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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I found this info over on ADV Rider, posted a member named Yinzer Moto. The credit for the idea goes to him. It solved some longstanding issues with using a car based Garmin Nuvi GPS as an adventure riding GPS, and I thought it was worthwhile to share on here with anyone else who still uses a Garmin. If you’re interested in the original thread, it’s here: Using a Garmin Nuvi as an ADV GPS

In spite of advances in tech, I still use an old automobile based Garmin Nuvi 2455LM as a navigation aid (no, I’m not a Luddite, I also have OSMand on my phone). I like it, I’m comfortable with how it works, and it’s been dead on reliable for the past 50,000 or so miles on the bike. An added benefit is that they’re cheap; I just picked up another one on eBay for $14.00.

They have a big disadvantage when it comes to navigating things like the MABDR or the TAT; they can’t read a GPX track, the way an eTrex or GPSMAP78 does. So when you download an already prepared gpx track like the MABDR, they’re pretty much useless. I also don’t like the rerouting feature (that can’t be turned off) when you’re using a turn by turn gpx route; miss a waypoint and the GPS will sometimes route you in a giant circle miles out of your way, just to get you back to a waypoint that was just a little bit too far off the road for the GPS to recognize it. If you’re trying to follow a very specific route, like the MABDR, you really don’t want a GPS trying to route you out to a highway if you miss a waypoint. Yinzer Moto’s process avoids all that; with it, you can have the route highlighted on the GPS as a colored line that you don’t interact with, just like an actual track. If you get off course, or you want to ride around a portion of the route, you can still see the original route and find your way back to it without the GPS trying to recalculate it. You can also have multiple routes visible on the screen at once, so you can see both the main route, and any side routes and expert routes all at once; that’s not possible with the turn by turn directions you get with a regular gpx route. Here’s how it works.

You have to start off with a gpx track, and not a gpx route. The routes are the kinds of things that are generated if you plan a ride using MyRoute or Furkot, where you get turn by turn directions. If you plan your ride on one of those programs, you’ll have to convert it on Basecamp into a route before this process can work. It’s handy to know how to do that, because you can change the color of the track on Basecamp into a color that you can see easily on the screen, like green. I won’t go into the Basecamp thing here, unless someone has a burning desire to know. For something like the MABDR, it’s already a track so you can skip this step.

So, if you download the MABDR track from their website onto your desktop. It’ll look something like this:


I renamed the file to “MABDR Complete” so I could differentiate it from other MABDR files I’ve been messing around with.

For the next step, you’ll need some free software called IMGfromGPX. It’s available here: JaVaWa GPS-tools | IMGfromGPX

Once you download that and open the program, you’ll see this:


Make sure the block labeled “Include creation of gmapsupp.img file” is checked.

Now, drag and drop your gpx track file onto the window from the IMGfromGPX program. The arrow in the next photo shows where it should be.


Now, give the file a name in the “Name on computer” and “Name on device” blocks. I just give it the same name as the one I dragged and dropped into this window.


Once you do that, hit the “Create map” button.


You’ll get a window popup that says “Browse For Folder”, where you can decide where to put the files generated by this process. Decide where you want them, and hit “OK”.

A window will pop up that says “Creating map”. When the window pops up that says “The map is created”, hit the “OK” button.


The process always generates three items: two folders (one with a .gmap suffix and one with _reg suffix) and an img file labeled “gmapsupp”. If you download them to the desktop, sometimes they aren’t all grouped together and you have to hunt for them. It doesn’t really matter though, since you don’t use those folders for anything; all you want is the gmapsupp image file. I just delete the folders. This is what the folders look like, with the red arrow pointing to the one you want to keep.


Once you have the gmapsupp.img file, rename it to something distinctive. The name you give it here is the name it will eventually show up as when you load it onto the GPS.


Now, plug your GPS into the computer. Once your computer recognizes it, click on the GPS (in my case a Nuvi 2455), and you’ll get a window showing the internal and memory card storage on the GPS.


Click on the Internal Storage and look for a folder called “Map”. If you don’t see one in either the internal memory or the memory card, then create one. Mine is in the internal memory.


Open the folder named “Map” and drag the .img file into that folder.


Now disconnect your GPS from the computer and turn it on. When you get to the home screen, hit “Settings.


That will take you to the next screen. Click on “Map and Vehicle”.


That will take you to the next screen, where you want to scroll down to the bottom where it says “My Maps”. Click on that.


If all went well, you’ll see your newly created image file in the list of maps. Make sure the block is checked, otherwise the image won’t show up on the screen.


Now, go to “View Map” on the home screen of the GPS and slide the map around until you find the map you just created. In the case of the MABDR, it starts just to the west of Galax, VA.

The below image is a photo of the Nuvi screen and shows what this img file looks like on the screen. The photo shows the area near Harper’s Ferry, WV. The green line is the MABDR, and the yellow lines show both the Antietam Battlefield side route and the Harper’s Ferry route bypass. If you wanted, you could use Basecamp make every segment of the MABDR a different color, or change the colors of the routes. You can have multiple routes all on the screen at the same time.


Here’s another section of the MABDR, which shows one of the expert sections intersecting the main route.


These are basically image overlays over the main map. On the Nuvi, they act similar to a track on something like an eTrex; you can’t interact with them, but you can follow them. If you get off the route, the image doesn’t change, so it’s easy to find the original route and navigate back to it. If you have to leave the track, like riding to a motel for instance, you can drop a waypoint when you leave the track and then navigate back to the exact point you left it. One of the best parts about this is that it’s obvious when you get off track, because you can’t see it under your vehicle icon any more. If you turn off on the wrong side road, it’s obvious that you went the wrong way (unlike the turn by turn route, where you can meander for a while down the wrong road while the GPS tries to find a new way to get to your next waypoint).

I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re still a user of some of the older GPS tech, this can really expand the usefulness of an automobile based Garmin. Since it involves some extra steps beyond the usual process of creating a turn by turn route on MyRoute and loading it onto the Nuvi or phone, I wouldn’t do it for every single ride, but it does present some distinct advantages over the turn by turn routes I created for the MABDR last year.

This seems complicated at first; it did to me when I first read the thread on ADV Rider. I distilled all the info from that thread into these photos, to make the process easier than reading through all six pages. Once I worked through the steps, it's actually fairly straightforward.
 

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My nuvi will not give instructions via bluetooth will yours ?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to add this to the earlier post.

It is possible to add a turn by turn gpx route on top of the map overlay of the track. It actually can give you turn by turn directions that follow along the map overlay. I did it just as an experiment to see what it would look like. The photo on the left shows what it looks like when you do this. The purple line is the turn by turn navigation line from the gpx route.



The photo on the right illustrates another advantage of the map overlay. When you use a turn by turn route, you can only see as far as the next waypoint along the route; you can't see the whole route when you're navigating. The photo on the left shows how the turn by turn route stops at the waypoint, but the green line of the map overlay continues on. If you zoomed out on the GPS, you can see the entire route all the way to the end. Being able to see the whole route would make it easier if you decided to deviate from the track to go into a town for gas, for instance; you'd be able to see how close the route came to the town, even when you were a hundred miles away.
 
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