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Author Topic: Alternative software to Basecamp?  (Read 14970 times)

AdamCO

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Alternative software to Basecamp?
« on: August 26, 2014, 02:28:37 PM »
I am tired of the "one map layer" limitation inherent with Garmin's Basecamp software.  I have been using mapping software on PC's since the late 1990's ... so I know it is not so technically challenging that their developers cannot figure it out.  Therefore it must be a strategic decision made by thinking they can sell additional mapping products or whatever.  All I really know for sure, though ... is that it is major PITA for me. 

Does anyone have experience with alternative software products that can display multiple map layers -- the same maps that I will have on my Garmin Oregon 650T?  It would be nice if the software was a complete replacement for Basecamp, i.e., it could manage all the data loaded on the GPS (maps, waypoints, tracks, routes, etc.).  But the main thing I want is the ability to view the waypoint and track data recorded on my GPS on top of a topo map that also shows trails.  For me this means showing my GPS data on top of Cotopo11 and MyTrails maps (just like my GPS does -- except viewed on my larger computer monitor).  Free is fine but I would also be happy to pay for a full-function software alternative.  Heck, I would be happy to pay Garmin for it, if only they would provide it!

Thanks,
Adam

Jelf

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Re: Alternative software to Basecamp?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 03:26:05 AM »
But the main thing I want is the ability to view the waypoint and track data recorded on my GPS on top of a topo map that also shows trails.

If you save the data recorded by your GPS as a GPX file, then you can display that file on high resolution USGS topo maps using Gmap4.  I am the developer of that browser app.

You do have to put your GPX file online.  However Google Sites provides free hosting and the Gmap4 documentation has step-by-step instructions for using Google Sites.

For example, the following link shows the GPX file I recorded for a hike in Washington State:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?q=http://sites.google.com/site/gmap4files/p/helpfile/Johnson_Ridge.gpx&t=t4

Gmap4 default map: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

Gmap4 homepage:  http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA

Boyd

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Re: Alternative software to Basecamp?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 03:27:32 AM »
That would be nice, but it doesn't exist. Garmin's map format is proprietary and has never been officially published. The maps on this site were made by third party tools that have reverse-engineered Garmin's format. If Garmin wanted to be nasty, they could probably prevent publication of these maps, but since they add value to their products, they choose to look the other way.

So there isn't much incentive for someone to develop a commercial Garmin-compatible desktop mapping program due to intellectual property issues, plus that fact that most people find Basecamp adequate and it is free.

Mapsource is your only alternative, and some people still prefer it over Basecamp. But since it is discontinued, it is not fully compatible with the newer Garmin devices (will not recognize tracks, routes and waypoints on the GPS because they are stored differently than the old models).

There are various ways that you can view more than one map at a time in Mapsource or Basecamp if you know what you are doing, but it is kludgy. For various reasons, it was decided that this would not be discussed in the forums here. But if you contact jbensman, the MyTrails author, I suspect he could point you in the right direction.

Also note that Basecamp CAN show two maps as long as one of them is raster-based (such as Birdseye or a a Garmin Custom .kmz map). So you could create your own .kmz topo map, or purchase Birdseye Topo ($30) and use it as a background for the trail map.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 03:29:41 AM by Boyd »

popej

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Re: Alternative software to Basecamp?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 05:08:52 AM »
Does anyone have experience with alternative software products that can display multiple map layers -- the same maps that I will have on my Garmin Oregon 650T?
There exist alternative software for PC - Qlandkarte:
http://www.qlandkarte.org/index.html

I have no experience with it and haven't looked at it for quite a long time. Since you have asked, I have installed it again. Now it looks quite usable and can display multiple maps at once. Below an example, main map is a road map created with mkgmap, yellow path is an overlay created with cgpsmapper and blue is a gpx track:



QuoVadis (formerly Touratech QV) is other software, which supports Garmin maps and overlays. I haven't tested it recently, I'm not sure if it satisfies your requirements:
http://www.quovadis-gps.de/online-shop
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 07:01:37 AM by popej »

Boyd

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Re: Alternative software to Basecamp?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 07:24:39 AM »
Very interesting - thanks for posting, I was not aware of either of these.  8)