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Hi All,

I just bought a Garmin Montana for an upcoming ride and have been really shocked at how difficult it has been to get things setup with Garmin's Basecamp software. I am an IT professional - and find the application so counterintuitive and difficult to use that I am ready to give up. I'm thinking it probably would be a little easier if I coughed up another $100 for the Garmin official maps, but I already shelled out a big chunk of change for the unit & have most of the routes I need in .gpx format. 

Anyone able to recommend a user friendly alternative to Basecamp that'll run on Mac OS X ?

 

Thanks.

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you aren't supposed to think, or understand why it does the things it does, nor the asinine steps required to use it... you're just supposed to bend to "how we do things round here" and accept it. 

yes I'm serious. 

the maps installed do not improve the process with basecamp. for Garmin products, it's best if the maps on the device match the maps you use for routing in basecamp. for smartphone, it doesn't matter at all. 

 

try furkot (online), Googlemymaps, Harley ride planner, or any of the other myriad of great online sources that dont suck, listed when you search for ride planning software. just keep in mind the Garmins are limited to how many routing points you can use, and that it will recalculate if you don't use tracks instead . 

Edited by ohgood
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Basecamp did seem awkward to me, the operation flow was real  weird.

 

Most of my GPS work is done on the Mac.  Just a few days ago I loaded a bunch of radio sites and marked out some access roads for a job coming up in a few weeks.

A few tools I use:

Google Earth Pro: Visualizing and creating/manipulating the data.  Waypoints ("Placemarks") and tracks ("Paths") are pretty straightforward to deal with.  Export the place/folder as KML.  Pro is a free tool now, and adds a few features (mostly GIS stuff) over the regular version.  No reason not to go with Pro.

GPSBabel: Extremely powerful tool for manipulating and converting the GPS files.  Also has tools for reading from and writing to GPS devices, like your Garmin.  Converts to/from just about every GIS file format, and hardware support for most major GPS receivers on serial and USB. 

TextWrangler: A text editor.  Syntax highlighting and section rolling-up makes for easier manual manipulation of the output files.  GPX is XML, and the text editing tools of TextWrangler (grep/pattern-matching and replacing) make cleaning those files up pretty easy.  Routes are an array of waypoints, if you want to create a route I usually mark out the waypoints/placemarks and hand-build/copy-paste the waypoints into a <rte>/<rtept> list.  Again, real easy with a grep search.

LoadMyTracks is another simple tool that's nice to have, but GPSBabel does the same thing.  Imports and exports GPX and KML files to/from the receiver.  That's it.

 

When it comes to building mapsets for the receiver, you're kind of stuck using garmin's tools.  I've got an old copy of MapManager/MapInstall that works, but it's still a really awkward two-step process.  Once the maps are built/installed, you can turn them on/off in the receiver and don't need those Garmin software tools anymore.

 

sendtogps-M.png

 

Screen%20shot%202013-08-10%20at%2000.44.

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I've been using Basecamp on my MAC for the past few years and don't seem to have any issues with it.  Works fine for me.

If you have any specific questions I might be able to answer them for you?

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On 17/09/2017 at 0:28 PM, sundevil67 said:

Hi All,

I just bought a Garmin Montana for an upcoming ride and have been really shocked at how difficult it has been to get things setup with Garmin's Basecamp software. I am an IT professional - and find the application so counterintuitive and difficult to use that I am ready to give up. I'm thinking it probably would be a little easier if I coughed up another $100 for the Garmin official maps, but I already shelled out a big chunk of change for the unit & have most of the routes I need in .gpx format. 

Anyone able to recommend a user friendly alternative to Basecamp that'll run on Mac OS X ?

 

Thanks.

I have refused to use Apple/Macs products since 1982 when I got my first PC and even when I was an IT professional for 20 years only a few of the graphic design people really used Apples/Macs.

Anyway NOT to get into the PC/MAC thing, IMO Garmin does make great GPS units and their Topo Base Maps are awesome. I use an unlocked Garmin V4 Topo base map for BC on my Android with Oruxmaps for the app and swear by it and again IMO you need to have one of the Garmin Topo Base Maps for the area (state/country) you want to ride and well worth the $$$$$ unless you want to try and make your own base maps BUT that is way beyond me.

Once you have bought and loaded the Garmin Topo into the Montana, it should be easy to import your prerecord GPX routes into the Montana with base camp (which I'm assuming you need to use to load stuff on a Garmin unit from a PC or Mac and I believe Garmin Topo's come on MicroSD cards) and then once on the Montana load them on top of the Garmin Tope base map as needed.

So as an example, here is my android, running Oruxmaps with the Garmin V4 Topo for BC (which is about 800MB) and a recorded track/route. Now I can follow that track/route or exported it as GPX/KMZ OR if I had someone else recorded another track/route in GPX of this area, I could easily copy the GPX file onto my phone and load it on top of the Garmin Topo and follow it

Screenshot_2015-08-09-11-10-35.png.da34c435792e4b5a8cc75889c0dc9e41.png

Then it is just either plugging my open source phone and app into my PC laptop and copying the GPX file or for that matter the Garmin IMG file over to the phone like an external hard drive or just download directly to the phone.

Here is the directory structure of my android showing the locations of my Map files and Track Logs (note that most of these are KMZ files I have exported to open in Google Earth and some GPX files to use in another app on my laptop bit it would be the same place I put other GPX files inf I wanted to import into the app).

Oruxmaps-2_zpscfvgx575.jpg.699e70a32006cb20f5074245bc7f8e7b.jpg

Oruxmaps-3_zpsgscniupk.jpg.d2936fb2f0322ae2b5f57b5c6a365d87.jpg

Not sure if any of this helps you BUT see if you can either find some GOOD FREE Garmin IMG base topo maps which you can actually use on the Montana or buy the best one for Arizona/New Mexico from Garmin.

https://www.google.ca/search?source=hp&q=garmin+topo+maps+arizona&oq=garmin+topo+maps+for+ari&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0i22i30k1.885.18635.0.20844.41.28.4.0.0.0.1355.8610.0j3j11j2j6-1j3.20.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..17.24.9098.0..0j35i39k1j0i131k1j33i160k1.0.JehOAPOB1Aw

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Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful replies! The trouble I was having with Basecamp was really just usability. The software is just not all that intuitive for a beginner, and the tutorials I watched didn't provide all that much help. Being new to GPS routing in general just means that my learning curve will be a little steeper for sure, and the maps I was downloading seemed to be very incomplete. I found a couple of websites that seem to fit the bill, along with a couple of OS X applications that I am hopeful could serve as a simplified version of Basecamp that can allow me to plan this trip the way that I want to. I prefer a native OS X application to anything that runs on a mobile device just because of personal preference, and as far as the Mac vs. Windows argument, all I'll say about that is that my Windows-based computers never went a year without crashing or having to reinstall the OS ;).

Here's what I'm going to be trying next:

Mac Apps:

Websites:

 

 

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2 hours ago, sundevil67 said:

Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful replies! The trouble I was having with Basecamp was really just usability. The software is just not all that intuitive for a beginner, and the tutorials I watched didn't provide all that much help. Being new to GPS routing in general just means that my learning curve will be a little steeper for sure, and the maps I was downloading seemed to be very incomplete. I found a couple of websites that seem to fit the bill, along with a couple of OS X applications that I am hopeful could serve as a simplified version of Basecamp that can allow me to plan this trip the way that I want to. I prefer a native OS X application to anything that runs on a mobile device just because of personal preference, and as far as the Mac vs. Windows argument, all I'll say about that is that my Windows-based computers never went a year without crashing or having to reinstall the OS ;).

Here's what I'm going to be trying next:

Mac Apps:

Websites:

 

 

As per your original post, you realize that IMO you need to buy the Garmin Topo map for your Garmin?

Then it was my understanding that you already most of your routes in GPX already BUT it sounds like you are looking for maps you use in base camp yo do this?

Then as I posted and for where I ride off road and use the GPS, I never pre plan my trips so using an ANY APP on any platform doesn't interest me.

Otherwise if you want some other good info, this will keep you busy for a few days :) I'm also filterx here.

http://advrider.com/index.php?forums/mapping-navigation.37/

Good luck and keep us posted on how it works out for you.

Edited by filterx

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2 hours ago, sundevil67 said:

Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful replies! The trouble I was having with Basecamp was really just usability. The software is just not all that intuitive for a beginner, and the tutorials I watched didn't provide all that much help. Being new to GPS routing in general just means that my learning curve will be a little steeper for sure, and the maps I was downloading seemed to be very incomplete. I found a couple of websites that seem to fit the bill, along with a couple of OS X applications that I am hopeful could serve as a simplified version of Basecamp that can allow me to plan this trip the way that I want to.

Post up your questions here and I'll try and answer them as best I can.  I've been using Basecamp for a few years now and find it works very well and allows me to do a ton of stuff with it very easily.

One of the things I really like about it is the ability to copy, chop up, rearrange and splice tracks back together as I choose.

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You're also talking about two different data sets.

GPX, KML, etc is your "user data" - things like tracks (digital breadcrumb trails), waypoints, and routes. 

This is the data Google Earth, LoadMyTracks, GPSBabel, etc deals with. 

i-VwFpBcp-L.jpg

 

The other data set is your mapset data.  This is what the user data is drawn on top of. 

These are your topo maps, street/CityNavigator maps, marine/depth charts.  Some other specialized ones.  BirdsEye imagery also sort of falls into this category, in how it's installed and managed on the device. 

These need Garmin's tools to install - whether you're sourcing them from Garmin (Topo, CityNavigator, or Bluechart marine maps) or some other 3rd-party (hunting maps, free resources like gpsfiledepot.com).  The maps have to be built and "installed" into the receiver through either BaseCamp, MapSource (obsolete), or MapManager/MapInstall. 

i-4CsHpr9-L.jpg

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On 9/18/2017 at 0:37 PM, SnowMule said:

Basecamp did seem awkward to me, the operation flow was real  weird.

 

Most of my GPS work is done on the Mac.  Just a few days ago I loaded a bunch of radio sites and marked out some access roads for a job coming up in a few weeks.

A few tools I use:

Google Earth Pro: Visualizing and creating/manipulating the data.  Waypoints ("Placemarks") and tracks ("Paths") are pretty straightforward to deal with.  Export the place/folder as KML.  Pro is a free tool now, and adds a few features (mostly GIS stuff) over the regular version.  No reason not to go with Pro.

GPSBabel: Extremely powerful tool for manipulating and converting the GPS files.  Also has tools for reading from and writing to GPS devices, like your Garmin.  Converts to/from just about every GIS file format, and hardware support for most major GPS receivers on serial and USB. 

TextWrangler: A text editor.  Syntax highlighting and section rolling-up makes for easier manual manipulation of the output files.  GPX is XML, and the text editing tools of TextWrangler (grep/pattern-matching and replacing) make cleaning those files up pretty easy.  Routes are an array of waypoints, if you want to create a route I usually mark out the waypoints/placemarks and hand-build/copy-paste the waypoints into a <rte>/<rtept> list.  Again, real easy with a grep search.

LoadMyTracks is another simple tool that's nice to have, but GPSBabel does the same thing.  Imports and exports GPX and KML files to/from the receiver.  That's it.

 

When it comes to building mapsets for the receiver, you're kind of stuck using garmin's tools.  I've got an old copy of MapManager/MapInstall that works, but it's still a really awkward two-step process.  Once the maps are built/installed, you can turn them on/off in the receiver and don't need those Garmin software tools anymore.

 

sendtogps-M.png

 

Screen%20shot%202013-08-10%20at%2000.44.

I love text wrangler. 

I don't understand why , in 2017, a software program is required to "install" maps. it's just a file, copy it to the sdcard and go. I know it started because of the extremely limited available memory on Garmin devices, vs the very large map fine sizes.... but in this day and age, and for the insane prices they're charging for a one-purpose only device, it should have enough room to store a continent.

the supplemental programs for changing track and file types.... I'm sorry, buy again it's 2017.... I just import the kmz/gpx to the application and GO, instead of fudging around with multiple programs to make the ancient devices happy. 

honestly, it's like watchin paint dry sometimes, I'll wonder how much fun could have been had instead of baby sitting all the extra needed programs. 

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On 9/19/2017 at 5:47 PM, CDNSXV said:

Post up your questions here and I'll try and answer them as best I can.  I've been using Basecamp for a few years now and find it works very well and allows me to do a ton of stuff with it very easily.

One of the things I really like about it is the ability to copy, chop up, rearrange and splice tracks back together as I choose.

Thanks for the offer! After trying a number of different products I've settled on a combination of 'Route Buddy' for OSX (well, for now at least), & Google Earth/Maps . By the way, just as a side note - anyone have any opinions on Avenza Maps? They seem to have lots of reasonably priced maps available, but it looks like they use a proprietary file format that severely limits what you can do with them outside of their application. 

It's kind of difficult to ask for & follow guidance in this format, but I'll try to keep it pretty generic - maybe we can start by just getting my destinations ("hubs" in Basecamp's Trip Planner) loaded into my Garmin unit, and then worry about adding the loops/trail rides after that. I am saving each of these locations as 'Google Places'... 

  1. How would you recommend getting those Google Places into the Trip Planner or just so they'll show up as destinations on my Garmin Montana 600? Should I go through Google Earth instead of standard Google Maps?

One really annoying part about adding hubs to Basecamp's Trip Planner is the inability to just paste coordinates into the main search field to add hubs to a trip. It seems as though if your destination doesn't have a presence on Yelp or a public street address, it's difficult or impossible to add...or maybe I'm missing something?

Thanks again for any guidance you can provide!

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15 minutes ago, sundevil67 said:

Thanks for the offer! After trying a number of different products I've settled on a combination of 'Route Buddy' for OSX (well, for now at least), & Google Earth/Maps . By the way, just as a side note - anyone have any opinions on Avenza Maps? They seem to have lots of reasonably priced maps available, but it looks like they use a proprietary file format that severely limits what you can do with them outside of their application. 

It's kind of difficult to ask for & follow guidance in this format, but I'll try to keep it pretty generic - maybe we can start by just getting my destinations ("hubs" in Basecamp's Trip Planner) loaded into my Garmin unit, and then worry about adding the loops/trail rides after that. I am saving each of these locations as 'Google Places'... 

  1. How would you recommend getting those Google Places into the Trip Planner or just so they'll show up as destinations on my Garmin Montana 600? Should I go through Google Earth instead of standard Google Maps?

One really annoying part about adding hubs to Basecamp's Trip Planner is the inability to just paste coordinates into the main search field to add hubs to a trip. It seems as though if your destination doesn't have a presence on Yelp or a public street address, it's difficult or impossible to add...or maybe I'm missing something?

Thanks again for any guidance you can provide!

Heres my take on Avenza PDF Reader which IMO is a great free app for both Android and Iphone BUT...

Firstly it only uses PDF GPS co-ordinated PDF trail maps for specific areas so its not like a Garmin base TOPO map which just gives you an overall topo map for say a whole state or provenience or country.

There is an area I go to and ride a couple of times are and the local dirt bike clud has put together GPS co-ordinated PDF trail maps for the 3 areas they manage and when joined the club for $20 they emailed me the maps.

Avenza app - Just about as easy as you can get and uses JUST the GPS on your phone to show you exactly where you are on the trail.

GPS co-ordinated PDF trail maps - Small in size (one map are for me is about 2MB) and its really just a PDF file so you can open it in Adobe Reader if you want want to look at it as per my pic below. Yes they are I guess prosperity cus I do not know of another app that uses GPS co-ordinated PDF maps and I have no idea what they cost do download from Avenza or what their trail maps look like but the 3 I have are awesome and for these specific areas and I can use just Avenza and the PDF map and know exactly where I am.

Full GPS co-ordinated PDF trail map in Adobe Reader on my laptop

Clipboard04444.jpg.540f782749591bbb5b67e1e11464fbbf.jpg

Then same map zoomed in Avenza on my phone which I usually run in flight mode for this area cus there is no cell service and round target shows your current location

Screenshot_2016-11-25-18-51-18.thumb.png.f79633899fb2aca3fdd7016f33e06b7e.png

 

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So after all of this prep work, I settled on RouteBuddy & thought I pretty much had it figured out. I bought one of their maps that covered the 'Arizona Trail', which encompassed the area where I was planning to ride. I did a final 'sync' with my Montana & headed out. Lesson #1 - check the device before you leave. When I got to the campsite & got ready to ride, I discovered that my routes were all messed up. The rides I'd planned had random names & were duplicated 4-5 times, making it impossible to scroll through the choices to find the right one. Many items I had loaded into RouteBuddy on my Mac were missing, including the @#@*$% map I'd purchased. So when all was said and done, the GPS turned out to be a semi-functional way to display my speed/altitude, and the amount of time left before sunset. I didn't use it for directions even once. When I tried to use it to navigate back from an unfamiliar spot, it was totally impossible. The glare from the sun made the display totally impossible to see while moving, which was a surprise. 

I'm left wondering why this particular model has been recommended again and again for dirt bike trail riding. I didn't stumble upon any mode or setting that would have made it something that could provide me with some navigational assistance while in motion. Either I will be able to figure out where I went wrong and be able to discover a way to use it for this & add a glare-reduction accessory, or just cut my losses and sell it on eBay along with the RAM mount.

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