Garmin eTrex Legend HCx with Open Street Map
September 4, 2010 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Garmin eTrex Legend HCx with Open Street Map - anyone used it?

I'm considering getting one of these to use for navigation on (road) bicycle rides and I wondered if anyone who had used one with Open Streep Map could recommend how suitable it is for my needs.

I have an atrocious memory for directions and on bike rides end up stopping every 5 minutes to check the map / directions and find where I am and where the next turn is, which gets irritating and is not ideal in cold wet weather.

So I'm after a weatherproof GPS I can fix to my bars which I will have pre-loaded a route into (I don't mind spending some time plotting out a route beforehand), and will show me where I am as I go along.

(I thought briefly about a simple map holder on the bars, but I'd really like something to instantly locate me and not have to stop and peer at a map and work out where I am, so a map holder is not what I'm looking for at the moment.)

I don't really need it to auto-plot a route, or care whether it has the facility to record where I've gone with speed / pace details - I just need it to follow a pre-planned route.

From reviews it looks like the included "base map" with the Legend is not great; however I have also read that you can load Open Street Map maps on to an SD card and use that. OSM is pretty good in the area I'll be cycling in (around Bristol, UK, if that matters), and I'll always take a paper map along on rides just in case, so the occasional OSM inaccuracy doesn't bother me.

However this page has listed in the "bad points" column for this model "no access to waypoints or tracks from SD card" - which sounds like I may not be able to follow a pre-plotted track on a OSM map loaded on the SD card.

So... will I be able to do what I want?

(If I haven't been very clear please say and I will try and clarify. I'm not too knowledgable about GPS gadgets so please don't worry about patronising me.)
posted by Dali Atomicus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm have the Garmin hcx hiking model GPS and I loaded the Legends Navi Bundle on it via an SD card. I use it for hiking and driving. Loading with the SD card hasn't seemed to be an issue, although my husband did it and I can't really speak from personal experience. When we drive we usually put in an address and it calculates where to go. When we were hiking we have used it with waypoints that he downloaded from the internet. I haven't used it for driving with waypoints. I'm also in North America and this looks like a different map product so ymmv.

Mefimail me if you have any questions and I can see if my husband has further recommendations since it is more his toy than mine.
posted by aetg at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2010

Best answer: I use an eTrex Vista on my handlebars (around Bristol & Bath :) and it's great. Certainly weatherproof and very durable. I've had it drop off my handlebars at upwards of 30mph a couple of times (the clip is solid, my fault for not attaching it properly!), and it's straight back into action. Battery life is splendid, too.

I rarely (never) use it in auto-routing mode. Rather, I will draw out a routeplan on bikehike, and then download it straight from the website to the device. I use the Garmin CityNavigator map, so I can't speak for the integration with OSM, but I used a third-party map in Japan without any problem. Following the route while riding is a doddle, exactly as you would want.

I *think* that what is meant by the comment about no access to tracks and waypoints from SD card is that you won't be able to take the card out and read track (ie where you've been) data directly from it to your PC. You will, however, be able to do that with the garmin bundled software, or gpsbabel.
posted by mjg123 at 2:33 PM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

btw, in Gramin-speak, a "track" is a path which you have actually travelled and it has recorded for you. The thing that you would plan out beforehand and ask the device to steer you along is a "route".
posted by mjg123 at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks aetg & mjg123 - both really useful answers. (Especially the distinction between a "track" and a "route" which has never been clear to me.)
posted by Dali Atomicus at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2010

Response by poster: Brief update if anyone with similar requirements is reading this - I got the Legend HCx and it does exactly what I want. I loaded an OSM map onto it easily, and can upload GPX routes (which can be created on many sites - I use bikehike like one of the posters above) and follow them.

Seems like a very good device so far. But you definitely need an additional map to the basemap that comes with it, which is extremely basic.
posted by Dali Atomicus at 9:42 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

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