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Moving map display of remote GPS on TOPO Canada
Mark Conner
I am working with a friend of mine who is a hot-air balloon pilot. He wants to set a duration record during a flight planned for the Saskatoon area this winter (can get a longer flight in cold weather). He likes the Garmin TOPO Canada maps and would like to use them for his flight. I'm pretty familiar with GPS and radios but not with Garmin's mapping software products.

The laptop will be in the chase vehicle and we want the balloon's location to show on the map (ideally, the vehicle's location too but that seems unlikely). The GPS receiver (puck-type) will be on the balloon and we plan to obtain a 900 MHz radio system to link the serial data from the balloon GPS to the laptop in the chase van (the balloon may be up to 10 miles or so away). The GPS data will be present as a virtual COM port on the laptop.

Can we use nRoute with TOPO Canada and have a moving map display of the balloon's position?

Is there a way to update two markers on the map (chase van *and* balloon) using two separate GPS data streams?

- Mark
tcassidy
Garmin nRoute does not work with NMEA GPS devices; it requires Garmin PVT data. However GPS Gate can take the NMEA and provide a signal nRoute will use.

I think Canada Topo v4 is in the new Garmin mapping format and will not work directly with nRoute. There is a program - MapReverse Converter - which can make it usable though. However, you might want to consider the excellent Ibycus Topo Canada maps as you probably will not require the routing functionality of the Garmin maps.
http://www.ibycus.com/ibycustopo/

nRoute will not support 2 data streams at the same time. I was thinking you could run 2 copies of nRoute but that would require 2 instances of GPS Gate and that is not possible. I think you would need 2 separate laptops to monitor both locations simultaneously.

Terry
Mark Conner
I think the chase van would just have an ordinary mapping GPS unit if it can't be plotted on the laptop.

I couldn't see much on the ibycus.com site showing functionality - will it take GPS data and plot the location on the map?

Thanks for the additional details. Does anyone on here know if Topo Canada versions prior to v4 will work with nRoute? I believe the pilot has an older version too.

- Mark
Ken in Regina
Yes, Topo Canada v2 works just fine with nRoute. You can just think of the Ibycus Topos as an up-to-date cleaned-up version. If you have ever looked at Canadian government paper topos, the Ibycus topos look just like that in Mapsource and nRoute.

If you will be roaring around Saskatchewan grid roads you should find the Topo Canada v2 will work just fine. But the Ibycus topos have much more up-to-date road information.

I've attached screenshots of Topo Canada v2 and Ibycus topo in nRoute. This is for the same area around the Saskatoon airport. If you have interest in a shot of any particular area just holler.

EDIT: Ooops, I just realized I had the display set to automatic so these shots are with nRoute in "night" display mode. If they don't show up decently let me know and I'll take the same shots in "day" mode.

...ken...
Attached Images
nroute-topo-ca.jpg   nroute-ibycus.jpg  
Mark Conner
Ken,

Can you generate maps with the contours on them? In general, the pilot is more interested in the contour data (needs to know if the wind is blowing him towards higher terrain where he may need to plan a fuel burn).

- Mark
Ken in Regina
Topographic maps already have contour lines on them. There are contour lines on the screenshots in my last post. They show better in the Ibycus shot. If you aren't familiar with a countour line, they are usually a light brown colour with the elevation value beside them at various points along its length.

Are you familiar with Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon area? The reason you don't see any concentrations of contour lines in my two screenshots is because there is not a lot of elevation change in that area. When there is elevation change it's usually gentle, except for river valleys.

If you need a better example of what contour lines look like on a topographical map just let me know and I'll take a screenshot that better illustrates it.

...ken...
Mark Conner
Now I see them, just wasn't looking hard enough. Thanks for all your assistance, I think this will do what we want if we can get the radio link portion to work.

- Mark
Ken in Regina
That will be very interesting to be able to remotely track the progress of the balloon. I hope it works out. If there's anything else we can do to help get it going just holler.

I'm only 250km from Saskatoon so if you have any questions about the area I can probably help with that, too.

...ken...
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