RouteBuddy will connect to a vast number of GPS devices via USB or Bluetooth. GPS devices come in many forms and from many different manufacturers.
To find out if your device is supported, download the free demo software, connect up your device and see if it works! Please note - Garmin devices that contain SD cards cannot be directly recognised by RouteBuddy via the Devices panel. Geodata (Waypoints, Routes and Tracks) can be transferred to/from the device from/to RouteBuddy by exporting/importing as gpx or kml files depending what the deivce will handle. If it doesn't, use the Device panel to report your device and we will endeavour to support it at the next update.
Simple receivers (NMEA)which receive GPS signals and the software they are connected to records the data
Data loggers which record the signals for subsequent downloading and analysis by a program
Tracking and routing devices which range from fitness devices such as Garmin Forerunner or Edge, both recording track and other information for analysis as well as being able to keep you on route through to Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) which are generally used in vehicles. Some but not all of these devices can also act as receivers when connected to your computer.
The amount to which RouteBuddy can interact with these devices very much depends on the functionality of the device. Not all PNDs will act as receivers when connected to the computer and the cheaper devices are unable store routes uploaded to them as they only have "point and go" capabilities. You need to check with the device manufacturers specifications as to what the device is capable of doing.
If you already have a device, check it out with the free download version of RouteBuddy.
Before trying to connect or transfer any data to your device please ensure that the device has the latest firmware installed and that you have the latest software drivers installed on your computer. Most problems can be pinpointed to these not having been updated.
Connecting to a Bluetooth device
Install the device software according to the manufacturers specifications
Turn on the device
Pair the device with your computer according to the manufacturers instructions
Check the device is now listed under:
Devices and Printers (Windows) - the Com Port that the device is attached to can be seen under "Hardware"
System Preferences - Bluetooth (Mac) and check that the device is showing and connected.
Check that the device is receiving satellite signals (refer to the device manual)
By default, your computer will not allow you to run multiple applications from a single COM port. It is important that you close any previously opened GPS application before switching to another GPS application as the GPS receiver and data will not be found by the new program.
Connecting a USB NMEA receiver
Connect the device USB cable to your computer
Install device software according to the manufacturers specifications
Check that the device is receiving satellite signals (refer to the device manual)
Connecting a Fitness or Personal Navigation Device
Install the device software according to the manufacturer's manual and periodically check to make sure the software is up to date and that the device has the latest firmware installed.
Plug the device in via the USB cable.
Getting RouteBuddy to communicate with your Device
Click on your computer in the Source List to open the System Panel
Under the Serial Ports box Click the + to add device, pop up window will appear. Both USB and Bluetooth receivers are recognised by the computer as serial devices.
Give the device a name
Select the device type from the drop down list - if your device is not in the drop down list then select NMEA device (you can report your device to RouteBuddy in the device window and we will add it to our named list of devices).
Choose the port for your device - both USB and Bluetooth devices need to be allocated a serial or "com" port. The Port you use may be automatically picked for you (by RouteBuddy's referral to the device manufacturer's software which will have set up a port reference) or, you may have to choose a Com port which you know is not currently being used by any other devices on your computer.
Pick the Speed (Data Transfer / Baud Rate) according to the device manufacturers guide
Click OK the device will now be listed and can be enabled whenever you connect.
Click on the device which now appears in the Source List
Device information window
In the Device information window the Status of the device should show as Connected if satellite signals are being received
You can change the type of the device is you have chosen the wrong one from our list or, if your device was not on our list you can Report the Device to us.
The Tracking section will show data about the position of the device.
Click Show location and the device location will be shown on the map
You can start and stop recording a track from this section and once recording has started you can click on Show Track so that your track is shown on the map.
Depending on the amount of functionality you GPS device has to transfer and store data, you will be able to use the Synchronize function at the bottom of the Device Window where you can choose to transfer Waypoints, Routes and Tracks to and from the device.
When you want to store a route to transfer to the device, remember to store each route in a single place file so that the routes can be transferred individually.
We reiterate, some devices have limited functionality, some do not store routes at all, i.e. you give the device a point to go to and the route is calculated from your current position, or some store a very limited number of Waypoints, Routes and Tracks.
The next time you come to connect your device you will find it already set up when you click on your computer in the Devices section. Just tick the device, it will appear in the Devices section of the Source List, click on the Device and you will again be taken to the Device Window. A word of caution here, USB and Bluetooth devices can be temperamental if you play around connecting and disconnecting too many times in one session. If the device is receiving signals but RouteBuddy is in a state of Waiting for Connection for too long then the best thing is to re-start RouteBuddy.
Another problem with Bluetooth devices is if you try to use them with another computer, they will often only work with one computer and the NMEA needs to be re-set. One of the ways to do this is to let the power drain down completely so that the device has to go through a complete power re-load.
Fitness or Personal Navigation Devices
Useful information about the file limits of Garmin devices can be found here:
Information about devices that have tracklogs - please turn the tracklog off before importing from device to RouteBuddy
RouteBuddy supports a wide range of fitness and personal navigation devices, please check your device with the free download of the RouteBuddy software.
The functionality of the device may or may not include the following features (please check the device manufacturer's specifications):
The device may act as an NMEA Receiver when connected to your computer
The device may be able to transmit some or all waypoint, route and track information to/from the device.
Connect up the device to your computer via the USB port and if RouteBuddy recognises it the device will appear in the Device section of the Source list.
Click on the device in the source list and the Device window will appear
If the device is able to act as a receiver and it is in a suitable position receiving signals the tracking window will show your position.
The synchronize section will offer you options according to your device capabilities for the transfer of waypoints, routes and tracks.
Sending data from your Computer to your GPS device
To upload data (waypoints, routes, tracks) from Computer to your GPS device select a place file from the drop down list (we advise that each place file only contains one route) and click Transfer data.
Receiving data from your GPS device to your Computer
Important - If your device has a tracklog which is still on then please turn this off before performing an import of data from device to RouteBuddy
To download data click the items you want to download (waypoints, routes, tracks)and click Transfer data. The data will be downloaded into a new Imported Places file. Please do not try to select a specific file to download into, this does not work.
Synchronisation of data to/from Computer/GPS device
When you have clicked" Transfer Data"a synchronising progress bar will appear:
You will be presented with a message saying when synchronisation has completed and how many items were transferred.
Garmin fitness devices
If you upload data to your Garmin fitness device then the following will apply:
If you have plotted a route in RouteBuddy and want to load the route as a course into Garmin Connect, convert the route to a track and export the track as a GPX file.
Conflict with other GPS software
Once your device is connected and if, when you try to transfer data, you receive a message which says "The device could not be opened to perform the transfer. The device may be in use by another application or may need to get a satellite fix to enable data transfer" you need to disconnect the device from RouteBuddy, close any other software which may be accessing the device and the re-connect the device to RouteBuddy.
Devices which need to receive a satellite fix before data transfer
We have found that some Garmin devices e.g. 60, 76 and 2610 series need to receive a satellite fix before transfer of data can be initiated. Once your device is connected and if, when you try to transfer data, you receive a message which says "The device could not be opened to perform the transfer. The device may be in use by another application or may need to get a satellite fix to enable data transfer" you need to place the device in a suitable position for it to be able to get a satellite fix.
Some known problems with USB and Bluetooth NMEA receivers
As you can imagine there are thousands of GPS devices available, all subject to their own idiosyncrasies. For NMEA receivers be they USB or Bluetooth, various things can affect the state of the device and it's ability to pass the satellite signal information to RouteBuddy for example:
No actual satellite fix for receiver
Other software taking the signal from RouteBuddy (close down that Software and RouteBuddy, then re-open RouteBuddy and try connecting again)
Another device has already been connected which sets up a conflict to the next device being connected (RouteBuddy supports multiple devices but it does not mean to say that the devices themselves will not conflict with one another)
The device has been put into a state whereby it has become computer specific and the NMEA needs to be re-set (this is more common with Bluetooth devices). One of the ways to do this is to let the power drain down completely so that the device has to go through a complete power re-load.
Many NMEA receivers do not support multiple binding/pairing and cannot be used by more than one partner at a time.
Check whether anything else it interrupting the signal (e.g. Microwaves, the dog bowl covering the receiver...;-)
So, there are many reasons why there are hiccups and we will endeavour to find reasons why the device is not communicating it's information to RouteBuddy. However, it is of course difficult to find out what is going wrong when we do not have the device to test. Before contacting support@routebuddy:
Please confirm that the device is working using software as recommended by the manufacturer.
If it is, then take a screenshot (preferably showing time and date on the computer) of the software showing the device coordinates.
Close the manufacturers recommended software down and open up RouteBuddy.
Ensure that the device is still getting a satellite fix
Connect the device to your computer ensuring the correct port and baud rate are chosen.
As long as the device clearly still has a satellite fix, if RouteBuddy does not show the coordinates after 30seconds to one minute then there is clearly a conflict somewhere.
Take a screenshot of the whole RouteBuddy window (showing time and date on the computer).
Send your screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Things we have found along the way....
We found that one user was having problems with transferring data from his eTrex because his phone was interrupting the signal by requesting a bluetooth connection