Trail Navigation Part 2 – Finding Tracks & Creating Routes

We continue our series on trail navigation and ride planning tools with a look at creating routes and finding public tracks to keep on the plotted course. 

Option 1 – Create a Routes
In GPS terminology a route is series of waypoints that when followed using your GPS guides you along the intended direction of travel. Most/all GPS apps and devices allow route creation so when riding you follow a coloured line along your predetermined set of directions rather than having to stop at each corner to check the map.

Option 2 – Find Public Tracks
If you prefer to follow a track saved by another rider, many of the online GPS services allow you to search existing trails then save or sync to your device. 

The existence of a track doesn’t mean you are allowed to or should ride that trail.

Following a track may take you across private land, sensitive terrain, areas closed to ATVs or on difficult trails. Always research where you are riding and be prepared to turn back!

BRMB Web Map with inset of iPhone 7 Map Tools screen. I wasn’t able to find a way to plan a route on the Web Map and transfer it to the App, nor plan on the App.
The BRMB Web Map lets you search “Adventures”, here King Eddy ATV Trails are shown and can be added to a trip or downloaded in GPX or KML format.

Backroad Mapbooks
We ruled out using the paper Backroad Mapbooks for detailed ATV ride planning last week so we’re only looking at the GPS Maps and Web Map/App options this week from BRMB.

  1. GPS Maps
    Every Garmin GPS made since the dawn of time has had Route creation hiding in the menu and the Backroad Mapbooks layers provide additional data on both your handheld GPS and in Basecamp when your GPS is connected to the computer. See the Garmin section below for more information on Route creation.
  2. BRMB Web Map & App 
    Using a PRO account on the BRMB Web Map it’s possible to “Draw a Line” to create a route to follow later, this is then saved and available for download as a GPX or KML file.

    Two problems I encountered:
    a. I couldn’t find a way of importing or opening this route on the BRMB App on my phone.

    b. There is no way of “Drawing a Line” on the BRMB App which means route planning via the app is currently not an option.BRMB is pouring a lot of effort into the BRMB Web Map and App so I won’t be surprised to see many more features arriving in the coming months. BRMB is offering a 3 month free PRO trail to ATVBC members, to get your 3 month trial contact ATVBC by email.
To access Public Tracks shared by Gaia GPS users, enable the Public Track Map Overlay.
Public Tracks appear as faint green lines on the map, click a track for more info and to save to your account.

Gaia GPS
Using a Free or Premium account at Gaia GPS lets you browse Public Tracks shared by others and create your own Routes. Looking at Tracks shared by others is a great way to explore new areas and fill in gaps in your trail database. 

It’s also possible to create Routes which are saved in your account and instantly available for use on other devices signed in to your Gaia GPS account.

Using Backroad Mapbooks and Gaia Topo map layers to quickly plan routes on your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Check out my video on how to Create a Route using Gaia GPS to customize layers and “Pan, Scan, Zoom and Click” to quickly create a Route for your next adventure.

Garmin Basecamp route creation and inset of Garmin GPS screen with Routes highlighted.

Route creation has always been an important feature in Garmin devices and Basecamp. A route can be created directly on your handheld GPS through the Routes menu or in Basecamp by clicking the Create a Route button under Creation Tools at the top of the screen. Once created in Basecamp the file must be sent to your handheld GPS for use.

As we saw last week, the amount of information available via Basecamp is dependent on having Garmin BirdsEye, Topo or Backroad Mapbooks data otherwise the default beige screen provides no navigational assistance.

Search the map for trails shared by other riders, the left sidebar shows ride data, photos and links to a full description and download options.

One of the main benefits of community contributed content is the ability to see, download and use files added by fellow riders. It’s also possible to create a route on the webmap by using the “Draw your trail by hand” feature found under the Upload Trails option.

The trail detail page has a detailed description of the ride, photos, a list of waypoints and trails in the vicinity and download options ranging from transfer to the Wikiloc App, GPX, Garmin, Suunto and more.

Stay Tuned!
Next week we take public tracks or Routes we’ve created and load them onto our chosen chosen GPS device/app so you can navigate the intended route.

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