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Vista HCX drops data when saving tracklog


IndianaDan
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I was going to geotag a bunch of photographs from a recent trip up Mt. Whitney, but it seems that when you save a track on the unit that it drops all of the date/time information from the track!

 

I have maybe a a third of the trip still in the active logs and usable for geotagging-- but I've lost the time information completely for the rest. This seems like a pretty serious bug. Why would it delete all of the time/offset information when saving?

 

Is there any way to recover this information?

 

Grumble grumble grumble.

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I was going to geotag a bunch of photographs from a recent trip up Mt. Whitney, but it seems that when you save a track on the unit that it drops all of the date/time information from the track!

 

I have maybe a a third of the trip still in the active logs and usable for geotagging-- but I've lost the time information completely for the rest. This seems like a pretty serious bug. Why would it delete all of the time/offset information when saving?

 

Is there any way to recover this information?

 

Grumble grumble grumble.

Yes, if you turned on the option to save track data to your data card. You should use the data card info for geotagging anyway, since it's already in the GPX format that most geotagging programs can easily use.

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Yes, if you turned on the option to save track data to your data card. You should use the data card info for geotagging anyway, since it's already in the GPX format that most geotagging programs can easily use.

 

Sounds like this trip is a loss for geotagging, unless that's a default setting. I was hoping to have a really, really comprehensive set of route instructions for the Mountaineer's Route up Mt. Whitney to share, with pictures at all of the hard-to-find segments of trail up the ledges and slabs, and the final climb up to the summit from Iceberg Lake. Since I only took scenic shots on the downclimb (for which I have the original logs), it's a series of navigationally pointless shots of birds and chipmunks and distant waterfalls.

 

:)

 

Do you have any idea *why* it drops the date data? And it's even stranger that it keeps it around if you save in a different place. Very, very nonintuitive. At the very least there should be some warning that large quantities of information are being lost when you "save," which hardly seems like the right word for "erasing a significant portion of your data and saving".

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I found the "log to memory card" setting-- it's not what I was expecting. Does it just save a larger active log to the microSD card?

 

What I'd really like to do is chop my tracks into logical segments in the field ("trail to first creek crossing", "trail up steep cliff face," etc...) while I'm thinking about it, and then save them with full date/time data and *all* the data points. I just noticed that in addition to dropping all of the dates and times, it's also capping the number of points per saved track at 500, which means it's throwing an absolute ton of data out the window. Is there any way to REALLY save a chunk of track data? Or is it just a choice between big, unfiltered tracklogs with all the data or organized, segmented saved tracks with missing data points and no time information?

 

Is this some sort of 1980s-era programming idea to save space on devices with a meg or two of memory? Did they really do this on purpose?

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My 76CSx does that too, if you save the track. Not only does it strip the timestamps out of the saved copy, it also strips them out of the "current" track (the one you're saving). So if you download it after you've saved, no timestamps. Very annoying, but I now know not to do it.

 

Presumably it's how Garmin have always done it, although in these days of cheap memory you'd think they could at least give you an OPTION to not strip that information out.

Edited by Crid
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I found the "log to memory card" setting-- it's not what I was expecting. Does it just save a larger active log to the microSD card?

 

What I'd really like to do is chop my tracks into logical segments in the field ("trail to first creek crossing", "trail up steep cliff face," etc...) while I'm thinking about it, and then save them with full date/time data and *all* the data points. I just noticed that in addition to dropping all of the dates and times, it's also capping the number of points per saved track at 500, which means it's throwing an absolute ton of data out the window. Is there any way to REALLY save a chunk of track data? Or is it just a choice between big, unfiltered tracklogs with all the data or organized, segmented saved tracks with missing data points and no time information?

 

Is this some sort of 1980s-era programming idea to save space on devices with a meg or two of memory? Did they really do this on purpose?

I believe that the design is on purpose. The information that is dropped (i.e. the time information) when you save a tracklog via the "Save" function is useless for Tracback operations, what is seen as the main reason to save tracks such as that. The positional information that is kept allows for these operations. In other words, a saved tracklog is really just a very detailed route.

 

The tracklogs that are saved on the microSD are meant for post-trip analysis and can easily be manipulated in MapSource, keeping what you want, deleting what you don't, joining tracks, cutting them up, etc. Each log is easily identified by the date and time of the start of that segment. Each day is a separate gpx file but there are several segments per gpx file, depending on how you've used the unit during the day. As you point out, saving the logs this way is more flexible and detailed, allowing for almost unlimited amount of track points. There is still limited memory on the unit, but it has been recommened by others that the route and track information be stored on the data card in future unit software releases. Whether this will happen is anybody's guess.

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My 76CSx does that too, if you save the track. Not only does it strip the timestamps out of the saved copy, it also strips them out of the "current" track (the one you're saving). So if you download it after you've saved, no timestamps. Very annoying, but I now know not to do it.

 

Presumably it's how Garmin have always done it, although in these days of cheap memory you'd think they could at least give you an OPTION to not strip that information out.

 

Ouch!! At least the Vista HCx doesn't appear to do that. I did a dry run for this trip two weeks ago to work the kinks out of the process, but overlooked this one. When I built my big save file, it had active logs and saved tracks in it. I didn't notice the lost data since the saved file contained both types. This trip was longer, so I was clearing the active log periodically to prevent it from eating its own tail. I had no idea that I was losing data by doing so-- after all, I *did* click "save," right?

 

There was more than a gigabyte of free space, but the software behaves as if every byte is precious. If the device already supports saving this data to the card, it seems trivial to do it by default when an SD card is present. I think you might want the option to save space, and enabling it should clearly warn you about the loss of information-- but the default really ought to be full data saved.

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There was more than a gigabyte of free space, but the software behaves as if every byte is precious. If the device already supports saving this data to the card, it seems trivial to do it by default when an SD card is present. I think you might want the option to save space, and enabling it should clearly warn you about the loss of information-- but the default really ought to be full data saved.

The "saved" and stripped track logs are saved in internal memory, not on the card, so every byte is precious. There are only so many memory addressess available, hence the restriction to 20 tracks, etc. Apart from these registers, there is no internal memory in the unit. See the specs. The automatic daily tracklogs with all the information (not stripped) are saved in the near limitless data card (if you have the option turned on).

 

However, as you say, it would be useful to have an option to save and use tracklogs on the datacard, as I mentioned in my previous post and has been mentioned elsewhere in these forums. This would allow for any number of tracks, routes, waypoints, etc., limited only by the size of datacard you buy (somewhat like POIs).

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Your biggest mistake was not learning all the key features of your unit before doing something important with it.......Many users get a brand new GPSr the night before an outing and then when they mess up they blame Garmin or Magellan,or????

 

You already have the capability to do what you want to do.

 

Use the "save tracks to card" feature AND save the track in the internal memory, saving different segments as you wish. Every time you want to start a new segment, save the track, clear the track log and start again. At the end of the day you will have multiple "saved" tracks (with some data missing and limited to 500 trackpoints each....as you have already found out) However, you will also have multiple tracks (all on the same date file) logged to the card that contain ALL of the data.

 

You cannot access the "card" files from within your unit but you can download the gpx file to your PC and use as desired.

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The "saved" and stripped track logs are saved in internal memory, not on the card, so every byte is precious. There are only so many memory addressess available, hence the restriction to 20 tracks, etc.

 

 

Since the unit already apparently supports saving the tracklog to the SD card, it certainly does seem silly that it won't take advantage of the free space there when saving a track.

 

This sort of data loss is neither intuitive or expected. There is no warning when saving, no description with the save function, and no indication in the saved files that both location and time data are being thrown away. Only a side-by-side comparison of the two (or a miserably failed attempt to find a small feature that was "compressed" out of a fairly tricky mountaineering route, or the inability to geotag) would reveal to an end user that their unit was doing this.

 

At the very least, I would think you'd want full detail saved by default with a "space saver" option available if needed.

 

Does anyone know of a good utility for adding timestamps back into a tracklog? I may be able to at least salvage some rough location data for flickr-viewing purposes by using the handful of waypoints I set along the track to mark times, and then doing a linear interpolation between to add approximate offset times to each segment of the tracks. I can probably pull it off in excel or something, or write a little converter program, but an existing tool would make life easier.

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Your biggest mistake was not learning all the key features of your unit before doing something important with it.......Many users get a brand new GPSr the night before an outing and then when they mess up they blame Garmin or Magellan,or????

 

Yeah, it's at least *partly* my fault, but I certainly did NOT attempt this trip without testing. I have made a dozen long hikes with the unit through local terrain for testing, and then took another multi-day trip into the mountains in advance of this trip to work out any last kinks in the process. As I noted earlier, my only mistake was not noticing that there was a difference between the saved tracks and the uncut tracklogs-- something that Garmin has made it impossible to tell. Everything worked in the test run, but *only* because I just barely managed to fit the whole trip into the tracklog before it looped, and the .gpx save file contained both the saved tracks *and* the uncut data.

 

You already have the capability to do what you want to do.

 

Use the "save tracks to card" feature AND save the track in the internal memory, saving different segments as you wish. Every time you want to start a new segment, save the track, clear the track log and start again. At the end of the day you will have multiple "saved" tracks (with some data missing and limited to 500 trackpoints each....as you have already found out) However, you will also have multiple tracks (all on the same date file) logged to the card that contain ALL of the data.

 

You cannot access the "card" files from within your unit but you can download the gpx file to your PC and use as desired.

 

That's a better workaround than I've got so far-- you're saying clearing the tracklog when SD card logging is enabled starts a new entry on the SD card without erasing the old entry on the SD card?

 

I still reserve the right to mutter and grumble that there are no warnings about data loss when saving a track and that the SD card logging is not enabled automatically when an SD card is installed.

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"That's a better workaround than I've got so far-- you're saying clearing the tracklog when SD card logging is enabled starts a new entry on the SD card without erasing the old entry on the SD card?"

 

Yes.......-but it's Not a work around, it actually can be considered an extra feature. When you're saving track to card, you are actually saving in two different formats. One reduced in data to fit more tracks in internal memory and the other in a "full data" format on the card where there's plenty of room.

 

"I still reserve the right to mutter and grumble that there are no warnings about data loss when saving a track and that the SD card logging is not enabled automatically when an SD card is installed."

 

Go ahead and just reserve away all you want to, but both the other complaints have been extensively covered in the forums. The data loss complaint ignores the fact that you ARE getting the data if you log to the card, but a lot of people don't understand that fact, and the other one just falls into the category of a user changeable feature ,covered in the manual that is ignored. (like a whole lot of others)

Edited by Grasscatcher
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The quickest way to force a new track to start on the card file.... is to turn the unit off and then on. Since these units acquire warm signals in seconds, it is faster than any other amount of button pushes.

 

Yep, just leave the track logging to card forever and nothing ever will be lost. Just make sure you don't run out of card space.

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Red 90 you are correct, but I think he also wanted to "name" the different segments"on the spot" and he could do that by "saving" the track and naming. When back home , he would have all of the above ...the saved track, name, and the "card track" .

 

Just a matter of personal choice....but all the data would be there.

 

And if concerned about card space, I just occasionally hook up my GPSr as "mass storage device" and download all the GPX files to a "GPX card files" folder on my PC and deleted them off the card ....back in business again.

Edited by Grasscatcher
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The data loss complaint ignores the fact that you ARE getting the data if you log to the card, but a lot of people don't understand that fact, and the other one just falls into the category of a user changeable feature ,covered in the manual that is ignored. (like a whole lot of others)

 

It's not covered in my manual. There is absolutely no mention of the loss of timestamps or data points when saving. The "Using Tracks" section doesn't even mention the 500-points-per track limit. It does mention that you can enable saving to the data card, but unless they tell you there's a difference in the data it doesn't make sense to do so unless you know you're going to fill up the device's memory-- and my fairly extensive three weeks of testing indicated I'd have plenty of room for this trip's saved tracks. How was I supposed to know it was achieving this by throwing away data?

 

I'd have at least been informed of the issue if Garmin had taken the time to mention it in the HCx manual. Instead, there are instructions on how to "save the entire tracklog," "save a portion of the tracklog," and "log tracks to a MicroSD card." None of these three things makes any indication that they are in any way different from eachother.

 

I should have purged the tracklog on my biggest test run. That would have clued me in. Instead, I left it there-- because the manual makes it sound like the data in both files is exactly the same.

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It's my humble opinion that someone at Garmin hates tracks. I don't know why, but it appears they do. The 20 track/500 tracklog point is, to say the least, disappointing, frustrating, and hard to understand. We can put a bazillion points of interest on a card, but we can't store tracks on the card that can be used by the unit. We can create custom icons, but we can only upload tracks with 500 points. Games, calendars, custom points of interest, unlimited POIS, custom icons, and so forth but 20 tracks of 500 points, and data is stripped from saved tracks which starting this post. Go figure. I can't.

 

The only solution to effectively using tracks to display on the unit is with custom maps.

 

If you want the data, you can save the track to the card as others have pointed out. That does work.

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It really comes down to the issue of "Do you really NEED more than 20 saved tracks in your unit at any one time? That's what "saved" tracks are for....just for use in the unit.

 

If you need the complete data, that's what tracks saved on the card are for.

 

Except for a very long and complicated track, on your GPSr you can't visibly tell any difference between one with all the data and one without and with TPs limited even when downloaded onto a 1:24000 topo.

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Except for a very long and complicated track, on your GPSr you can't visibly tell any difference between one with all the data and one without and with TPs limited even when downloaded onto a 1:24000 topo.

 

Now that's just not true at all. There are many situations where 500 points in a track is useless for navigation.

 

Yeah... imagine, if you will, a long and twisty mountain trail with a couple hundred switchbacks. The *instant* you've changed direction more than 500 times, it's gonna turn a switchback into a straight climb up the cliff when it throws away one of those data points.

 

Not everything is mostly straight lines and right angles like city streets, where dropping a few points in the middle of a street is impossible to notice.

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All I can say is that some folks must be VERY "directionally challenged".

 

If you are on a "long & twisty mountain trail with a couple hundred switchbacks", I would HOPE that you would follow the TRAIL. Otherwise the "gene pool" would rightfully get cleansed a dab.

 

No city streets, it's just that the results from mapping several thousand miles of Snowmobile trails, ATV trails, and Hiking trails prove your assessment to be incorrect.

 

Mountains? My home is at 8725 ft elevation and my hiking, Snowmobile & ATV riding is at 10,000-14,000 ft elevation......but I won't argue with the "experts".......

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If you are in a heavily wooded area with lots of trails, with lots of trail intersections, more points can be the difference between getting somewhere on time vs. being really late. If that hasn't happened to you, you either haven't done as much exploring as you claim or you're a liar.

 

It's sort of like having one of those silly MP3 players that has 2 G of memory but can only store 5 minutes per song yet you would like to listen to an hour long audiobook. The device is perfectly capable but the software prevents you from making full use of the hardware. Another example is how some digital cameras limit video clips to a few minutes instead of allowing recording up to the limit of memory on the device. I'm no pro at making analogies, but it doesn't take an "expert" to understand the shortcomings of Garmin's choices here. I don't see why an expert such as yourself would even need a GPS!

 

The point is that some of these devices have lots of memory & many of us would like to see it used more effectively. Nobody really cares if that has any value to you. You've already expressed your opinion there. Garmin made their design choices when memory was more precious than it is now. Modern devices have enough memory to allow for MUCH more flexibility that many of us would appreciate.

Edited by B R H
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I have used by GPS to record track logs for all the trails on Tiger Mountain, east of Seattle. I presently have 104 individual saved tracks in Mapsource for Tiger Mountain trails alone, not to mention the adjoining Cougar and Squak mountains for which I've also recorded tracks. The longest single trail is the Tiger Mountain Trail, which is 16 miles and consumes 1289 tracklog points.

 

Grasscatcher: tell me again how I'm directionally challenged by wanting more than 20 saved tracks of 500 points each?

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Sorry to have wound several springs! I believe you guys are totally missing the point. That is, there is a giant difference between "wanting" and "needing" more tracks ON YOUR UNIT AT ONE TIME.

 

I do NOT consider myself to be an expert, but I do literally have several thousand saved tracks. Some of which are long and very complicated. Where necessary, the very long ones have been mapped in different segments, say, from trailhead to "XX" intersection, or waterfall,etc. .

 

I can join segments on my PC to have a single trail, or separate into shorter lengths to transfer back to my unit.

 

The "detail" visible on a 2" GPSr screen is "at best" lousy., so really,I would think that the only place you NEED all the points (and data) is on your PC for detailed mapping creation.

 

The "directionally challenged" comment was referring to the "mountain trail with 200 switchbacks" comment by whomever....

Wouldn't you agree that that was a slight exaggeration since that kind of detail would not be visible on a 2" GPSr screen???

 

But then again, there are folks that are already complaining that there are not "27 gb" memory cards available , so that they can load all of the maps onto their GPSr for the USA, and Europe, and Africa, and.......even though they never go there, and WILL never go there.

However, if they really NEEDED to go there , it would take all of maybe 5 minutes to load the maps for that area. That falls into the ...Get Real ! category.

 

Just difference of opinion of want vs need.

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Want vs. need? Yes. In fact, you could probably get by with a paper map and compass most of the time. Would that be better?

 

Perhaps you missed the point. If we're paying $300 for a unit that has the capability to store 2G of maps and unlimited points of interest, it should be just as easy to use more extensive tracking capabilities. Personally I don't need to load maps of the entire US on my GPS, and I don't need more than 1000 waypoints, but if someone else does that's fine with me. I don't have an electronic compass on my GPS, but if others do that's fine with me too.

 

If you don't want to have lots of long tracks, fine. Accept that others may not share that view. That doesn't make them directionally challenged.

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If you are on a "long & twisty mountain trail with a couple hundred switchbacks", I would HOPE that you would follow the TRAIL

 

I don't think you understand what a mountaineering "trail" looks like. There's not a visible path for large sections (say, more than 3/4) of the route-- only good ways and bad ways to climb the rocks. Some of the bad ways are really, really bad, with long unprotected falls. Some of the good ways are particularly nonintuitive, like climbing a short steep cliff early to avoid a tall dangerous cliff (which you can't currently see) later. Many of these features are too small to appear on even the most detailed topo maps. Parts of the "trail" may cross big rock slabs where no amount of foot traffic will ever leave a mark. While this seems straightforward, it can be hard to tell from a mile away whether that crack up ahead is the sort of thing you can step over, or if it's six feet wide and you need to make a stream crossing, downhike around a bluff, and come back up the other side. The map will never say "this route looks easy but is full of loose, sliding debris" or "this route looks steep, but only because you can't see over the seven-foot wall in front of you, after which it's easy going for half a mile."

 

This one is a route I had done before, and I wanted to have good documentation of it to share with other people, with pictures of how to avoid the nasty spots and where to go when the "right path" is not an obvious route.

 

 

The "detail" visible on a 2" GPSr screen is "at best" lousy., so really,I would think that the only place you NEED all the points (and data) is on your PC for detailed mapping creation.

 

The "directionally challenged" comment was referring to the "mountain trail with 200 switchbacks" comment by whomever....

 

 

You're right to suggest that I can get by with what I have. It would have been really, really nice if the manual or the user interface on the unit made any mention of the artificial limitations prior to this last trip, but now I know.

 

You're also right that you can't see 200 switchcbacks on a 2" screen all at once. I don't see how that makes a difference, though... you view the track zoomed in. If it is dropping points, you're going to have a track in the wrong place. Numerous switch backs will make this error really, really bad. Imagine a simple example track with five points. When you connect them, you get a "\/\/" shape, like a couple of switchbacks. Now, imagine that when you save this track, you only have room for four data points. The unit has to decide to throw one of these away. You will be left with a grossly inaccurate track that looks something like "\_/", depending on which point is removed. This is the problem with the unit silently throwing away location points when saving-- if you've used more than 500 points, particularly on a very long and twisty hike, it is likely to smooth critical turns and detours *right out of the trail*.

 

Four points is a low and contrived limit for the sake of this example, but I hope it helps you to understand why it's frustrating that the unit throws away information without any indication on the unit or in the manual that this is happening.

Edited by IndianaDan
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Sorry to have wound several springs! I believe you guys are totally missing the point. That is, there is a giant difference between "wanting" and "needing" more tracks ON YOUR UNIT AT ONE TIME.

 

I'm confused by this-- I don't need or want any more tracks on the unit at one time. In fact, it seems like 10,000 track points would probably record just about any route I'd want to do, even if I have to chop it into 500-point segments as I go. The only problem is that I lose the timestamps without warning when I do so, and nothing in the documentation mentions I'll lose data points if I save a chunk with more than 500 points in it.

 

That's it. The unit does more than enough to meet my needs, it just does it in a really awkward and undocumented way. If the manual had said "Enable SD card logging to preserve dates and full track detail," you better believe I would have turned it on. If the unit had ever warned me "About to save track with more than 500 points. Remove points to fit? Y/N" you better believe I wouldn't have cleared the tracklog after saving.

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Sorry to restart this thread, but it just scared me. If I have logging to card enabled, it does not truncate my track to 500 points, does it? If it does, then the unit I just bought is pretty darn useless to me if I have to remember to stop and save and manipulate the damned tracks so I don't lose the record every hour or so.

 

Somebody tell me I am hallucinating, or I will start questioning why anyone would sell this to hikers. I thought I've read this forum long enough before jumping in and buying this unit, but apparently not.

 

---- Edited to add:

 

I think I just found the answer in this thread: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...00+points+limit

 

I will have to test it next weekend. Hope it works. 500 points per track would be useless for mapping.

Edited by hwyhobo
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