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Best Garmin model - that does routing - for 400km-1200km brevets?

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Best Garmin model - that does routing - for 400km-1200km brevets?

Old 03-14-19, 08:33 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Yeah. Also, anecdotally, the Garmin appears to read/process these better (faster?) than if the routes don't line up.
The 520 just displays the map. The 520+ actually uses the map.
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Old 03-14-19, 08:48 AM
  #52  
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Thank you to @atwl77 and especially @njkayaker for the very helpful advice.

So, I did a test ride this morning into work with the basemap disabled (this is what I meant by "turning mapping off"), turn guidance OFF, and course points ON. Major improvement. Course Point distance is fine and works as expected.

However, I've run into the problem described in this thread on Garmin forums: "Location at Next" [Next Point] is a blank field. This is infuriating and nearly a deal-breaker for me. This used to work fine in 500s by reading the next line in the .tcx file, but according to this thread,

"It seems that the data field Location at Next interacts with base maps (which doesn't seem to make much sense)."
Very annoying. My last hope is to re-enable the basemap, and perhaps something will 'click' such that I will get Location at Next? I'll have to wait until the commute home to test this.
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Old 03-14-19, 10:43 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
Thank you to @atwl77 and especially @njkayaker for the very helpful advice.
So, I did a test ride this morning into work with the basemap disabled (this is what I meant by "turning mapping off");
The 520+ comes with two maps: a world basemap with little detail and a detailed "Garmin Cycle" map. Disabling the basemap won't do anything. Disabling the detailed map might make the map screen updates faster (but nothing else).

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
However, I've run into the problem described in this thread on Garmin forums: "Location at Next" [Next Point] is a blank field. This is infuriating and nearly a deal-breaker for me. This used to work fine in 500s by reading the next line in the .tcx file, but according to this thread,

"It seems that the data field Location at Next interacts with base maps (which doesn't seem to make much sense)."
Very annoying. My last hope is to re-enable the basemap, and perhaps something will 'click' such that I will get Location at Next? I'll have to wait until the commute home to test this.
On the 800, the "location at next" only displayed the next calculated turn (from "turn guidance"). I suspect that might be true for any units that use maps. (I'll have to check the 1030...)

I suspect the "Location at Next" will never work (that thread was from 4 years ago).

=========================

The 520+ uses maps. The 520 just displays them.

The 520 (not the +) seems to be a bit of an odd beast. It has some "use map" features but they don't seem to do anything. It's seems more like a hobbled 520+ rather than an upgrade of the 500. That is, the 520 appears to have been developed from the code branch for the units that use maps. If that's the case, looking at the 500 to understand how the 520/520+ works might not be completely helpful.


Keep in mind that the 520 and 520+ are different.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:29 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The 520+ comes with two maps: a world basemap with little detail and a detailed "Garmin Cycle" map. Disabling the basemap won't do anything. Disabling the detailed map might make the map screen updates faster (but nothing else).



On the 800, the "location at next" only displayed the next calculated turn (from "turn guidance"). I suspect that might be true for any units that use maps. (I'll have to check the 1030...)

I suspect the "Location at Next" will never work (that thread was from 4 years ago).

=========================

The 520+ uses maps. The 520 just displays them.

The 520 (not the +) seems to be a bit of an odd beast. It has some "use map" features but they don't seem to do anything. It's seems more like a hobbled 520+ rather than an upgrade of the 500. That is, the 520 appears to have been developed from the code branch for the units that use maps. If that's the case, looking at the 500 to understand how the 520/520+ works might not be completely helpful.


Keep in mind that the 520 and 520+ are different.
Thanks again for the helpful distinction. So according to your post, then even though I'm disabling maps, my 520+ unit will always use them in the background?

In this case, my next test will be:

Disabling base map / detailed map
Turn Guidance ON
Course Points ON

I basically want the unit to dig into its banks and give me the Location at Next, without having anything displayed besides the breadcrumb.

Last edited by seajaye; 03-14-19 at 11:32 AM. Reason: "it's" to "its"... i should proofread first.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:05 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
...then even though I'm disabling maps, my 520+ unit will always use them in the background?
No. If you disable them, they won't be used (it's close to just deleting the files).

The unit also won't use the maps (beyond displaying them) when you disable "turn guidance".

The issue is that you think "things" are happening when you disable the maps. That isn't the case.

====================

The basemap is only used to display. It doesn't have enough information to be used for anything else. The basemap is used at low zoom levels (it makes displaying the map to the screen much faster) and it provides some information for regions the detailed maps don't cover (this can be useful if you are reviewing maps/courses for a foreign trip). The basemap isn't required but it's nice to have.

The detailed map provides more information to display.

It's also used when "turn guidance" is enabled. The detailed map is also used to display the name of the road you are on and the name of the upcoming cross street. It isn't used for anything else!

The file you copy to the unit is just a list of points that describes the turns and curves of your intended path. There aren't any "navigational hints" in it (ignore "course points" for a moment).

When you load a course with "turn guidance" enabled, the Garmin moves along the track and uses the map to determine what roads the track appears to follow. It actually creates a second track and a list of turns (this is what the "calculating" is doing. This process is fairly computationally intensive (it's a lot of work). The 520+ is kind of under-powered for this (the 820 might be too).

Once it creates this second route, it doesn't use the map. (It will use the map if you have "recalculation" enabled and go off course.)

====================

"Course points" are basically waypoints along the track. They were originally created to provide some sort of turn instructions for units that did not have maps.

The Garmin knows you are along the track and knows which course points are ahead (and behind) you. When you get close to the next course point ahead of you, the unit will show a pop-up.

Since, by default, they are located at the turns, they are kind of weak for turn instructions. They also are more sensitive to differences between the planning map and the real world. (On my 800, the course points often were announced after I made the turn.)

====================

The best way to use these things for navigation is to be sure to keep an eye on the map. That often lets you know about turns before they are announced but it also lets you recover more quickly if you miss a turn or it doesn't work.

The "turn instructions" ("turn guidance" or "course points") are nice to have but they don't always work.

Your location along the track will always* work and be accurate (unless the unit is really broken).

* yes, you can lose GPS signal and things won't be quite accurate but that is usually temporary.

I use the map a lot to navigate (even when not using "turn guidance"). I'd like you to have the benefits of the map whether or not you use "turn guidance".

====================

If you have any sort of technical bent, I'd suggest looking what a TCX file contains (notepad++ is a good program to use).

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-14-19 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 03-15-19, 04:51 AM
  #56  
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No love here for the 1030? External battery pack giving 40hrs runtime?
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Old 03-15-19, 06:51 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
No love here for the 1030? External battery pack giving 40hrs runtime?
The 1030 seems to get a significant improvement over the 1000. A big screen is a big benefit for using the map. Beyond that, it works very similarly to other units as far as navigation goes. It's not cheap (the battery is expensive). If one is ok with the price, it's a reasonable choice. But there are significantly cheaper alternatives (mostly lacking the nice big screen).

The lines on the map are a bit too thin.

I just got the head unit; I haven't used it enough to know how well it works. But it seems to work fine so far. (There were some issues when the unit was released but those seem to be mostly resolved.)
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Old 03-15-19, 01:04 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post

I use the map a lot to navigate (even when not using "turn guidance"). I'd like you to have the benefits of the map whether or not you use "turn guidance".

====================

If you have any sort of technical bent, I'd suggest looking what a TCX file contains (notepad++ is a good program to use).
Dissecting a .tcx file sounds fun, I will do that today. I've messed more with the map settings, and somehow even with the detailed map ON, Turn Guidance ON, when I loaded my test commute route again, it didn't give me anything besides "Riding South" etc. Perhaps I loaded the course previously without mapping, so therefore it did not do its own "homework" and left a blank track for itself. Maybe if I delete the course, put it back on my unit, and then load it with the map enabled, it will do the behind the scenes calculation?

I won't have much time to test further before tomorrow's 200k (yes yes, I know, shake down your equipment before events), but I know at the very least, I can keep the breadcrumb trail and pay attention to the cue sheet.

Does anyone have any old 500s they've since replaced? I gave mine to my partner who is doing her first road race tomorrow...
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Old 03-15-19, 01:33 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
Perhaps I loaded the course previously without mapping, so therefore it did not do its own "homework" and left a blank track for itself. Maybe if I delete the course, put it back on my unit, and then load it with the map enabled, it will do the behind the scenes calculation?
No, it doesn't work like that. There's no magic voodoo information stored in the file.

The FIT files in \Garmin\Courses just contain track points (and course points, if the original file had them).

When you select a course for navigation with "turn guidance" enabled, that's when the Garmin will use the map to calculate the second route.

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
I've messed more with the map settings, and somehow even with the detailed map ON, Turn Guidance ON, when I loaded my test commute route again, it didn't give me anything besides "Riding South" etc.
I'm not sure what is going on. "Messed more" doesn't give me much assurance. The Garmin forums don't seem to indicate that other people are having the issues you are having. Where are you getting the route? Maybe, PM me with a link to it,

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-15-19 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 03-18-19, 08:59 AM
  #60  
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The commuting test that failed:
  • Basemap ON
  • Turn Guidance ON
  • Course Points ON
  • .tcx file created in RWGPS
When it would calculate, it would cycle from 0% - 99% and then end up with a "Route Calculation Error". That was pretty frustrating.

After chatting with a Garmin rep, they suggested I use Garmin Connect to create my course. So, I imported the RWGPS files for the 200k (2 files, approx 100k each) into GC and had both sets on my unit. I also realized that the 520+ has loads of storage space, so I also put Openfietsmaps for my region as well as the basemap.

This set up worked to navigate me around the 200k pretty flawlessly:
  • Basemap ON, Openfietsmap ON
  • Turn Guidance ON
  • Course Points ON
  • .tcx created with Garmin Connect
It is interesting to note that when I loaded the RWGPS files using the above settings, it didn't do any calculation and wouldn't give me "Turn Directions", only "Course Points". When I loaded the GC version, everything worked as expected.

Going forward, I'm going to make sure to import all created files into GC before loading onto unit.

It seems important to load the course after having acquired GPS signal, which is something I never thought about with the 500. .Also, the calculation time wasn't nearly as bad as when I first got the unit, but switching courses when I first got to a controle seemed sufficient.

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions!
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Old 03-18-19, 09:13 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
The commuting test that failed:
  • Basemap ON
  • Turn Guidance ON
  • Course Points ON
  • .tcx file created in RWGPS
When it would calculate, it would cycle from 0% - 99% and then end up with a "Route Calculation Error". That was pretty frustrating.
The Basemap doesn't have any (or enough) detail to do routing. It's certain to fail to be able to calculate a route.

The basemap only contains major roads (like highways), The map needs to include all of the roads the track is following for the routing calculation to work at all.

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
After chatting with a Garmin rep, they suggested I use Garmin Connect to create my course.
If this helped, it's a random "magic" effect. The route planners just create a list of track points.

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
This set up worked to navigate me around the 200k pretty flawlessly:
  • Basemap ON, Openfietsmap ON
  • Turn Guidance ON
  • Course Points ON
  • .tcx created with Garmin Connect
Ah, it was this.

Route calculation on the 520 (not the +) is kind of weird because it doesn't come with maps that can be used for routing.

So, it appears that the 520 has the route calculation software (there were some hints that it did a while ago).

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
.tcx created with Garmin Connect
You can look at the contents of these files to see if there's actually any magic being added by Garmin Connect.

(If you can, I'd love to see the files produced by these. PM me, maybe.)

Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
It seems important to load the course after having acquired GPS signal, which is something I never thought about with the 500. .A!
This is true for all the units that do route calculation. It's odd. The 500 isn't doing route calculation.

I suspect that one reason for this requirement is so that the unit can offer the option of calculating a route to the start of the course.

The navigation doesn't work without GPS (so this requirement seems moot).

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-18-19 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 03-18-19, 10:25 AM
  #62  
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I looked at the files.

GC doesn't appear to provide an export as TCX (I only see GPX and FIT). I think it used to be there, even fairly recently.

One can get the TCX the following way (but it doesn't include course points):

https://connect.garmin.com/proxy/cou...ourse/22968035

The tracks (as expected) are almost exact. The Garmin TCX file has a defect on Duryea road (north of Reading) that doesn't appear in the FIT file.

There are some differences in the file but nothing that would matter at all.

RWGPS provides elevation. The Garmin TCX file doesn't (maybe, one can get the elevation another way). The Garmin has speed data (but it's all zero).

==========================

The "turn guidance" (big white arrows) requires an accurate track and a map on the device that has the roads the track follows. The process doesn't use any other "mysterious" information.

The process can generally handle places where the track doesn't exactly follow the roads in the installed track. (Keep in mind that the route calculation was originally intended to process tracks from recorded rides, which are kind of messy).

GPX, TCX, and FIT all contain the same track point data. They all work equivalently for "turn guidance".
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Old 05-13-19, 04:18 PM
  #63  
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I'll probably be picking up an Edge 530 once they are out in the wild as it addresses most of my gripes with my 520.
Battery saver mode, map scrolling, faster processing, and external battery support.
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Old 05-14-19, 09:00 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
No love here for the 1030? External battery pack giving 40hrs runtime?
A bit late on this, but thought I'd chime in on the 1030.

All this while I've been using a 1030, but knowing Garmin's reputation, also had a 520 as backup in case something happened to the 1030. The 1030 is set to record the entire ride (i.e. hit start at the beginning, and only hit stop and save once I complete), while on the 520 I'd start and stop a new ride at every control. But on last month's 300k I decided to go full 1030 and left the 520 at home, because it had been reliable all this while and never let me down (touch wood).

Speaking of battery life, I completed my 300k in 15h 31m and my battery was down to 27%. So in theory this would extrapolate to around 20h battery life, and the 40h with external pack is probably accurate as well. This was with minimal battery-saving tricks. The only thing I did to save battery was to have a relatively minimal main page (just speed, cadence, distance and heart rate), and only swipe to other pages as necessary to read certain information and then change back to the main one. No power saver mode, 1s interval recordings, so I imagine with those additional tricks battery life would be somewhat longer.

The big screen is really nice if you need to read things on it. For me, that's the cue sheet. That's the next most frequent page that I would swipe to, in order to check where is the next turn, control or POI (I like to mark down POIs like controls, petrol stations, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc on the course). I rarely check the map, but if I need to that's just one page from the cue sheet page which I might want to check on complicated intersections just to make sure I'm going to make the correct turn.
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Old 05-15-19, 07:29 AM
  #65  
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Thanks for the report. The 1030 is in the lead to replace my 800 right now. I like the integrated external battery, it's a little expensive though.
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