GPS Route Planner: New Release Out Today

Well, I finally got some time to devote to the route planner and have made a few changes. It’s still at the usual URL (www.marengo-ltd.com/map/). The development, or “beta beta” release has been removed: it was just too broken on browsers like Safari. The new version has been tested with Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE7.

Here’s a list of what’s new:

  • The pointer is now a crosshair for more accurate placement.
  • The Tools menu now allows you to swap between miles and Kms.
  • The Tools menu now allows toggling of the lines between waypoints. Once you’ve toggled them on, they stay on until you turn them off again, or quit. They always default to off when you start a new session to avoid unnecessary resource usage.
  • You’ll notice a PayPal “donate” button and Google ads now. Please, if you use this application, show support for it!
  • Hovering over a waypoint doesn’t bring up a balloon. That was just annoying! Now, the balloon appears when you click on a waypoint. There are menu options in the balloon now. One being “delete this waypoint”.
  • It’s now far easier to insert waypoints into an existing route. Just click on the waypoint immediately before the one you want to insert and select the “insert” option. A new waypoint will be generated exactly halfway towards the next one.
  • Hovering over a waypoint highlights the corresponding text box in the list in yellow.
  • Search has arrived! Notice the “Search” box next to the “Route Name” box. Now for the bad news… it only works in some countries… and the UK ain’t one of them. So you can enter, for example, “10 Metrotech Ctr, Brooklyn, NY 11201″ into the box, press enter, and the map goes straight there. Whereas if you enter “London”, you get nothing. This is because of a some ludicrous copyright/contractual issues which prevents Google from making this work globally. So if you are in the UK, ignore this box for the time being.
  • Another menu option in the waypoints’ balloons is the ability to “Centre map around here”. This is useful if you want to zoom in. Centre first, then no matter how close you zoom, you know that that waypoint will always be on screen.

Unless we find any bugs, I think this will probably suffice for the free version of this software. What I shall be working on next is a paid-for version (either subscription-based or one-time fee, not sure yet, but either will be inexpensive) which will allow much more, such as storing of routes in the database, the ability to publish read-only routes to anyone, and the ability to import a ride from your GPS and create a regular route from it. As usual, if anyone’s got any ideas for this, let me know.

14 Replies to “GPS Route Planner: New Release Out Today”

  1. Thanks for the good work! I just got an Edge 305 and did the first ride planned on your site yesterday. Cool! Todays updates are just what I would have proposed.

    One idea for the HOWTO: I had a problem with the Linux kernel driver garmin_gps; I could connect but only the first few waypoints of a route were transferred. This is documented at http://www.gpsbabel.org/os/Linux_Hotplug.html .

    Have you uploaded tracks/courses to the Edge305 using gpsbabel? For me,

    gpsbabel -t -i gpx -f track.gpx -o garmin -F usb:

    results in

    [ERROR] Send_Track: Unknown track protocol

    I find it annoying that routes are limited to 100 points (which is ridicoulous in comparison to 13,000 points possible in a track). The gpsbabel website says that courses are not supported, so I guess maybe that means you can also not upload tracks (which turn into courses when uploaded by training center).

    Greetings from Aachen, Sven

  2. Altitude info is the one thing that hardly any of these sites have – the “pedometer” sites have it, but there’s no Import feature.

    If you could combine the two …

    Matt
    p.s. keep up the good work!

  3. Hello, This works well. I used gpsbabel with my garmin geko301. I was able to upload a cycle route I’d previously loaded on to the garmin up to the web site and pulled it back down.

    For Reference here are my gpsbabel commands:
    To dump the garmin route onto a gpx file:
    gpsbabel -r -i garmin -f /dev/ttyS0 -w -o gpx -F route.xml

    To send the gpx xml file to the garmin:
    gpsbabel -r -i gpx -f route.xml -o garmin -F /dev/ttyS0

    On my wish list I’d like to see a way of uploading and overlaying a track and waypoints on to googlemaps. Then one could use this detail to build a new route from a ride that had been completed previously.

  4. Hey SteveB, thanks for the comments… regarding your wish list, this is something I was thinking about today… I did a big ride yesterday and converted the Garmin track using Babel to a simplified route, which I was able to load up into the Route Planner and start to modify.

    I’ll be building functionality like this into the deluxe version of the Route Planner, when I get time!

  5. Hey Martyn, This is a very good improvement from a nice idea. My suggestion for the Route Planner is to read the cardinal direction to head for each next turn. This could help when we are lost.
    Other:
    Do you know that this new search function read latitude and longitude in indifferent formats? It work OK for me!
    See explanation:
    http://tinyurl.com/2y3m75

  6. Hey Paul, sorry about the delay in response, I must have missed your comment. I didn’t realise you could enter lat/lon in the search box – but yes, it works for me too!

  7. Martyn

    Thanks for this, I’m enjoying using it so much I sent you a fiver.

    The track converter over on http://www.marengo-ltd.com/gps/convert.php doesn’t work 100% for me, however (perhaps it only expects a single track?) — is there no way to make gpsbabel do track to route conversion..?

    My workflow looks like this right now:

    gpsbabel -t -i garmin -f /dev/ttyS0 -w -o gpx -F track.xml

    gpsbabel -t -i gpx -f track.xml -x simplify,count=30 -o gpx -F simple.xml

    paste into http://www.marengo-ltd.com/gps/convert.php

    edit output to remove bogus groups

    paste into “load” window on http://www.marengo-ltd.com/map/

    tweak, etc.

    I’d like to get rid of the convert.php bit… If it’s just a simple XML transform, could it just be done with XSLT..?

  8. Thanks for your kind comments and donation. Much appreciated. You are right, the existing convert is pretty lame in that it expects just one track. Anything more than this confuses it.

    It probably could be done with XSLT… I just know nothing about XSLT yet, other than it exists!

    I’m pretty sure GPSBabel can do a better transform than my simple convert script… see http://www.gpsbabel.org/htmldoc-development/filter_transform.html
    (and let us all know how you get on!)

    The new version of the Route Planner will have a much more robust import mechanism. Watch this space.

  9. OK, I have managed to get gpsbabel to do the route to track conversion — it’s easy when you know how.

    You should be able to do the whole thing from the Garmin to the route in one command like so:

    gpsbabel -t -i garmin -f /dev/ttyS0 -x track,start=2007040700,stop=2007040800 -x transform,wpt=trk,del -x transform,rte=wpt,del -x simplify,count=100 -o gpx -F route.xml

    What I’m doing here is getting a trail from Saturday 7 April into a simplified file suitable for plotting on Marengo. Vary the simplify filter as appropriate for the number of points you feel you need (and Google Maps can handle in your browser).

    In actual usage, you might like to split the “getting the data from the GPS” bit from the “mangling the data” step, because the serial port transfer is by far the slowest step:

    gpsbabel -t -i garmin -f /dev/ttyS0 -w gpx -F track.xml

    gpsbabel -t -i gpx -f track.xml -x track,start=2007040700,stop=2007040800 -x transform,wpt=trk,del -x transform,rte=wpt,del -x simplify,count=100 -o gpx -F route.xml

  10. I forgot to mention, there are several other useful things you can do with the track filter in gpsbabel, eg select a track by name, merge several tracks on the device into one, see this page for info:

    http://www.gpsbabel.org/htmldoc-development/filter_track.html

    As far as I can see Marengo only accepts a single track, so merge and/or filter until you’ve got what you want in one track.

  11. Thanks for reporting back your findings Aglet – sounds useful, and hopefully of use to other readers. Cheers!

  12. Hi Martyn, I enjoy your Marengo GPS Route Planner well so it is time to let you know and other tool that complet it very well. When I plan an on & off roads trip, I start with GmaptoGpx(http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/ ). This applet convert routes from Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/) in GPX. This give me a rough plan for on road route. From there, Gpx content is load for detailing in to Marengo GPS Route Planner. One drawback: From time to time , Elsewhere can be busy fixing GmaptoGpx when a new version of GMaps is release.

  13. Hey hey! Thanks so much for connecting all the dots to make the Edge 305 functional for navigating. I used it for a 200k brevet and was able to lead my pack without looking at the cue sheet once. I’m doing a 300k tomorrow with Edga in hand. I’ll let you know how it’s doing.

    The one silly limitation of the device I discovered is that the memory for waypoints is limited to 100, I guess because they used a 2 digit decimal number to represent it. I would think 255 would be a better limit, as they could have kept it two digits of hex (FF). Oh well, it’s great nonetheless!

  14. I’m pleased you like the Marengo Route Planner, Lee. Stay tuned for the new version which will be available soon!

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