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The last time I went out to ride some of the BDR tracks, I used an app on my iPhone called MapOut. I was skeptical to rely solely on a phone app but when a friend of mine rode the entire TransAm Trail with nothing but MapOut, I decided to give it a try. It worked great and does some things that our very expensive BMW Nav won't do. When I load up the track file from the BDR folks, it includes POI along the route. These aren't displayed on my Garmin (but are available for GOTO navigating) while they all show up automatically in MapOut. The app shows you the area through which your route goes and offers simple interface to download all the detailed maps you need into the phone so no cell service is needed.



It's really a lot easier to load tracks on the app than it is to break out Garmin Basecamp. You just email yourself the GPX file and when you select it on your phone, you get the choice to import it into MapOut. The photo above is a bit of the Mid-Atlantic BDR through PA as I was passing through Bald Eagle State Park on the BDR track.

If you have any interest in riding published ADV rides, then you'll almost certainly be using a track file. I've ridden over 10,000 miles of tracks on various bikes using my BMW Nav but I'll definitely be including this on my iPhone for any future ADV rides. It's easy, reliable, and very very inexpensive.
 

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Bike&Ski
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Thanks for this. Very good to hear. I'm one of those who gets along ok with Basecamp, but the resolution and lack of info available on the Nav V drives me crazy. It looks like you can record and edit tracks on MapOut, which is something I do often in Basecamp. Question: I have heard about vibration causing phone damage. Any input on that from GrayBeard or others? Thanks.
 

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Thanks for this. Very good to hear. I'm one of those who gets along ok with Basecamp, but the resolution and lack of info available on the Nav V drives me crazy. It looks like you can record and edit tracks on MapOut, which is something I do often in Basecamp. Question: I have heard about vibration causing phone damage. Any input on that from GrayBeard or others? Thanks.
I've had a couple of Apple charging cords go bad on me but I've put a lot of miles on bikes with this phone mount I got off Amazon:


No problems with my phones.
 
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Thanks for this. Very good to hear. I'm one of those who gets along ok with Basecamp, but the resolution and lack of info available on the Nav V drives me crazy. It looks like you can record and edit tracks on MapOut, which is something I do often in Basecamp. Question: I have heard about vibration causing phone damage. Any input on that from GrayBeard or others? Thanks.
Regarding phone damage, my iphone is mounted via a Ram mount and is my travel companion. It has taken a pounding over the years as does my MacBook Air and both still operate without any issues. I will remove the phone if I am going through a rock garden or water crossing and put it in my tank bag and like to have it tethered also. The one time I didn't tether, my inReach ended up AWOL in Mexico. I like that mount that GrayBeard linked and might add that to my collection.
 

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I get really confused on Track vs Route. What are the pros and cons of each?
Is a gpx file always a Track?
Then it gets converted to a Route?
I see both in my basecamp from imported gpx files.
Thanks
 

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I get really confused on Track vs Route. What are the pros and cons of each?
Is a gpx file always a Track?
Then it gets converted to a Route?
I see both in my basecamp from imported gpx files.
Thanks
Yes you are right. The track you just follow. The route will give you turn by turn voice prompts. Or that is at least my understanding. I haven't used tracks much over the years but I want to do the MABDR so I have it as a track and a route on my nav 6. Guess i'll have to experiment.
 

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I get really confused on Track vs Route. What are the pros and cons of each?
Is a gpx file always a Track?
Then it gets converted to a Route?
I see both in my basecamp from imported gpx files.
Thanks
I am not an expert but can give you some examples from my experience using Basecamp and a Nav V. If I am going to do a mostly road ride on the GS, or maintained dirt roads, I will create it as a route from the beginning because in Basecamp its pretty easy to click along the route and have it follow the existing roads. And as noted by others it will then give you turn by turn directions. With a route, if you have auto recalculate turned on, and you go off course, it will recalculate to the next waypoint using the preferences you've established such as avoiding highways or using only twisty roads. For this reason you need to insert multiple waypoints so you can maintain as much of the original route as possible. I have auto recalculate turned off at all times and would rather figure my preferred way back to the original even if it means turning around. If you get a *.gpx from someone and load it into Basecamp and then to the Nav V, it will go in as a track and then you have the option of creating a route from it to get turn by turn. If I'm going out on the GS or my smaller bike for roads plus dual or single track, I will either 1) Upload a gpx to Basecamp and then to Nav V and I will leave it as a track and follow along. Converting to a route may not work if the specific dual/single track section isn't contained in the Garmin database. Or 2) I will go out and freestyle a path exploring various roads and tracks. When I get home, I load that recorded track into Basecamp and can clean up the turnarounds, dead ends, unnecessary road sections etc and then I have a clean track to do again or share with friends.
 

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I get really confused on Track vs Route. What are the pros and cons of each?
Is a gpx file always a Track?
Then it gets converted to a Route?
I see both in my basecamp from imported gpx files.
Thanks
A track (GPX file) is a list of GPS coordinates. You can open the list with any text editor to check it out. This is why it is independent of any map product. It can be imported as is into most GPS devices and will just display as a line (the connection between the GPS points being determined by their order in the list). Some devices can recognize the direction from one point to the next and give very crude directional voice information but without any reference to actual road names etc. I like to navigate with tracks because the track is cast in stone by the time I upload it from Basecamp and there won’t be any funny rerouting business that you can get with routes. Tracks are also essential when sections of a road are not known to the GPS map. This is the case for some BDR tracks.

Routes are of course nice when you stay on pavement and go fast. Knowing that a turn is half a mile ahead and the name of the road is preferable compared to tracks where you have to guess distance from the map and based on your zoom level. But it’s crucial that you use the same map for planning and routing and that no waypoints are slightly off the highway, which can happen when an imported GPX doesn’t exactly line up with the highway information of the map. Otherwise you may get the dreaded “make a legal uturn” or worse, it will make you exit the interstate and go back the opposite lane because this is where the next waypoint is...
It is possible to use both the track (colored line overlaid onto the map) and the route. This way if the route is starting to reroute or make a false turn you will see it and can decide to just follow the track instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tracks vs routes:

As mentioned in this web page, routes are preferred when you want to reach your destination and you're willing to leave it up to the GPS to determine how you get there. BMW Nav units have configurations that tell the GPS your preferences (fastest time, shortest route, include dirt roads or not, etc) but it's the GPS algorithm that determines the path you'll take to get to your destination.

Tracks are used when it's very important that you exactly follow an intended way to get from here to there. They are typically created by taking the breadcrumb points (tracks) from the GPS of someone that previous created and rode that particular way to get from here to there. It's for that reason that they are very popular among adventure riders that will spend time in places not typically used by the routing algorithms of GPS units. It's said that if you're following a published track that you can be sure that someone has ridden that exact way to follow before. Now, that doesn't insure that it's passable or still open for travel. Forest roads change, land owners change their minds about traffic through their land, roads get washed out - by hey, that's why they call it an adventure.

GPX files are a typical way to export and share GPS information and can include tracks as well as Points of Interest (POI). If you go to the source of a publisher, RideBDR.com for example, you'll find that the adventure rides they publish will be in the form of a GPX file that includes a track per suggested day of riding and POIs along the way. If you look at the screen shot I posted in my first post, all of that data on the map is from a single GPX file for the Mid-Atlantic BDR. You can see that it also included notes about waypoints for turns, gas, food, lodging, etc.

Hope this helps. If you're going to use your GS the way the designers intended and really take the road less traveled to adventure, you'll end up getting pretty proficient with loading and using track data and maybe you'll take some adventures and publish your own track that you took so that others can enjoy your ride. If you upload the tracks from your GPS into Garmin Basecamp, the software allows you to do some very limited editing of your track files before you publish them. If there's interest in that, I'll point up some examples of rides I've stitched together; cleaned up the resulting track in Basecamp; and have a track that I'm happy to share.
 

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After years of riding dirt bikes and street only bikes I picked up a used 2012 1200 GS and have been having a blast. I wanted to plan some rides that include the least straight highways and the best scenery so I got a Garmin Zumo. I found great youtube that shows how to plan your track in google maps (mymapps) and then pull it into Basecamp, convert to a route and import ot the Zumo. Works great and has allowed me to discover some great rides. Here is the link
. Enjoy
 
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