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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Garmin Edge 705 with the City Navigator map (came on the little SD card). It's great for recording my ride and all, but I want more usefulness for mtbing. But so far, with searching through posts here and elsewhere, I've done nothing but confuse myself about what I need.

The City map lacks showing most trails where I ride (often in George Washington National Forest - Elizbeth Furnace, Vance's Cove, and in NoVa). As is, the GPS is not very helpful for planning a ride in the Forest or for finding my way, since all I see is my track far from the roads since I'm on a trail. I'd like to get a Topo map, but I'm not sure which one, or if they are even that helpful, as I have heard they often don't even have the trails on them - in which case all I'd see is my track with a bunch of contour lines, but no clear reference for determining where I am or whether I should take the left or right fork in the trail.

I'm thinking about getting the Garmin Topo map. I saw they have the National Park map that is 1:24,000, but it doesn't have much of the National Forest, and though helpful for hikes in Shenandoah Park, I can't mtb there. The regular Garmin Topo is 1:100,00, which seems like it may be too far out? (my paper maps are 1:64,000 and 1:75,000). And apparently there is Topo US, Topo US Mid-Atlantic and others (as download only?), among others.

What I want to be able to do is, using my paper map at home (or even the topo map on the Garmin) and plan a route, then load it on the Garmin. Then the Garmin can route it and make sure I stay on track. But then I've heard that GPS won't route trails like they do roads, and if so, I guess I would miss out on what I really want. And if the maps don't even have the trails, it wouldn't be helpful at all! Also, if the Topo doesn't have the roads, it wouldn't be as useful, either, as sometimes a route will require dumping out onto a road, riding the road for a few miles, even turns, then getting back onto a trail. What I'm getting at is that I want to be able to leave the paper map at home, yet still easily tell where I'm at - otherwise, why really bother with a GPS?

And, for another question, some have said that they use both City Nav Maps and topo map at the same time. I assume I'll have to buy the Topo on a disc, then put it on a little SD card. Do I just add it to the card that currently has the City Nav map?

And I understand that there are free maps from other sources that may work? I found a northeast topo on gpsfiledepot that looks promising? I'm currently downloading it to have a look at it. apparently it's a large file, download manager is stating an hour remaining.

Sorry for the long post, but I'm really confused as to what it is that I need that will do what I want. Any help will be much appreciated.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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It's not as complicated as it sounds if you sit back and take a breather.

The City map lacks showing most trails where I ride (often in George Washington National Forest - Elizbeth Furnace, Vance's Cove, and in NoVa). As is, the GPS is not very helpful for planning a ride in the Forest or for finding my way, since all I see is my track far from the roads since I'm on a trail. I'd like to get a Topo map, but I'm not sure which one, or if they are even that helpful, as I have heard they often don't even have the trails on them - in which case all I'd see is my track with a bunch of contour lines, but no clear reference for determining where I am or whether I should take the left or right fork in the trail.
Some mapping packages have SOME trails on them, and I hear some of the newer Garmin maps make them routable somehow. I don't know how that process works, but I DO know that there are not many trails on those maps, anyway...so for mtb use they won't help much. MTB trails are often too new to be included in their entirety. You might have a segment, but nothing else.

Have faith, brother. All is not lost, however. There are literally dozens of websites out there were people share their GPS tracks (many are discussed in other threads on this board). You can download them, put them into your 705, and the GPS will route you on them. It doesn't work the same as the car GPS, but it will point you in the direction you need to go to stay on the trail (or return to it if you make a wrong turn). The GPS just doesn't know intersections on the trails, so you won't get warnings to "turn left" at the next intersection.

Sometimes you'll encounter trails where you can find no existing data. That may happen more or less often depending on where you are. In those cases, you will have to "map" the trail system yourself if you want a reference for the trails. The basic way to do this is to record some of your favorite rides so you can follow them. It's a bit more tricky if you want to map the whole network and install it onto your GPS just as a reference so you can free navigate the trails and not get hopelessly lost. Doable, but I wouldn't recommend it until you've got some practice under your belt.

'm thinking about getting the Garmin Topo map. I saw they have the National Park map that is 1:24,000, but it doesn't have much of the National Forest, and though helpful for hikes in Shenandoah Park, I can't mtb there. The regular Garmin Topo is 1:100,00, which seems like it may be too far out? (my paper maps are 1:64,000 and 1:75,000). And apparently there is Topo US, Topo US Mid-Atlantic and others (as download only?), among others.

What I want to be able to do is, using my paper map at home (or even the topo map on the Garmin) and plan a route, then load it on the Garmin. Then the Garmin can route it and make sure I stay on track. But then I've heard that GPS won't route trails like they do roads, and if so, I guess I would miss out on what I really want. And if the maps don't even have the trails, it wouldn't be helpful at all! Also, if the Topo doesn't have the roads, it wouldn't be as useful, either, as sometimes a route will require dumping out onto a road, riding the road for a few miles, even turns, then getting back onto a trail. What I'm getting at is that I want to be able to leave the paper map at home, yet still easily tell where I'm at - otherwise, why really bother with a GPS?
Planning anything on your GPS is going to piss you off in short order. If you want to plan a route, get some good mapping software (Topofusion, NG Topo!, or some other package) and plan your route on your PC. From there you can send it to your GPS and have something you can use for reference. Roads data are included on topo maps (just like paper maps) but are frequently not routable. That will probably change, since it just makes sense to put both on the same maps for ease of use.

And, for another question, some have said that they use both City Nav Maps and topo map at the same time. I assume I'll have to buy the Topo on a disc, then put it on a little SD card. Do I just add it to the card that currently has the City Nav map?

And I understand that there are free maps from other sources that may work? I found a northeast topo on gpsfiledepot that looks promising? I'm currently downloading it to have a look at it. apparently it's a large file, download manager is stating an hour remaining.

Sorry for the long post, but I'm really confused as to what it is that I need that will do what I want. Any help will be much appreciated.
You can install multiple mapsets onto the GPS at once (more than just two). You need to have them all either on your pc (as in the gpsfiledepot ones) or on discs. It won't work if you buy them on memory cards. But, keep in mind that you can only EITHER route on-road or off-road. You cannot do both on the same trip. It is a setting of the GPS. If you tell it to route on road because part of your trip follows roads but the rest is on trails, then when you are on trails, the GPS will try to make you follow the roads. Very messy. I suppose you could switch the GPS yourself to routing on road or off road when you switch surfaces, but that setting on the GPS is kinda buried and you'd have to stop, fiddle with the GPS, before you could continue.

The gpsfiledepot maps are nice. I have Garmin's 100k topos and City Navigator. I don't use either on my 705. I only use gpsfiledepot maps on my 705. You can't get better than free. And better yet, if you don't like them, you can make your own maps that include whatever data you want (including trails). The process is involved and fairly tech-heavy, but doable.

Welcome to the world of GPS tech. The GPS receiver is only just the beginning of what you can do with it. Computer software makes your options explode and the sky is the limit.
 

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i think you want
EC2087

* Includes topo maps of north America and is great for mtn bikers or folks who ride off road
i went w/delorme topo 8
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the super-quick reply! I'm sure I'll figure it out with a little practice. I did check out Garmin's site, and they have a feature that lets you see the map in a small window, can even zoom in on it. The Topo US at least does appear to have some of the trails. (many of the trails in the Forest are ancient hiking and war trails, after all). Did not appear to have some of the new mtb-specific trails in NoVa, though that is not important to me. Those are small, enclosed places, and if I am going to other places like that, I'm sure I can find someone's tracks online. Mainly concerned with planning and riding routes on more remote trails, mostly old hiking and civil war trails. So I may be in luck.

I'm going to download a few of the maps off gpsfiledepot first. If I can get maps that will work for me free, I'd rather not have to spend $100+ a map.

Thanks!
 

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Jwiffle said:
Thanks for the super-quick reply! I'm sure I'll figure it out with a little practice. I did check out Garmin's site, and they have a feature that lets you see the map in a small window, can even zoom in on it. The Topo US at least does appear to have some of the trails. (many of the trails in the Forest are ancient hiking and war trails, after all). Did not appear to have some of the new mtb-specific trails in NoVa, though that is not important to me. Those are small, enclosed places, and if I am going to other places like that, I'm sure I can find someone's tracks online. Mainly concerned with planning and riding routes on more remote trails, mostly old hiking and civil war trails. So I may be in luck.

I'm going to download a few of the maps off gpsfiledepot first. If I can get maps that will work for me free, I'd rather not have to spend $100+ a map.

Thanks!
Keep in mind that yes, the trails often included in those maps are the really old trails that have been around for awhile. In areas with active trail crews, many of them have reroutes not on the maps because those trails are just traced in from old USGS paper topos (last updated in the 60's or 70's in most cases). Also many have new offshoots that have been built since the last update that are not included.

The quickest/easiest/cheapest solution is to go with a gpsfiledepot map (you'll see that some areas have extra trail data, too) and download routes from Garmin Connect, MapMyRide, or one of the many other file sharing sites.

Maybe one day once you get the hang of it, you'll start to make a database of your local trails and customize some maps. Almost none of my local mtb routes have maps available. Even the forest service doesn't do a good job of publishing such data. I was keeping a database, but then a trail on the local college campus got a complete redesign, so now I have to redo that one for my own records. I know they have their own GPS data of it (I know the guy they hired to collect it), but I doubt they'll make the raw data available to the public.

I've got a network of 50miles of trails nearby and the USFS map is worthless for navigating. The trails dump out onto country roads from time to time and some spots are almost impossible to pick up again. Last time I rode there, I lost the trails entirely and had to return to my car by road.

I've been informed by another local that there's a relatively unknown network of trails on a different nearby USFS forest and nobody can find any kind of map for them. He doesn't have a GPS, so I only have his verbal descriptions. I'll be getting out there soon with my own GPS to record them.

I really like Topofusion for PC software. It only loads maps onto the newer Garmins (Colorado/Oregon/Dakota), but it has a lot of basemap imagery options to help with planning (including the old USGS topos) and it has a function where you can take a bunch of GPS data files and merge them into one trail "network". Loading the network into your GPS can be tricky, since most GPS receivers limit the number of trackpoints (individual data points), it may not load. However, you can at least put waypoints at the relevant trail intersections so you know where they are and give them names to tell you which way to turn. Those networks can also be used to create customized basemaps when you're ready to dive into that. I haven't done it yet, but I think I will.
 

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I tend to do all my planning with the Garmin software, Mapsource.

For trail networks I usually combine lots of my history into a single trail (like a trace of all the trails in an area, doubling back on itself where necessary to make it one long trace), I save that as a GPX file on my garmin and then turn on that saved ride making it visible when I'm riding that area. Note, not navigate it, just have it visible so I can see where I am and where all the trails are around me.
 

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I bought a couple of printed maps from the local hiking club. with the right software you can scan it and use w/delorme

for mtb, i like to find reputable people in the area and use there gpx file. in fact i just loaded one on my delorme that some one posted for me on this forum:thumbsup:


btw: i like every trail and often post gpx files there
 

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jkmacman said:
I bought a couple of printed maps from the local hiking club. with the right software you can scan it and use w/delorme

for mtb, i like to find reputable people in the area and use there gpx file. in fact i just loaded one on my delorme that some one posted for me on this forum:thumbsup:

btw: i like every trail and often post gpx files there
You must have failed reading comprehension, huh? The OP said he has an Edge 705 which cannot accept maps from Delorme software. In his case, the Delorme software is only useful for planning, in which case there are other, better options (including several free ones).

If the OP wants to scan paper maps, he can do so and overlay them in other (again, some also free) software, too. But that issue is beyond the scope of his questioning in this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
NateHawk said:
If the OP wants to scan paper maps, he can do so and overlay them in other (again, some also free) software, too. But that issue is beyond the scope of his questioning in this topic.
well, now you've given me an idea. I'll have to figure out how to do that! Then I'll certainly have the trails i need to see. thanks!
 

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Jwiffle said:
well, now you've given me an idea. I'll have to figure out how to do that! Then I'll certainly have the trails i need to see. thanks!
Since you asked, all you need to know using free software.

http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/us/onthetrail/custommaps#fragment-1

Now, you can't load these into an Edge 705 (only a Colorado/Oregon/Dakota), but you can use them for planning purposes to mark a planned track, route, or waypoints (which you can transfer to your Edge).

Once you get some skill, you could trace these to draw a map that is compatible with your particular GPS (with a program like QGIS among others, a method is described at gpsfiledepot).
 
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