Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

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Tom Schmitz
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Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by Tom Schmitz »

In another post I ruminated about poking around in the Garmin Explore website, wishing for a web-based routing app, yadda yadda. As expected, it was a failure; you definitely need to have a compatible device to access the Explore website. Moreover, it may then be behind a paywall.

During some exploratory and unproductive poking about I got a wild notion that maybe there was an Android app that might work. There is and I was able to install it on my Chromebook and set up an Explore account. However, you still need to have a device to access it and most of the devices I have never heard of. I think they are watches and fitness pieces and bicycle GPS and bowling ball trackers. However, the last item in the list of compatible devices is the zumo XT!

A footnote accompanies the mention of the XT: "zumo XT comes pre-installed with Garmin Explore information. The Drive app syncs the Explore data and is not compatible with pairing to the Garmin Explore smartphone app." I understand the first sentence. The second is gibberish, even though I know all the words.

My XT is supposed to arrive on Friday. This Explore app will be one of the first things I look into.
yorky
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by yorky »

Tom Schmitz wrote: 11 Mar 2020 04:04
.....bowling ball trackers.

The Drive app syncs the Explore data and is not compatible with pairing to the Garmin Explore smartphone app." I understand the first sentence. The second is gibberish, even though I know all the words.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Love it!!

If you think it's difficult, and you obviously have more than a smidging it IT knowledge, then imagine what it's like for us numpties :D
Tom Schmitz
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by Tom Schmitz »

I messed about with the Explore app a bit. I was able to download a couple of mapsets, both topographical and OpenStreet. I noticed one error in the OpenStreet map that was changed on CNNA years ago; take that for what it's worth.

Once loaded, it was easy to navigate around the maps, though I had to use the touch-screen to do it. Menus and Instructions are all but non-existent. This is rather to be expected of any handheld device app. I could make a waypoint, a start and stop point, and create a route. The route would not route, though, and I am not sure if I need to learn more about the app, about its maps, or if the routing won't happen until a device is connected.

I'm going to work on the two former items but suspect that the thing will not work right until a device is connected/registered.
Tom Schmitz
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by Tom Schmitz »

I am now better able to understand "zumo XT comes pre-installed with Garmin Explore information. The Drive app syncs the Explore data and is not compatible with pairing to the Garmin Explore smartphone app."

I thought that I understood the first sentence, but I really don't. With the device in hand, I can't find this 'pre-installed ... Garmin Explore information'. What the second sentence seems to mean is that the Garmin Drive app that you load onto your phone will interface, via BlueTooth, to your XT. It can sync data between the XT and the Explore app that you can load onto your phone/Android device or onto your ChromeBook. However, you can't pair the XT to Explore directly. Perhaps this 'pre-installed with Garmin Explore information' is the ability to make and participate in the interface between Drive and Explore. OK, that seems surmountable, if not useful.

Reading the user manual, though, would lead one to believe that it is possible to export data out of BaseCamp and import it into Explore. Being able to move some of that data from Explore into the XT might have some utility, especially if you could edit the data in Explore.

Exporting data from BaseCamp is trivial. These are the instructions for importing data into Explore:

Login to explore.garmin.com

A Garmin Explore account is required to login to explore.garmin.com.

Select the Map tab

Click (the import icon)


I have to go try this.

I have not yet begun to give up...
Tom Schmitz
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by Tom Schmitz »

It seems that the Explore website is somewhat of a moving target. www.explore.garmin.com worked the first time, but was unreachable the second time. https://us0.explore.garmin.com/ seemed to work better. Shrug.

I exported two routes from Basecamp. One was a day-long ride and the other a 4000-mile route across the US. After going to https://us0.explore.garmin.com/and importing the routes they appeared on the Explore app on my phone. (and yes, it is confusing to have to use an Explore Website and an Explore app).

Going to the XT, I clicked on 'Where To?' and then 'Explore' (in truth, I madly clicked all over the damn thing before finally clicking on 'Where To' and finding 'Explore') and the routes were there.

Any route that is imported into Explore gets reduced to no more than 200 points. When I opened the short route in the XT it took whatever was there and recalculated it. It didn't do a perfect job of calculating the route.

You can't build a routable route in Explore. You can dump stuff from BasceCamp into Explore and get it onto your XT via the Drive app, but those routes will be comprised of 200 or fewer points and the route that the XT calculates from those points may not be very true to the original route.

Waypoints could work well, though.

This could bear some more lookin' into, but I'm not sure there is a great deal of utility in trying to move routes from Basecamp into Explore. They simply have too many points.
Last edited by Tom Schmitz on 14 Mar 2020 04:22, edited 1 time in total.
Tom Schmitz
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by Tom Schmitz »

The next test was to crude out a route like in the old e-map days and see what could be done with that (I had rather high hopes that this would be worthwhile).

Beginning in the Explore app on the ChromeBook, I planned out a roundabout route from Redondo Beach to Sacramento by simply clicking on a start point, then a few random intersections up in the southern part of the California central valley, and then an end-point at the state capitol building in Sacramento.

Through the miracle of the Drive app and the Interwebz, the route found its way from the ChromeBook to the iPhone and to the XT. I opened the route in the XT and it recalculated the point-to-point route into a perfectly serviceable route from my house to the state capital, visiting all those random points along the way.

Then I built a route on my phone in a similar fashion, except I followed roads in a rather direct fashion up to San Miguel. It consisted of 5 points. The XT rendered it perfectly.
jfheath
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Re: Chromebook, Explore, zumo XT

Post by jfheath »

Hi Tom

Just bouncing this old thread. I've been playin on and off with Explore for quite a while now - since I got the XT 18 months ago in fact. Each time I try, I decide it is just interfering with other things - but that doesn't stop me.

So I have used Explore for navigable off-road trails.
Explore for off raod trails that are not navigable - ie I have to draw the route myself
Explore for shoing smaller waypoint symbols on the XT screen.
Explore collections
Explore tracks
Explore routes.

The Routes tool is interesting. It consist of straight lines with points plotted where a direction change is required. When passed to the Zumo, the XT seems to use those points in order to calculate the fastest route that passes through all of them in order. So what you end up with is a route with a start, and end and no inetrmediate points. Ok - this is a trick that BAsecamp could do as well. Except Basecamp would pass the calculated route to the XT without any of the points that shaped it. It is an option under the user's control in Basecamp, which catches out a lot of people.

When I tried to navigate this route, it did its job perfectly, giving turn by turn directions as normal. When I deliberately deviated, it tried to get me to go back - all of which I ignored. I wanted to see if it would calculate a route to the nearest point from me to somewhere on the remainder of the route - as indeed it does when navigating a track, and what it does if the XT has converted a trip to a track.

But at one point it gave up nagging me. The nearest point to the original route was about 12 miles away (in any direction) - and it started navigating towards it - that was the direction I was going anyway. But I stopped and looked at the map. It crossed over the original route and it had calculated a completely new route (fastest time), ignoring any of the rest. In fact it did what any route would do with just a start and an end point plotted, if you go off route. So why bother plotting the route on Explore in the first place, I wonder.

This isn't a question as such. But I wondered if you had experimented and come to the same conclusions. I've only done it twice, and that is hardly a representative sample.

--------

The compatability bit is mentioned on the XT screen and it puts people off. The XT doesn't need an app to access the explore data. It is referring to devices that do need an app.

The Drive App on the smartphone links the XT to the website.
Any device that has a web broswer can edit the data on the website - so you can do that on a smartphone too.

The Explore App is something that you can download from the Google Play STore or from the Apple store.
It loads up onto the smartphone and gives the same sort of view as the website at explore.garmin.com. You can download the maps and it will display and edit any of the routes, tracks, waypoints etc as you see on the website.

But it is designed to link direct to certain navigation devices. And the XT isn't one of them.

You can still use it. You just skip pairing the drive App with a device. It still changes the same data that you can change on the website. And then the Drive App - also running on the same smartphone can also get the data from Garmin and put it onto your XT.
ST1300A9 - Currently: Zumo 590/5 and Zumo XT - Previous: Zumo 550 and Zumo 660.
BTM03 module to provide Bluetooth link to Autocom. XT paired up to Android Smartphone

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