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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody know how to import tracks from a Garmin GPSMap 60CSx into Topo! ? Topo! is looking for 2 fields for position but Garmin seems to use only 1 field and the format does not match any I find in Topo! (National Geographics Topo! 4.0). I have tried splitting the Garmin field into 2 but the format is still a problem. :madman:
 

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Should Be Automatic

First, NG has an update to 4.22 that has better (direct) USB support. You can update automatically by an Automatic Updates setting in the Preferences dialog

You should be able to import your files from the GPS device without a need to mess with the transfer settings. Select your unit from the Preferences dialog under Receiver | GPS Type. This mostly sets the name formats and sizes.

I was trying to understand your issue and now realize maybe you're trying to read directly from the Garmin files, rather than the GPS device. It's a pain and I'm not sure how it's done. I just use my GPS (eTrex) as an intermediate transfer device. If the file's not already on the eTrex, I download it from Garmin, then back up into NG Topo!. The only issue is that you're limited to the maximum number of track points for the device (750 in my case). But there's easy way to reduce the points in most programs, with little effect on the track, even for long rides.

I may try to figure out how to do a text transfer, but it's sure to involve some intermediate file formats like *.txt or *.gpx, and perhaps even some other programs. Many good programs exist to convert waypoints, but very few for tracks (which are treated like Routes in NG Topo!).

A good book for dealing with all the formats, and great details on on the programs is "GPS Mapping: Make your own Maps" by Rich Owings. He logs on here as Redwoods Mountain Biker. See here. I'll be reading more on this to see if I can do it directly via file formats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BigLarry said:
First, NG has an update to 4.22 that has better (direct) USB support. You can update automically by an Automatic Updates setting in the Preferences dialog
Thank you very much. Simple solutions have a way of slipping right by me. :)
 

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geoladders - maybe???

Koke said:
When NorCal riders use GPS to make your own maps/routes you should add them to http://www.geoladders.com so that riders from outside your area can enjoy what you have to offer when visiting. There are hundreds of SoCal routes on the site already.
I agree something like this would be good to find routes and trails. I tried a couple of other sites and found them too difficult to use or way to commercial compared to what I get out of it. So far, I like the Motion Based for the all the different imagery and tech details they offer for my tracks, and will likely subscribe at some point.

I browsed geoladders and it looks like a fun concept. But it only had SoCal and zero (0) NorCal routes. I have over 100 tracks of great NorCal rides I could add. But in a few minutes of looking around, I don't see a place to upload tracks. (Do you know where?) It almost seems the routes are managed and posted by the web masters. It appears you can only post your personal time on the given route to move your ranking up the points "ladder" by doing more rides faster.

Also, the hundreds of web objects per screen on geoladders were taxing the resources of my poor IE browser, and causing it to crash or display go nuts a couple times. I rarely have that happen.
 

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If you create a user acount (it's free) you can click on "Dashboard" and then "Routes Created [Create route/View all personal routes]" and then attach a .gpx file and some turn by turn photos for directions. There are no routes for CA north of Santa Barbara so that is why I suggested in my earlier post that NorCal riders should contribute their favorites. I have posted about 10 myself (it gets addiciting). If a user uploads a route that is legal and has correct directions then it becomes official.
 

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Data Crunch Advice

Dan'ger said:
I've just uploaded about 10 GPX files of rides in the NorCal area - primarily the East Bay. I'll do more as time permits.
I saw your 10 files in the geoladders personal section. They sure hide that list of personal tracks. Even with instructions, it took me a few minutes to find that link down at the bottom right of the page.

I saw you placed them in the "other" regions - you know, the ones outside Orange County. :p I emailed Geoladders asking for a NorCal region. I'll wait to see if they're really interested in my tracks to do so.

I have a lot of files to convert from Garmin gdb to gpx files. How did you convert?
Copying them one by one to a new file and doing a "Save as gpx" in Garmin MapSource doesn't save the track as a "route" which is needed for gpx. Transfering all the tracks to National Geographic would solve the issue, as NG uploads "tracks" as "routes". But it's very messy and very time consuming. Do you have another way? Did you use Motion Based? (Another reason for me to subscribe.)
 

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BigLarry said:
I saw your 10 files in the geoladders personal section. They sure hide that list of personal tracks. Even with instructions, it took me a few minutes to find that link down at the bottom right of the page.
It seems that Geoladders is not a very user-friendly site for those of us who wish to click and upload. The Motion Based interface is much more conducive and even offers an applet that connects directly to the USB.

BigLarry said:
I saw you placed them in the "other" regions - you know, the ones outside Orange County. :p I emailed Geoladders asking for a NorCal region. I'll wait to see if they're really interested in my tracks to do so.
I didn't intentionally place them in "other." They got placed there by whatever algorithm they've got on their site. I don't believe that I actually selected the region anywhere - it was automatically set by the geocodes or regions contained in the .gpx file.

BigLarry said:
I have a lot of files to convert from Garmin gdb to gpx files. How did you convert?
Copying them one by one to a new file and doing a "Save as gpx" in Garmin MapSource doesn't save the track as a "route" which is needed for gpx. Transfering all the tracks to National Geographic would solve the issue, as NG uploads "tracks" as "routes". But it's very messy and very time consuming. Do you have another way? Did you use Motion Based? (Another reason for me to subscribe.)
As far as converting them, import/export is a huge pain in the butt. I have been uploading the data into Motion Based at the end of rides. I haven't subscribed (yet) and I'm waiting to see what happens now that I have 10 uploads on MB. I think that it only allows 10 plots to non-members.

I downloaded the .gpx files from MB to a folder as well as all of the Google Earth plots.

My opinions of the GPS mapping software and services is:

TOPO! seems to be the dying bastard child of the industry. It is very rigid and has limited use for anything but graphics. It is also very expensive. The biggest downer is that you cannot upload TOPO maps to your GPS device, regardless of device.

DeLorme Street Atlas / Earth Topo seems to be a good choice for some things - I like the Street Atlas for my laptop in the truck whil driving / off roading. There's nothing like a live update 14" diag map while travelling. I have not used their Topo software but I imagine it is very easy to use from a PC/laptop standpoint. It has a variety of functions down to a radar function to locate gas stations among other POIs in a live update function.

The Garmin street software that comes with most of their devices is OK at best and again, I haven't bought their Topo package yet. The advantage seems to be the ability to upload maps directly into the GPS unit, assuming it is a Garmin device. The downside is from a PC, it doesn't have alot of functionality for live operation.

Motion Based, now owned by Garmin, is ESRI based for their mapping functions. My experience with government work is that any mapping that is ESRI based has a huge datatbase functionality. It has inherent flexibility for devices and purposes. The down side is a $100/yr membership. The positive is that it has a huge coolness factor. I have yet to experiment with direct uploads to my GPS.

GPX files seem to have become the standard that most GPS fanatic websites are based on. I have yet to convert everything into it, but when I do, I will be burning my TOPO! package in a huge bonfire!
 

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GeoLadders also has a software applet/agent (in beta form) that uploads directly from Garmin Edge 205 and 305 units. As far as NorCal not listed as a region yet, new regions are added shortly after new routes are created. There are different types of routes: 1. Personal Routes - routes that the creator does not want to become official or are so new they have not reached the "pending" status. 2. Pending Routes - routes that are being verified for accuracy. 3. Hidden Personal Routes - routes that a user does not want any other user to see and also does not want it to become official. 4. Official Routes - routes that have been tried and tested for directions and legality. I have created all of my routes on GeoLadders directly from Garmin Trips and Waypoints software "save as" .gpx format. I create a track and make waypoints that correspond with directions and mapped gallery images (all of which work with Google Maps on the GeoLadders site). I have never used Motion Based. Here is one route I created (make sure to click on "Google Map"): http://www.geoladders.com/show_route.php?sport=1&route=339
 

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g7towin

BigLarry said:
I have a lot of files to convert from Garmin gdb to gpx files. How did you convert?
A few years ago I used g7towin for converting between formats. The current the web page says that it handles gdb. It used to have a batch driven interface too, although I don't know the details. If it still does, then a 10 line batch script could convert all of your files. There are some if's here. With a name like g7towin, you can google and feel lucky.

Personally, I'd prefer to have trail database in a garmin loadable map rather than individual tracks. The tools are out there, it's just alot of work. But that's a different topic.
 

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None are anywhere near perfect yet

Dan'ger said:
It seems that Geoladders is not a very user-friendly site for those of us who wish to click and upload. The Motion Based interface is much more conducive and even offers an applet that connects directly to the USB....

My opinions of the GPS mapping software and services is:....
I agree. It's amazing how all the software has so many simple flaws that could easily be fixed to allow any one of them to become big hits, yet it doesn't happen.

Garmin doesn't plot very good looking altitude profiles, and doesn't show good 3D plots like National Geographic and other web-based programs.It also doesn't allow me to draw a track and estimate distance climb on a new ride like I can with National Geographic. It also doesn't allow me to click a point on a profile and have the map go to that point like National Geographic TOPO! On the other hand, Garmin has very nice editing tools for waypoints and tracks.

But I also agree that National Geographic TOPO! is expensive, and it's picture based programs will soon be history once the other programs get their act together on the ability to draw tracks, make good altitude profiles. The web programs like Motion Based way out class the pictures too.

Motion Based still doesn't do 3D, IIRC. It also doesn't allow track drawing and editing and easy waypoint generation based on satellite images like other programs, or autorouting or all the other things I do with the other programs.

The web based programs can't download to a GPS, nor can National Geographic. You can only do that with Garmin's software for Garmin units. I've had Garmin's Topo for so many years that I forgot how useful it was. When I looked at your 60CS without the Topo maps at Henry Coe, it was tough to see where you were in relation to the mountains, streams and other terrain. All you had was yourself in relation to the waypoints. You couldn't see that you might cross a mountain or lake if you went in a particular direction like you would with the downloaded Topo maps. The whole US is only $80 - well worth the bucks. I'll send you a PM about some alternatives.
 

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knobs said:
A few years ago I used g7towin for converting between formats. The current the web page says that it handles gdb. It used to have a batch driven interface too, although I don't know the details. If it still does, then a 10 line batch script could convert all of your files. There are some if's here. With a name like g7towin, you can google and feel lucky.

Personally, I'd prefer to have trail database in a garmin loadable map rather than individual tracks. The tools are out there, it's just alot of work. But that's a different topic.
I've got g7towin. I found it from Rich Owing's book, along with a number of other programs he suggests. Unfortuantely, most of these programs convert waypoints and sometimes routes, but very few convert tracks.

I agree with you about just downloaded all the tracks in a single Garmin gdb file is easiest. But that's a proprietary format that only a (major?) fraction of users have. And the general exchange format of gpx doesn't seem to have a common format for tracks yet, one of the most useful things to transfer. Why can't they make a better gpx standard? It's all so primitive and frustrating really.
 

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BigLarry said:
...When I looked at your 60CS without the Topo maps at Henry Coe, it was tough to see where you were in relation to the mountains, streams and other terrain. All you had was yourself in relation to the waypoints. You couldn't see that you might cross a mountain or lake if you went in a particular direction like you would with the downloaded Topo maps. The whole US is only $80 - well worth the bucks. I'll send you a PM about some alternatives.
Well, I've got to bite the bullit someday in regard to the Garmin topo maps. As you pointed out, it would have been handy at Coe and other long or potentially arduous rides. So far, I haven't really needed it as most of my rides have been at parks I'm familiar with or otherwise less than 20 miles and led by someone else.

Looking forward to the alternatives but buying the package is not going to cause me to starve my kids in trade. I should probably just do it and buy another handlebar mount while I'm at it so I can easily switch between my MTB and roadie.
 

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BigLarry said:
I agree with you about just downloaded all the tracks in a single Garmin gdb file is easiest.
Actually, what I was talking about is not just a bunch of tracks. But a map file. In other words, think about collecting all your tracks for a place like Coe for example. Then run them through some tools that converts them to a single map file that can be loaded into a garmin reciever. There are public domain tools to do this, and you can even add routable trails, intersections, one ways, etc. I played with them for a while, just got irritated at the poor user interfaces, and gave up. I'd rather be riding.

BigLarry said:
Why can't they make a better gpx standard? It's all so primitive and frustrating really.
Actually, the gpx format is not so bad. At least it's vendor neutral. It's the tools that are difficult. At least gpx can be massaged with xpath or xquery, but there's a level of expertise required there.
 

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Koke said:
GeoLadders also has a software applet/agent (in beta form) that uploads directly from Garmin Edge 205 and 305 units. As far as NorCal not listed as a region yet, new regions are added shortly after new routes are created. There are different types of routes: 1. Personal Routes - routes that the creator does not want to become official or are so new they have not reached the "pending" status. 2. Pending Routes - routes that are being verified for accuracy. 3. Hidden Personal Routes - routes that a user does not want any other user to see and also does not want it to become official. 4. Official Routes - routes that have been tried and tested for directions and legality. I have created all of my routes on GeoLadders directly from Garmin Trips and Waypoints software "save as" .gpx format. I create a track and make waypoints that correspond with directions and mapped gallery images (all of which work with Google Maps on the GeoLadders site). I have never used Motion Based. Here is one route I created (make sure to click on "Google Map"): http://www.geoladders.com/show_route.php?sport=1&route=339
Hmm...I've got a Garmin GPS Map 60Cs...gotta have my maps and geek fodder in big numbers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
BigLarry said:
I have a lot of files to convert from Garmin gdb to gpx files. How did you convert?
Copying them one by one to a new file and doing a "Save as gpx" in Garmin MapSource doesn't save the track as a "route" which is needed for gpx. Transfering all the tracks to National Geographic would solve the issue, as NG uploads "tracks" as "routes". But it's very messy and very time consuming. Do you have another way? Did you use Motion Based? (Another reason for me to subscribe.)
I haven't tried this yet but it sounds good. EasyGPS
 

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Pardon my ignorance, but as a new GPS user, I don't understand the difference between routes and tracks. Can anyone recommend a good starter book to get my up to speed on using my GPS (Garmin 60 CS)?
 
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