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pad to garmin?
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Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 11:57:47 MST Print View

I have a Garmin eTrex 30.

I would like to buy a 'pad' device that could download 24k topo maps (from my computer or via WiFi when traveling), plan a hike on the pad with way points, then move the way points from the pad to the Garmin.

Does anyone have experience with this?
Recommendations on the device to buy and maps to use?



Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
iPad GPS app Re: pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 13:29:44 MST Print View

A buddy of mine used a GPS app loaded into his iPad on my very remote "Apache Kid wilderness" trip (see Nov 2013 post trip reports) and think it was a Trimble iirc, maybe a garmin (vacationing out of state at the moment as is he but I'll drop him an email). He got as good reception within the limits of recreational GPS i.e., ..great tracking until getting into a forested valley, same as a dedicated unit. Nice display though it really depends on the base map and it's resolution - still a open question if a better tablet display with better base map are available -it would help obviously.


Pros/cons: Seemed better viewing than a small screen but the tablet needs to be constantly handy

Edited by hknewman on 01/05/2014 13:41:27 MST.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: iPad GPS app Re: pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 13:47:53 MST Print View

Thanks, but I'm not thinking of using a 'pad' on a hike. Just want to be able to download 24k topo maps to the 'pad' when in a town (WiFi), then add way points on the pad map, then down load those way points from the pad to the Garmin eTrex 30... then hike with the eTrex 30; not the pad.... the pad would have to have USB port s the Garmin does not have WiFi...

would also be nice to be able to print the maps from the 'pad' if that is possible.

appreciate the comments...


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 15:37:55 MST Print View

I'm a bit confused at what you are trying to do.

If you can connect your Etrex 30 to your computer via usb then most of the GPS apps available for a pad will transfer a GPX file via email or wifi to your computer, so they can be easily uploaded to your GPS (either with base camp or just copy the GPX file to the Etrex storage directly).

Gaia GPS, Topo Maps and MotionX-GPS all have their own mapping for planning purposes and all can export the saved tracks and waypoints via email.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 15:59:55 MST Print View

Mike, I'm talking about traveling with a pad (not yet purchased) and a Garmin eTrex 30... NO COMPUTER WITH ME.

I want to be able to download 24k topo maps onto a pad when on the road via WiFi (not from a computer since I won't have it with me) to plan hikes and set way points on the maps that are downloaded onto the pad and then transfer the waypoints from the pad to the Garmin eTrex 30.

would also like to be able to print the maps from the pad to a portable printer (also not bought yet) that I may take with me.

I don't have a pad and have never used a pad or a smart phone so I'm not sure what can be done or which products would be best for what I want to do... so asking for some advice.


Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
pad to Garmin on 01/05/2014 16:04:37 MST Print View

You may be able to do that with some adaptors. I use apple products and they have a small adaptor for transferring photos from cameras to the iPad. Not sure if that can work both ways, like from the pad to a device. Your request might be a bit ahead of the technology available.
There is a website (expedition that has some really experienced people that use tablets and GPS devices traveling, and they might have an answer for you. Its under their GPS and Computer (Hardware) forum heading.

Edited by Drusilla on 01/05/2014 16:09:00 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
pad to garmin? on 01/05/2014 18:05:12 MST Print View

OK, now I understand what you are trying to do.

Obviously, a pad with a USB port would solve your problem of data transfer. You can also look for a device (pad) that can take an inserted SD card and write to a specific directory on an SD media card. The Etrex 30 takes a micro SD which fits into an SD card adapter. As long as you copy your GPX file onto the SD card in the correct directory (Garmin documents this), the tracks/waypoints will be available on the GPS after you insert the card and restart the GPS. Finding a good GPS app shouldn't be too hard since most that I've seen can export a GPX format file. I'd look for one that gives you the best mapping for the area you will be exploring. I like the mapping in MotionX GPS for my area but there are several others that allow you to pre-download their maps for use later when you are off the grid. I'm using an IOS device so I can't recommend a good GPS App for any other mobile OS's.

Edited by skopeo on 01/06/2014 01:01:15 MST.

Michael Driscoll
(Hillhikerz) - F

Locale: Monterey Bay
pad to garmin on 01/05/2014 21:47:12 MST Print View

IOS I have no idea... Android app "Sportablet" may be able to do it but I have not been successful with a garmin 62s, (but have not tried in the last 6 months) the app says that an etrex 30 will work... Mike has the right idea with swapping out micro SD cards and transferring data to the right directory (have never done it myself )... but not all pads can do that...

I should add a pad that can run win8 and deal with SD cards &/or have USB drivers will probably work fine... also garmins are Mac capable but not sure about an iPad...

Good ? I have also wanted to do the same thing but have not tried very hard to make it happen...

Edited by Hillhikerz on 01/05/2014 22:22:22 MST.

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Re: pad to garmin? on 01/06/2014 09:04:02 MST Print View

A Chromebook could work if you'll have wifi/cellular internet when trip planing?

I've never really got tablets (I do a lot of typing and usually want a real keyboard) but I've plaid around using Chrome OS, hillmap* and a 62s to do this.

If you go this way you need an internet connection to view maps on the chromebook as there but you can load gpx files to/from the garmin either by plugging it in with a usb cable and dragging the gpx file to the right place in the filesystem.

You can't use all the full on garmin desktop apps (they require windows or os x) to do things like upload new free topo map file gpsfiledepot so you'll need to do that somewhere with a real computer.

Advantage is that chromebooks are cheap small, light and available with cellular internet. I've thought about using one to write trip reports etc while on a long road trip.

*Full disclosure, I wrote hillmap so of course I use/recommend it. Other web based mapping sites like caltopo, gmaps4 etc should work too.