|Garmin Tips, Hints, Explanations, or Whatnot......|
Set for Comments
Comment Field and Date/Time
Computer to GPS Receiver
Computer Thinks GPSR is a Mouse
Creating a Waypoint
Entering Strings (Names) Efficiently
Garmin Receiver Models
Garmin's Save Function
| Gray Background Hides
The Little Circle on Outer Circle
Map Display Options on Map76
Map Display Too Crowded
MapSource Map Sets
Marking a Location
Memory Bar Indicator
Message Field and Date/Time
My Own Maps
Own Points of Interest
Nearest to Pointer on 76 Series
Track Log Hard to See
Unit to Unit Data Transfer
Waypoints, Routes, Tracks, and Maps
Some of the models have a menu command or icon function to mark (create) a waypoint. These models usually have another "shortcut" way of creating a waypoint given below. To create a waypoint for your current location (of course the GPSR has to have a location fix/lock):
Since it usually takes awhile to enter waypoint names, you can enter the waypoints ahead of time with the appropriate name and the coordinates at your current location. Then when you reach the location, use the "Project Location" or "Reposition" function with a distance of zero to mark the current location. The "Project Location" function is in the menu for the "Waypoint" screen on the GPS 76 series and the basic eTrex. The GPS 76 series will project from the current location, "the map", or another point. The "Reposition" function is a menu item on the "Click Stick" eTrex series.
The GPS 76 series scrolls up and down the available character set with the rocker switch (the 12 series has a slightly different character set and behavior). So the question is where are the halfway points for efficient character entry. Note that "underscore" is not an actual character.Forward from "underscore": _ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ*+-0123456789
When you pan the map you might be interested in getting a list of waypoints, points of interest, cities, or exits that are nearest to the location of the pointer not your current location. When the pointer is at the desired location, push the "NAV" button, select "Go To Point", pick the appropriate type of point, and you will get a list either by "Name" or by "Nearest". If the list is by "Name", use the "MENU" button to change to "Find Nearest". Note that the type of points available depends on what was loaded in the receiver. These points might be pre-loaded by the factory in the "basemap" or transferred by you from one of the MapSource products or waypoints transferred by some other program.
This function is straight forward on the eTrex Venture, Legend, and Vista. Pan to the location with the click stick and then use the "Find" button.
The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) issues standards for interfacing marine electronics devices. GPS receivers can be one of those electronic devices that support NMEA protocols. When the GPS receiver is set to NMEA, it usually sends a "steady stream" of current position data to whatever is listening. This is often used for real time tracking on a laptop computer running a mapping program or a handheld - Palm or Windows CE.
If you are having trouble getting your GPS receiver to communicate with your computer program that supports GPSRs try setting the GPS receiver to NMEA mode (serial data format). When the receiver has a lock or is in simulator mode, it should send out NMEA data strings (ASCII text) which you should be able to see with a terminal program (i.e. HyperTerminal with Windows) on the computer. The default speed is usually 4800 bps on the GPS receiver so make sure that the terminal program is set the same. If you receive the NMEA strings then you know you have the correct port and the cable is good for sending data in at least one direction. Sending data from a handheld to the GPS receiver may still not work because of poorly designed cables with low voltage supply handheld computers.
To transfer waypoints, routes, and tracks to a Garmin receiver, the receiver's serial data format needs to be set to "GARMIN" mode (GRMN / GRMN in a 12XL). You usually can't set the speed for this mode in the Garmin receiver because it is fixed at 9600 bps (map and firmware transfers automatically shift to a higher speed). The program you are using on the computer to transfer waypoints, etc. may or may not automatically set the speed when you set the GPS manufacturer to "Garmin". So make sure the speed is also set to 9600, if it is settable by you, in the software on the computer.
You might set the "Baud Rate" in MapSource to 115,200 so that map and firmware transfers to the GPS receiver can proceed as fast as possible. If there are errors, you might have to try a lower setting.
If you have a situation where the GPS receiver must be connected to a Windows® based computer, the Plug-n-Play feature may decide that the receiver is a serial mouse. You might be able to get around this problem by letting the operating system install a serial mouse driver for it but then disable that device. If you do have a serial mouse make sure you don't disable your mouse.What you need to do depends on the version of Windows® you're using. Try attaching the GPS receiver to the computer and start up the computer with the GPSR on. When the computer detects the GPSR as a mouse, turn off or disconnect the GPSR so that you can still use your mouse with the computer. Go to the device manager and look for a new mouse, something like "Microsoft Serial Ball Point Mouse". Right click on it and look for a "Disable" function or "Properties" and then "Do Not Use This Device" or "Stop It" and set "Startup" to "Disabled". Do Not uninstall.
See also the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article # 283063, "Serial Device May Be Detected as a Serial Mouse in Windows 2000".
The "Save" function removes many of the active track log points
and throws out the date/time information. A "save" function
on other brands of GPS receivers may actually save all the data in
the current track log - for instance check Lowrance (however note
that Lowrance doesn't store date/time information in its track
logs). The active track is not automatically deleted.
There are some exceptions: Geko 201 and 301. The Geko 201
and 301 retain the date/time information in the processed (saved)
track logs but still reduces the number of points to a maximum of
500 (from possibly 10,000). A short active track log of up
to maybe 150 points might be "saved" without any points being
removed. The etrex series, the 76 series, and the 60 series all
throw out the date and time stamps when the active log is "saved"
to the "saved" storage areas.
The removal of points is based on an algorithm to pick the most
significant points. It does not necessarily reduce to the
maximum number of points that can be stored. For instance an
active track log of 2016 points might be reduced to 197 points
even though there is storage space for 250 points (recent firmware
releases have increased this to 750 points in some models).
Note that the loss of date/time stamps means the software on a
computer won't be able to compute your speed for the various
The new color models, Legend C, Vista C, 60C(S), 76C(S), have 20 "saved" track areas of a maximum 500 points. The Legend, Vista, map76, 76S have 10 "saved" track areas of a maximum 750 points. The Venture and GPS 76, have 10 "saved" track areas of 250 points.
You do not need to "save" the track to transfer it to your computer. The active log and the saved logs are all transferred to the computer when a "get track log" command is executed.
Transfering a track log that is longer than will fit from a computer to one of the "save track log storage areas" will result in it being truncated. In this case the track log is not processed to reduce the number of points.
When you create a waypoint (mark a location) the date and time of
creation is placed in the comment field. For most models the
comment field holds 16 characters. It is 50 characters long
The eTrex line does not have the comment field that most other Garmin receivers have, so if you want a date/time stamp on your waypoints, don't get a receiver in the eTrex series.
Older Garmin receivers, such as the 12XL, named track logs like
"Track 001". Newer Garmin receivers, such as the eTrex and
76 series, name track logs like "Active Log" or "Active Log
nnn" where "nnn" is 001, 002,
If you want to transfer a track log from the computer to the
receiver's active log space (large area - often 2047 to 10,000
points) make sure the log is named "Active Log" or "Active
Log nnn" . For old receivers such as the 12XL, the track log
will need to be named "Track nnn", where "nnn" is a sequence
number: 001, 002, 003, etc. If you want the log to go
into one of the 10 storage areas, give it some other name.
The log will be truncated to fit the storage area (often 250
points). The basic eTrex stores about 1535 track points and
recent firmware releases for the GPSmap 76, 76S, Legend, and Vista
store about 10,000 track points in the active log area and 750
points in the "Saved Track" area. The storage area of the
GPS 76 and eTrex Venture remains at 2047 points.
The new color models, Legend C, Vista C, 60C(S), 76C(S), have 20
"saved" track areas of a maximum 500 points. The
Legend, Vista, map76, 76S have 10 "saved" track areas of a maximum
750 points. The Venture and GPS 76, have 10 "saved" track
areas of 250 points.
Old receivers generally only record horizontal coordinates and
not the elevation (altitude). Newer receivers record three
coordinates (x, y, and z) in both the waypoint mark and the track
log. So don't expect to get a graph of the altitude if track
logging is off or if you use an older receiver such as the
12XL. So far Garmin receivers with a barometric altimeter
have an altitude graph. The other Garmin receivers usually
do not have an altitude graph.
By using the "Save" function on the newer receivers, you can create a detailed route from the saved log (simplified track log) called a "TracBack®".
On newer model receivers the amount of memory used for tracks, routes, waypoints, user settings, and possibly other internal needs for items such as a TracBack® is shown in the memory bar. The memory used for maps is not included in this display. For map memory usage you need to keep notes from MapSource of how much memory each map set that you are downloading is going to use. You might find that you are using up to about 6% with nothing stored (waypoints, track logs, etc.). This is the amount for your user settings. So far I have not found this indicator to be of any use.The memory usage I am interested in is: tracks, waypoints, routes, and maps. The receiver won't tell you how much space is available for waypoints or maps. The track page will tell you the percentage used for track logging and the route page will tell you how many unused routes are left.
The older 12 series receivers gave you a count of how many waypoints were stored and how many track log points were stored so you knew exactly how many more waypoints and track points you could add. This was great! On the newer receivers I don't know when I'll run out of waypoint storage space. I also only know when I'll run out of track log space within 1% but that's not so bad.
You can have two instances of MapSource running at the same time and copy waypoints and tracks (or portions thereof) from one window to the other. This allows you to merge portions of data from one file to another.
Maps loaded into the receiver are deleted by downloading a new set of maps. All existing maps in the receiver are deleted except the base map which is stored in ROM. That means you can't change the base map at all.
The receiver does not have a delete map function. Try
downloading an empty map set to the receiver. But why do you
want to do that? MapSource version 5 may no longer allow the
download of an empty map set.
You can turn off the display of specific map sets by going to the
"Main Menu" on the GPSmap 76 and selecting "MapSource Info".
Note that you can load both the topographic and a Metroguide map
for the same area. Only one will be shown on the map
screen. You can see the underlying one by turning off the
display of the top one. The hierarchy of which maps are
displayed may be: City Navigator/City Select, MetroGuide, Roads
& Recreation, TOPO, WorldMap, and then the basemap.
You can't create a "track log" with this program for download to a receiver. Many third party programs allow you to create a "track log" and download it to the receiver. This allows you to create a "trail map" (track log trails or trail track logs) for display on the receiver or outline coastlines, property boundaries, etc.
The version of MapSource that you received on the CD-ROM may be so out of date that it won't work with your new GPS receiver. You can download a newer version from Garmin's Internet site.
Map sets from the various MapSource products can be loaded into a Garmin mapping receiver at the same time but only one can be displayed at a time. Otherwise you would have one mess of a display - removing conflicting data from the various sources is not something a receiver is capable of doing at this time. The display hierarchy from highest priority to lowest is something like the following: City Navigator/City Select, MetroGuide, Roads & Recreation, TOPO, WorldMap, and then the basemap. To view a map set of lower priority, you have to disable (turn off) the sets with higher priority. This is done with the function "Main Menu->MapSource Info" on the GPSmap 76. On the eTrex Legend and eTrex Vista look under the Map Setup screen for the “i” button and select it. Check the menu for the screen (button next to the “X” at the top) for quick ways to change groups of maps.
"Only" Garmin's MapSource™ can download maps to Garmin's receivers except that some people have reverse engineered Garmin's data structure and created GPS Mapper as one example. Look for "GlobGPS", "MapDekode", and "GPSMapper" to create your own maps (a lot of work).
For GPS Mapper try: http://www.cgpsmapper.com/
Note: From about Sept. 20, 2003 to Oct. 6, 2003 the chrisb.org server may be down. Try gpsmapper.keenpeople.com instead.
For MapDekode try: http://planeta.terra.com.br/informatica/download1/dekode_contract.htm
Also check the GPS TrackMaker® site for hints on map creation using MapDekode.
"GlobGPS" helps in creating the data for GPS Mapper. I understand that a soon to be released version will read OziExplorer's waypoint files and generate POI files.
The eTrex Venture and GPS 76 have a 1 Meg. memory area for storing "Points of Interest". These are similar to waypoints but contain more information. Normally, like maps, you would get Garmin's "Points of Interest" CDROM to download to the 1 Meg. storage area. However you can create your own POIs and download them with GPS Mapper to the Garmin models that support POIs. Note that POIs are also part of mapping receivers but are connected to the map data set.
Why would you want to do that? Most of the receivers currently store 500 waypoints (recent firmware releases on some models have increased that limit to 1,000). I don't know what the limit is with 1 Meg. but it might hold 10s of thousands - could also be dependent on how much information is included with each point. I haven't tried it yet so I'll post more after I have tried it.
If you can't read the screen very well, maybe the screen contrast is set too low.
For some of the eTrex models, go to the Main Menu, select "Setup", then "Display". Use the "Click Stick" to move to the contrast slider and then select it by pushing in the "Click Stick". Once the contrast slider is selected, move the "Click Stick" up or down to move the slider then push the "Click Stick" in to finalize the contrast setting.
For the 76 series, push and release quickly (holding the button down will turn the unit off) the power button to bring up the contrast setting. Then the rocker pad will move the contrast-setting bar.
For the 12XL, push the rocker pad left or right when the satellite screen is displayed. This action will bring up the contrast slider.
National Forest and National Park areas are shaded green on the
computer screen. They are displayed on the receiver's screen
in "light" (seems like "dark") gray making it hard to see some
features that are drawn in dark gray or even black when it's only
one pixel wide. You can turn off the shading by going to Map
Setup, Area Tab, and set "Zoom" for "Park" to "OFF". This
applies (more or less similar commands/placement) to the 12Map, V,
and GPSmap 76 type grayscale mapping receivers. If you are in a
park type area (national forest) the gray background should
disappear making it easier to read other items on the display.
Apparently there is no way to turn it off on the eTrex Legend and Vista.
The map display has detail level settings of "Most", "More", "Normal", "Less", and "Least". Look for it under the menus for the map display. Also the display of some features can be turned off or the level they are shown at changed. For those features that have a zoom level setting, the feature will be displayed at the zoom level set and below (closer). If the zoom level is set to "Auto", it is displayed when "Garmin" thinks is best. The eTrex Legend has a much smaller option set than the GPSmap 76.
Most Garmin receivers have a 30 second dead reckoning feature. If you enter a tunnel or put your hand over the antenna (to block all satellites) the receiver will assume you are traveling in the same direction and at the same speed as you were before reception was lost for 30 seconds. Then it will report loss of lock.
Older Garmin handheld GPS receivers, such as the 12XL, had "Send" and "Receive" commands to transfer waypoints, routes, tracks, etc. between the units. Newer model receivers, such as the eTrex and 76 series, do not have these commands. The newer receivers also have newer data packet structures to support the longer waypoint names, etc. and track logs are named differently, "Active Log" instead of "Track 001". If the new unit receives a track log that is not named "Active Log" (or Active Log nnn), that track log is sent to one of the saved track storage areas and truncated to fit.
This generally means that you can send some data (waypoints especially) from the older unit to the newer unit because the newer units understand the older data structures. However if the older unit requests data from the newer unit, the newer unit sends it in a data structure that the older unit doesn't understand.
For additional information:
"Notes on GPSR to GPSR Data Transfer"
These are approximate values based on the scale's center of vertical to center of vertical.....
The most of the data fields on various screens can be set to display the following types of data:
GPS 76 and GPSmap 76 Version 2.08:
|Accuracy||ETA at Destination||Speed||Overall Avg. Speed (Total)
|Bearing||ETA at Next||Time of Day||Trip Time - Total|
|Course||Maximum Speed||Time to Destination||Turn|
|Depth||Moving Avg. Speed||Time to Next||Velocity Made Good|
|Distance to Destination||Trip Time - Moving||To Course||Water Speed|
|Distance to Next||Off Course||Track||Water Temp|
Venture Version 2.31 (and probably other "Click Stick" eTrexes
except for additional fields for those with additional functions
such as the Vista.):
|Bearing||Elevation||Maximum Speed||Trip Time - Stopped|
|Course||Final Destination||Moving Avg. Speed||Trip Time - Total|
|Off Course||Final Distance||Overall Avg. Speed||Time of Day|
|To Course||Final ETA||Odometer||Turn|
|Current Destination||Final ETE||Sunrise||Velocity Made Good|
|Current Distance||Heading||Sunset||Vertical Speed|
|Current ETA||Pointer||Trip Odometer|
|Current ETE||Speed||Trip Time - Moving|
The compass takes a fair amount of power on the sensor (S) models. It can be toggled ON/OFF by holding down the "Page" key. Leave it off when you don't need it to save batteries.
Some pages such as the satellite page have a circular display that can be set to either display your direction of travel at the top (track up) or display north up. If it is set to display north up then your direction of travel will be indicated by a small circle on top of the large outer circle.
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|Copyright © 2003 - 2006 Dan Anderson. All rights reserved.|
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