Living with a Garmin:

Declutter the Page Sequence

Out of the box, the Garmin offers Too Much Information !!

When you hit the Page Key the display flips through a series of views, including Map, Compass, Trip Computer, Highway, Find, Main Menu, and maybe others.
Each can offer a different set of Data Fields and the first temptation is to set up every page differently so that by flipping through the sequence you can get as much information as possible.

Well its certainly interesting but my suggestion is to do the opposite, to take a few simple steps to simplify the GPS experience.

This really works on the Garmin Etrex series because of the excellent Computer page, which displays 8 Data Fields at once and really gives you all you need to know on one screen - set up any 8 nuggets of information from a selection of 40 or so.
(I don't wear a watch or use a cyclecomputer, so 3 of mine are Time, Distance and Speed.)
This in turn only really works if you can get into and out of the computer page as quickly and simply as possible.
The ideal would be a single dedicated button to press, to take you from whatever page you're currently using to the Computer page, and then back again to where you were.

However the Garmin design philosophy works the opposite way, using a minimum of buttons and assigning multple functions to each.
So the Page Key - among other functions - flips you on to the next page in the sequence which means that, if it takes 1 click to go from Map to Computer it might take 4 or 5 more clicks of the same key to get back to the Map.
Handily, Garmin allow you to alter the Page Sequence - add more pages, remove pages, re-order the sequence.
My choice is to remove several pages from the sequence, leaving just two which are the Computer and Map pages.
The Page Key now simply flips between those two pages - ie it behaves exactly like the dedicated button that I want but Garmin don't provide.
(It doesn't have to be those two pages of course - just choose whatever are your favourites.)

Main Menu Page

The Main Menu page has gone but Don't Panic!
It is still simply reached from any other screen by pressing the Menu Key ... twice.

And all those other interesting pages are now available from the Main Menu page - not as convenient as they were but you can still get at them if you ever want to.
In exchange the bits you really want are much more handily placed now.

So - to setup the Page Sequence -
go via the Main Menu to the Setup Menu page,
and there find the Page Sequence page ...
Here just remove the pages you don't want - including Main Menu - and leave just a bare minimum of 2 or 3 favourites.

(NB in the new Colorado and Oregon GPS you can do the same by configuring the Shortcuts - though in the Oregon there's little point to all this as page navigation is much improved anyway.)

Setup Page Sequence
Then move the Trip Computer page to be the top page in the sequence.    Why?
Because this is the page that allows you to Reset things like Trip Distance, Track Log and so on.
You quite often want to visit the Reset page when switching on, so having the Computer page pop up first is a handy reminder to do a Reset.
Trip Computer Page

One button press now flips between these two views.

Left a Trip Computer with all sorts of info.

Right a scrolling Map with added information about the next instruction and the distance to that turn.

What more could you possibly need??


Well, after 18 months of using the Garmin like this, I decided to abandon my own principles and add a third page back in -
the Active Route Page ...

Map Page
Active Route Page (Off Road)

(This page only appears when you are following a Route, or doing a 'Go To'.)

Left is the page you see in direct routing (off road) mode.
At the bottom you see the direction and distance to the next turn.
Right is what you see in autorouting (follow road) mode.
Here you get a nice indication of the 'shape' of the next turn, the distance and estimated time (calculated from your current average speed) to that turn

Either way its a bit like having a scrolling routesheet.
You can also manually scroll down to preview more distant instructions.

Active Route Page (Follow Road)

Francis Cooke

Some basic stuff:
Living with a Garmin: Etrex Basic Setup
Living with a Garmin: Battery Runtime and Etrex Jitter
Living with a Garmin: The Waypoints Limitation
Living with a Garmin: The Follow Road Trap
Living with a Garmin: The Circular Routes Problem
Living with a Garmin: Declutter the Page Sequence
Living with a Garmin: Living with Metroguide Maps
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming (for direct-style routes)
Living with a Garmin: Colour your Tracks and Routes
Living with a Garmin: Create a Route on the GPS
Top 5 GPS Tips (pdf) reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2007
Some GPS FAQs web version of Arrivee article published Nov 2008
NEW - Garmin Etrex 20/30 essays:
Etrex 30 review reprint of Arrivee article published Jan 2012
Etrex 20 & 30, Basic Setup
Taming the Etrex 20/30: Restore the 'Page' key.
Dakota 20 review reprint of Arrivee article published Feb 2010
Living with a Garmin: Waypoint Naming and the Dakota 20 / Etrex 30
More Garmin essays - not-so-basic:
Garmin Etrex C Menu Map (pdf, July 2008)
Living with a Garmin: Full Reset
Living with a Garmin: Track, Route or Autoroute
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Waypoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Three Ways to Beat the Trackpoint Limit
Living with a Garmin: Less is More
Living with a Garmin: Add Contours to your GPS Maps
Living with a Garmin: Struggling with GPX  &...  More GPX
Living with a Garmin: Screens you don't see every day
Living with a Garmin: Downgrade your Mapsource
Living with a Garmin: Put an OSM Map on your Garmin
Living with a Garmin: GPS Soak Test files to test your GPS waypoint capacity
OpenStreetMap and Mapsource Add OSM to your Mapsource collection
A Google Maps Workflow Create, Edit, Save, Share and Export a route