Upload Routes to Garmin GPS
- Acquiring and Installing Computer Software
- Load Map Software Onto GPS Device
- Attach GPS Device to Computer
- Download GPX Files to Computer
- Import GPX Files into BaseCamp©
- Set Preferences in BaseCamp©
- Set Preferences on GPS Device
- Confirm Route(s) in BaseCamp©
- Upload Routes ("Courses") to GPS Device
- Confirm Courses on the GPS Device
- Problems Downloading GPX Files to Computer
- Courses Do Not Transfer to GPS Device
- Course Drawn Incorrectly on GPS Device
- GPS Device Error: "Locations Memory Full"
Hardware and Software Requirements
These instructions apply to the following hardware and software items.
- Garmin Edge® 800 GPS Bike Computer
- Garmin City Navigator® NT software installed in Bike Computer (GPS device/unit). (Or similar; maps must include Texas roads and highways.)
- Garmin BaseCamp© Software, installed on desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac); see below for links to free downloads.
1) Acquire/Install Software
Download and install (free) Garmin BaseCamp© Software:
2) Load Map Software Onto GPS Device
Running BaseCamp© without a map-equipped GPS device attached will probably yield unsatisfactory results. BaseCamp© requires access to detailed map files to create on-road routes. Commonly, the map utilized is stored on the GPS device directly, and not on the computer. In that case, map software is packaged on a Micro SD memory card, which is inserted into the GPS device.
This insight bears repeating: Running BaseCamp© without a map-equipped GPS unit attached to the computer may yield unsatisfying results. What is more, expect a delay between attaching the GPS device to the computer and full functionality of the BaseCamp© software. More on this issue follows.
3) Attach GPS Device to Computer
Initiate (start) the Garmin BaseCamp© application on the computer. Once the software is running on the computer, attach the map-equipped Garmin GPS unit to the computer with the included USB cable. The GPS unit need not be powered on, but it should be connected to a USB port on the computer itself or through a functioning powered USB hub. Now, wait. It may take as long as a minute or two for the software to find the device and mount its memory drives. Watch the "My Garmin Devices" section of the BaseCamp© screen to confirm the device is connected and the drive mounted (as shown in the Exhibit 1). Wait for any animations to stop; the ceasing of action is the signal that everything is connected, recognized and mounted.
4) Download GPX Files to Computer
Downloading the GPX files should be straightforward for most users, but may not be for all. Click on the "GPX Files" link below to download a folder containing the compressed files.
- GPX Files (within compressed "Zip" folder)
The compressed folder should download to the computer automatically. Or, the user will be prompted to choose a landing folder before the download occurs. If anything about this process is unfamiliar or intimidating, we recommend downloading to the Desktop; the user will need to locate the downloaded files on the computer in a subsequent step.
Fortunate users will find a folder housing the uncompressed files in the Downloads folder or in the chosen landing folder. On some systems, the files will be uncompressed automatically. In other cases, the user may need to right-click the downloaded folder and choose "uncompress", "unzip" or similar. Problems? See Problems Downloading GPX Files.
5) Import GPX Files into BaseCamp©
With the files downloaded and uncompressed, BaseCamp© running, and the map-equipped GPS unit attached and mounted, everything is in place for importing the GPX files into the BaseCamp© software. Files may be imported one at a time or all at once.
In the menu bar at the top of the BaseCamp© window select File > Import. This action will open an Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac) window showing the files on the computer. Navigate to the files that were both imported and uncompressed in step 4 (probably in a Downloads folder, the Desktop, or perhaps somewhere else), select one, many, or all of them, and click Import. Soon, references to these files should appear in the lefthand "On My Computer" section of the BaseCamp© window, as shown in Exhibit 2.
6) Set Preferences in BaseCamp©
In the upper left-hand corner of the BaseCamp© window click BaseCamp > Preferences... (This step may be slightly different for PC users, perhaps "Options" or "Tools > Options".) Now, change settings to mimic these (and as shown in Exhibit 3):
- Select the Routing icon at the top of the Preferences pane.
- Select "Bicycling" for Routing Preferences
- Calculation Mode: "Shortest Distance"
- Road Type Avoidances: Select none of these.
- Elevation Mode: "Standard"
- Feature Type Avoidances: Select all of these.
- Via points...: This item does not relate to this tutorial.
7) Set Preferences on GPS Device
Confirm the following preferences on the GPS device to ensure the it draws on-screen routes along the same roads as the computer. Screen shots shown in Exhibits 4 and 5.
- With the GPS device disconnected from the computer, start the device.
- Tap Menu.
- Tap the wrench icon button in the lower-right corner.
- Tap System > Routing.
- Confirm these settings (tap buttons to make changes):
- Calculate Routes for Bicycle
- Guidance Method On Road for Distance
- Lock on Road No
- Avoidance Setup (see Exhibit 5)
- Avoid: U-Turns, Toll Roads, Highways, Carpool Lanes
- Do Not Avoid: Highways, Unpaved Roads
- Recalculate Off
Some of these preferences may look curious. While these routes do not utilize Interstate highways, they sometimes use access roads. Also, routes do not utilize dirt roads, but sometimes the electronic maps lag the paving crews by years. Finally, some of these preferences probably do not come into play at all, but common settings between the portable device and the computer are advised regardless.
8) Confirm Route(s) in BaseCamp©
Locate the imported file(s) under "On My Computer" in BaseCamp©, as illustrated in Exhibit 6. Click on a route; only one may be selected at a time. Below this section, see the contents of the now imported GPX file. These contents include several waypoints (decorated with a blue flag image in Exhibit 6, but the symbol may vary) and a route file label (decorated with a bicycle-like image in Exhibit 6). For the next part of this step, click on that route file label (shown as "Willow City Loop 1" at the bottom of Exhibit 6).
After selecting the route label, confirm that the route map drawn in the BaseCamp© software is the same as that at the Texas Vélo website or in the corresponding PDF route document. For example, Exhibit 7 shows a screen shot of the Willow City Loop route as drawn by the Garmin software and for comparison Exhibit 8 shows the hosted route map.
9) Upload Routes ("Courses") to GPS Device
- Routes must be uploaded individually.
- In BaseCamp©, within the "On My Computer" section, select the route to be uploaded (as shown in Exhibit 6).
- In the menu bar, click Transfer > Send "Recently Imported...". Alternatively, click the icon labelled "Send List to Device".
- In the dialogue box that appears next, select Routes, as shown in Exhibit 8.
- Click Send.
- Click Close.
10) Confirm Courses on the GPS Device
- Confirm that the route(s) transferred to the GPS device successfully by first ejecting (un-mounting) the GPS device from the computer. One method for doing so is right-clicking on the device label in the My Garmin Devices section of BaseCamp© and clicking Eject.
- Press the GPS device power button and wait for it to wake up.
- Select Menu on the main introduction screen of the GPS device.
- Select the Courses icon.
- Use the arrows located in the lower righthand corner of the screen to navigate the list and locate the course to be confirmed.
- Tap the virtual button of the course to be confirmed.
- A map of the chosen route should be drawn on the screen. (If it is drawn incorrectly, a problem we experience often but that is easily remedied, see Course Drawn Incorrectly on GPS Device below in the Troubleshooting section.)
1) Problems Downloading GPX Files to Computer
Due to differences in behavior among various operating systems and browsers, no one succinct set of instructions will suffice for downloading our GPX files onto all computers. Users may have difficulty downloading the compressed ("zip") folder, difficulty locating the downloaded and compressed folder, and/or difficulty un-compressing the compressed folder. Search engines and technology-oriented friends may be valuable resources for completing this step. If all else fails, right-click on the link and or file and follow your nose. Options such as "save as", "import", "download", "uncompress", and "un-zip" may come into play.
2) Courses Do Not Transfer to GPS Device
One consistent problem when transferring GPX routes from BaseCamp© to the GPS device is that the routes do not all arrive. We see this problem when transferring multiple routes. The BaseCamp© software may confirm success, but the Garmin device does not show all of the routes (or "courses", as the GPS device refers to them). We have tried several alternatives transfer methods. The only one that works is brute force. In other words, just keep transferring files until they all show up. Unfortunately, one has to eject/dismount the Garmin drives and then start the device to confirm success. And these steps take a bit of time.
What does not seem to help: We have tried transferring files using BaseCamp's© Send List to Device icon. This method yields no more or less success than using the menu commands, as described above. And we have exported (File > Export) to the NewFiles directory on the device itself. Again, no more or less success. Finally, we have exported to the Courses folder on the Garmin device. This method does not work at all.
3) Course Drawn Incorrectly on GPS Device
Often routes transferred to the device (which, again, labels them "courses") will be drawn incorrectly on the GPS device screen. Select the course by selecting Menu > Courses > Course Name. The screen changes to a map of the course, but sometimes the orientation (or even the course itself) is wrong. To remedy this error, exit the course (Reverse Arrow) and then re-select the course. This fix works reliably in our experience.
4) GPS Device Error: "Locations Memory Full"
The "Locations Memory Full" error may impair the GPS device's ability to draw courses correctly. The Locations memory stores waypoints. Our solution to this problem is heavy handed. Users desiring future use of any waypoints located only on the device before pursing this procedure must back them up to BaseCamp© beforehand. Users that are not sure whether they want future access or not probably do not; users who have set their own waypoints using the device itself would perhaps care to preserve them.
To backup locations before wiping the GPS device's Locations.FIT file:
- Connect the GPS Device to BaseCamp©.
- Select its label under My Garmin Devices in BaseCamp©.
- Using the BaseCamp© Menu, click Transfer > Receive from Device.
- Select Waypoints and Geotagged Photos.
- Then, under On My Computer, right-click on Recently Read from Edge 800, then click Rename and type in a new name (such as "Backup of Locations").
Wipe the GPS Device Locations.FIT file. Again, consider backing up first; see above. The following actions will wipe all user-set waypoints off the machine, reseting it to its factory-new state.
- Connect the GPS device to the computer.
- Using Windows Explorer, Finder, or similar, navigate to the Garmin/Locations directory on the Garmin device.
- Delete the Locations.FIT file.
- Upon the next startup the GPS device will create a new, almost empty factory-set file.
- Reload routes (courses); all corresponding waypoints should now land on the GPS device.