‘Breadcrumb’ trails with a little more ! Turn by Turn Directions for pre-set courses on the Garmin Edge 200.
Possibly the most queried function for the Garmin Edge 200 is whether it can be used for navigation – VELOGPS have therefore put together a brief guide to explain exactly what Garmin’s entry level cycle GPS is capable of.
Firstly, we should be absolutely clear in stating that the Edge 200 does not come with any pre-loaded maps. It cannot therefore be used in the same way as a traditional vehicle based sat-nav. If you want a GPS capable of plotting its own routes and displaying detailed maps then you should take a look at Garmin’s excellent Edge Touring, Edge 800 or Edge 810 units.
So how can the Edge 200 be used for navigation ? The answer lies in the 200′s course function which enables users to follow a basic breadcrumb trail. Courses can be created from previous rides or from uploaded files generated through an online mapping tool.
By selecting a pre-set course a linear route can be followed on screen thus enabling basic navigation. Whilst the displayed course only provides a single line to follow (it does not show any other roads) it is still possible to determine direction changes by following the line (if the line goes left so do you). This is certainly pretty handy but is by no means flawless and can prove tricky in built up areas where several junctions are close together – so how can we improve things further ? How about adding in some waypoint alerts so that the Edge 200:
- Issues audible alerts at junctions
- Displays an arrow telling you which way to go
- Provides a countdown of time and distance to the next turn.
Sound good ? Well here’s how it’s done………………………………..
Our guide has been produced with reference to GPSies track creator – other mapping tools may not offer the same level of functionality or end results.
- Find an online mapping tool capable of plotting a route with course points or waypoints and with the option to download the generated route as a TCX file. We have used GPSies track creator for this guide – not all mapping sites offer waypoints and TCX downloads (both are needed for turn directions). Visit our GPSies page to learn more.
- Map out your route ensuring that waypoints are added at appropriate junctions (waypoints are effectively a means of embedding a direction into a route).
- Connect your Garmin Edge 200 to your PC via the USB cable.
- Download or export your route as a TCX file. Where the option to export the TCX direct to your Garmin Edge 200 is avaialble then select this (skip to 7). Where this option is not available then download your route to your PC as a TCX file.
- Open the Garmin folders and locate the folder named ‘New Files’
- Copy the TCX file from your PC to the ‘New Files’ folder
- Disconnect your Edge 200 (where necessary using the ‘safely remove hardware’ option) and turn it on – the route will now appear as a course in your course list.
- Select the course – a ‘breadcrumb’ trace of the whole course will be shown on screen.
- Once started (assuming you are at the start of the course) you can scroll between the data, virtual partner and course screens.
Once riding, the Edge 200 will notify you when your course has been found. Should you subsequently stray from the course you will receive an ‘off course’ notification (audible and on screen) as well as an on screen arrow pointing you in the direction required to re-join your course (this is not necessarily the direction of the road).
As you continue to follow your course the directions saved as waypoints will be displayed as arrow icons on the route line. The next direction will also be shown in a banner at the bottom of the screen with an updating countdown that alternates between distance to next and time to next (if using GPSies). Dependant on the mapping tool utilised it is possible to have direction icons and audible alerts issued at a turn as well as a pre-set distance before the turn.
VELOGPS have used the above function on the Edge 200 to navigate courses mapped and uploaded using both bikeroutetoaster, GPSies and BikeHike. Whilst it’s fair to say that we did stray off course a few times on a 40 mile ride the ‘off route’ notification and arrow had us back on track before we’d gone too far. We would however recommend familiarising yourself with the course function and honing your course building skills on a route you know well first.
The ability to ride pre-set courses with embedded waypoints is one of our favourite features on the Garmin Edge 200 which makes it all the more surprising that it’s not more widely promoted.
Here’s one we made earlier:
Check out our YouTube clip below to see the Garmin Edge 200 in action – be sure to view in HD for enhanced clarity. Turn directions are featured at 2m20s, the data screen can be seen at 3m20s and an off course alert at 4m40s: