Late last year, Garmin rolled out new track navigation features for the Dakota and Oregon lines; these capabilities are also being rolled into the new 78 (and presumably 62) series. So let’s take a look at how it works and some ways to get the most out of it.
Basically, it allows you to follow a track, giving you an accurate estimate of remaining mileage, instead of the “as-the-crow-flies” distances typically associated with routes. IMHO, this is one of the nicest features added to handheld units in recent years.
On the Oregon series, just select Where To? > Track and then select the track you wish to navigate. The highest and lowest elevation points, along with any of your waypoints along the track, are used to create a route.
If your trek takes you into terrain you’ve never explored before, try searching the Web for a track posted by someone who has already been there. My favorite search terms are the trail or park name plus .gpx. There are a ton of track sharing sites out there to check too, such as Garmin Connect and EveryTrail. UPDATE: Here’s a whole post on this subject.
Track navigation tips
This is a relatively new feature, and it can sometimes seem a little rough around the edges. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
- The direction of navigation is dependent upon the track. Even so, it doesn’t always seem to work out. If you find that it’s navigating in reverse order, go into Track Manager and select the track you want to navigate, then choose Copy Reversed. It will prepend an exclamation point to the track name (though you can rename it yourself if you wish). Then start navigating the reversed track.
- If you’re going on an out and back trip, at the turn around point choose Where To? > Track > Current Track > Tracback. It may take a short distance for it to start showing the correct mileage and next waypoint, but it should work.
- You may find it helpful to use some of the following data fields: Distance to next (waypoint), Waypoint (name) at next, and Distance to (final) destination. You can see examples of the first two in the top screenshot.
- You can check the order of waypoints on the Active Route screen (seen at right).
- Try out the elevation dashboard (seen below). This shows your elevation history on the left in green, with remaining track elevation change on the right in blue. On the Oregon, access this via Setup > Map > Data Fields > Dashboard > Elevation Plot.
- UPDATE: You can insert a waypoint into a track you are already navigating by creating it on the map. Tap the map, fine tune the location (make sure it is along the track), tap the top info box and then the mark waypoint icon.
- Enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think about this feature, along with any suggestions for Garmin to improve it.