12 days on the road with MyRoute-App and Zumo XT

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KTM-Don
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12 days on the road with MyRoute-App and Zumo XT

Post by KTM-Don »

I purchased the Garmin and signed up for a lifetime MRA membership to prepare for an annual motorcycle trip with my wife. We visited some old familiar places, and found many new routes that we'd like to return to another time. The bike is a 2008 BMW R1200RT. We used an older Cardo Q3 intercom, and it linked to the XT, although we did have a few dropped connections that required stopping and restarting the Q3. GPS voice prompts block the intercom, it looks like the fix for this is to upgrade to a newer intercom.

Overall, everything worked almost exactly as I had hoped. I spent a lot of time reading posts on the MRA forum, this Garmin forum, Basecamp forums, and ADVrider. The combination of the Zumo XT and MRA definitely made this trip easier, more enjoyable, and safer.

We pre-plan to a degree, but like to allow a certain amount of freedom once on the road. I had the first two days and last two day configured in MyRoute-App, and basic routes for the other days. On several occasions we spent two nights in a scenic area, and used the Round Tour feature of MRA with great results. We did tweak the auto-generated route, but it found some really nice roads for us.

The work flow was like this. At home, I used my desktop PC with dual monitors and paper maps to look at the areas of interest. I set my default map in MRA to 'Here', which I believe is important when exporting to the Garmin. I turned on the 'Google Map' overlay, which gives better road identification features. I did accidentally create some off-route shaping point, which created some confusion on the road, but the Garmin gracefully recovered. Once I had a route created and properly named (this became important when we started departing from the schedule), I closed the MRA website on the PC. When traveling we used a Samsung tablet to generate or modify the routes. I used the ability to create folder and sub-folders to organize the routes. Being able to route with a mobile device was a key feature, as I did not want to carry a laptop.

MRA links to Google Street View, this was very helpful to determine the kinds of roads we were picking for a route. Bad pavement, dirt roads and such were easy to identify. This and the route simulation using a satellite map view were very helpful features.

To load the new route, I would turn on the GPS, which generally started the Garmin Drive app on my Android phone, as it was already linked to the phone for real-time weather and traffic updates. I would open the route on my mobile using the MRA Android app, then 'Save As' GPX 1.1. The mobile would download the files, both a track and a route. Touching 'Open' would bring up Garmin Drive, and give me the option of sending the file to the Zumo XT. A few minutes later the GPS would report new files received. This sounds complex, but really only took a couple of minutes, far less than the route planning. There were issues with an earlier versions of Drive, but the latest version seems to work fine.

On the Garmin, I would open 'apps' then 'Trip Planner', then 'Saved Trips'. It took a bit to figure out how to tell the Garmin we were at (or reasonably close) to the starting via point, we ended up with strait line routes a couple of mornings. Once settled on the route, the Garmin faithfully kept us on the route we had created (with plenty of shaping points) in MRA.

We rode with 'Off Route Recalculation' (in the Settings / Navigation menu) set it to 'Prompted' which let me know when we were off the expected route. The route remains outlined as a magenta line, and whenever we returned to it the GPS picked up from the point of re-entry. This was a big concern for me, I was very afraid we would lose the route entirely and have to revert to the paper map or GPS determined routing. The Garmin handled 'figure of 8' routes perfectly, we had one day where we crossed our path twice, a double eight.

I tested the 'recalculate' feature when we were near home. I was uncertain if it would route to the next shaping point, or directly to the destination. The XT did route to the next shaping point. The only issue we had was when I accidentally closed the trip on the Garmin at a lunch break. When resuming, I was given the option of routing from the start, the nearest route point, or the destination. Selecting nearest point (or similar wording) consistently gave a 'cannot calculate' error. I had to route from the start, then bypass that start point in the routing. The XT then got us back on the Magenta Line and continued normally. After our return, I found there was an XT update available, with improvements to handling shaping points. So maybe this has been addressed.

So this was a big win! The Zumo and mounting hardware, along with the lifetime MRA Gold membership set us back a bit of cash. But we had many less missed turns, abrupt U-turns, and stops to trace our position on a paper map. We were able to execute complex routes that I would not have attempted without the GPS, due to the amount of navigation needed. And getting turn by turn directions to the hotel through city traffic at the end of a long day is nearly priceless.

Our 3300 mile route was basically a counterclockwise circle from SE Michigan north through the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and back home. Lots of crossings of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. We're getting excited about next year's trips, when my wife is retired!
jfheath
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Re: 12 days on the road with MyRoute-App and Zumo XT

Post by jfheath »

Excellent write-up. Thank you.

Some comments, thoughts...

MRA currently has a 1.1 Beta version which allows the creation of Via Points as well as shaping points. Vias can be used sparingly at places you know you will drive through. Usually stopping places - Zumo's 'Destinations' is a not very helpful term for these.

Never select the end destination when starting a route. It will calculate a new route to the end, ignoring your shaping points. (Clearly, you avoided this error)

It's a good idea to put the start point some way ahead of the place you will start the engine. eg a couple of miles away on the road you want to be on after escaping the town/village. This gives the opportunity to find fuel, avoid traffic and road works, and it will still navigate you to the place you want to start the ride. It also gives the Zumo time to get a decent satellite fix.

Closest entry point doesn't head for one of your points - it actually finds the place on the magenta route which is closest to your present position and heads for that. I have noticed the inability to calculate a CEP route. I found that in all of the cases that I was able to reproduce the same circumstanes, allowing the satnav to make u-turns cured this issue. I think the problem is that it doesn't know which way you are facing until you start moving, and if it even thinks you are facing in the wrong direction, it has to find the closest point by heading in the wrong direction. It isn't going to succeed if the route is to the north and it has to find it by heading south, without being able to make a u-turn.

The route will never miss out shaping points - unless you select the wrong destination at the very start - but if you have only shaping points in your route (ie no via points), you can rejoin the magenta route anywhere and it will navigate you from that point on. So you have to be careful with figure 8 routes - if you head off on the wrong road at the cross-over, it will continue navigating in that direction -allowing you to miss out a whole bunch of shaping points.

Actually, that is a very useful feature, which is why Via points are best used sparingly. It allows you to plot an optional detour eg for coffee, which you can choose to ignore and pick up the route further along the road.
The zumo will never allow you to miss out via points in this way.

I have a couple of 'issues' with MRA, but the work they have done in recognising how the Zumos operate is impressive, and from what i have seen it is the best online mapping software available for the Zumo. It just needs to recognise the saved waypoints / favourites - which would be easy to implement, and I have to get over the fact that the Zumo has to recalculate the route as soon as it receives it - which for some peculiar reason, I allow it to really bug me. Its only a bit of extra time!

Lifetime subscription? i haven't seen that option. How much ?

But it was good to read a report describing how you used it and how well it worked for you on your trip. Thank you.
ST1300A9 - Currently: Zumo 590/5 and Zumo XT - Previous: Zumo 550 and Zumo 660.
BTM03 module to provide Bluetooth link to Autocom. XT paired up to Android Smartphone
Stu
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Re: 12 days on the road with MyRoute-App and Zumo XT

Post by Stu »

jfheath wrote: 01 Oct 2021 05:00
Lifetime subscription? i haven't seen that option. How much ?
$99 but I think it was invite only :?

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