Living with a Garmin:

Less is More

Try not to use more Waypoints than you need to.

This is nothing to do with the 'Waypoints limits' (which I discuss in another article) but its about giving each route point a bit of personal space so it can do a better job.

I think one of the main 'killer features' of GPS - that nothing else can replicate - is the Next ability.
That is, fields such as Distance to Next or Time to Next. When following a route its extremely useful to know how far it is to the next navigational instruction - if its say more than 1km away then (on a bike) you know you can enjoy other aspects of your ride - the scenery, or the company - and don't need to pay any attention to the GPS. If, on the other hand, its less than 400m or so, you know that there is navigation coming up and at least part of you will be looking out for signage etc.


So my point about Less is More has to do with getting as much advance notice of the next turn instruction as possible. If your route goes along a 5km winding lane and then turns right at the end - try not to put too many 'shape' or 'check' waypoints along that lane. Especially don't put any near the end, because if you do, these just mask the only important waypoint, which is the turn instruction.

Sometimes a 'check' point is helpful - especially shortly after a 'bear left' type of turn, say 100m or 200m down the road.
Sometimes a 'shape' point is nice - if the road is wandering a long way off the 'direct' line - and if a road bends sharp right and then hits a junction its very tempting to waypoint the bend so that the junction shape looks correct. In this last case, its best to resist the temptation to insert a shaping waypoint, because it will simply prevent you getting good advance notice of the turn instruction.

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