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Active routing

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  • Active routing

    Hi all,

    According to the (some kind of) definition for the ActiveRouting at the Garmin Deutschland (, that feature comprises the three functions:

    - Activity-specific route planning
    - Routing on dedicated biking and hiking routes
    - Activity-specific map display

    I'm curious what exactly is expected behavior of the "Activity-specific map display" function. The idea is clear, to highlight different paths on a map with different colors depending on the leisure activity the path is suitable for. But little further details are disclosed. I presume it may vary depending on the map, software, etc. So let's consider the following reference environment:

    - BaseCamp v.4.7.0 (i.e. the latest) for Windows running under the current version of Windows 10 64-bit edition;

    - All the settings in BaseCamp are at their default values;

    - Using the Garmin test maps with ActiveRouting
    ( )

    Also, it'll make sense to define the terms better. There are a "hiking trails" and "bicycle routes" mentioned in the related Garmin's documents. Actually, it's a case where the same thing is referenced by two different words creating a confusion. So let's define a highlighted trail as a visual feature that appears on the screen when the user has selected a list item in the Named Trail drop down menu in BaseCamp. And let's define a route as a visual feature that appears on the screen when the user has picked the "Create Route From Named Trail" context menu item for that highlighted trail in the Named Trail list.

    Now the questions:

    1. If the "Activity-specific map display" function should use a different colors for painting a highlighted trails, depending on the leisure activity the highlighted trail is recommended for?

    2. If that function should paint a routes in different colors depending on current activity profile?

    3. If the contents of the Named Trail list should depend on current activity profile or it should display all available names (for both pedestrian and bicycle trails) not depending on the activity profile setting?

    In my experience, there are no any dependencies. In BaseCamp, all highlighted trails are in blue, and all routes are in magenta, whatever activity profile is in use and what's the named trail's icon. And by the way, on my device (GPSMAP 62s) it looks the same, all highlighted trails and routes are always in magenta. So it seems the "Activity-specific map display" function is inhibited for some reason. So I wonder if other users can confirm this or it's my particular issue.

    It's known fact the information for use by the ActiveRouting feature is placed in a dedicated file, <product part number>.db, which comes with a map product. If you open that file in an SQL viewer, you can notice the long list of named trails. For each named trail, there are many fields for its attributes, such as, Name, Icon, a list of geo coordinates for beginning and ending locations of the trail's segments (so a highlighted trail can be a concatenation of many trails on the map). There are a fields, which are apparently reserved for future use. And there is a field named Color. Each named trail has its Color field clear (i.e. of the value of zero).

    ActiveRouting is not a new feature, it was introduced circa 2012, and by now I'd noticed here many posts where the author is complaining on disappearance of his/her favorite frails and jumps on a conclusion that ActiveRouting is a bad feature. So I have a suspicion that Garmin did addressed that by subsequently clearing the Color fields in the .db files of the maps effectively disabling the "Activity-specific map display" functionality. Maybe this is all wrong but that's consistent with my experience.

    Any comments?

    Edit: Seems it's a wrong thread as it's about Mac. Not sure if I can move the post to another thread

    Last edited by inu007; 01-10-2019, 03:40 PM.

  • #2
    No but I can, and have done so.
    Currently own Drive 50LMT-D, Nuvi 2508LMT-D, Nuvi 1490LMT, Nuvi 1310, Montana 650T, Etrex 20, and use Basecamp, OSM mapping
    Previously owned Etrex Legend H, Mio Navman and used Mapsource
    (please note that I am not employed by Garmin, but am a long term user of Garmin software and hardware)


    • #3
      I had not run across the term "Activity Specific Map Display". It may be that the term refers to the resulting route display after the available options of road type and avoidances are selected within the individual Activity menus. This assumes that all needed road/trail categories are available within the installed map in use.

      I did a review of the various Activity settings on a Map 64s a couple of days ago for no reason other than I just woke up thinking about the fit files courses and the old Delorme Trail Routing Feature. I then booted up the Map 64s and found that Garmin had used "shortest distance" routing on the direct, pedestrian and hiking activities, but used "fastest" routing algorithm for wheeled vehicles by default.

      I would suggest a Reset for all the device Activity Settings before delving into the design of the firmware on portable devices. It really doesn't matter how one creates routes in Basecamp, because the devices may recalculate routes unless the device has a do not calculate option or a prompt before recalculation option. Seemed to me that Garmin got it right on the 64s, at least in theory, for all the different Activities.
      Last edited by 39_Steps; 01-11-2019, 01:08 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by 39_Steps View Post
        I had not run across the term "Activity Specific Map Display". It may be that the term refers to the resulting route display after the available options of road type and avoidances are selected within the individual Activity menus. This assumes that all needed road/trail categories are available within the installed map in use.

        In this manual the Active Routing feature is explicitly broken into the three mentioned components. (in German and English)

        Besides, at the Garmin Web store it's literally stated for Topo Finland v4 map that "the activity specific map display shows content in different colors for the various activities". Of course it's all a professionally developed marketing materials in intentionally loose wording so reader can interpret it in one way or another. But anyway it must be based on some facts or it's a fake ad.

        So far I made some progress in the fact finding business and now I have to say that it works but not in the way I'd expected initially. The lower the expectations, the better. I can witness the activity-specific map display function really works but the effect it produces is so subtle it hardly can be noticed unless the user has a clue on what to expect. Moreover, it turns out these test maps are not the best demo materials. It does not work with that maps. More recent map version needed.

        There is no ActiveRouting in the maps for Americas. So I think it's not Garmin, this feature was a European initiative and championed by someone in Germany. By now Garmin is a well-established corporation but fortunately not all creative guys gone and I'm grateful for the nice hint. Finally, I'd like to advise those interested on how to see the activity-specific map display in action easy:

        First, make any highlighted trail visible on the map by selecting its name in the Named Trail menu. Then zoom in to max level on any place along the highlighted trail. Make sure the current activity profile in BC matches the activity the highlighted trail is recommended for. And then command the highlighted trail to dismiss. You will see that the highlighted trail is not completely gone. It leaves some residual trace on the map. Usually, this residual trace is of red color, but reportedly it can also be purple, depending on the map, activity, no matter. What does matter is visibility. The visibility of the trace depends on the activity profile. Select entirely different profile in BC, and the trace will disappear. Roll it back, and the trace will appear again. No exact activity match is necessary, rather the transportation mode match. For instance if the trace is for a trail, which is recommended for cycling, it remains visible for all bicycle-related profiles (cycling, tour cycling and mountain biking), the same for a pedestrian activities.

        That's what they calls activity-specific map display.