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Garmin: Log Tracks to Card


segler999
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Hey everyone, I keep reading about people having trouble with "saving" tracks, losing time-stamp data, truncating to 500 points, yada-yada.

 

If you want to avoid this issue completely, first get a gpsr that has a microSD card capability, get a big card (1-2gb), turn on the "log track to card" in the firmware, and be happy forever. Never ever "save" your track and be disappointed with the results. Instead, just read the gpx files that is automatically logged to the card with ALL the data contained therein.

 

I recently completed a 11-day vacation with my 60Cx, both in the car and on the trail. At the end of the trip I had a nice collection of gpx files on the card. Those files contained ALL the track data. No truncating, no stripping of data, nothing. It was ALL there. I used a usb card reader to move the files to the pc, but you can use the usb mass storage mode on the gpsr as well.

 

I had track logging turned on the whole time. The internal log did hit the 10,000 point limit and did indeed wrap, like it is supposed to. However, it did not matter since ALL the individual track log point data were logged in the gpx files on the card.

 

Make life easy: SAVE = NO LOG = YES

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Hey everyone, I keep reading about people having trouble with "saving" tracks, losing time-stamp data, truncating to 500 points, yada-yada.

...

 

Make life easy: SAVE = NO LOG = YES

I think the big problem is the confusion of having three different "animals" on the GPSr that are called "tracks" - the internal active log, the tracks "saved" to the card and the internal "saved" tracks. The manuals don't make a really clear distinction (arguably), and people generally don't read the manuals anyway, they prefer to learn by playing with the GPSr (I'm no exception). They usually learn the hard way, by saving an important track thinking they have everything.

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Be happy forever? Nope. While you can write tracks to the SD card, you can't use them on the GPS unit. You're limited to displaying 20 tracks of 500 track points each. Sure, you can download the tracks from the card to a PC and use the data, but you can't upload them back to the unit unless they're less than 500 points. If Garmin allowed the use of the stored tracks , then I might be happier.

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Be happy forever? Nope. While you can write tracks to the SD card, you can't use them on the GPS unit. You're limited to displaying 20 tracks of 500 track points each. Sure, you can download the tracks from the card to a PC and use the data, but you can't upload them back to the unit unless they're less than 500 points. If Garmin allowed the use of the stored tracks , then I might be happier.

 

Are you sure?

I thought we were instructed on how to send the tracks back [with more than 500 points] from within this forum!

 

I may be wrong! :blink:

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Are you sure?

I thought we were instructed on how to send the tracks back [with more than 500 points] from within this forum!

 

I may be wrong! :blink:

 

If you name them "ACTIVE LOG", they will store to the active log and be preserved. It is a workaround only as the active log can over write them

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Now that I know all this, I don't have any gripes except that it's fairly awkward the goofy way things are set up.

 

I mean, look at this and tell me it makes sense:

 

1. Tracks are automatically logged, but will eventually overwrite themselves unless you save.

2. Of course, if you save, you lose dates and data points.

3. Unless you enabled SD logging, where you get everything, except...

4. You can't view the SD tracks on the unit, and...

5. You can't put them back on the unit with a PC unless you manually chop them into 500-point segments.

6. But you can only put 20 of those back on the unit, so if your logs add up to more than that, tough, unless...

7. You rename the big file "ACTIVE LOG" and load it to the unit, but...

8. Goto 1

 

As silly and amateur-hour as this design is, I can live with it. But I'm gonna be cranky at Garmin for a while for omitting this information from the manual and the user interface. The "saving tracks" section of the Vista HCx manual says nothing about truncating date information or dropping points to get to 500, and there's no warning from the unit when information is going to be dropped, either. Like somebody else said, the only way to learn is to go on a trip long enough that the tracklog loops. Sure, it's mentioned here in the forums, but how would you know to look for it? The word "save" has a pretty well-established meaning in the world of electronics and computers. You don't expect your word processor to save a document that's truncated to 500 words and has all the page numbers removed when you click "save," do you?

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Now that I know all this, I don't have any gripes except that it's fairly awkward the goofy way things are set up.

 

I mean, look at this and tell me it makes sense:

 

1. Tracks are automatically logged, but will eventually overwrite themselves unless you save.

2. Of course, if you save, you lose dates and data points.

3. Unless you enabled SD logging, where you get everything, except...

4. You can't view the SD tracks on the unit, and...

5. You can't put them back on the unit with a PC unless you manually chop them into 500-point segments.

6. But you can only put 20 of those back on the unit, so if your logs add up to more than that, tough, unless...

7. You rename the big file "ACTIVE LOG" and load it to the unit, but...

8. Goto 1

 

As silly and amateur-hour as this design is, I can live with it. But I'm gonna be cranky at Garmin for a while for omitting this information from the manual and the user interface. The "saving tracks" section of the Vista HCx manual says nothing about truncating date information or dropping points to get to 500, and there's no warning from the unit when information is going to be dropped, either. Like somebody else said, the only way to learn is to go on a trip long enough that the tracklog loops. Sure, it's mentioned here in the forums, but how would you know to look for it? The word "save" has a pretty well-established meaning in the world of electronics and computers. You don't expect your word processor to save a document that's truncated to 500 words and has all the page numbers removed when you click "save," do you?

 

I would agree that the Manual is pretty basic. It is more aimed at someone who just picked up a GPS for the first time, and is just a get started guide. What you are describing is more of an advanced function. Note that I am not disagreeing with you, it should be more clear.

 

I think the architecture itself goes back to when all Garmin handhelds had fixed internal memory. The designers allocated x amount for waypoints, y amount for routes, and z amount for tracks. When they went to expandable memory, that was primarily for maps, the POI and track saving functions would come later. For example, the Legend HCx is a decendant of the original Legend. They have retained the same architecture since that time. It would be like going into a house that had been added onto, and wondering why it is laid out the way it is. You wouldn't have designed it that way from the ground up.

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This is a great discussion thread and I think IndianaDan has hit the nail on the head. The way Garmin handles the track logs is not well documented and data can too easily be lost. However with the expertise on this forum, we can all share the knowledge and understand the most effective way to utilize the GPSr. What works for one user does not necessarily work for another.

 

I made the classic mistake of buying a new piece of gear (VistaHCX) and immediately going on an overseas trip without learning all the idiosyncrasies of the unit. I did not realize that the time tag was omitted from the saved track logs and did not have 'Log to card' turned on. I did save the track logs regularly however and have a bunch of saved active logs (which do contain the time data) and a bunch of saved log files.

 

QUESTION: All these files 'overlap' each other in terms of the data. What is the best tool to use to assemble all these files into one log file from the beginning to the end of my trip? I would like to do that and then use the EXIF data on the pictures I took to manually insert the date and time back into the saved log file to recreate it.

 

Thanks,

 

Paul

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QUESTION: All these files 'overlap' each other in terms of the data. What is the best tool to use to assemble all these files into one log file from the beginning to the end of my trip? I would like to do that and then use the EXIF data on the pictures I took to manually insert the date and time back into the saved log file to recreate it.

Probably a number of programs will do it, but MapSource has everything you need, at least to assemble the tracks. Basically you open two "instances" of MapSource (one for the master file you are creating and the second for the current track files). Then you just copy and paste the desired tracks into the master file; once there you can edit them, join them, rename them, etc.

 

One thing to remember is that the timestamps are always carried as UTC regardless of the GPSr settings. When you display them in MapSource or other programs they will be displayed in the "local" time of your choice, but the actual data will remain UTC. The one exception to this is Garmin uses the GPSr's local time setting to determine the date when naming the gpx files written to the data card (but the date and time written in the file will always be UTC).

 

MapSource won't work directly with the pictures though. Once you've edited the tracks you can export them as a gpx file and use other programs to insert location data into the pictures. It sounds like you want to link pictures and tracks into some sort of "map with pictures" document. I'm not that familiar with all the available programs for doing that, but Google Earth has some capabilities along those lines.

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The manuals don't make a really clear distinction (arguably),

When I posted this I was thinking that the manual said something about this, but it was just buried. After reading the other concurrent thread and going back to the manual I have to concur with IndianaDan; there's no mention of the loss of data at all. I guess most of us learned the hard way - by losing some data :huh:

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The manuals don't make a really clear distinction (arguably),

When I posted this I was thinking that the manual said something about this, but it was just buried. After reading the other concurrent thread and going back to the manual I have to concur with IndianaDan; there's no mention of the loss of data at all. I guess most of us learned the hard way - by losing some data :huh:

The info is in Garmin's FAQ in their support site:

 

"Question: Why are my tracks shortened when I save them on the device?

 

Answer:

When a track is saved on the device, the number of track points in the track will be lessened. While there may be more track points in the active track log, the saved track will only get 500 points to save in the device. The information stored with the tracks is shortened as well, so information like speed and time are removed. If this data is needed, the track must be kept in the active log, not saved.

Last modified on: 06/12/2007"

 

There's a lot of good info on this site (things like the 2025 map segment limit, the 2 GB limit on microSD cards, etc.) and it's worth a browse.

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The info is in Garmin's FAQ in their support site:

 

"Question: Why are my tracks shortened when I save them on the device?

 

That's great, if you happen to already know that your tracks are being shortened when you save them so that you could dig this up in the FAQ. It would have been nice to know it in advance.

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The info is in Garmin's FAQ in their support site:

 

"Question: Why are my tracks shortened when I save them on the device?

 

That's great, if you happen to already know that your tracks are being shortened when you save them so that you could dig this up in the FAQ. It would have been nice to know it in advance.

Maybe I'm weird, but I browsed the FAQ, etc. to learn as much as I could about the Vista HCx while I was waiting for my unit with baited breath....

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