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Garmin GPS

Tricks, Tips, Work Arounds, Hints, Secrets and Ideas

for the Garmin nüvi (nuvi) GPS (and others)

Lots Of Things You Didn't Know

[many ideas may also apply to various nüvi 200, 300, 500, 600, 700,
800, 2X5, 7X5, 8X5, 1200, 1300, 1400, 2200, 2300, 2400, 3700 series units,
the nüvi 1690, nüLink! 1695 & nüvi 5000
,
and possibly
other Garmin road GPSs.
A nüvi 650 was originally used for initial testing.
As of 12/12/08 a nüvi 755T is also being used for testing.
As of 01/27/11 a nüvi 3790LMT will be used for major testing
A smaller separate section for 7X5/8X5 devices has been established.
Other articles may be updated, where necessary, to include 7X5/8X5 instructions.]

-- a continuing helpful instructional and comment Blog --
[there are currently 34 pages containing well over 100 help articles in this project]

Presented by: Gary Hayman
[since October, 2007]


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SET LOCATION - COORDINATES (OUT & IN)
- Slight Changes For Some Nüvis


Although I have discussed the above topics, from time to time, in earlier articles there is some new material that may have been brought about by the newer nüvis and their operating systems, updating of old nüvi operating systems, and changes to on-line programs. (in this case, Google Maps {a following article}.)

The Garmin nüvi's are considered to be
ROAD devices and therefore primarily support waypoints and locations ON THE ROAD -- not that they don't have some off-road capability.

When you select a POI (the Garmin included type), an address, intersection, parking, and city you receive guidance (in general) to a waypoint (location) on a road. That's what the Garmin wants to do -- guide your car via
roads to a final point on a road. There are techniques for off-road direction but I will 'sort of' skip them for the moment. Of course, you already knew that, but as you read on, you will see where I am going with this.

When you use the
GPS Simulation mode [ Tools > Settings > System > GPS Simulator > select On ] for information gathering or to 'Set Location' (moving your vehicle to a place where it isn't really located -- lots of reasons to do this. Please see many of the previous articles) when you are either using the View Map in Touch and Drag mode or using the Browse Map capability [ Where to? > Browse Map ], as you touch the screen at your point of interest it will display a balloon with address, intersection, road, or other information -- places to which you can drive to guided by your Garmin. If you press the screen off a road, your nüvi MAY NOT produce a balloon until you press on, or closer to a road. More accuracy can be obtained by zooming in. With the 3700 series you can zoom into 50 ft.


EXPERIMENTS:

(1) Set your device for GPS Simulation mode. Go into Browse Map mode and zoom in as close as your unit allows. Press on a road in a housing area - a balloon with address or other information should appear. Press the Edit icon and select 'Set Location' -- your vehicle jumps to that spot.

(2) Press on an
area nearby that is NOT ON A ROAD. Probably, nothing will happen, no balloon (not all cases -- reason mentioned later). But if you press closer and closer to the road, when you get close enough, an identifying balloon will appear ON THE ROAD. Set your location there.

(3) Locate a
near-by small field and press in the middle of the field. In most cases, nothing will happen. Sometimes, depending upon the size of the field, the streets and housing surrounding it, and where you press, a balloon will appear but it will jump to a roadaddress. Sometimes, when you press, a balloon will appear naming the field or park and NOT jumping to a road (that depends upon if that area was identified in the map.) You can set your location using the above technique to this spot if you want.



(4)
Find a lake [ a lake near you or Lake Michigan if you prefer. ] In most cases a balloon will appear with identification of 'Lake' or a named lake (Lake Michigan). There are no roads here so the Garmin doesn't force you to press on a road. You can set your location there. Your vehicle won't sink.


(5)
Press on a mountainous area or a desert area that is away from roads. In general, unless it is a park or special area of some sort such as an Native American reservation, monument, etc., no balloon will appear. You can't set your location there, at least APPARENTLY (spoiler alert for the following Google article.)

NOTE: Even if you change the nüRoute/Calculation mode to 'Off Road', the above applies -- just in case you were wondering. [ nüRoute is included in the 3700 series -- other units use a different menu approach to get to the 'Off Road' choice -- but they all can get there. Do what you have to do.]


So, you now know that you can do a 'Set Location', as long as it is on a road and sometimes in special areas that are not on a road such as some parks, lakes, etc.

But we also want to set locations that are
NOT ON ROADS. We will use coordinates.

COORDINATES

On the 'Where To?' menu you will find an icon named 'Coordinates'. When chosen, this will open up a screen that will allow you to enter the coordinates of a globe location and produce the map for this location. You can 'Go!' there, save it as a Favorite, or even (
if you are in the GPS Simulation mode), move your vehicle there with a 'Set Location'.

This feature is convenient if you have acquired the coordinates of a location from an alternate source such as a WEB site, a listing, a document, a friend, or even by looking at the internal text of a .csv, .gpx, and .gpi file with an appropriate display program.

You can even discover, by using your nüvi alone, the coordinates of any location that your nüvi is aware of, be it part of your POIs, Custom POIs (Extras), Favorites, Address, Parking, Intersection, City, etc.

HOW TO FIND A COORDINATE SET FROM YOUR NÜVI

Briefly, there several ways of doing this. They all rely on you setting your location to the spot. This of course means that you have to be in GPS Simulation mode.

Place your vehicle at the spot (
techniques described above and in other articles) either using your Favorites, Extras or other choices of the 'Where To?' menu or even finding the spot with the other available techniques of that menu (Address, Intersection, etc.) or just Browse to it via the Browse icon or the Touch and Drag method from your View Map selection. Once you have set your location, using the Edit icon, your vehicle will be moved to that position.

Now, Back-out to the View Map and do either (4 techniques):

1) Touch the vehicle's icon (be precise - you may want to zoom in first) which will open up the 'Where Am I?' screen and list the coordinates [Best]


2) Sometimes (
not always - so don't depend upon it) just swiping your thumb or finger over your vehicle will bring up the 'Where Am I?' screen


3) Back-out to
Main Menu and select 'Where To?' > scroll down and select 'Coordinates' which will also reveal the coordinates


4) Back-out to
Main Menu and select 'Tools' > 'Where Am I?' which will also reveal the coordinates [Runner Up]



But sometimes you are unable to set your location because your
nüvi won't let you (some off-road locations). You will have to acquire coordinates from an outside source. As I wrote above [... acquired the coordinates of a location from an alternate source such as a WEB site, a listing, a document, a friend, or even by looking at the internal text of a .csv, .gpx, and .gpi file with an appropriate display program.]

YOU'VE PROCURED YOUR COORDINATES FROM SOMEWHERE - PUT THEM INTO YOUR NÜVI AS A FAVORITE.

It is easy to enter those coordinates into your nüvi via
Main Menu > 'Where To?' > scroll down to 'Coordinates' > touch each of the boxes to replace what is there with the new coordinates that you have acquired > select View on Map > Save > give it a name > Done > OK

Those coordinates may be directly on a road, but if not, and you are going there, your nüvi will take you by road to the nearest point to that location and then map a straight line (off-road) to the location -- to which you may, or may, not be able to drive.



110308


LADY IN THE LAKE
- Interesting What Your Nüvi Does

[This only works if the vehicle in the lake is no more than "X" miles off shore.]


Reader Lorena (Tula) Marquez writes that she drove her vehicle into Lake Tahoe CA. As she didn't bring her Entourage, she was alone. Not to worry, this Aquagirl is accustomed to the water and she was using an Aquacar. She was off shore (
within "X" number of miles) and decided that she wanted to go to downtown Reno NV to play a little Black Jack.

Now picture this. She is a fair distance off shore, she has been Aquacar boating in the lake, just touring around. She now sets her nüvi to go to Reno NV.
What does her nüvi do?

Her nüvi immediately
moves the image of her vehicle to the closest road point to where she is on the lake [even though she isn't really there*] and plots a route to Reno. [It does not direct her via a straight line to that close point on shore -- she is on her own to get there.]


*Remember, she is not in GPS Simulation mode and her nüvi is supposed to reflect where her vehicle really is. But in this case, it doesn't seem like it does. I say seem because I was reluctant to take my vehicle out into Lake Michigan for a real test, as I usually do. I was testing in GPS Simulation mode -- and that might have made a difference. For in GPS Simulation mode your vehicle can be where you aren't. I will never know, unless Tula takes me for a ride.

[Please note, when I attempted to duplicate the experience from the middle of Lake Michigan, going to Madison WI, my nüvi told me that it "Cannot calculate the route" and left my vehicle afloat where it was. But, as I moved my vehicle closer and closer to shore, testing all the time, there came a point that the nüvi responded the same as with Tula, placing my vehicle on the closest road point and plotting the route to Madison WI. I don't know the exact distance off shore that that will happen but I guesstimate that I was at least 20 miles off shore. So the mysterious "X" probably is in the neighborhood of ~ 20 miles (more or less). Also note, that I doubt that you will ever have to use this feature(?). If you are out on the water, get a Marine Garmin unit.]

110308

THE GOOGLE CASE FOR COORDINATES
- Changes In The Wind

Well, the wind already blew. Google is notorious for changing their maps.google.com WEB site -- often -- in a breeze.

Formerly we could identify a location's coordinate set and send it as a Favorite to our Garmin nüvis, provided we had Garmin Communicator installed on our computer. I have written several articles here on the procedure.


Google has altered their software so that you can't send the coordinates
UNLESS it is accompanied by an Google identified location or address.


This does not mean that Google won't easily provide you with off road coordinates, it just means that you can't send them
to your nüvi by the 'Send' technique. [Oh, you may think you are but you really are sending different coordinates without realizing it -- till you check.]

Google initially wants you to have locations just like your nüvi does --
on a road and most likely with an address (sometimes a place).

YOUR EXPERIMENT:


Go to 'maps.google.com' somewhere in the vicinity of your neighborhood (or any neighborhood) using Satellite View to a house that has a big back yard. Right click in that back yard and select 'What's Here?'. Several things will happen:

  • a green arrow will appear where you clicked
  • a red marker "A" will appear towards the front of the house, street side
  • coordinates will appear in the location box [you should use these coordinates for hand entry into your nüvi if, in fact, that back yard spot (or any off road spot) is what you desire to be as a Favorite.]

The coordinates are the off road coordinates of the point you selected.


If you choose to send the resulting Favorite to your nüvi
you would find that the coordinates of where the red marker "A" appeared would be sent instead, not the coordinates that appeared in the location box.


If you look to the left on the Google Map screen you would see the identification of the red marker "A". That is the point which will be sent by Google to your nüvi
not the point that you want.

Eh, you say, such little difference, it doesn't matter. You are probably right in this example.





[The Google coordinates of the red "A" marker are really 39.021703,-77.210104
not 39.021474,-77.20964 the point you chose]

Let's suppose that you are playing with Google Maps and you do a Satellite zoom in and find a particular geological formation in the desert that you would like to visit (or any off road location). You want to save this location as a Favorite on your nüvi.


You right click and select 'What's Here', a green marker appears, marking that interesting spot, plus the coordinates of that marker appears in the location box. You click Search, with those coordinates and your map takes you to a different place with different coordinates or it might produce a red marker "A" on the nearest road with a description of the point on the road on the left side of the screen. That's is the place that would be sent to your nüvi if you activated the Send from Google Maps. Not the off road place that you originally had in mind. How are you going to find that important location now?

Better you should just copy down the first set of coordinates that appeared when you
right clicked and chose 'What's Here?' and hand enter them into your nüvi. It would be more productive for you.


OF COURSE if you have done a Google Maps search on a city, address, location, place, etc. and it was found and identified you CAN Send it to your nüvi and it will be made a proper Favorite. You will probably use that procedure often, as do I, to save Favorites from Google Maps.


Technique: if, when using Google Maps, and right clicking off road, and the correct name of the place you clicked does not show up on the left side of the Google Screen, use the coordinates that were produced by your click which are locatated in the search box near the top of the Google Map page, and hand enter them into your GPS.


If the address
is correct then use the Google 'Send' technique to place the Favorite into your device.

110308


MERRILY DOWN THE 3700's THEMES
-- A Kaleidoscope Of Colors

Did you know about Themes? I didn't -- that is until Ron Biderman wrote to me the other day asking if I would like to write an article about them for the 3700 series readers.

Themes! What the h*** are Themes?

  • Themes are not mentioned in the 3700 series Owner's Manual

  • Themes are not mentioned in the Help Area of the individual nüvi

  • Themes (of this type) are not mentioned on the Garmin website using their search engine

  • Themes are not mentioned in the Garmin website's Product/Features area for the 3700 series

  • Themes are not mentioned in the Garmin website's Product/Specs area for the 3700 series

  • Themes are, when found on your nüvi (yes they can be found, as I learned from Ron), have titles that are very misleading

  • Themes, IMHO, should probably not be identified with a country's name.


BACKGROUND

When one first fires up their new 3700 series, they are asked for a Locale (Country) -- I selected United States [There are other choices]. They are then asked for a Language Choice -- I selected English [There are other choices]. From that point on additional set-up preferences and selections are made in the Tools area of the nüvi.

If one goes to
Tools > Settings > Navigation > Automobile you will find a menu item 'Map Theme' which, when selected, offerers a listing which includes: Garmin, Danmark, Deutschland, France, Italia, Nederland, Osterreich, Polska, Slovensko, Sumoi, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

This leads one to believe, that depending upon where they are located and/or what language they use, they should select the appropriate button.
Not quite true! Those selections govern the various colors of the maps and colors of the roads. By that I mean that certain graphic representations will have different colors depending upon which choice is made. Those changes of colors are activated by a choice of a 'Country' name. That is confusing, as one would think the selection, on that menu, was for the particular country -- not the map and road colors.

Since there is no United States, my assumption was that the 'Garmin' (default) choice should be selected. I did, and of course, never visited that area again.

Ron was so kind as to furnish screen shots showing the various color changes caused by the various 'Themes' or skins.


Garmin

Danmark

Deutschland

France

Italia

Nederland

Osterreich

Polska

Slovensko

Sumoi

United Kingdom

Belgium

 

 
 

Luxembourg

 

Please note, by examining the above graphics, that sometimes a highway name or route nominclature will disappear with some selections. Why? I don't know.

MORE DISCOVERIES


During Ron's investigation he discovered some other interesting items such as top bar color changes and speed indicator design change.

Ron writes, "...Further testing a few other countries after a hard reset* ...I have found that selecting another country [during the opening screens] other then United States gives you the Red and White Speed Icon."


"
I noticed a difference in when selecting Australia versus United Kingdom. The difference is when selecting Australia or United States you get the Green Bar as we’re use to seeing.

But when selecting United Kingdom you get the blue bar that I prefer to use."

Also, with the selection of the United Kingdom, "... it gives me the cool red and white speed limit icon."

US

UK

* [Master Reset] Don't do this unless you know what you are doing. Your nüvi will be reset to factory settings and you will loose all your Favorites, Preferences, and some other settings. If you save your Favroites first, for safe keeping, your major preferences can be reset, by hand, back to what they were within your nüvi and your Favorites can be recovered via the Garmin Technique. [make sure your rename that file as the instructions point out]

- -

110410



ENLARGING THOSE SCREEN ICONS
- What Do They Look Like?

E-mails, I get e-mails, I get lots and lots of e-mails ... and many of them are from our from the senior readers, bless them, those over 30, who confess that their eyesight isn't what it used to be and it is really difficult to see the Favorites Icons on the small dimension and lower resolution of the Favorites Icon Selection Screen on their mini-sized nüvis. Even some who own the 'big-daddy' 3700 series confess that they are having a hard time - but they are usually over 40.

Well, 'ole-timers', if you hate to take out your magnifying glass each time you want to assign or change a Favorite Icon from the Favorites Icon Selection Screen, ...

[May vary depending upon model - this is for the 3700 series]
Where To > Favorites > (multi choices available but try) All Favorites > Select any Favorite > Select Edit (three parallel bars upper left corner) > Select Edit (word) > Change Map Symbol


... I have prepared an
enlarged version for you so that your failing eyes can better focus and you will know what those teeny-weeny graphics are supposed to look like.


The images will expand from "Hey Madge, please bring me my glasses." to the level of Superman's great vision.

 

 

 

Just click to see all the larger images.


If you need to, you can even make them larger by:

  • (most cases/depends upon your settings) clicking the image in your Browser
  • adjusting the zoom level of your Browser
  • copying the .gif graphic and viewing it in a graphics program with adjustable zoom


110419



3790y cityXplorera BARCELONA
- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

[My apologies to the movie 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' for playing with it's title -- also to Clint Eastwood -- I'm bad (I guess to Michael Jackson too.]


What an opportunity. I just took a Transatlantic cruise on board the Norwegian Cruise Lines 'big ship' The Epic from Miami to Barcelona.


I prepared myself in advance by downloading ($9.99) Garmin's cityXplorer for Barcelona and installing it on my 3790LMT. [
You can also use this cityXplorer on other nüvi units.]

Prior to the trip, I investigated the new street map and made my hotel, certain Metro stops, and other important tourist destinations that I had planned to visit as Favorites. I even practiced walking paths, Metro rides, etc. in my living room at home with the GPS in GPS Simulator mode. Everything looked good in advance. I was ready to spend 4 days in Barcelona on foot and using public Metro transportation -- a great feature that cityXplorer has. All should have gone well.
Well it did and it didn't.

Barcelona map w/o cityXplorer

Barcelona map w/cityXplorer

DRIVING TEST

I didn't personally do any driving. I was picked up at the cruise pier by a tour van that gave a group of us a 4 hour tour of the city before dropping us off at our respective hotels. During the travels on the
major [you'll see why I bolded that word a little later] Barcelona streets my 3790 operated as it should and I could trace the streets and our locations quite easily and accurately. I had plugged in the hotel destination as the van was getting ready to drop me off, but the driver said he had a better route than what was suggested by my GPS -- even after repeated recalculations that were happening.


Apparently he was more aware of traffic flow and street problems than my Garmin. This was his home, and he probably knew best. Now that ends the driving phase.

METRO TEST

This feature, contained in cityXplorer is to be applauded. The nearest Metro station to my hotel was only a block and one half away so it was easy to get to. My nüvi would give me directions to get to the Metro station, tell me what Metro to take in which direction, tell me where I should transfer, to which line and in which direction, where to exit the Metro, and which way to walk, depending upon my selected destination.

I believe that this feature is best explained through screen shots. Here is a typical Metro/walking trip via map and text from my hotel to the Columbus statue near the Barcelona waterfront.

Map view of destination

Selecting Public Transit to use the Metro

Map view of start of journey


Over all map view reflecting
walking and public transit


Beginning of text view of journey
Notice it tells you which line
to take

Notice it tells you which direction to
go on the Metro and lists the stations

Good transfer directions


Good exit directions from station and
start of walking directions

Directions continued to destination

This is a highly valuable feature.

AND NOW FOR THE BAD AND UGLY ( click for sound)

I'M WALKING, YES INDEED ( click for sound)

Under normal conditions, in a more modern US city, cityXplorer would operate quite properly when walking. But in Barcelona, an older city who's history stretches back to over 2000 years and is a hodge-podge region of many towns and villages through the ages made of streets, many not wide enough for automobile traffic, the unit
did not function as expected.

Here is my explanation. I hope it is correct. Many of the Barcelona streets, especially in the old town (tourist area) are quite narrow. They are bounded on each side by continuous buildings of 5 or 6 stories -- creating canyons, so to say. It's these canyons that block the view of the sky permitting only a view of a few satellites by your GPS.


As a result, the illustrated position of where you are is actually incorrect and
may be a block or so off. See following image for an example. So you really don't know where you are. You could be walking in the street to the right, left, forward or behind.

GPS shows you inside a building almost a block away from where you are
[
green and red stars]


Now the text material will tell you what street you should be on but there are other problems. Besides you not knowing if you are on the correct street or on the street to the right or two to the left, old Barcelona streets may not be in the square grid that we are used to. Some block may have three, four, five sides and streets run off at strange angles (determined many centuries ago.) So you don't know at which angle to walk.


Of course you would say to look at the street signs.
Cough, Cough. Many of the Barcelona blocks are clipped at their corners (45 degree angles - (chaflanes) ), especially in the Eixample area where I was staying. [See 'middle ofblock' image above.] This was a result of some city planning in the mid-1800s. This means that there are no street signs on the corners, as we are used to. However there are small unlighted street signs posted on the walls of the buildings (if you can find them). But since the corners are chopped off you have to travel a way to see them, if they are there, and not being lit, you can't see them high on the wall at night at all.

So even though you have the text telling you where to go, you don't know where you are and which direction to walk.

Your pedestrian map display isn't much help as you are sometimes placed inside of buildings and not on the street and to follow the dot/arrow is almost impossible. I got lost many times; one time being in a questionable neighborhood. [
I deny that I was the cause of the Barcelona soccer street riots that took place recently.]

So, using the pedestrian mode while walking in these narrow streets was almost useless. But, of course,
when walking in wider streets everything functioned well.

HINT: I found that when in such a situation if I would switch to automobile mode I would have a better chance to reach my programmed walking destination as the indicator would jump to a nearby 'traffic' street even though that wasn't where I was (I don't know why it did that.*) If I could walk to that point somehow (if I could figure out the direction to walk) I could then use the automobile path or even switch back to pedestrian mode at that point.

HINT: I found that using a forced Recalculation from time to time was quite helpful. You will note that when in pedestrian mode and you go off route, there is no automatic recalculation.


You will also note that when in pedestrian mode the screen stays static, save for the advancing position that might walk off the screen. You must hand scroll the screen or use the position centering button to place your position on the screen again.

* I have not been able to duplicate the vehicle cursor jumping to a nearby street when I switched to Automobile mode from Walk mode as there are no narrow type canyon streets in my immediate neighborhood that I can use as a testing ground. I can only speculate at this point (and I may be totally incorrect) that the GPS is moving the cursor to the nearest road point as it 'thinks' I am off road -- even though I am on a walkable Garmin map-marked narrow street.


110531




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