How do I make my own routes and upload them to a laptop PC?
Right now I have a Colorado 400t, a laptop running nRoute, and a slew of free maps. I do not have any routable maps. My family and I enjoy back road/off road adventures.

What I would like to do is be able make my own routes, and upload them either to the computer or my Colorado, preferably use on the laptop. Is it possible to do this with what I have now? I do have MapSource and can create routes in them but they transfer as way points.

If I can't do it with what i have what is the best option for me (Garmin Mobile PC?).

Thanks for any Help
Ken in Regina
Could you provide a little more detail about what you want to do? I don't understand what you mean by creating "routes" on nonroutable maps.

Do you mean that you want to have a brightly coloured line, like you get when you do a route in Mapsource, that lays on top of the trails you want to follow?

If that's what you mean, you can use the Track editing tools in Mapsource. You can right-click on the toolbar in Mapsource and click beside "Track Edit" to turn on the Track Editing tools. Then you can use the Track Draw tool to draw a track on the map.

When you have drawn the track the way you want it you can then name it and change the colour of the line, if you want. In the Tracks tab in Mapsource you can right-click on the new track and select "Track Properties". On that screen you can change the name of the track and the line colour.

Now you can load that track into nRoute or the CO and display it on any map you have.

Awesome! thanks. That gets me well on my way. Now what about another option for using a routable map ie turn by turn I understand that I can't do it now but are there highly detailed routable maps. How is the one that comes with Garmin Mobile PC as far as roads. If I purchased one of these maps could i make up my own route not relying on the software to map a route for me?
Garmin Mobile PC has excellent routing data for most roads. It might not suit your needs if you use a lot of back roads but non-locked routable Garmin Topo maps are available for the US and Canada.

You could set up your preferred route in MapSource and transfer it to Mobile PC just the same as you send it to the Colorado.

Could you describe in more detail what a "non-locked routable Garmin Topo " is. Does non locked mean free access?
The software-only version of Mobile PC (the version that does not include a GPS device) only allows the addition of non-locked maps. Garmin sells Topo maps for various areas that have routable road information included. I know the TOPO Canada version does not need to be unlocked and sections can be transferred to Mobile PC for use with that program. I am assuming the US versions are similar. Most free or shareware Garmin format maps for North America are non-routable.

So Garmin should be able to tell me if the topo map is locked or unlocked and therefore work with Mobile PC. Correct? Does the package that includes the GPS work with locked maps? Is there any other reason to get the GPS with the mobile PC (having the colarodo already)
Ken in Regina
Most of Garmin's routable road maps are locked. That would be like the City Navigator line of map products (eg. for North America, Europe, etc.)

That means that if you buy City Navigator North America you would get one unlock code. If you use the unlock code to unlock the maps to your CO you would not be able to use the maps on anything else without buying another unlock code. So to use City Navigator North America routable road maps for your CO and another GPS unit you would need to buy the maps plus one additional unlock code.

The unlock codes are created by using the serial number of a Garmin GPS plus the Product Code of the map product.

Mobile PC does not have a serial number so there needs to be a GPS receiver to unlock the maps to if you want to use locked maps with it.

But it's way more confusing than that. The software-only version of Mobile PC can't be used with locked Garmin maps. Period.

The City Navigator North America maps that come preloaded in Mobile PC (any version) can't be used with your CO. Period.

Because of the way Garmin has chosen to copy-protect many of their map products they have made it a collosal pain in the rear to use their own maps with Mobile PC unless the map product is not locked.

Their customer support line should be able to tell you whether a particular map product requires an unlock code or not. But do NOT ask them if it will work with Mobile PC. You will end up so confused you won't know whether your punched or drilled. Two-thirds of their customer support people have no idea about what works with Mobile PC or why. If you phone three times and ask three different people the same question about Mobile PC and Garmin maps you will get at least two different answers ... sometimes three. And I wouldn't even be surprised if you got four.

You just need to remember two simple things about Mobile PC:

1. You can't use the Mobile PC preloaded maps with Mapsource or load them onto any other Garmin GPS device.

2. As long as the maps are Garmin-compatible and do not require an unlock code they will work fine with any version of Mobile PC. You just use Mapsource to load them in, just like loading them to your CO.

Well, there's a third.

3. If you want to use a set of maps that require an unlock code with both your CO and Mobile PC it gets complicated. And probably expensive.

OK, to carry this one more step, is there a better software for me to do what I need/want?
This has been really great Info. Thanks!!
Ken in Regina
With routable maps you can use Mapsource to make routes in exactly the way you wish rather than being stuck with the automatic routing. You can use the routing tool on the toolbar and manually click on each of the points you want to go to.

In Mobile PC it is more automatic, where you select waypoints ("Favorites") or addresses or intersections of points of interest (POI) and Mobile PC will figure out how to get between them. You can still force the route to go different ways than the automatic routing. You can tell it to avoid areas and you can manually shape the route.

Both methods (Mapsource versus Mobile PC) have their pluses and minuses. Both will ultimately allow you to force a route in pretty much any place you want it to go. Like any tools, it requires that you spend some time learning the techniques to get the maximum out of them.

If you decide to call Garmin to see if their American Topo maps are not locked, you also need to ask them if they are routable. I'm pretty sure the American Topo product is not routable but I'm not certain.

Ken in Regina
If you want to look at other software that is not Garmin, probably the two that might be most useful would be either Microsoft Streets & Trips or DeLorme Topo 8.

Streets&Trips has the same road map data as Garmin's City Navigator North America. It has similar routing capabilities as Mobile PC but even more powerful trip planning features. It does not have much in the way of offroad stuff, like trails. And you cannot add other maps to it.

DeLorme Topo USA 8 has really good topo info for the US. I think it also has the same routable road map data as their Street Atlas product. But I'm not positive about that. If it does, it might be a good product for you. DeLorme's Topo 8 has some other unique features that nobody else has.

Streets&Trips can import and export routes and waypoints in GPX format that can be loaded into Mapsource. It also knows how to transfer a route directly into your CO and other Garmin GPS devices.

I don't think there is any way to get stuff from DeLorme's products to or from your CO or Mapsource.

Ken in Regina
Since you already have Mapsource, nRoute and your CO, here's a site where you can get some routable road maps for free.

Worldwide routable Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap

Note, it doesn't much like Internet Explorer so you're better off to use Firefox or Opera.

So now I'm considering Garmin City Navigator. As I understand I can buy this for roughly 100$ (can I install this into MapSouce and run it through nRoute as well as have it on my Colorado?). Or I can pay 59$ for the software only version of Garmin Mobile PC (which comes with City Navigator) and would only be able to use it with the laptop and no other product.
Generally, a downloadable upgrade map would be available for your Colorado. That download would also include a version for MapSource on your computer. The latest versions are not usable with nRoute directly. However, there is a downloadable program that can convert the map data to a version that both MapSource and nRoute can use.

<edit>Broken link removed</edit>

You may or may not be able to use your Colorado as a GPS receiver for nRoute. If not GPS Gate should be able to resolve the issues.

Ken in Regina
Yes, you can use City Navigator on both your laptop with nRoute and on your Colorado. Two things to be aware of:

City Navigator requires an unlock code. So when you buy City Navigator buy it for the Colorado and buy the DVD version. When you install it to your PC from the DVD, it will install into Mapsource on the PC. Then you use Mapsource to unlock it. Then you can download all or part of the City Navigator maps to your Colorado and they will work on it because the maps are unlocked to the Colorado.

That part is all pretty straightforward. The next part takes a bit of work.

The new format of the City Navigator maps doesn't work in nRoute. So after they are installed on your PC you will need to run them through a program called ReverseMapConverter. That will convert the City Navigator maps back to the old format, which will work with nRoute.

If you like nRoute, I think you will find this process the easiest. If you buy Mobile PC you will have a number of difficulties. But there are a couple that would be a major factor.

You will not be able to use the maps on the Colorado. Period. You would still need to buy City Navigator maps for the Colorado, if you want to use those maps on both the Colorado and your laptop.

You might need some additional software to use the Colorado with Mobile PC.

If you want to use your Colorado as the GPS receiver for your laptop, the software-only version of Mobile PC that you would need is not particularly friendly with Garmin receivers. It works great with almost any non-Garmin receiver you can find. But for some reason Garmin has messed it up so it refuses to work with many of their own receviers, especially the newer models. I have an eTrex Legend HCx and a GPS10x bluetooth. Mobile PC won't use either of them. It finds them just fine but refuses to use them. Your Colorado is even newer so I'm sure Mobile PC software-only version won't use it.

There are a couple of ways to get around it. One is that there are a couple of software solutions to make it work.

The other is that you could buy the version of Mobile PC that comes with its own GPS Receiver.

EDIT: Oops, I see Terry gave you a nice short version of what I said. What he said.

...ken... About