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Messages - LucaPCP


Another way I found: in Basecamp, open the path.  Convert it to a route: this simplifies it, reducing the number of points (as the eTrex / 60csx are limited).  Then, convert the route back to a path.  Then, load the path into the GPS as you indicated.

Now, this is fine, but it's kind of a pain to have to do it for every path, and one is still quite limited by the memory (20 paths at most, including the current one of the day).  But, I guess there is no better way...
One of the main uses I have for my gps is to use it to plan hikes, and store on the gps the route / path I will have to follow.  On a Garmin 62-series this is very easy, as I can upload om the Gps any number of tracks.  But on the Etrex, I don't know how to do that.

If I create a route, then the Etrex displays the names of the waypoints along the route (which are usually meaningless such as Lake012 or somesuch), completely cluttering the display.
If I convert the route to a path and upload the path to the gps, it works, but I am limited to 20 paths at most.

What is a good way on an Etrex or 60csx to plan and store paths to be followed during hikes?  How do you do this?


My thanks to John M for the South West US topo map (
While this map for some reason has no "gold star", after hiking for a while on the Sierra, I think this is the best map available: it has the most precise road locations, and the 20ft contour lines give a very good outline of relief on my Garmin 62st.
I nominate it for a gold star!
GPSr Units / Re: Garmin GPSMap 62ST
January 20, 2011, 04:15:18 PM
My use for the maps is essentially hiking.  For routing, I have my Android phone, and I frankly prefer it -- it has a better screen, in the end, and I like very much the map search, ability to call places, email integrated, etc etc.

Are the 24k maps significantly better than the free maps on this site for hiking?

The only reproach I have to the free maps on this site is that I still have to find a map that has the right amount of detail at all scales -- often the contour lines are either too dense, or too sparse.  Of course it might not be possible to create an optimal map within the constraints of the rendering taking place in the Garmin...
GPSr Units / Re: Garmin GPSMap 62ST
January 20, 2011, 01:32:13 PM
Yes, I also turn down shading -- but then it's not clear why the Garmin 24k maps would be better than the topo maps available from this site.
Why would they be?
GPSr Units / Re: Garmin GPSMap 62ST
January 20, 2011, 10:59:38 AM
I have the Garmin 100k maps installed on my unit, and I find them next to useless: the shading is so dark, that visibility in daylight w/o backlight is very poor.  Is the shading of the 24k maps any better?
Does this work on a Mac?

If not, is there any good solution for a Mac?
GPSr Units / Re: New GPS unit
December 15, 2010, 05:57:53 PM
I am fairly sure the Oregon 450 would also be plenty accurate -- it was mainly the faster operation of the 62st that made me decide for that.

My previous GPS, though, was a Vista ETrek, and I was only partially happy.  When I was out in the open, on the bare side of a high mountain, with expansive views and a blue sky on top, the GPS was perfect -- but I also already knew where I was!  When I was in a valley in the woods, under a dark sky and a snowstorm, the ETrek, riding in the top pocket of my backpack, was often losing satellite lock.  Good thing I never relied on it for getting back!  My impression of that generation of GPSs is that they were able to tell me where I was only when I already knew from the map (even though with less precision).  I hope the 62st is better!'
GPSr Units / Re: New GPS unit
December 15, 2010, 09:24:08 AM
The Oregon 450 series is lighter, and has a higher-resolution screen than the 62 series.
On the other hand, I did extensive comparisons in a shop (they let me borrow both for half an hour), and for my style of use, I found the 62 series to be much better.

On the 62 series, changing page (from map to trip stats to altitude profile) is a matter of a quick button push that can be done also with gloves.  On the Oregon, you need several precise pokes on the screen; much slower.  On the 62 series, marking where you are is a simple button-press; again, this is much slower on the Oregon.  The 62 also has a somewhat more readable screen.

When I hike / ski, I don't wish to spend too much time navigating GPS menus.  I wanted a device that was as fast as possible to use, for marking locations, storing trails, and getting a fix.  I wanted to be able to pull it out, press a couple of buttons to mark the location, put it back in, and carry on skiing/hiking.  I had the impression that I would find it slow to use a 450 in the field. The map in the 62 series is sufficient for my purposes (and if I need a good map, I use a paper map, or I can always wake up my Android phone, which has WAY more pixels and better screen than either, albeit shorter battery life).  I also plan to carry the GPS in an outside backpack pocket, and the fact that the antenna of the 62s is optimized for vertical orientation is a plus, as that will be the orientation in which the GPS will travel.

The use of the original poster seems similar to  mine, so if the price difference is not an issue, the 62 series may be more suitable.

Re .typ files:
Boyd, I'd like to know more about how to work with .typ files.  Can you suggest good starting points?  I might enjoy adapting map display formats to my taste.

Re shading:  I thought that the people who produce e.g. the 40ft contours have access to elevation data.  In fact, having access to a symbolic representation of the contours might also be enough, as one can interpolate them with some type of spline surface, and then shade the result.  I am not saying that it is easy.  So, for instance, does maps4gps have elevation data, in order to generate the contours?  Does the USGS make elevation data available?
Once one had the elevation data, one could produce geo-referenced jpgs, as for custom maps.  Again I am not saying it would be easy, or space efficient.  I am just wondering.
Re: map rendering:

I just find the choice of colors and contrast very poor, in how my Garmin 62st renders maps.
The shaded relief is way too dark, and roads are gray, terrain brown, contours brown/black... and the result is a dark unreadable mess.
If I use e.g. Google terrain maps on my Android, the result is much more readable.  There is a world of difference between map rendering on my Android, and on my Garmin.  In fact, the only way I find the Garmin usable is to switch terrain and shading off (and many thanks to maps4gps; I very much like the base maps + 40ft contours).  I am surprised that no-one else is doing good shaded maps for Garmin.  I wonder if Garmin will fix the maps and adopt lighter colors for the shading...

Re: redrawing the paths:

On a Mac, I can edit / redraw paths on BaseCamp or Google Earth.  BaseCamp last time I tried had a nasty habit of snapping each path point to something (even to a contour line!), but this can be a virtue I guess when redrawing a path, as I can snap to some of the original points.

Re: the Mac installer:

Which installer?  I just uncompress the .tgz files and then use Garmin MapManager to install the map on the Mac... sorry it is a mess...  I really enjoy having the maps, so I am certainly very grateful.
I notice that most maps look a lot better in basecamp than on the Garmin 62s.
It is not only a matter of my laptop screen being (much) larger: the rendering is smoother and more detailed, and with a better choice of colors.

So I am curious: you are all mapping experts.  Is the map rendering better in the Oregon 450s or in the Garmin 62s?  Is there any difference in map readability and choice of colors (aside from the bigger screen size of the Oregon 450s)?

Thanks! Luca
JBensman, I would be most glad to provide trail data.  My previous GPS has been dead for a while, and so I don't have much good data now, but I expect to have trails for the Truckee area and maybe more during this year.  I plan to post them regularly to a blog or site, and I will be most happy to provide them to you.  I don't know how to edit track data, btw, and such data usually needs cleaning up; if you have good suggestions for tools (on Mac) they would be appreciated!  So far, the only tools I know of are Basecamp and Google Earth.

Many thanks, maps4gps!  Yes, in Europe I was used to hiking maps with 25-meter contour lines, so 20 feet is complete overkill.  Thanks for pointing out to me these maps; I loaded them into Basecamp and they look very very good.  The thresholds for showing detail seem to be more appropriate.  I am going to make a map for my Garmin tonight!  It's too bad Basecamp cannot deal with transparent maps (why?), so I cannot have a good preview on my Mac.

I have a Garmin 62s, and I have downloaded the California Topo map.
At large magnification, it is great and very detailed. However, when I zoom out, at some quite useful zoom levels the countour lines become so dense that it's hard to make anything out.
I tried to set the amount of detail to Small, but this degrades quite a bit the map quality even at large magnification, where the contour lines are not too dense.
Is there a way to tell a Garmin unit to just draw a subset of contour lines as one zooms out, so as not to clutter the map?