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Village Dirtbag
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2,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live near Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have a ton of poorly marked trails around here. I have friends who've been riding them for decades, but am still not quite comfortable leading a ride or riding many of these trails on my own.

I'd like a GPS with maps of these trails, and, when no maps of the trails are available, have the ability to map them out myself while riding with a friend, or download the tracks from others.

All the different apps, file formats, map types, websites, etc. are a bit overwhelming. Would one of the experts here be willing to write an FAQ on where to get maps, how to make your own, viewing them on the receiver, etc.

While I mostly want maps of the trails within 50 miles of me, it'd be nice to have maps of everywhere else, too. I'm also wondering...if I install a map of a local area, from USGS for example, and I leave that 'tile' and ride on to an adjacent one, does the GPS automatically and seamlessly bring up the next map? What if I have two maps of one area: a basic map that shows trails only, and a topo?

What's a raster map?

Are the maps that come with the Garmin -t series worth it?

Oh yeah- my primary computer is a Mac, but I have a PC Netbook as well. For hardware, I'm leaning towards the Oregon 450.
 

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mtbr dismember
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6,988 Posts
Free topo maps

You can get free topo maps for a Garmin GPS at GPSFileDepot. Few biking trails will be on any topo map. However, a quick search of Garmin Connect listed over 1,000 rides in the Albuquerque area. So most of your rides probably already have a track you can download and follow on your own GPS. For those that aren't there you can ride them and then post the tracks for others.
 

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trail rat
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7,825 Posts
@dam said:
I live near Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have a ton of poorly marked trails around here. I have friends who've been riding them for decades, but am still not quite comfortable leading a ride or riding many of these trails on my own.

I'd like a GPS with maps of these trails, and, when no maps of the trails are available, have the ability to map them out myself while riding with a friend, or download the tracks from others.

All the different apps, file formats, map types, websites, etc. are a bit overwhelming. Would one of the experts here be willing to write an FAQ on where to get maps, how to make your own, viewing them on the receiver, etc.

While I mostly want maps of the trails within 50 miles of me, it'd be nice to have maps of everywhere else, too. I'm also wondering...if I install a map of a local area, from USGS for example, and I leave that 'tile' and ride on to an adjacent one, does the GPS automatically and seamlessly bring up the next map? What if I have two maps of one area: a basic map that shows trails only, and a topo?

What's a raster map?

Are the maps that come with the Garmin -t series worth it?

Oh yeah- my primary computer is a Mac, but I have a PC Netbook as well. For hardware, I'm leaning towards the Oregon 450.
Not to be mean, but most of what you ask for is here. NateHawk has done what you ask, we just cannot get a mod to sticky, so you have to search or browse. What you are asking would take someone here a week to produce, and honestly, most of that information is already available.

As Wherewolf suggests, look at the GPS File Depot site, they have tons of tutorials. Downside is that most of the do it yourself tools are PC.

There has been a thread in the last couple days about using GPS files, and that has great info on ways to create your own trail netork.

GPS has a fairly steep learning curve, sorry, you are just going to have to invest some more time, no fast easy answers exist.
 

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Goats Rule!
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354 Posts
Get the Oregon 450. Familiarize yourself with GPSFileDepot - go spend a few hours there reading their forums, FAQ's, etc. They have a ton of stuff but like was previously said, you need to spend some time learning.

Once you start getting the hang of things you can have multiple maps on your unit, turn them on and off one or all at a time (layering), download tracks from Geoladders, MTBBill, MTBR, etc. and have a really slick setup. The bike mount for the Oregon 450 also works great on the stem, even better if you wrap a layer of old inner tube around it first.

Most of the GPSFileDepot stuff loads via MapSource or BaseCamp and comes with installers that will make the maps automatically be available via MS/BC so make sure you install MS/BC first, and get an 8 Gig Micro SD card for the unit to store the maps on. The cards are $20 at Costco.

BTW, give yourself a few hours of just playing around with the 450 if you get it. Push the buttons and figure things out. You can't break it.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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34,384 Posts
It's all in here - discussions about software, discussions about maps, discussions about hardware. I wrote a review on my website of close to 2 dozen websites. There's a post in here with the link to that page, too.

GPSFileDepot has the instructions on how to make your own maps. If you want to use Garmin Custom Mapping with a compatible receiver, the instructions will depend on the software you use. There's a post created somewhat recently about different software that will work with that feature.

Raster map: maps where each pixel has a different value. These can be scanned paper maps, but most commonly these days are satellite images (like Google Earth) that are like a photograph.

Vector map: An infinitely scalable map with features illustrated as point, line, and polygon feature types. This limits what can be displayed at any one time, but you can display things like terrain contours (think topo map) that cannot be seen well in a satellite image. A vector map can include or exclude whatever its designer wants.
 
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