GWRRA Minnesota Chapter O

Gold Wing Road Riders Association, America's Heartland (Region E)

 


To Garmin .. or not ... Part 2
Bill Taylor | 6/10/2017

It was while we were at Rosedale Mall that I had some extra time and installed the trial version of InRoute.  The next step was to determine if I could import any of the routes that Tom had put together for the Branson trip.  After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that I could take the attachments from Tom’s emails and save them in Apple’s iCloud.  And from there, I could import them into InRoute.  And that’s where I hit the first obstacle (although a pretty minor one).  The ‘free trial’ version of the software only allowed 10 waypoints (I think that’s what it was) and the first route I imported had a few more than that.  The pop up said I could install a free trial of the Premium version which allows up to 25 waypoints.  I figured this would be fine for any of my routes.  Longer ones could be broken into multiple destinations.  The Premium version is approximately $16 (after taxes and such).  The Pro version is $30 per year and allows up to 100 waypoints.  It appeared that it charged my account right away, but I figured that if I really didn’t want it, I could fight that battle later.  But now I was able to import all of the individual routes that Tom had created.  So the initial requirement has now been met – I can import and see routes that others have created.  The next step was to see how well it actually provided instructions along the way.  And that test would happen the following Saturday.

So I saved some of the previous Saturday after-breakfast routes from the 5-8 Grill to the iCloud and then during breakfast, we decided to ride out to Annandale again.   I had missed that ride before, but some of the people had followed Tom when he led.  I explained that this was an experiment and had no idea how this new app was going to work.  And off we went.  Overall, the test was a success – but we did have two issues.  This app (like most if not all navigators) describes what needs to be done to get you to the next waypoint.  One of the waypoints was only a couple hundred feet before a left turn so as soon as it told me we had passed the waypoint, it told me to turn left.  Not much warning there.  The next issue was basically the same – the waypoint was at an intersection we were supposed to turn.  So as soon as we passed the waypoint, it started recalculating.  I figured resolving those issues would be fairly easy.  If I am taking someone else’s route, then I would review each waypoint to determine if these conditions exist and if so, either move the ‘pin’ or at least remember which waypoints are too close to an actual turn.  Turns out there is a better resolution.

Now – the next test would be the Branson trip – to make sure it followed all the routes exactly as Tom created them. 

The first day was going to be a bit of a challenge, since the Day 1 route started at the ride point and several of us were actually riding down to Albert Lea the day before.  We would meet up with them at the first gas stop.  So, on Wednesday as we met the two bikes coming down from the cities at the gas stop, I brought up the route and it asked me if it should proceed to the second waypoint.  Great!  It recognized that I was already in the middle of the route.  And it gave me all the correct directions to the hotel we spent that night.  It seems to give warnings 2-miles out, 1 mile out and just before the turn.

For the rest of the trip, the application basically worked just fine.  There were user errors (like forgetting to tap ‘go’) and there were times when the starting point was not quite at the hotel, which seemed to cause it some confusion.  However, there was one time in which a road was under water and no longer passable so we had to determine how to get back on track after our unplanned detour.  For InRoute, I just told it to skip the next waypoint and get me back on track.  It seemed to work great, but it might have just been an easy detour to resolve.

Along the breaks on these routes, we discussed how the Garmin has two types of points – places to actually stop, and places that are used only to force the route in a particular direction.  The Garmin does not announce the direction points – only the rest stops and final destination.  After some investigation, it turns out that InRoute supports the same feature.  So I can edit the waypoints and tell it not to announce it and this should resolve the issue I experienced on that first Saturday ride.  But it needs to be tested.

And then, of course, there is the issue of creating routes on my own.  Since I don’t have a Garmin (that works anyway), I need something other than BaseCamp.  The app does allow routes to be created on the phone, but I don’t see that as a very efficient method of creating fun routes.  There are two websites that I’ve found that do this for free.  I’m sure there are dozens of other ones.  They are the Honda Trip Planner (http://tripplanner.honda.com/#/) and the Harley Davidson Ride Planner (http://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/owners/plan-your-ride/hd-ride-planner-overview.html) I have not used either one extensively yet, but it appears that I am leaning towards the Honda version.  I can easily import routes from my computer into the application, modify them and create new routes. 

So, for about $16, I now have a “Garmin-like” device on my phone that does everything that a normal Garmin can do (at least that I know of).  It also supports an option to create ‘curvy’ routes and is supposed to warn me about weather conditions on the route as I am travelling.  So far, those features and tons of others, have not been exercised yet.  For a quick route I created just for the heck of it, it even knew that Bunker Lake Boulevard is closed due to construction and routed around it. So, for people with iPhones and no Garmin – I highly recommend this application.  It appears that it is also supposed on Android phones – but someone else will have to investigate that.

The end … for now.






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