We planned a motorcycle trip to Corsica/France. All of the Riders usually have some kind of a Garmin GPS Device like a Garmin Zumo or some of the Garmin Outdoor GPS devices mounted to the bike. And usually, one of the Riders packs a Laptop, so that we can plan day trips at the destination site. Most of the time, this was me.
Unfortunately, I’ve got a new Bike and my luggage capabilities are reduced as I do not yet have any cases for it. So no Macbook/PC this time - and therefore no Garmin Basecamp.
So there were several options left:
- Plan the day excursions directly on the Device (Hint: PITA)
- Plan the day excursions at home (hmm. no.)
- Something else
After some trial-and-error I opted for “something else”.
I’ve got an old Ipad Retina Mini. This one is small enough to take it with me.
Unfortunately, IOS devices completely suck when it comes to any kind of physical connections. You can’t connect your Garmin to the Ipad, the USB Camera adapter won’t work here. (no, I don’t want to root my ipad.). But, years ago I bought a small very handy device called “HooToo TM01 Tripmate”. This is a small “wireless travel router” with multiple functions:
- Power Bar ( 6000mAh )
- WIFI Router ( and yes, it can span up a new wifi network from an existing one, very funny for paid hotel wlans allowing only one MAC)
- WIFI AP (both directions, has a RJ45 socket built-in)
- File Storage ( SMB, upnp ). There’s a USB socket to connect USB sticks, Harddisks etc.
This thing is still available on Amazon . It works pretty well apart from the IOS app which is crapware and doesn’t even work on the Ipad ( the iphone version works somehow… ).
The last feature File Storage is the one I need. When connecting a Garmin GPS to the TM-01 it’ll act as a USB Stick ( at least the newer ones with usb connectors ). As said, the App from HooToo is crap, but since this thing has a small samba Server inside, we can use some File Explorer App on the Ipad.
I have chosen “FE File Explorer”. There are other ones. This one will do the job.
So now I am able to transfer GPX Files from my Ipad to my Garmin Device ( if you place GPX files into the correct Folder, usually /garmin/gpx, the Garmin GPS will pick this up and will be able to use this as a new route.
So far, so good. Now we still need something to create the Routes and export them as a GPX File.
My requirements were:
- offline maps ( I don’t want to rely on camping site/hotel wlan …)
- offline autorouting (same reason)
- creative, gui-based and interactive route generation ( so not the usual start->target approach like on google maps)
I always had Pocket Earth installed on my Ipad which i like for its beautiful interface, but it has some drawbacks, as Route generation needs internet and the routing tool is annoying to use.
After some research I found an App which fits my requirements perfectly: “Scenic Motorcycle Touring” from www.motomappers.com. This one has some not-so-cheap in app purchases you’ll need but it’s absolutely worth it. You don’t need any in app purchase to verify if this setup works for you, as you have some free credits to play a bit with that app.
So, to sum it up:
What you need
- HooToo TM-01: https://www.hootoo.com/downloads-HT-TM01.html
- MotoMappers Scenic: http://www.motomappers.com
- File Explorer app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fileexplorer-pro-file-manager-for-computer-nas/id499470113?mt=8 (there’s a free one available, too).
- Ipad ( at least one that can run ios9 )
If you can’t find any source for the hootoo tm-01, there might be alternatives with similar functionality: FANTEC MWiD25-DS or the RAVpower WD03. Perhaps they have better IOS apps and you can omit the FileExplorer/Windows SMB stuff.
Prerequisite: Create the connection in Fileexplorer to the TM-01. If the hootoo is in AP mode ( so your ipad is connected to the TM-01’s wlan) the IP is usually 10.10.10.254. If the TM-01 is connected to your home wlan, it’ll have another IP and hostname, perhaps TM01.fritz.box if you’re using a fritzbox. Or generally speaking: Make the connection between your Ipad and your small mobile router with nas functionality work so that you can see the files/folders on the connected Garmin device, either using the provided app or File Explorer using SMB.
- Create a Route with Scenic:
Connect your Garmin to the TM01, let it boot and export this Route:
- Choose HooToo’s connection profile, path: USBDiskVolume1(or something like this…)/Garmin/GPX as the destination folder. Note: some Garmins (like the Edge Series Garmins) instead have a Folder /Garmin/NewFiles, if so, place it here.
- Disconnect your Garmin from the TM-01, start it and import the Route - depends on your Device how. On my Zumo 340 it’s Apps -> Routing -> “☰” -> “Import”. I think the outdoor garmins will have the route directly accessible trough the Track or Route manager.
Quite simple to use and you only need around 500grams of luggage. Nice. MotoMapper Scenic is really easy to use, more intuitive than Basecamp and nearly as powerful.
Yes. There are cheap android tablets, too. I do not own one. Android, beeing more open when it comes to connectors, might be able to bypass the detour with the TM-01:
- There’s the OSMAND app which also is capable of offline routing and offline maps. Perhaps Scenic will be available for Android, too in the future.
- With a cheap USB OTG Cable you might be able to directly connect your Garmin to the Tablet. The software bridge here might be the well-known “ES File Explorer” app, but perhaps OSMAND can directly save to the connected Garmin.