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Garmin nRoute alternative?
jonr
Hi, I have Garmin USB receiver, and use nRoute for most of my tracking and navigating. But I find the software to be clumsy designed and limited. Is there any alternative to nRoute that I could use with Garmin maps?

I'm using nRoute with topo maps of Iceland, to find names and places. I'm not using it much for city navigation...
Ken in Regina
On a laptop your only Garmin alternative is Mobile PC. If you have ever tried a Garmin Nuvi personal navigation device (or similar products from TomTom, Magellan, etc.) you will already know what Mobile PC looks like and how it works. It is not identical but it is very similar to the navigation software on the Nuvi devices.

If that is the sort of map display and user interface you are looking for, go ahead and read some of the discussions in here, starting with the review thread. You will see that there are some issues with Mobile PC when adding maps that did not come preloaded with it.

As always with Garmin products there is the issue of which receivers will work with which maps. There are also issues with how you enter data for searching.

There are some, like me, who think that the combination of Mapsource and nroute is still one of the best planning and navigation solutions available, even though nroute might not be the prettiest display.

You didn't mention any specific problems so I can't make any specific comments. If you have any specific questions please ask. Otherwise, there is lots of helpful reading in the discussions in this section of the forum about Mobile PC and how to use it with maps from places other than North Amerca and Europe.

...ken...
jonr
Well, I'll try to be more specific.
First, nRoute works, but the user interface is horrid. Keyboard shortcuts are e.g. Ctrl+character. Why? It's not like we are entering text and need to use modifier keys. Why press Ctrl+N instead of only N? When driving this is a major distraction.
And the rendering is both slow and ugly. I get faster response on the same tiny little Asus Eee using google maps. And the maps look better. At least I can tell the difference between different types of paths.
Here is an example:

And using http://ja.is/kort (yellow pages app), which uses the same data as the garmin map:

This map is smoother/faster/looks better in a browser, than a dedicated Garmin GPS application. If only I could cache ja.is tiles and connect them to GPS.

Ok, I'm done ranting.
Ken in Regina
Yes, I can see why you are frustrated, Jon. The display for Kort is beautiful.

I also agree that the nroute interface is old and clunky. It's actually the Mapsource interface with navigation added.

As I mentioned, if you need something that will do navigation and must use Garmin-compatible maps, the only other solution I know about for the laptop is Mobile PC.

If the maps you are using contain DEM data, and they appear to from the rendering of Kort, Mobile PC will use it also, I think. I don't have any topo maps with DEM data in them to test with or I would do that for you. If the maps you are using are free and available to download, I could download and test them in Mobile PC and post a screen shot for you.

The interface on Mobile PC is designed for a touchscreen but all of the on-screen buttons have single-key alternatives. They are mainly F-keys. That could be a problem for laptops with tiny F-keys or with only 10 F-keys instead of 12. With a normal size and the normal number of them, they are easier to find than letter keys but perhaps not as easy to remember.

The negative side of an interface designed to work best with a touchscreen is that there are no shortcuts. You need to go step by step through the buttons and menus to get anywhere.

Let me know if you want those maps tested in Mobile PC.

...ken...
jonr
I have come a bit of a map nut after I started working in a Geothermal Research company. I actually didn't notice how ugly Garmin rendering of maps were until I started to play with the same data using tools like ESRI's ArcGIS and similar systems.
The Garmin and ja.is maps are actually using the same data, it's just a shame that Garmin doesn't update their software.
I keep looking for better applications...
Ken in Regina
Hi Jon,

As I said, I would be happy to take some screen shots in Mobile PC for you if I could get a copy of the maps to install into Mapsource. If the DEM data is in that map data I'm pretty sure that Mobile PC will render them very much like ja.is. When I zoom out far enough to see the basemap instead of the detail map I see a very nice relief map just like the ja.is picture you posted. That's because the basemap that comes with Mobile PC has the DEM data in it. Unfortunately I don't have any detail maps with DEM data in them. If you would like a shot of the basemap relief view I can post one for you.

...ken...
ASP
Can you please tell me how you got Garmin Topo to work with Garmin nRoute. I believe there is a way but can not find it. I can see Garmin Topo in Mapsource OK but does not appear in nRoute.
I did try a mapreverse but could not figure out how to use it or if it is the correct program.
Any help would be apprecaited including any instructions.
Thanks
tcassidy
The correct program is MapReverseConverter. You will have to tell it where the Topo map is on your computer so it can convert it. I think you will find the map in C:\Documents and Settings\<your name>\Application Data\GARMIN\Maps if you are using Windows XP. The converter will modify the file and put a pointer to it in the registry.

JaVaWa GPS-tools | Use City Navigator Europe NT 2009 with MapSource 6.13.7

Terry
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