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Oregon 600 - GPX route issues

Oregon 600 - GPX route issues

I am a software developer and long time Magellan owner. Recently I purchased an Oregon 600 and installed firmware 3.5. Now I am learning the best way to have my code produce GPX files so they can be imported into BaseCamp or loaded directly into the GPS via mass storage mode.

In particular, I am interested in using GPX routes to help find approximate property lines and corners. Yes, I fully understand that a consumer grade GPS does not produce survey grade data. Please, let’s not bog down this thread by discussing that point further. Before I share one or more potential bugs (features?) with Garmin, I want to mention my observations here and find out if anyone has noticed anything similar or can shed any light.

Here is a very simple GPX file:
This file passed the XML validator at

This GPX file has 3 wpt (waypoint) entries named w1, w2 and w3 and 4 rtept (routepoint) entries named r1-r2-r3-r4. The coords for the waypoints and routepoints match like so:
r1 = w1
r2 = w2
r3 = w3
r4 = w1

The waypoint symbol is specified as a red push pin: <sym>Pin, Red</sym>

Think of this data as representing a triangular piece of property with waypoints at the corners and a route around the perimeter. This triangle is actually part of our yard. I am sitting inside the house with the GPS running on external power via the USB cable and the back of the GPS (where the antenna is) pointed at the window so I can get a satellite lock.

In order to start with a ‘clean’ GPS I did a reboot and then restored my customized ‘Corners’ profile.

The routing in my ‘Corners’ profile is setup as follows:
Activity = Direct routing
Route transitions = Manual
Lock on road = No

In fact, if you want to download the profile I made that is tuned for the task of locating approximate property lines and corners, here it is:

Then I turned the GPS back on, went into mass storage mode and copied the GPX file (PLM_16.gpx) to the GPX folder in the GPS.

Then I went back into GPS mode and watched the satellite screen until it showed that my position had been determined.

Then I went to the map screen and here is a screenshot:

1. The route in the GPX file was automatically made active. (Active routes always show blue push pins at the routepoints unless you have taken steps to make the blue push pin symbol 100% transparent.) I wonder if this was supposed to happen or should I just be seeing red waypoint pins and without any route active until I make a route active?

2. Only one of the three route legs is shown on the above screenshot. Given that my routing is set to “direct” and “manual” it certainly seems to me that all legs of the route should be shown on the screen.

Then I went to the Route Planner app, selected this route (it is the only route on the GPS) and hit View Map. Here is a screenshot of the map:

I hit GO. Now the map now shows all 3 legs of the route.
Because the routepoints (and waypoints) are at the approximate corners of the property, the route is a map that shows the approximate property lines.

I opened the Active Route app and touched r2 to make that point the active routepoint. The map now looks like this:

3. Is the firmware supposed to *not* show route legs that are prior to the active routepoint?
For the purpose of locating approximate property lines it would be very useful to always display all legs of the active route on the map.
I vote that this is a bug.

Just to confirm the last point I went to the Active Route app and made r4 (same as w1) the active routepoint. Yup, all the route legs disappeared from the map since all of the route legs are prior to routepoint r4 - the last point in the route.

If I make r1 (same as w1) the active route point, then all route legs again appear on the map since none of the route legs are prior to the first point in the route:

Suddenly a large white arrow appeared on the screen. I understand this white arrow relates to turn-by-turn directions.

4. Given that my routing is ‘direct’ and “manual’ is the firmware supposed to be displaying this white arrow? It does not seem to do anything. I have only seen it anchored on the first routepoint.

If I make r3 the active routepoint, the white arrow remains anchored at r1 (same as w1):

Finally, look at the “off course” data value on the prior screenshot. On various other Garmin GPS units, this piece of data measures the perpendicular distance to the active leg of the active route. That is certainly not the way it is presently working on my Oregon 600 with firmware 3.5. Based on repeated testing, here is what happens.

When you use the Active Route app to select the active routepoint, the GPS draws an imaginary line from your current position to the active routepoint you selected. On the Oregon 600 with firmware 3.5 the “off course” value shows the perpendicular distance from your location to that imaginary line. Note that this type of “off course” data is already provided if you do “Where to?” and select a waypoint.

5. I wonder if the Oregon 6xx firmware is supposed to include the concept of active leg of the active route and with “off course” being the perpendicular distance to the active leg? In other words, is the lack of “active leg” a bug or a missing feature?

Such a bug fix (or feature) would be quite useful for working with approximate property lines and corners. For example, a large acreage parcel could easily have a property line that was a half mile or more in length. If you had a GPS route around the perimeter of the property and wanted to know approximately where a certain trail crossed the property line, you could find that out by making that portion of the property line the active leg of the active route and then walk along the trail until the “off course” value became 0.

Sure, if you were standing at a property corner and made the next corner the active routepoint, then “off course” would show your perpendicular distance to the approximate property line as you made you way to the next property corner. But it only does so because you were standing at one property corner when you made the next corner the active routepoint. What if you are unable to stand at a corner because it is in a swamp or on the other side of a river?

I hope that the apparent lack of the “active leg” feature in the Oregon 3.5 firmware is a bug that gets fixed in the next update. After all, we know Garmin has code that implements the “active leg” concept since a Google search shows that this feature appears on other Garmin models.


  • zee 97 Points
    Try different settings, like in the Route Transitions.

    I made up your Route in the Demo Mode in a 60Cx, everything worked good, including Navigating, after I went to the Compass Page and clicked the Rocker up once, setting the Speed to 10.0 mh.
    I use the Demo Mode a lot for making up property routes. No worry about rivers, swamps, etc.

    I'm working up several pieces of property with a Meridian, and transferring the L/L's to the Garmin, since the Magellan Map Page only goes down to 100 feet, and the Garmin goes down to 20 Feet. The Meridian will let me project a 37.43 bearing, while the 60Cx will only show the 37 full degree. With the Garmin I have to use mills, or project a 37 and a 38 deg, then "gustimate" the location on the Map Page.

    Sometimes when the Route line is too wide, or covering something, I pan the white arrow over to the line, hit entr, then use the Rocker to move the line out of the way, then back as needed.
    Another skinny line method is to use Tracks. Set the time to 1 second, with Tracks off, go to corner 1, and after it has settled and you have a good fix, turn the Tracks on for about 5 seconds, then off, as you walk to the next corner any way you like. Then do a 5 seconds on/off for this corner and all of the next ones. This way it will show the tracks line between the corners on the Map Page and you have dodged the mud hole, etc.
    I hope that the newer models have some of the fun stuff above.
  • Hello Joe,

    I also recently bought an Oregon 600 and I also use it to find property corners and show people where their approximate property lines are. I do not use routes in the 600 because my 24K Topo is routable and screws up my survey route. I use MapSource to make routes using the property corner waypoints then use GPSies to convert the routes to GPX tracks. Then I put the waypoints back into the GPX tracks file and put that file in the GPX folder in the 600 same as you.

    When at the subject property I press "Where To?" > Tracks > The Track I Want > and the whole thing shows on the screen. I do not press "Go". I just walk the lines with the client and use the cursor to get on line where possible.

    I have routing set to "Direct" same as you so if I, or the client, wants a distance to a point I just select it and "Go" and the Compass points to it with a distance.

    For the waypoint symbol I use the tiny dot because it makes less clutter on the screen. Here is my version of your 3 point lot lines. It has the route and track and waypoints so maybe you can test it to see what you think about using a track. 3point.gpx
  • Thanks for including that file URL in your post.
    I put that file on my 600 and played with it a bit.

    OK, you have convinced me to tweak my code so the GPX file I am producing also processes the corner coordinates (i.e. waypoints) into a track. After all, if the GPX file has both a route and a track along the approximate property boundary then the user can display whichever one they find the most useful.

    When a dry day in the Seattle area rolls around I need to play with this track idea outside so I can see if there are any 'gotchas'.

    Of course I still wish Garmin would take the "active leg" concept from their marine and aviation units and add that feature to the eTrex 20/30 and Oregon 6xx models.
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