Doing the track thing

While preparing for the TAT ride, I’ve been creating gpx files containing trackpoints for navigation.   However, the Garmin Nuvi 760 doesn’t know what to do with a gpx file containing trackpoints, so it just ignores it.   When uploading the file to the gps, it tells you that the upload was successful, but it wasn’t.   The file isn’t there.   That’s annoying.   If the upload process is smart enough to determine that it can’t   handle files containing trackpoints, then it’s also smart enough to tell me that it can’t handle them.   Sloppy (or lazy) programming seems to be the culprit here.

To use the handcrafted tracks on the 760, you have to convert them to routes.   I wrote a small script to do that (a gpx file is just an xml file with some special element names) and now the 760 accepts them and navigates the route without complaint.

But it isn’t a track, it’s a route, and gps devices like to recalculate routes to fit their own idea of how you should get from A to B.   With enough trackpoints (now routepoints) you can prevent that, but I shouldn’t have to.   I need a gps that understands, uses, and navigates TRACKS.

I found one and it seems to fit the bill in almost every way.   The unit is the DeLorme PN-40.   Most everything that Garmin does to annoy it’s customers, DeLorme handles better or just avoids the problem in the first place.   What do I mean?   I mean having to buy (or find on the net) the program to create routes on your pc/mac and then upload them to the gps.   I mean having to use an unlock code to make the maps work.   Hopefully you’ll never have a pc/mac computer fail, or have to replace a hard drive, because you’ll have to pony up for a new unlock code to use the maps you already bought.   You can install the maps on multiple laptops, but what if you have more than one gps?   This unlock code, serial number checking crap is a real annoyance to customers.   Do you hear me Garmin?   What if you lose the gps itself?   On the trail that is a distinct possibility.   So, that’s not Garmin’s fault.   But you can’t use the maps on your laptop because they’re unlocked only to one gps – the one you lost.   And the cycle starts over – if you let it.   OK, rant over.

I’m not going to buy a DeLorme for the first part of the TAT trip, because it doesn’t make sense to switch navigation devices this close to departure.   But for the western TAT next year, count on it.   Garmin has seen the last $ from me.

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