Zumo 660 always "Approaching"

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Zumo 660 always "Approaching"

Post by mixographer »

Hi. I've got a zumo 660 and I'm using the latest (Mac) Basecamp to plan routes. I'm doing something wrong however as the map becomes unusable because of so many "Approaching" alerts. I can never see the map because the screen is almost always a giant dialog that says "Approaching." I wind up doing so many u-turns because I can't see the route.

This happens no matter how i try to create the route. I started by using the "Create a route tool and putting in a lot of points with that tool. Then after reading everything I could find, I thought, oh I should use an "Insert" tool, and just put a few points down. so I made a 200 mile route with 5 waypoints and a few "insert" points. (I think I'm using "insert" as I have no tool called insert, nbut I can right -click and insert a point.) The GPS still spent most of the trip in the "Approaching" dialog. The device may be saying something about what it is approaching, but I cannot hear it on my motorcycle.

Maybe I'm missing a crucial "re-calculation or something, but right now the GPS is useless. Is a more modern GPS like an XT going to work better, I'd hate to spend the money and find out that it works the same way and I'M just incompatible with Garmin devices.

Can anyone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong to put myself in this dialog hell? It's very frustrating as i miss my turns because the map is not visible at the crucial moments when i should be turning.
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alan sh
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Re: Zumo 660 always "Approaching"

Post by alan sh »

I've never seen this but I use mapsource, not Basecamp to plan and transfer the routes.

Maybe try that?

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Re: Zumo 660 always "Approaching"

Post by jfheath »

This is stretching my memory - My 660 ownership was a long time ago and I don't have one now. I sometimes wish that I did.

First of all, Basecamp is going to throw the 660 a few curved balls. Basecamp uses different types of route points from those points that are used by the 660. Although some points translate OK, others may not. Garmin recommends the use of Mapsource for the 660.

The Zumos will say 'approaching' when they are coming up to what is now referred to as a Via Point. Points which alert on arrival. The alternative to Via Points is Shaping Points. But when the Zumo 660 was the latest Zumo available, such distinctions did not exist, and I think that the precise definition of a Via Point and Shaping Point was altered with the introduction of Basecamp and the later models that started with the 590.

But if your 660 is saying 'approaching ... ' all of the time, it is because it thinks it is coming up to a named route point. Except that it doesn't have a name !

From your description, it sounds as though these are every few seconds. It is unlikely that your route has been created with so many route points. But a route itself contains many hundreds of invisible route points (I call them 'Ghost Points', which pin the route to particular bits of tarmac 'every so often' - and by that I mean that it could be every 50 yards. It could be every quarter of a mile. It depends how twisty the road is.

All of these are transferred from Basecamp and Mapsource as a part of the route. If somehow during this process, these route points have become recognised as normal 'named' route points (albeit that they do not have a name), then you will get the behaviour that you describe. I have seen it happen, but do not remember the precise circumstances.

However - I can guess.

Suppose someones creates a track. These also have hundreds (thousands) of these points which ensure that the series of tiny straight lines that conenct the points actually look like a curved line. A line that follows the road precisely. They then gets the mapping software or the Zumo to create a route from it, it is possible that these will get converted to 'named' points. And they will announce - 'Approaching ....'. Every one of them.

There may be other situations when the Zumo gets confused about which points it is approaching - depending on how the route was created. There should never be any confusion if the route is created with Mapsource and transferred into the 660. Providing of course that the Zumo is disconnected fromt he USB cable properly - by ejecting it first. This is essential with the 660, but it has become forgotten by people who own later models which use Media Transfer Protocol, and who are familiar with smartphones that don't require any such careful behaviour.

I'd go back to think about how you create a route. I would switch back to Mapsource. It speaks Zumo 660 fluently. See if the problem goes away.
Many users don't have problems with Basecamap and the 660 - - I used to use Basecamp without issues - but it was probably not the current version - which later started to focus on the 590. There was a period when Garmin were discouraging everyone from using Mapsource and pointing them to the new program - Basecamp. A year or so down the line, they had developed Basecamp so that it no longer worked properly with the 660 and some other units, and were directing users back to Mapsource.

I have attached a document that I wrote when I first started looking at exactly what the 660 was doing when navigating routes. It is pretty naive now that I look back at it - because all of the stuff about Shaping and Via Points was not fully developed to what they are now.
I was also frustrated by people on forums using the terms incorrectly - they would say Waypoints when they meant one of the other terms, so it was difficult to work out what they were actually describing. So when I wrote this, I deliberately did not use those terms. I devised my own so that there could not be any confusion. So 'Named Point, Mid Point, Drag Point, Ghost Point are my terms to describe different situations.

In fact, I later found out that when dragging a point onto a Mapsource or Basecamp map, it could actually become a named point. Dropped anywhere near to an invisible known location, it would jump to it and became a named point.

Take what you read in this document with a pinch of salt. My understanding of the Zumos was just forming when I wrote it and at the time Basecamp was working OK with the 660 - so I mention both. But the observations and illustrations are interesting and are still relevant.

One final point. When you get a route from an external source, Mapsource/Basecamp will load in what it understands from the gpx file. It sifts out the things that it doesn't understand. In fact it is an excellent tool for cleaning up a gpx file. Import it into Basecamp, export it as a new gpx. But BC will keep the route as it found it. In order to get a foolproof route into your Zumo, you must let the software recalculate the route using its own definitions and using its own map. The map should be the same one that you have on your 660.
Always - the last thing you do before transferring a route down the USB cable - recalculate it. It is a good habit to get into.

And its a habit I always remember to do. Unfortunately I usually remember after transferring it and unplugging the cable, so I have to reconnect and send it again !
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Re: Zumo 660 always "Approaching"

Post by danham »

jfheath: Excellent info. I'd just add one more hint for using BC with a 660. When you put the exported route into your zumo, let that device also recalculate it. Then check turn by turn to make sure it didn't get butchered. If it did, go back into BC and add "forcing points" -- new waypoints you create, as opposed to just dragging a route -- to make sure it navigates the way you want it to.

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