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 Routing challenge: Coast to coast on a Vespa
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2008 :  17:35:21  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
On the morning of September 11 my son will swing a leg over the seat of his 250 cc Vespa scooter in San Francisco and aim its front wheel toward Ocean City, Maryland some 3700 miles to the east.



Riding in the cross-country Scooter Cannonball Run (http://www.scootercannonball.com/), Joel will be raising money for a musician friend and colleague who was seriously injured in an auto accident and lacks medical insurance. Details can be found on this blog: http://vespacoast2coast.blogspot.com/

Needless to say, planning a route that is fun and safe for scooters ranging from tiny vintage two-strokes to modern highway-capable water cooled rides is a challenge. So is navigating it.

We are hoping to use a Garmin zumo on the scooter and a nuvi capable of advance routing in the support truck, which is my "job." The zumo is really the only choice for the scoot, but a big question is whether to try to plan the truck's route using my nuvi 680 and a series of somewhat clumsy workarounds, or take advantage of the ability to transfer the route from Google maps and use it with little fuss on a nuvi that can accept pre-planned routes, such as a 7xx.

If you look at the Cannonball web site, you can find links to Google maps of each day's route. The organizers are also going to provide both waypoints and compatible route files once everything is finalized. There are checkpoints and the idea is to follow the pre-planned route, not to allow the nuvi or zumo to calculate a "better" one.

So here's what I could use help with from the collective wisdom of the forum. I can create Custom POIs for my 680 which if used in "leapfrog" fashion, will mostly force it to calculate the same route that the Cannonball specifies. But that involves a lot of button-pushing en-route - navigate from A to C with B as a via; then C to E with D as a via, etc.

Can anyone think of a better solution or should I just select the right tool for the job and use a 7xx or 8xx which can accept the pre-planned routes for each day?

The support truck does not have to cover every inch that the scoots travel, but it would be a mistake to get too far off-course and it's a LONG trip! My son will have the harder navigation task, of course, but the zumo should be up to it. Here he is near his home in Brooklyn, no doubt pondering how much it will cost to ship the Vespa to SF for the start of the race [g]:



-dan



- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 28 juin 2008 17:41:29

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gpspassion

94645 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2008 :  18:38:52  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a fun and challenging project, congrats to both of you for undertaking it, especially in combination with the money raising.

To get back to the routing aspects, the question is what kind of "GPS" data the organizers are going to provide, will it be a simple question of loading a GPX file into the Zumo and heading out. I don't have much experience with the Zumo or the advanced routing mode on the 7xx series and have recently struggled with the Edge 705's various route importing modes, but you might need to turn off auto-rerouting since the Garmin might create routes that are slighlty different from those planned by the organizers. Do you still get dynamic guidance if you do that?

Maybe you could summarize in the first message the previous replies you got when you first brought up the routing question, with the tools to convert Google Routes to .GPX, etc...that would refresh everyone's memory and avoid repeating the same "advice" ;-)

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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2008 :  19:47:32  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the kind words and support.

"A simple question?" Don't I wish [grin]. At present it's a matter of using Garmin's browser plugin to look at the existing Google maps of each day's route and download that and convert it to a GPX file by importing into MapSource/Bobcat. Or you can use http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/ which works quite well with Google.

But I'm hoping that the event organizers will soon provide GPX files which are full routes. It's not that it's so hard to do the conversion, it's that release of those files will also mean the routes are finalized. So we may need to move fast. But as to then "driving off," I don't know how the zumo and 760 behave when they think you have deviated from a pre-programmed route. 7xx owners feel free to chime in here.

And AFAIK both are limited to 10 routes, so we may need to do some reloading at night if it proves necessary to do 11 or 12 (to get to the start or home from the finish of the 10-day event, though obviously those could be left to the GPS's auto-routing discretion).

In the previous discussion (which I finally found - http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=108731), we were assuming use of the 680 and a 350 - no zumo, meaning we had to come up with ways to make the "leapfrog" method less cumbersome. There were some excellent suggestions, such as using Custom POIs instead of Favorites so that each day's route would be separate, making via selection easier. But still to be discussed is how best to use the existing GPX files in both the zumo and a new 760 or my old 680, depending on how things like our gas budget (gulp) turn out.

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 28 juin 2008 19:54:28
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larelr2003

Canada
75 Posts

Posted - 29 juin 2008 :  19:04:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can have many more than 10 routes stored in the 7xx. You just can only have a maximum of 10 routes imported at one time. If you are at the maximum of 10 in the imported area (active routing area) just delete one or more routes and import the new ones you want. I find the best way to handle more than 10 routes is to set them all up in MapSource and save the MapSource file as a .gpx, then directly copy the saved file into the Nuvi's GPX subfolder. You can do it as one route per .gpx file and uniquely name each file to something pertinent or you can set up many routes in a single gpx file. I have over 50 routes in one gpx file with several gpx files stored on the Nuvi at one time. All the routes will show as being available for import and will continue to be available for re-import should you import and then delete the route(s) from the Nuvi's active routing area (which is limited to 10 at one time).

You can also “TRANSFER” many routes at one time to the 7xx using MapSource. These will all end up in a file called Temp.gpx in the GPX subfolder and all these routes will be available for import. If you don’t want these routes to be “lost” when you transfer additional routes, you can put all your routes together (old and new routes) in one MapSource transfer OR you can simply rename the Temp.gpx file in the Nuvi’s GPX subfolder to something unique (keeping the gpx extension) and these routes will continue to be available for import until you delete the renamed file.

The Nuvi will import and navigate the MapSource routes EXACTLY as created in MapSource BUT if these routes are recalculated in the Nuvi, the routes may be changed based on the Nuvi's algorithms. An extreme example is any MapSource routes that have been created using avoid areas in MapSource. The Nuvi WILL follow these routes exactly as created in MapSource UNTIL the route is recalculated. Upon recalculation the route may change drastically since the 7xx does not accommodate avoid areas. What makes this more difficult is the Nuvi will automatically recalculate whenever a route deviation occurs when navigating. I have seen no way to turn off this automatic recalculation on the Nuvi, although I understand there IS such as option on the Zumo. However, to get around this on the Nuvi, simply reload the route again, since recalculation affects only the "current" route (you will see current route in the route area) NOT the actual stored route. How much of a bother this would be would depend on the frequency of route deviations. If just waypoints (and vias created by rubber banding) are used to create the route in MapSource there is less of a chance of the route being changed by the Nuvi by recalculation, but I have had it happen (and sometimes between waypoints well downstream from the current position which is harder to detect). So something to be careful with.

Waypoints are more reliable than vias in staying true upon recalculation. There is also software that some Zumo people use to strip the flags from via points (because the flags can obscure other info and they don't want the via "announced" by the GPS). Upon route recalculation, the 7xx will ignore all such unflagged vias and calculate a new (and most probably vastly different) route as if the vias did not exist.

But again, this is workable on the Nuvi if one reloads the original route whenever a recalculation occurs on route deviation. Just need to be careful. I think still much better than trying to follow a set of waypoints one by one in the 6xx. Or one could use a second Zumo instead.


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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 29 juin 2008 :  19:32:00  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much - this is very valuable information.

I'll need time to digest it further, but my first question is, can you bring in that 11th route on the zumo or nuvi without using a laptop? I'm not figuring that out from your explanation (probably my fault) and we would love to leave our laptops home for this trek.

We need to travel light, given that it's looking like my total journey will involve everything from a Cape Air Cessna 402 to an Amtrak train, with an American Airlines MD-80 or two, the rental truck and maybe even the Vespa thrown in by the time I have made it from the Adirondacks to San Fran to Maryland to Brooklyn and back up to the Adirondacks!

Thanks again for your help.

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 29 juin 2008 19:51:23
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larelr2003

Canada
75 Posts

Posted - 29 juin 2008 :  19:56:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Danham,

You do not need the laptop once all the routes are loaded into the 7xx. The routes will be stored in the .gpx files you loaded onto the Nuvi beforehand. To import an "11th" route when you already have 10 imported, just delete one of the 10 imported ones and import the "11th".

Access to a laptop would be handy for corrections etc if needed, but if all the routes were properly set up in advance and copied to the Nuvi in the .gpx files, you would not need any more access to a laptop to import these routes as you progress. Of course, you can also create new routes and modify existing routes on the Nuvi itself (they will count as part of the 10 maximum active routes, since this must be done in the “active” routing area, or the route planning area as some may call it). Need to be careful with modifying routes originally created on MapSource though, since they will be subject to the recalculation cautions I mentioned before.

I am setting off on a several month transcontinental trip myself next week and, as such, have close to 60 routes already stored on my 750 in several .gpx files. I do not need my laptop to import any of these routes into my Nuvi. I am only subject to the maximum of 10 active at any one time, which is way more than adequate.
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 29 juin 2008 :  21:46:53  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Fantastic! That really nudges me in the direction of the 760 for this trip.

Thanks again,

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA
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bensamp

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  01:04:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey, I think that is a novel thing for your son to do for a friend. I live about 64 miles from Ocean City MD. Here are some links to some T.V. stations in the area that will eat stories like this up and also might help raise some extra money for the cause.

www.wjz.com a station in Baltimore MD which is the most watched news station in MD.

www.wboc.com and www.wmdt.com both of these stations are the two major stations on the eastern shore which are located about 30 minutes from Ocean City and you have to pass through the city of Salisbury MD in which these stations are located to get to Ocean City. I will be keeping an eye on your updates for this event. I don't know if you had contacted any one in Ocean City or not about this event because when you leave Ocean City there is a big sign that says Sacramento, Ca is 3xxx miles away. A few years ago Car and Driver did the Ocean City to Sacramento run. But they did not tell anyone about the trip so the story only got covered in their magazine. So if you need print of radio coverage of this event let me know and I will do what I can to help on this end.Give me a pm and I will give you my info. Good Luck and Godspeed.

Garmin Nuvi 750
Mio c520
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  01:22:59  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you very much. So far I have gotten nibbles from various media for publicity, but it is always great to have local contacts, so again, many thanks.

I will shoot you a PM and I promise not to ask to borrow your 750 [grin].

-dan



- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA
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smiley1081

Italy
1269 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  09:24:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Have you tried asking Garmin?
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  16:01:57  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
@ smiley:

Yes and if Garmin agrees to some form of support or sponsorship, this forum will be among the first to know.

@ everyone:

Never having used a nuvi which can accept pre-planned routes, I'm confused. Looking at the Google maps for the Scooter Cannonball, I can see turn-by-turn directions and the organizers have now provided gpx and gdb files of the entire route. When I import them into Bobcat, I see various waypoints and black-flagged markers which I assume are "shaping" points, and the route mostly follows the official one (I'm told there are some small differences but I haven't found them yet and have many hours of work ahead of me).

My question is, how will this behave once it's in my son's zumo or a nuvi 7xx? In Bobcat the route contains no directions even though the green stripe follows the correct path and takes the correct turns. Obviously I can't ask Bobcat to calculate the route as it changes it based on its own algorithms.

Here's a direct link to Day 1 in case anyone would like to take a closer look:

http://tinyurl.com/6nl2xc

thanks,

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  17:38:32  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just found my first big boo-boo with the imported route and I'm stumped about how to change it in Bobcat.

If you use the tiny url above and scroll down to direction number 33, we are supposed to leave Hornitos Rd. and take Old Toll Rd. The GPX file imported into Bobcat has us continue on Hornitos to Rt. 49, taking me way north. Because this is not a calculated route, I'm having trouble figuring out how to add a waypoint to force the correct route. Do I have to edit the raw file and then re-import?

This may be a quirk of the beta Bobcat, so if anyone can spell out how to do it in MapSource that could also be very helpful.

Thanks,

-dan

UPDATE: I tried MapSource and it was worse. When I import the gpx or gdb file it comes in as a straight line between waypoints. Recalc obviously uses whatever prefs/avoids and messes it all up. Bobcat at least will bring it in as the official route and if I mess it up can use Undo to fix that. But no way can I change that section of the route without changing it all.

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 01 juil. 2008 19:56:16
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larelr2003

Canada
75 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  20:10:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Number 33 indicates to take a slight left. But from the maps it looks as it one really would proceed more or less straight at this point and the road name changes from Hornitos to Old Toll (Hornitos seems to go right). If so, then Bobcat is giving you the correct route.

In MapSource, the best way to make the route go the way you want is to use the waypoint tool to create a new waypoint on the road you want to divert to (be careful with median divided highways. Want to be on the correct side of the highway divider). Then go to your route and insert the new waypoint at the appropriate place. If you indeed wanted to turn right onto Hornitos in the example above, you would create a new waypoint on Hornitos south of Hornitos/Old Toll intersection. Recalculation can possibly be an issue, so the best thing to do is to use/add enough waypoints to inspect/ensure the final route follows the official route when you are done. Recalculation of a MapSource route is an additional issue in the GPS, although even that can be minimized with enough waypoints.

You can also use the route tool in MapSource to “rubberband” the route to where you want it to go. This creates "via" shaping points. They should work and appear to work when I use them (I think I had some issues with the early versions of the firmware on my 750), but in my limited experience, I would feel more comfortable with waypoints when the routing is really important.

Edited by - larelr2003 on 01 juil. 2008 20:31:31
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larelr2003

Canada
75 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  20:14:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan,

In MapSource go to the Routes tab, double click on the route name, then click on "Show on Map" (may be straight lines at this point) then click "OK". Hopefully, you will then get your route properly presented.

On edit: Above works for routes I have just created in MapSource. Looks like need to do "Recalculate" before "Show on Map" for imported Google Map Routes.

Edited by - larelr2003 on 01 juil. 2008 21:03:17
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danham

USA
7492 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  20:34:51  Show Profile  Visit danham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It is incredibly nice of you to dive into this and try to help. Many thanks.

Let me explain in a little more detail now that you have seen the map. The gdb file from the Cannonball web site, when imported into Bobcat, shows a route that travels east on Hornitos Rd., then around Indian Gulch it heads north on Bear Valley Rd.

According to the official Google event map, it should instead stay "straight" (sort of to the right) on Hornitos and then bear left (straight) onto Old Toll Rd.

Note that the Bear Valley deviation is not a result of calculation in Bobcat (or MapSource); it is how the route comes in when first imported. That leads me to believe that the most effective solution could be to edit the gdb file. I have tried adding a waypoint on Old Toll Rd. and that portion of the route is indeed corrected when I recalculate. But it makes a mess of earlier segments [sigh].

I'll take another stab at it and add waypoints to force correct turns in those earlier portions, but if I have to do that for all 3700 miles I may not get much sleep between now and Sept. 11 [grin]. Kidding aside, it may be that there's no reason for me to get a 760 if I end up adding lots of waypoints; the 680 can calculate those just as fast on the fly, presumably, and so the advantage of pre-planning a route may be lost.

-dan

- Nüvi forum moderator -
Nüvi 760 in a '14 VW GTI & zumo 660 on a BMW F800 ST
Guide to working with pre-programmed routes: >> details <<
Language Guide / US Topo / 350 & 680 / MacBook & Intel iMac with OS X & Win XP / BaseCamp / Cape Cod, MA

Edited by - danham on 01 juil. 2008 20:36:37
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larelr2003

Canada
75 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2008 :  22:05:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One can learn a lot from this kind of exercise. Using the converter I made a route gpx file from the Google map you posted and opened this file in Mapsource. It showed 10 routes in this file. I then recalculated each route and "showed" them all on the map. At Indian Gulch down to and past Old Toll Road, the route in MapSource matches the route on the Google map exactly. There is no diversion onto Bear Valley Road.

However, and I haven't spent much time on this part, I see there is a problem on the route at I5. The MapSource version doesn't seem to know you can cross the overpass at I5 and Sperry Avenue and takes the route south on I5 to the next interchange and them all the way back to Sperry. There is even a via point shown on Sperry on the east side of I5 but it seems to be the problem. If I create my own waypoint there, the route works properly. There may be other differences on the route but I didn't look for.

Is it possible to download the gpx or gbd files from the Cannonball site? I couldn't find when I looked quickly. It may be that their routes (perhaps checked for the above-noted problems) will work better than my conversion from Google maps.

I think you will still find it much easier to put the routes into a 7xx. Once you proof the routes in advance, then you know they will do what you want them to and a lot less fiddling with the unit along the way. This exercise seems to involve much more work than setting up normal travel routes where (usually) a lot less customization is needed and it's not as critical to follow the routes that exactly.


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