čtvrtek 23. února 2012

Garmin FR310XT - navigation and geocaching

The first step is to create a course. The easiest way of using a navigation is to let yourself navigate to the start point of your route. I would recommend this for beginners because it is quite well described in the manual and you will familiarize with newly added screens (there are four of them). When you confirm the choice GPS -> Back To Start Garmin will create a new route and leads you along it.

The next possibility is to create a route in Garmin Connect (Courses) and then send it to your device (using a button Send To Device). In fact it will be sent to ANT Agent that will send it into the device. In the device it can be the found here: Training -> Courses.

If you want to have your course with elevation graph, you have to create it e.g. using GPSies.com and then export it (download) in .TCX format. Unfortunately, when on course, you can never see the elevation profile as a whole but only a small fragment that is behind and in front of you. You can see the end of the hill you are running up but not how many hills are there waiting for you. So the elevation graph is rather useless. If you would like to try it, you have to import the .TCX file into Garmin Training Center and then send it to the device.

EDIT 25.2.: Yesterday I followed a course created by other user of Garmin Connect and the elevation graph showed the profile of the whole course. So probably it depends on the source of the course.

Now the course is in the device and let's go. :-)

Switch on the device as usual, wait for locking satellites and then in menu choose Training -> Courses and find your course. Then choose Do Course. A new screen will appear. This navigation screen is added to your current screens together with a profile screen. On the navigation screen there are four fields: Distance of the end, Time to the end (based on your actual speed), Distance to the end (used to be the same as the first field value) and Time spend on the course. The flag in the left top corner indicates that you are on course.

navigation screen (on course)

elevation graph

Using arrows you can switch among screens as usual and somewhere there is the elevation graph. Now we could press Start and set off. But before we do it we can explore other new screens with no rush.

After pressing Mode button won't be shown the menu as usual but the map screen. In the map screen try to zoom in and out using arrow buttons. Zooming is the only activity you can do here. The map view can be either similar to my pictures (north up) or the direction of your movement will be up. In my opinion the second choice is little bit chaotic. You can change it here: Settings -> System -> Map -> Orientation.

map screen

Press Mode once more and a compass screen will appear. It is cool but rather useless. In my experience, when you arrive at a place where you need help the compas screen reads "Off Course - Enter" and you are helpless. This screen along with the big arrow showing right direction displays two data fields identical to the main navigation screen fields (Distance of the end and Time to the end).

compass screen (on course)

Next Mode button press brings you into menu. One more press brings back the main navigation screen (or the last screen you viewed). Now you can press Start and set off.

The compass works well on courses like the first one on the following picture. E.g. on courses where individual segments of the course don't get too close to each other. If you will be on the second course from the picture, then on the marked spot the compass can be lost and navigate you through marked path instead of following the course. This can happen even when you are on course (no "Off Course - Enter" message).

examples of courses

This fact is double-edged. It is an advantage in case you are lost in the middle of nowhere, hungry and you need to get to the end of your route fast (in addition you can see the decreasing destination to the end as a guidance). But it can be an disadvantage too. For example if you want to run through the whole curling planned course or even to draw something using your run as a pencil. While I have never been dying from hunger I have already run a lot of curling routes. Drawing using your run may looks infantile but it is a great variegation. You don't think about heartrate or pace but take care not to overdraw the head. :-) What's more, you can explore new running routes that you would otherwise never came across.

The third course on my picture is similar to the second one. If you divert a little from your course it will direct you back. if you divert more, it can direct you to the other side of your planned route.

example of GPSArt :D

Screens after losing your way look like on following pictures. On the main navigation screen there is no more destination to the end but destination to the course. Next to it there is time to course. Two lower fields are unchanged.

navigation screen (off course)

The map screen is the same. The picture illustrates a situation when I was among block of flats and had a poor signal. It was analysed as being off course. The thick line is the course and the thin one is record of my movement.

map screen (zoomed in)

Data fields on the compass screen show again the same values as the main navigation screen and the big arrows shows the direction to the course. The following picture doesn't correspond to the map screen above. The arrow would have to point left.

compass (off course)

Considering higher mentioned problems (losing course even when the satellites are locked and unreliable compass arrow) I can't recommend using the compass screen. The map screen is good enough for orientation. The arrow is much smaller but you will see immediately if it is off course. The more zoomed the map is the sooner it will be obvious you are heading in the bad direction.

map screen without zoom

map screen with zoom (cca 5x)

The next way, suitable mainly for geocaching is to let yourself navigate to one point. First of all, you have to save the actual position: GPS -> Save Location (you have to have a GPS signal available) and then manually change coordinates: GPS -> Go To Location, choose your saved location and overwrite coordinates. Then choose Go To. Garmin will navigate you directly to the position. This method is pretty annoying but the only way since Garmin doesn't allow you to transfer locations via Garmin Connect.

3 komentáře:

  1. Thank you so much. THis is exactly what I was looking for. Great article.

  2. Very helpful article, thanks for taking the time to write and translate it.