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Creating the Navigation Files

posted Nov 30, 2017, 9:48 PM by Pete Carleson   [ updated Nov 30, 2017, 9:57 PM ]
(Created as reply in a Fenix 3 Garmin Forum for the software CourseTCX2FIT)
Add me to the list of happy users of this CourseTCX2FIT!! I really like to place my own coursepoints for trail runs, which don't lend themselves well to auto-detection of turns. I use coursepoints to mark turns, straights, and even geo-placed reminders for food and water. This sw was the missing piece to take the courses with turns marked in Garmin Training Center and generate the FIT files. TCX files worked ok but they are much larger so slower to transfer, store, and email. On my 310xt a TCX can take 10 minutes and the same course in FIT is just 10's of seconds. Overall I like to have the route in the watch for intricate courses and have the coursepoints to help minimize the risk of getting off route. Also, for long runs the total distance added up by GPS is always off, but I can relay on the display of distance remaining on the course to be good. In case anyone is interested, here's my workflow.

1. Sketch out the course in Mapsource using OpenStreetMap routable maps from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/http://www.gmaptool.eu/en, or https://extract.bbbike.org/. Complete list of OpenStreetMap sourced Garmin format map files is here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin/Download but the main sites I use is because the data is reasonable refresh rate and easy for me to install. I believe Basecamp can also make the routes. I then add Waypoints where I want Coursepoints to show up then re-route the course making sure to hit those waypoints. Delete the original sketched out route, save as GDB file. You could also use any other mapping site (strava, mapmyrun, caltopo) that can export as GPX.

2. Convert GDB/GPX to GPX with elevation profile using JavawaRTW Tool http://www.javawa.nl/rtwtool_en.html. Export Routes to Tracks and add Elevation Data; For Waypoints, export as Waypoints and add Elevation Data. (If you don't want the elevation data, such as for a flat run, then just convert the GDB to FIT (or TCX) as described in Step 3.)

3. Convert GPX to FIT (or TCX) with JavawaRTW Tool; this time Export Tracks as Courses and Waypoints as Coursepoints. (You can have it calculate turns and add coursepoints to the track for these but for trail runs with curvy routes it falsely detects a lot of turns).

4. Mark the FIT file with turn marked Coursepoints in Garmin Training Center: Import the FIT file, edit the properties of each coursepoint to the type you want (left, right, straight, summit, water, valley, etc). This step can also be done in a text editor on a TCX file if you are careful, you replace the tag value "Generic" with the type you want instead (left, right...).

5. Export the course as a TCX from Garmin Training Center   (-or-  if you have ANT+ watch and setup you could Send to Watch from here and be done).

6. Use CourseTCX2FIT with pace goal to convert to FIT (http://runningbadger.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/a-tool-to-help-with-navigation-on.html)

7. Transfer to Garmin Watch; Windows Start button, type %appdata% hit enter. Navigate through Garmin folders until you find the NewFiles folder for your device, click-drag to COPY the file into the NewFiles folder. Plug in the Ant+ stick, turn on watch and it transfers. For Wifi watches I think you just turn on the watch and it syncs. After transferring the FIT file it is moved the Courses folder and is renamed with the date. I'm on Win7 and it is my understanding there is some variation of where this folder is placed but it is worth finding.

8. Go to the watch, go to the course, then view the profile and map to make sure it's all there.

9. When you are ready to run it, go the course on the watch, then select the "Do Course", press Start when you start running. The watch should have a presetup display that tells you the next Coursepoint name, icon for the coursepoint type, how far way it is, how long it will take to get there, distance to the finish, and countdown clock for how long what your goal pace is over the distance. When you get to CoursePoints then the watch will beep/vibrate and flash the icon for that Coursepoint and the label text. Note that there is some support for having this pop up before the coursepoint but I haven't figured out how to do it with these tools, some sometimes I'll just place the Coursepoint slightly ahead of the turn.

That's all there is too it! It's such a shame that this is so intricate to follow for such simple request. It drives me batty that Garmin Connect mapping, or any other online mapping tool (that I know of) will support placing CoursePoints or use up-to-date OpenStreetMap routing data. 

Many but not all Garmin watches support such navigation. To find out for sure refer to the spec table for your watch from DC Rainmakers product tool. Simply select your watch (or one you are looking at getting), hit the Product Compare! button. Scroll down looking for the "Navigate" section then look for the feature "FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS)". If it says "Yes" then you are in business.

I used to use WinGDB for steps 2 and 3 but liked to be able to see the elevation profile in the data that JavawaRTW provides. WinGDB is from http://www.sackman.info/. There are some simple features (such as saving a FIT file wit elevation instead of having to save as GPX first) it would be nice to add to JavawaRTW but it is no longer in development. Gpx2crs is handy utility to automatically make coursepoints for summits and valleys when you have elevation data already in your gpx, still available from the Wayback machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20111108070544/http://www.niniu.com/Garmin/Gpx2Crs.zip. You can then use Javawa to load the CRS in step 3 converting to FIT.
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