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Follow track on an eTrex 30x (vs good old Vista HCx)

Hi,

I recently upgraded my good old eTrex Vista HCx to a brand new eTrex 30x.

I am still trying to fiddle with the new user interface (which I am still not sure if it is either improved or worse), but there is one very simple action that I used to do all the time with my Vista HCx that I cannot seem to perform on the 30x.

How can I navigate a GPX track on a 30x unit by following the track? I mean, with my Vista HCx I can backtrack any loaded track, point to a point along the track and my GPS unit will automatically route that track without relying on any map to plan that route (I can do this even without any active map).

If I try to do the same with the 30x unit, all I get is a straight line from where I'm standing to the point that I selected on the track.

So, can anyone please help me figure out how can I follow a track like this?

Comments

  • sussamb 798 Points
    Sorry I don't have an Etrex 30x, have you tried reading the manual? You want the trackback function ...

    On my Etrex20 you select the current route and select trackback, I suspect yours is similar.
  • nfh 0 Points
    I think that the trackback option is not what I need, as it is only applicable to the current track. I want to be able to follow any track that I have loaded on my device.
    Anyway, in the meantime I realised I was seeing the "Where To" feature the wrong way. When you select "Where To->Tracks", select a track a press the "GO" button, supposingly you are already following a track. I thought that as soon as I pressed the "GO" button I was supposed to click on a point on the track to where I wanted to go.

    The old Vista HCx worked this way: you would select a track, use the "trackback" feature (the only feature available that allows to navigate through a track). After that you are presented with a view of your complete track (map is greatly zoomed out) and you should click on a point of the track (or nearby) to where you want to go. The unit will then decide if it should navigate forward or backwards on the track, depending where you stand and where's the point you clicked.

    Nonetheless, the way the 30x works (which is similar to the eTrex 20, I believe) has some limitations as far as I know, when compared to the Vista HCx:

    1) you cannot navigate to any part of your track other than the end of it, as you cannot select the desired destination point;
    2) if you want to navigate a track backwards and it is not the current track, you have to copy it reversed so that you can later follow it;
    3) you do not get a straight line from where you stand to the beginning of the track to help you guide you up to the beginning of the track.
  • sussamb 798 Points
    edited July 2015
    1) It's why I tend to use routes, then you can (but see point 3).
    2) Well that's true but reasonable surely? Or simply reverse it if you want to follow it backwards, there's no need to copy it first.
    3) I wouldn't want a straight line, could take me over a cliff! If you want one though just scroll to the start of the track, click a point and do a Go to that point.

    I've navigated for years mainly cross country and must say I've never had any issues getting my Etrex to do what I want, but occasionally some steps aren't obvious :)
  • nfh 0 Points
    About point 3, well, I'm not very fond of the straight line either :), but when you are in an outdoor area in which trails are not represented on the map or your map does not support auto routing (or it is just not very handy to use it), the straight line comes in handy so that I know which direction I should head to for catching the track.

    I also believe that some of the difficulties I am encountering are bound to my experience with the Vista HCx interface (I've been heavily using it since 2007) and some habits are hard to loose :).
  • sussamb 798 Points
    I know what you mean, I 'graduated' to my Etrex 20 from an Etrex Legend H :)
  • nfh said:

    I think that the trackback option is not what I need, as it is only applicable to the current track. I want to be able to follow any track that I have loaded on my device.
    Anyway, in the meantime I realised I was seeing the "Where To" feature the wrong way. When you select "Where To->Tracks", select a track a press the "GO" button, supposingly you are already following a track. I thought that as soon as I pressed the "GO" button I was supposed to click on a point on the track to where I wanted to go.

    The old Vista HCx worked this way: you would select a track, use the "trackback" feature (the only feature available that allows to navigate through a track). After that you are presented with a view of your complete track (map is greatly zoomed out) and you should click on a point of the track (or nearby) to where you want to go. The unit will then decide if it should navigate forward or backwards on the track, depending where you stand and where's the point you clicked.

    Nonetheless, the way the 30x works (which is similar to the eTrex 20, I believe) has some limitations as far as I know, when compared to the Vista HCx:

    1) you cannot navigate to any part of your track other than the end of it, as you cannot select the desired destination point;
    2) if you want to navigate a track backwards and it is not the current track, you have to copy it reversed so that you can later follow it;
    3) you do not get a straight line from where you stand to the beginning of the track to help you guide you up to the beginning of the track.


    Has anyone solved this? I just upgraded to the 20x from a Venture HC and now I can't utilize saved tracks.... what the hell is the point of being able to save tracks if they become useless afterwards? I use my unit for kayaking and have the entire river saved as a track. I need to be able to look at the track and find the distances along it at various points while at camp. It can be done on Basecamp but not on the GPS? what crap. Isn't trackback a function that 99% of people with handheld GPS would need to use? Say you hike for a day and are tracking... you mark a water source with a waypoint then hike a bit longer. You stop to set up camp, turn off GPS (save Track). In the morning you try to remember how far back that water source was... well lets load the track and track back to that point. NOPE, sorry, can't be done. You will need a 10yr old unit for that very obviously needed feature. Ive been searching for 3 days for an answer to this issue and NOTHING. Im starting to think that Garmin has left it out on purpose to force ppl to buy the more expensive units to have a feature its basic units have always had.
  • sussamb 798 Points
    Not sure what you mean by can't utilise saved tracks. If you do a Where to, tracks you can select saved tracks and in track manager you can pull up saved tracks and also navigate with them.
  • sussamb said:

    Not sure what you mean by can't utilise saved tracks. If you do a Where to, tracks you can select saved tracks and in track manager you can pull up saved tracks and also navigate with them.

    yes but you have to be physically be standing on the track in order to access the information it holds. With the older units u can select a save track that is hundreds of miles away and it puts you on that track and allows you to access its data such as distance between points. With the new units, selecting a saved track just draws a crow fly line from your current location to the starts of the track. So yes i can pull up and view my saved track but i have to be physically standing on the to use the data they contain. This means there is no way to plan ahead using a saved track.
  • sussamb 798 Points
    Well personally I wouldn't want to do that, but couldn't you just select the View map option? That shows you the track on the map without drawing any straight line and you can then zoom/pan around the track?
  • Yes I can but I cannot select points along it and see the distances between them along the track.
  • OK, I have figure part of it out. Trackback on the new units does not mean the same thing as trackback on the older ones. If you select a SAVED track then exit to the main menu and view the active route option it will show you the distance to the points along that track as they pertain the the track shape, not a straight line. It will show waypoints along or near the track as well that were not marked when the track was made. The best way to do this is to add the Active Route option to your page sequence and then you can just use the back button to scroll between the list of points and their distances and your other pages. Personally, i just have Map, Compass and Active Route.

    Best i can figure is that when you select a saved track you are automatically doing a trackback. You have to select trackback with your current track in order to tell the unit you are turning around and not to continue making track points over already existing ones but rather to use the existing ones to trackback with.
  • nfh 0 Points
    Unfortunately it is very far from what the "trackback" function was on the old Vista HCx units. The new track navigation model does not generate an automatic route, thus meaning that you do not get audible warnings on sharp corners that could guide you through the track without having to look at the gps unit.

    Furthermore, if you start navigating a track without a calculated route and you are not over the track, you do not get the straight line to the nearest track waypoint, as it happened witht he Vista HCx (very handy if you have to leave your route for some reason, or if you do not start on a point over it).
  • sussamb 798 Points
    nfh said:

    Unfortunately it is very far from what the "trackback" function was on the old Vista HCx units. The new track navigation model does not generate an automatic route, thus meaning that you do not get audible warnings on sharp corners that could guide you through the track without having to look at the gps unit.

    Really? You would do that? Blindly follow a turn instruction without checking on your GPS?

    I certainly wouldn't, I use my GPS as a guide but always check the screen first before I do anything, just like I used to do with a map.

    I had an earlier Etrex, a Legend H, and find my Etrex 20 far more capable as a navigation device. I wouldn't buy a 20x or 30x as I prefer buttons, but feel my 20 is far superior to my older Etrex. I suspect it's just a case of getting used to the way a newer device operates, once you do you're unlikely to look back.

  • nfh 0 Points
    I use it mainly for mountain biking and when you're rolling on a trail, you do not want to stop on every interjunction to decide if you should go straight ahead or to turn left or right.
    And that is when the audible warning comes in handy. I can follow the path where I am biking without having to constantly look at the GPS display because I know that if there is a relatively sharp turn ahead (which usually means an interjunction) I will be warned. After turning I can check the GPS display to confirm that I took the proper turn.
    That is just what happens when you navigate a calculated route: when you have to turn, the GPS beeps.

    By the way, both 20x and 30x have buttons. It is the new 25x and 35x range that has a touch screen ;).
  • sussamb 798 Points
    edited October 2015
    Ah yes, sorry for the confusion over buttons! I still wouldn't replace my 20 with a 20x though as it doesn't seem different enough :)

    For biking you may be better off with an Edge, as that range is apparently aimed at cyclists.
  • DaveM 159 Points
    Garmin makes a bar mount. I don't have an eTrex 30x but unless they changed the mount from the eTrex 20/30 you could mount it on your handlebar and see it without stopping.

    I don't know how an edge would work for mountain biking they are more designed for road biking. I have friends that use them for road biking and depending on the model of edge ether use routes or courses. I would want to talk to someone that uses one for mountain biking or better yet see if you could borrow it and try before buying.

    If you can find A map that has trails you ride that are routeable you could use routes instead of tracks. You could try http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/index.php for maps. A route is a lot nicer as it will beep before and at a turn. You can set a data field to distance to next so you know how far the next turn is and it has a large easy to see arrow showing the turn on the map.

    The eTrex is not a good GPS for following routes (unless it was fixed in the 20/30x) as it will recalculate and send you the wrong way. When I was using my eTrex 20 to follow a route I always displayed a track on the screen and glanced it it now and then to check that the route and track were the same. If not I had to go back to following the track. I now always use my GPSMAP 64s to follow a route. I can disable recalculation on it so it won't change the route. It uses the same bar mount as the eTrex. I think you can disable recalculation on some of the touch screen Garmin's but don't know which ones I like buttons so went with the GPSMAP 64s.
  • privet01 215 Points
    sussamb said:

    Really? You would do that? Blindly follow a turn instruction without checking on your GPS?

    I certainly wouldn't, I use my GPS as a guide but always check the screen first before I do anything, just like I used to do with a map.

    I think looking ahead at the actual conditions you are in will be preferable to checking the GPS. Maps have been wrong. People have turned into buildings and driven into road construction when following gps's <<grin>> (Though I suspect many of the famous ones may be urban legend)

    As for the edge which is a pretty good little bike gps/cyclometer, just like any other gps, there will be issues with turn by turn guidance. Much depends on what software you used to build your course, how it was imported to your device and subtleties of the programming on each different device. Even among the Garmin Edge users there seem to be a vast difference between what some users get as opposed to other users.



  • nfh 0 Points
    That is why following a track without an automatic route would be excelent. And that is where my old Vista HCx is way better than my 30x, because it allows me to follow a track, along with audible warnings, remaining distance to the point on the track to where I am navigating (yes, I can choose any point from the track, unlike what 30x allows), etc, even if the track goes through some area of the map that has no mapped roads or trails.

    By the way, although the Edge series is more aimed at bicycling, it really does not seem to make a huge difference when compared to the eTrex series. It does have an enhanced routing set of features (at least the Edge Touring), which allow you to have more control on the way a route is calculated. It also has some enhanced training analysis (as far as I know), but as the 30x also supports Ant+ devices such as a heart rate monitor, it got it covered.
    Nonetheless, when it comes to following a track, as far as I know it suffers from the same issues that I'm discussing here. Moreover, Garmin describes the eTrex series as an option for bicycling as well.
  • DaveM 159 Points
    Yes the Edge Touring has more options for route calculation but I wouldn't trust it or any other GPS to calculate a route on the bike. I want the GPS to follow a route or track I or someone programmed in BaseCamp or other program on the computer. It would also need a map that had the trails you ride as routeable.

    A lot of bike riders that do Randonneurs and other perplanned rides consider the eTrex Vista HCx or Legend HCx the best GPS ever made.

    I don't know of any current GPS that is good at track navigation on a bike. They are good for hiking and walking. The eTrex is not very good at following a route do to auto recalculation (unless it was fixed in the new 20x/30x).

    I like my eTrex 20 for hiking and will sometimes use it on the bike if I'm only trying to record my track and not navigate. But if something happened to it I wouldn't replace it I would use my GPSMAP 64s full time. If I need to buy A new GPS with the current models it would be a GPS 64 or 64s.
  • nfh 0 Points
    Well, that's my case... I've been doing the Camino de Santiago (Way of Santiago) on its many variations for the past few years and I always trusted my Vista HCx. My next planned Way of Santiago has 1400km and I believe I'll have to bring the Vista HCx as a redundant device, because I'm still not sure if it will be practical to use the 30x for navigating.
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