I just picked up a Garmin Edge 800. It has mapping capabilities, but to make a long story short, you need to install maps. If you haven’t done so already, read DC Rainmaker’s excellent post for background.
There’s a couple of sites which give advice on downloading free Open Street Maps.
- DC Rainmaker recommends installing the Routeable Bicycle Openfietsmap Lite. If you want simplest and quickest, go no further. (Edit 2017 August 21: This has been my preference for quite some time now.)
- Ride With GPS recommends installing Mantlik’s Contoured Maps or Dave’s Maps.
In case you’re wondering about the differences between the maps, I’ve tried all three (four, if you count the included base map) and took some screenshots:
From left to right: the garbage base map, Openfiets, Dave’s. (Sorry, forgot to get Mantlik’s Contoured maps at this zoom level.)
From left to right, now zoomed in: Openfiets, Dave’s, Mantlik’s Contoured. (The base map shows nothing at this zoom level.)
So which maps to use? The Openfiets for sure, since they are bicycle routeable. (Though refer here for notes about how to adjust the routing preferences. For example, don’t “avoid major highways”, because “cycleways” are considered major highways!)
But the downside of the Openfiets light maps is that you can download only a single state at a time (but see clarification in the comments below). Since the Edge 800 supports multiple map files, I also wanted a generic non-cycling US map in case I had to travel and didn’t have time to download an Openfiets map for another state. So then I had to decide whether to go with Dave’s or Mantlik’s maps. Dave’s map is a simple download of a file, while Mantlik’s involves a torrent download. In the end, I went with the added complexity of torrent download in order to take advantage of the contour lines in the Mantlik maps. (But watch out for the bloatware included in the free Vuze bittorrent program – even a “power user” like me who normally unchecks the boxes to install toolbars, etc., missed that option in the installation.)
Here’s a screen shot showing how the maps can be enabled and disabled. The Mantlik maps have two entries. Although they are not labeled, one is for the map itself, and the other is for the contours.
Then you can do things like activating both the Openfietsmap and the contour lines from the Mantlik’s maps, as shown in the screen shots below. Though I don’t know how that affects the routing functionality.
Finally, here’s a random screen shot of the nearby points of interest on the map.
Ah, and I did find a use for the basemaps – while flying on a private plane (no restrictions on electronics use)!
EDIT 2013 Aug 09: Buried in the comments in DC Rainmaker’s original post is a link to a page with recommended road bicycling routing settings for the Garmin Edge 800
Menu > Wrench > System > Map > Map Information Select Map > Openfietsmap Lite (Enabled) Basemap (Enabled) City Navigator (Disabled)
Menu > Wrench > Routing > Calculate Routes for = Bicycle
Guidance Method = On Road for Time
Lock on Road = No
Avoidance Setup Toll Roads, U-Turns…
U-Turns = Do Not Avoid
Toll Roads = Do Not Avoid (avoidance will route on bike routes only (“NOT available in the cycling activity modes!”), but this last point confuses me)
Highways = Do Not Avoid (cycleroutes and cycleways are the main highways)
Unpaved Roads = Avoid (no routing on tracks, steps and unpaved (foot) paths, except gravel bike path. Also roads paved with cobblestones are avoided.)
Carpool Lanes = Avoid (avoids unpaved roads, footways and steps)
Recalculate = Prompted
EDIT 2013 August 10:
I had a chance to upload a TCX file from Ride With GPS and try navigating with the “courses” function. I like who I can keep the Edge 800 on the page with speed and distance, but then when I approach a turn, the map will automatically pop up.
Then after I complete the turn, it automatically switches back to the screen with the speed and distance.
EDIT 2014 August 27:
RWGPS says that using a GPX track is better than a TCX if you have basemaps installed. You still get the warning before the turn, as I have now confirmed with my new Garmin Edge 810.
I have now turned off route recalculation, rather than setting it to prompted.
I now calculate routes for automobile instead of bicycle, since for the cycle maps, it appears that automobile mode is racing bicycle.