How-To: Using Downloaded Tracks on the Trail

In order to use downloaded tracks and waypoints, of course you must have downloaded them. If you have not done it already, download the hike/trip you want to use - see the blog entry for that. One thing you must not do, that is follow the tracks exactly. In many cases the tracks uploaded are uploaded just as they came from the GPS unit. Thus the tracks might contain little detours off the main trail, maybe to take a picture of a flower in the woods. You want to use common sense as your following the downloaded tracks. If you see the tracks on the screen taking you off the trail, you should adjust to the trail until the screen tracks are corrected. Here is what you generally do -
  • Get to the start of the tracks, could be a trailhead, parking lot or boat ramp You could use your GPS’s "find" function to get you there
  • If your GPS is not already on, turn it on - wait for good satellite reception
  • Find the tracks on the "Map" Screen
  • Start the trip
As you move along, watch the screen to make sure the position pointer stays on the tracks. If you see yourself moving too far away from the loaded tracks, adjust your position to get back on track. You can only use the loaded tracks as a "reference", just to see where you are vs where you might want to be. Get use to using the "Map" function. I might go on another trail just because it looks better. I can always find my back to the main trail using the "map" and "find" functions. I recently tested this using one of my downloaded hikes. The loaded track displayed on my Garmin unit's screen in blue, the little "pointer" showed my position on the track. I just kept the pointer on the loaded track and everything worked fine.

My 60cx Tracks page with WIKILOC tracks in the "Saved Tracks" area

My 60cx map screen - see the tracks in black

Remember, when the hike is over and you have done any downloading of the data etc, that you delete the saved tracks, as they take up space in your unit's memory.

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