Monday, April 11, 2011

GPS Goodies

In my previous GPS post, I wrote about a Christmas present from my wife that is quite useful for those of us who have a propensity to get lost, but who won't ask for directions.  I fit in with most men on that last point, I'm told.  Technology came to my rescue in the form of a Garmin GPS.

I am working on the step-by-step instructions to get a route into the unit, and on getting the track made during a ride out of it, but meanwhile, here is a listing of useful goodies for the user of a GPS. 

These websites will answer almost any question you may have, and provide software to do almost anything you can think of. 


Basic Must-Have Software:

Your GPS may have come with some software.  However, according to Tom on his Random Connections blog, there are three other tools that "EVERYONE ought to have." ...and they are free!

I quote Tom's advice here:
  • EasyGPS - This is a great tool for creating and organizing GPX files.  In addition to being able to save these files, you can transfer selected locations directly to the GPS via cable.  You can view and edit POIs, tracks, and routes.  There is also a geocaching mode.  EasyGPS works with most GPS units, both automotive and handheld.
  • GPSBabel - If your GPS unit uses something other than GPX files, GPSBabel is essential.  It can convert just about any type of GPS file from one type to another.  It’s also very handy for converting Google Earth files into GPX files for GPS units.  More on that later.
  • Google Earth - Given the HUGE number of resources available for this program, it only makes sense to include it.  Google Earth can read GPX files so that you can view your tracks and locations on a map, however, the free version doesn’t write GPX files.  That’s where GPSBabel comes in.  You can take any placemark in Google Earth, save it to a KML file, then use GPSBabel to convert the file to something your GPS understands.
Other Resources: 

Other GPS Postings:

Route, Track, Conversion Tools, and Other Useful Goodies:
(Shamelessly stolen from DRZ Charlie's mashup over at the ADVRider Forum.) 

Data/Language conversion tools to convert from one format to another.
Address to Coordinate converter
POI Converters
GPX File Repositories
Route to Track Conversion Tutorials
Track and WayPoint Converters
The following Web sites allow you to plot your GPX data on a Web map:
Online Gpx Applications

Multiple Platform Support
Combine multiple mapsets into one file without the need to run MapSource.
  • GMAPTOOL Note* you will need to un-rar this file with an un-rar tool
Data in GPX form is available at the following Web sites:
Macintosh GPX Software
GPX-enabled software for Mobile Phones and PocketPC and Palm PDAs:
Online Route Planners
Free (legal) Map Resources
Flying Google Earth - How to
Books and resources




bobskoot said...


I really wanted to know how to do this but I am "lost". It's too complex to even consider looking into. I have a Garmin 265WT & 265W. All I want to do is take a map from Google Maps and put it into my GPS as a route. Simple for you buy Mount Everest for me

You have too much information to even attempt this simple "to you" operation

Riding the Wet Coast

Bucky said...

The 265WT and 265W do not support routes. Therefore, you cannot create a route either using the GPS itself or in Google maps and download it into the GPS.
I am working on a post to explain how to do what you want, but the GPS must support routes.

bluekat said...

Wow Bucky,that's quite a resource you've built there! Alas I still use paper maps, but some day...

irondad said...

And all I wanted to do was go for a ride. You've put a lot of effort into this list. Most likely something I can use here. Thanks.