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Hi All,

One thing on my bucket list is to do the Trans America Trail.

Does anyone on the forum use a GPS that works well with downloaded GPX files. The TAT is mapped out on GPX files and the user is supposed to put them on the GPS for navigation. On line, there are so many options and so many bad reviews....it is intimidating.

I am hoping someone on here has first-hand experience with a good unit and can make a recommendation.

Thank you,
Ray
 

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I have loaded gpx files containing routes, waypoints, or POIs on my Zumo 590LM numerous times. I usually use Basecamp (free software from Garmin) to send the files to my 590 but other software can be used as well as copy/paste.

I believe, no personal experience, the Zumo 395 (mentioned above) and 595 are the same.
 

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We (7 other guys and I) rode the MABDR this September, guided by downloaded gpx. files into my Zumo 590, a handheld Montana(?) Garmin gps, and several BMW gps devices. I think all of them were Garmin, the BMW units are simply rebranded.

Note that the files might consist of tracking points, and not waypoints. We had to disable the recalculate feature because our files used the former. If you stray from the route with the 'recalculate route' turned on, the gps will try to take you to the next waypoint or end ignoring the tracking points. With a route loaded showing only tracking points, it is up to you to stay on the route. If you stray off it, you will see the magenta line drifting away from your motorcycle icon.

I suspect that the problems encountered by many people stem from not knowing the ins and outs of their gps device, not the downloaded files. (Drop me into that group as well.) The BMW units have some nice features not found on the Garmin 590, but all will do the job.
 

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You need to understand the difference between a route and a track.

GPS normal operation is to calculate a route based on routing- (or way-) points strung together and the routing in between these points is calculated by the GPS based on the map installed and the routing calculation parameters selected.

Now this works reasonably well on simple routes on normal roads but not when doing complicated routes.

The only way to be sure to follow the desired route is by loading a track onto the GPS device. The track is like a line drawn on a map. It does not change and is not affected by device re-calculation! You will want to look for a GPS unit that allows both routing and showing tracks. Most of the before mentioned GPS units do that.

I use a 590 and for normal on road trips typically save the route waypoints AND the track file. Then while riding if I (or the GPS recalculation) digress from the predetermined route I see the track line on the map diverging from the routing line and can decide where I like to go or find my way back to the original roads I intended to ride.

EDIT: I should add that most maps are not perfect in showing off-road roads and consequently the GPS using them may not properly calculate the route that was made up on a computer. Thus having the track that shows what route you actually want to ride will help in those situations, where the GPS wants to send you to a highway while you actually want to head for the mountains.


NEVA20 Rally: Catskills NY - Cooperstown - Woodstock
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I have found that the old Zumo 550 with its much larger capacity (than later 590's) to accomodate waypoints, is an excellent unit to cover a route of that type. I say that because I also own a 590 and while it is a better unit overall, its capacity to only accomodate some 30+ waypoints per route is pathetic. The older unit can hold 500 waypoints but from memory up to 200 in one route.
 

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Here in OZ we can get topographic maps for the Garmin Zumo's can you guys ?

Topo's can make getting off the well worn tracks safer & easier.

I love my Zumo's, they are tough & reliable, the better I have gotten at using them the more fun they are.

Some of the most enjoyable rides I've had have come when I blindly followed the Zumo into the unknown.

We recently had a Vstrom gathering and I guided a ride through some of the local forest, just programming in take the shortest route had us on some great black top roads & fun fire trails, we got to see part of the county you would never know existed.
 
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