Now that will be using my Garmin Nuvi 500 on my GPS, it is time to look around for some suitable maps to download. Certainly, I can Google it and get lots of information, but I am looking for some guidance from my fellow members here.
I am most interested in ATV/OHV trail maps. Garmin City Navigator is great for highways, roads and streets, but most ATV/OHV trails don't show up on CN.
I know that Garmin has some available. When I look there is see TOPO U.S. 24K. I assume those would not be of much value to me and don't show trails.
I also see Garmin HuntView Plus Maps. Has anybody here used them? Do they do a good job showing the trails? The Garmin website, however, shows that the Nuvi 500 is NOT compatible. Does anybody here have any insight why it isn't compatible?
My wife and I went ATVing this past weekend in northern Minnesota. One of the couples that was out with us was using maps from this place. They looked pretty good.
This may be worth checking out:
This past weekend was the first time I have had a GPS mounted on my ATV and used it on rides. Here are a few of my take-aways from that experience:
-I find that while I am actually operating my Can Am, I don't actually look at my Garmin Nuvi 500 very often. I often stand up while riding, unlike many ATVers, but even when I am sitting down on my ATV, I don't look at my GPS very often.
-Once we are on a trail and moving, I may look at the map when certain "decision points" are encountered. For example, when we get to a T intersection on a trail, do I go left or right? So far, what we may encounter while on the trail selected can't always be determined by the maps. For example, if there is a huge mud hole on one trail, but not on another one, we often won't find out about that until we try the trail selected in real time.
-I do need to get trail maps. I have been intentionally dragging me feet on this, but eventually I will get some.
-A few things are absolutely crucial, at least in my mind, when using the GPS while ATVing. Essentially, they are in order of importance, the ability to get back to where I started, a place to buy gasoline and a place to buy food.
-TracBack is a feature that a few Garmins have. I noticed on rides that there was a blue line indicating where I had ridden before. While I really haven't used that feature while navigating on roads in an automobile or pickup truck, I think this feature may have great value while ATVing. Granted, there are times when you don't return on the exact same trail that you started out from, but just having that ability is a great feature.
-Places to buy gasoline on a traditional automobile route are pretty straight forward. With ATVing, however, it needs to be a place close to a trail that you can legally get to. Fortunately, many gas stations near ATV trails have the ability to get there legally.
-Similar to the gasoline bullet point above, places to buy food are also pretty straight forward on a traditional automobile route. While ATVing, you need to be able to get there legally.
On the 19th I got a promo e-mail from Garmin but it was almost all image and little text. It referred to:
I use Garmin's TOPO US 24K maps in my Montana and Oregon GPSr's. They do show most trails and I find them handy for off road biking.
The maps have POI's like gas stations but don't indicate legal access.
I also use maps from GPS File Depot.com as CraigW suggests. They're free and may be worth a look for the areas you ride.
Can you select trails by type? For example, while some ATV trails and snowmobile trails are the same, not all are. It could be a problem if an ATV traveled down a snowmobile only trail.
AFAIK, the Garmin 24K topo maps do not indicate intended trail use.
A better approach would be to try TrailLink.com. I use the site for bike trails but they also list those for ATV's:
Members can download .gpx files for use in GPSr's.
As a new ATV rider, I want to share some of my experiences with GPS and POI.
When it comes to Off-Highway Vehicles, I have found two different navigation challenges. The first is that most trailheads are in such remote areas that my phone's GPS loses data connection in those areas, making it challenging to navigate my primary vehicle to the trailhead. The second is that, once at the trailhead, navigating the mazes of inconsistently marked trails is very confusing and easy to get lost.
I made the decision not to purchase a dedicated GPS for trail riding. I find they are too limited in scope. Updates are easier on tablet devices, and they are far less expensive than trail-quality GPSs. I use three different apps when I am on the trails. With dedicated GPS devices, you don't have this luxury.
Even though I am an avid iPhone and iPad user, I chose to use an inexpensive Android tablet. There seem to be more navigation apps and solutions for this platform. I used a RAM precision mount purchased from Amazon to mount it to my Polaris.
In addition to the Android tablet, I purchased a Garmin GLONASS. GLONASS is a dedicated BlueTooth GPS receiver. It is much faster and more accurate than the GPS receiver built into most phones and tablets. For Android devices, it requires a third-party app to communicate. I could not be happier with this device. This receiver has worked flawlessly for me even under very thick tree canopies.
Primary Vehicle Navigation
To find the trailheads from my primary vehicle, I am using the app Sygic. This app is one of the few apps that allows you to download your maps for completely offline use. This app is also helpful if you are traveling outside the US to navigate in your native language without the need for a data connection. While it is a little complicated to do it, you can also import custom POIs.
Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Navigation
Navigating trails when off-highway requires some planning and some trial and error. I have three different apps that I use to accomplish this. They are Polaris Ride Command, Gaia GPS, and OnX Offroad. The reason for having three is that each one has different trail maps readily available. I find that 80% of the time, I use OnX Offroad. If you were going to start with one, that should be the one.
For my fellow off-road enthusiast who are also global positioning nerds, I hope my experience will help guide you to the solution that is best for you.
That is an excellent post. Thank you for sharing that.
I have been looking a bit closer at the VV Mapping stuff. Are you in Ohio? Have you ever looked at their Appalachia ORV Trails stuff?
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