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Author Topic: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other  (Read 435 times)

amazemouse

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Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« on: August 16, 2019, 12:51:43 AM »
Hi all,

First off, I'm a complete newb so please bear with me.

I have just ordered my 1st handheld GPS (Garmin GPSMAP 66st) and am wondering what the best software is to make and manage maps, routes and all of my GPS related info. I've been reading a bunch of the forums and see a lot of mention of Basecamp, even though it seems to be end of life. I've also had a look at QGIS and wondering if this might be better suited to my application. Are there any other pieces of software out there that I should be looking into?

My use case in a nutshell:
  • Make and plan hiking routes for navigation on my device
  • Create a personal "database" of POIs, past routes, new routes etc (so basically a personal map). I'd also like to use this for storing recorded routes of where I've been
  • Oh... and I'm on a Mac

Thanks in advance!

PS: Apologies if this post was better suited to the "Map Making Support" category

Boyd

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2019, 02:48:14 AM »
I don't think qGIS will do much for you. It is GIS software that is better suited for more advanced uses, such as working with shapefiles and raster imagery. It certainly could have its place in a map-making workflow, but since you describe yourself as a "complete newbie", iMO... it's not for you. Garmin devices are consumer products that are intended to be used with consumer-level software. qGiIS is certainly not the right software for creating and managing routes. And qGIS cannot manage Garmin maps.

On the Mac, I think Basecamp is pretty much your only option. In order to use routes, you will need a map installed on the GPS that supports routing. Almost none of the maps on this site are capable of that. Garmin City Navigator is the standard map for routing, but Garmin's 24k topo maps are also routable. Both of these options are rather expensive. To create routes, you will need the same map installed on both your computer and GPS for the best results.

Looking at your post again... it looks like you aren't quite clear on the difference between "maps" and "routes". I think you are really just interested in routes, POI's and tracks. These are considered "user data" and maps are like "system data". Basecamp is a program for managing your user data.

Basecamp does seem to be at the end of its life (although Garmin has sent some confusing signals). The current Windows version has an issue that makes it incompatible with many (if not most) of the maps on this site because it doesn't work with registry-based maps. This is not an issue with the Mac version of Basecamp, because registry-based maps were never compatible with the Mac. :)

Garmin is transitioning to "Garmin Explore" which is web-based software for managing its devices and your GPSMap 66 is one of the new models that support this new system. I have no experience with this, and don't have a compatible device. But that is clearly their future, so you should probably check it out. In the future, it may be all you need.


amazemouse

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2019, 02:59:33 AM »
Hi Boyd,

First of all many many thanks for your reply.

Quote
Looking at your post again... it looks like you aren't quite clear on the difference between "maps" and "routes". I think you are really just interested in routes, POI's and tracks. These are considered "user data" and maps are like "system data". Basecamp is a program for managing your user data.

Yip I think you're 100% on this one. I don't want to create an actual map per se, but rather add my data to an existing "canvass" so to say.

Quote
In order to use routes, you will need a map installed on the GPS that supports routing. Almost none of the maps on this site are capable of that. Garmin City Navigator is the standard map for routing, but Garmin's 24k topo maps are also routable. Both of these options are rather expensive. To create routes, you will need the same map installed on both your computer and GPS for the best results.

Regarding the maps, I did order a 66st which will be coming with pre-installed maps from Garmin on-board - are these the 24k ones that you refer to above?

Quote
In order to use routes, you will need a map installed on the GPS that supports routing. Almost none of the maps on this site are capable of that.

Can you please explain what you mean by "routing" as I seem to not be quite sure of it's application here... by routing do you mean turn-by-turn navigation? Just want to be 100% clear so that I can understand what I can do with the maps on this site and what the limitations would be.

Quote
Garmin is transitioning to "Garmin Explore" which is web-based software for managing its devices and your GPSMap 66 is one of the new models that support this new system. I have no experience with this, and don't have a compatible device. But that is clearly their future, so you should probably check it out. In the future, it may be all you need.

Thanks! I'll definitely check this one out too.

Thanks again for all the help!

Boyd

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2019, 04:19:51 AM »
Your GPS will have Garmin's 100k topo pre-loaded. This map is not routable, and is not very highly regarded by most people. That being said, it certainly has its uses. The advantage is that you get coverage for the entire US and it's always available without installing anything else.

Yes, "routable" means that the map supports turn by turn navigation. Maps have to be made in a special way to support this. The 100k topo, and almost all maps on this site, are not routable. That means it will show your position on the screen but there's not data about the roads that can be used to generate a route with turn by turn directions.

Garmin's 24k topo maps are completely different, they contain the same routable roads as City Navigator. But each map only covers a few states and it's expensive.

On a simpler level, you can create routes on any map that will send you in a straight line between points that you choose. Garmin calls this "direct routing". When I mentioned "user data", I'm talking about points that you create (waypoints), tracks that you record (showing where you've been) and routes that you create. This data is completely separate from the map and can actually be used without any map at all.

amazemouse

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2019, 06:22:47 AM »
Quote
Your GPS will have Garmin's 100k topo pre-loaded. This map is not routable, and is not very highly regarded by most people. That being said, it certainly has its uses. The advantage is that you get coverage for the entire US and it's always available without installing anything else.

I'm guessing that bcz I'm in Europe I'll get the whole of Europe at 1:100k?

Quote
Yes, "routable" means that the map supports turn by turn navigation. Maps have to be made in a special way to support this. The 100k topo, and almost all maps on this site, are not routable. That means it will show your position on the screen but there's not data about the roads that can be used to generate a route with turn by turn directions.

Garmin's 24k topo maps are completely different, they contain the same routable roads as City Navigator. But each map only covers a few states and it's expensive.

Ok got it now - but I'm guessing for hiking that I'll be perfectly fine with the "direct routing" that you mention, provided that there are enough points to navigate to.

Quote
This data is completely separate from the map and can actually be used without any map at all.

Lightbulb moment! Many many thanks!

Boyd

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2019, 10:42:12 AM »
I think the options are very different in the EU. Check Garmin's site in your country to find out what map is included. It may be a "topoactive" map (or something like that) which is pretty new and I don't know if they are routable. The 24k topo maps are US products (named after USGS 24k maps, although they are actually completely different) so you won't have those available. In the EU, OpenStreetMap is popular. Not so impressed with it here in the US personally. But their maps are free and they are routable. See this:

http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl

You'll have to check your device specs to see how many points can be included in a route. This gets confusing, with different specs for different models. But you may run out of points if you're creating complicated routes.

Garmin handhelds also have something called "track navigation" where a track can be treated like a route. This would let you create something more complex, although I've never used that feature myself. Tracks can typically have 10,000 points, routes are probably something like 100 points.

Enjoy the new GPS!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 10:45:37 AM by Boyd »

Boyd

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Re: Map and route making software - QGIS vs Basecamp or other
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 02:17:53 AM »
Garmin is transitioning to "Garmin Explore" which is web-based software for managing its devices and your GPSMap 66 is one of the new models that support this new system.

Was just reading a review of the new Garmin Overlander that uses the new "Explore" site.... if you use this, make sure you have good local backups of your important data!  ;)

https://www.lifestyleoverland.com/garmin-overlander-review/

"While track and waypoint syncing is supposed to be a highlight of this system it did not work for us. After multiple attempts and even creating a new account in an attempt to get our data to sync… it lost our tracks from the past 2 months… all of them. "