Courses, Routes, Tracks, History and Activities explained

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Courses, Routes, Tracks, History and Activities explained

Postby gerhard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:16 pm

This section explains some details about Courses, Routes, Tracks, History and Activities explained

Question:

What is the definition of Routes etc?

Answer:

This is a difficult subject as the same definition is used for many different things. This is an attempt to explain the definitions, especially how they are used in ST.
A site to learn more about GPS formats is GPSBabel

GPX
GPX is a standard file format to describe GPS data. The core information (latitude/longitude, elevation etc) is handled by most applications. Most applications has their own extensions and file format to describe additional data like heart rate. Even something like pauses is not clearly defined in GPX.

GPX describes basically two types of "collection of GPS points": Routes and Tracks

GPX Routes and Waypoints
A GPX Route is normally (outside ST) the definition of a route. A GPX route is intended to be used planning a trip, not describe the path taken. The route is an ordered collection of waypoints, normally only at intersections, stops, mountain tops etc. There is (normally) no time stamp on the waypoints. A waypoint can have a specific symbol. Auto-routing GPSes like most car GPSes uses the waypoint to calculate when a "route" is used, the path is evaluated dynamically.

Most fitness devices do not handle GPX routes at all or in a limited way. See below.

GPX Tracks
GPX track is intended to describe a taken path and has time for each GPS point. It can be seen s a "breadcrumb trail" with all twists and turns. The track points will normally not have any symbol type, just describe the position.

Many other formats exists to describe "GPX tracks". As they all basically consists of the the same type of data, they can be converted from one to another, handling the track. However extended information is not always converted.

Garmin History
Garmin History is the Garmin extension of GPX tracks, to include the additional information like laps, heart rate etc.
Garmin History is special in the way that it only allows loading from a device. (Most other GPS devices that handles GPX routes/tracks allows both sending and receiving.)
Garmin History is normally handled in Garmin's own .tcx format (previously the similar format .hst was used).

Garmin Course
Garmin course is a Garmin extension of GPX Tracks (or Garmin History) to describe a planned actvity. In addition to the path taken, additional "Course Points" that can be described as special waypoints, can describe as summits, food etc.
Garmin Courses are normally handled in Garmin's own .tcx format (previously the similar format .crs was used).

Garmin Training Center Database XML
The native format for most Garmin devices.
Note that the newer version v2 uses .tcx extension for both Garmin History (previously .hst) and Garmin Courses (.crs).

ST Activity
A (fitness) activity, comparable to GPX Tracks (but GPS data does not have to exist)
ST handles many types of formats both for import and export.

ST Route Map Panel
Route is also used for the Map panel in ST, showing the track on the map.

ST Route View
ST Route View is used to create planned activities (courses). However, the functionality is limited compared to "Daily Activities", you can for instance not set the planned time, see the elevation profile or get support from plugins. In some situations it is therefore better to add courses to "My Friend's Activities".
Apply Routes plugin can convert between ST Activities and ST Routes.
Last edited by gerhard on Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby gerhard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:17 pm

Question:

How can I create courses?

Answer:

A very brief instruction.

1. Using an ST activity
The activities can be edited with normal ST utilities

1a. Based on existing activity.
Start with an existing activity.
Edit->Copy it to "My Friend's Activities" or use ApplyRoutes plugin to copy it to Routes view.
Adjust as desired

1b Create an activity from scratch
Create a new activity in "My Friend's Activities" or in Routes view
A Garmin devices will report that you are off-course quite often if the course is not following the path closely (or you have bad accuracy), so creating courses from scratch can be a very time consuming task.
If you are to export to a file and handle the download to to device in another application, you need to do some extra work. As there are no time at each time point, you need to "set the time" on each point.

2 Waypoints and Courses plugin
Can create courses from activities or using autorouting.
The courses are separate from the activities.

3 Other applications
This is often easier than using ST activities for several reasons:
* Many online editors allows for auto-routing. You do only have to click at intersections, the auto-routing calculates the intermediate points. This simplifies course creation, especially for bike routes.
* It is possible to add course points.
Both routing applications and on line editors can be used. This FAQ is about ST, so only a few sites are mentioned:
bikeroutetoaster.com
mapmyride.com
gpsies.com

3 Download from fitness sites
This is often the easiest if you want a course of a race.
Many of the sites where you can create courses also have course databases.
Last edited by gerhard on Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby gerhard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:18 pm

Question:

How can I send courses to Garmin devices?

Answer:

1. Using ST
1a (If it is an activity, copy it to Routes). Export the activity, setting the time. Note that the time will be evenly applied, not the original time. Requires Garmin communicator.
1b. Use Apply Routes. See here
1c. Waypoints and Courses plugin can create and manipulate courses and send them to Garmin (only ST3)

2a. Websites (using Garmin Communicator)
Many sites that where you can create courses also allows downloading courses to Garmin devices, some also allows adding course points.
Some sites with ST integration like gpsies.com can also be used to download courses.

2b. Garmin Training Center

Note that Garmin Forerunner 405 behaves differently compared to other devices and requires a workaround to send more than one course:
http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTr ... 4407#34407
Last edited by gerhard on Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby gerhard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:19 pm

Question:

How can I create (GPX) routes and waypoints?

Answer:

Not directly in ST. You can however create a simple track, export it and use another application to convert the GPX track format to GPX Route.
Normally it is simpler to directly use another application to create the track.


Waypoints and Courses plugin http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/sporttr ... nd-courses
Waypoints (no routes) http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/sporttr ... =waypoints

(ST2: Globalsat plugin viewtopic.php?t=7159)
Last edited by gerhard on Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby gerhard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:19 pm

Question:

How can I send/receive (GPX) routes and waypoints to/from devices?

Answer:

Garmin: Waypoint and Courses Plugin http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/sporttr ... php?id=173
Globalsat: Globalsat Device http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/sporttr ... ice-import

(ST2: Not directly in ST. Use an external tool like Garmin MapSource, GPSBabel or CompareTracks.)
Last edited by gerhard on Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby gerhard » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:27 pm

Question:

How can I import Garmin Courses to SportTracks?

Answer:

Waypoint and Courses http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/sporttr ... php?id=173
Imports a number of formats, including tcx, crs and gpx.

It is also possible to convert from Garmin's .tcx course (or .crs course) format to a supported format like gpx or .tcx history.
Examples are GPSBabel, GPX2CRS or "TCX converter".
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