top of the background map - whether it's MapSource or other.

FWIW I am initially looking at AZ maps for the upcoming QBP and APC rides - which I'd like to be able to hammer out of the box and not worry / bother folks with guiding duties!

I guess that's the factor betwen units I should look into - some onboard storage capacity PLUS swappable disks for background data. I think I also see the benefits of having more native or onboard memory, or ability to read larger (500+ point) tracks.... for those that would want/need it. Your method of splitting tracks up is genius, I think.
 

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Scott in Tucson
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glenzx said:
OK - I think I'm getting a fuller picture. Do you know if with the Vista Hcx you can have a background map - say the fancy expensive one offered via MapSource - and load up a track in the unit as well? I know some units rely entirely on the cards you can swap in and out for this sort of data (as well as maps, of course) but others have enough memory to store track data onboard the base unit.

If I infer and understand all what you've posted here, it sounds like if that track (or series of tracks) is less than 500 points, then I'd be able to load it/them up and view them on top of the background map - whether it's MapSource or other.

FWIW I am initially looking at AZ maps for the upcoming QBP and APC rides - which I'd like to be able to hammer out of the box and not worry / bother folks with guiding duties!

I guess that's the factor betwen units I should look into - some onboard storage capacity PLUS swappable disks for background data. I think I also see the benefits of having more native or onboard memory, or ability to read larger (500+ point) tracks.... for those that would want/need it. Your method of splitting tracks up is genius, I think.
Yes, the Vista will display maps from mapsource AND your track data at the same time. I used a ForeTrex 201 yesterday only because it is smaller/lighter and I was "racing."

You get 20 saved tracks at 500 points each. All of those will display with maps and take only internal memory -- no cards or anything. The maps go on the card.

I'm drawing a blank on what QBP is for some reason. In theory the GPS track is all you need for following the APC, but trail sense is always good, too.

No matter how much internal memory or cards you have there's still the 500 point limit (unless you go with the Edge 705 or Oregon or Colorado, none of which I'd really recommend at this point). I only have a single 64 mb card for my Vista and have never swapped it. I just load new maps every time I do a trip (and remember I do trips of 300+ miles at a time). 64 has always been enough.
 

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LOL!

QBP = Quadruple By-Pass, small potatoes to serious nuts like yourself :D. Should be a good warm up for APC, and make for a great weekend getaway next week.

Thanks for hand-holding me through all this stuff - as now I get the full picture, and understand more of the back-and-forth interconnectivity now. Thanks! I will of course share all pertinent and neat stuff I find that will be of help to folks on the forums... though there are some mighty savvy dudes and dudettes on here!

Looks like the Vista Hcx will do the trick - and shoot, given the enormous amount of terrain you've covered, it seems like it ought to suit me just fine. GeoMan - we'll be talking as soon as I get the go-ahead from the CFO at home (wife).

Thanks again - glen

Krein said:
Yes, the Vista will display maps from mapsource AND your track data at the same time. I used a ForeTrex 201 yesterday only because it is smaller/lighter and I was "racing."

You get 20 saved tracks at 500 points each. All of those will display with maps and take only internal memory -- no cards or anything. The maps go on the card.

I'm drawing a blank on what QBP is for some reason. In theory the GPS track is all you need for following the APC, but trail sense is always good, too.

No matter how much internal memory or cards you have there's still the 500 point limit (unless you go with the Edge 705 or Oregon or Colorado, none of which I'd really recommend at this point). I only have a single 64 mb card for my Vista and have never swapped it. I just load new maps every time I do a trip (and remember I do trips of 300+ miles at a time). 64 has always been enough.
 

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trail rat
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I'm a huge fan of Scott's TopoFusion for for all my track downloading, searching trails (color aerials ROCK), and most navigating. I use it to set waypoints and upload them to my GPS. Rarely do I try to lay out a route to upload, but critical waypoints at potential points of confusion usually saves my adz. Usually........ getting lost is half the fun right? :D

I do like being able to upload background maps, and now that there are some great, free, 20' and 40' interval maps via GPS File Depot, my navigating world is complete. I see that there are Arizona and New Mexico maps there. These can load into MapSource and then be uploaded to a mapping GPS. There is even a tutorial of how to get and install MapSource if you do not have it.
 
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