I’ve been using Garmin’s Mapsource application as my main means of managing tracks from my GPSr. It’s not perfect (the mapping window is annoyingly small due to OS license restrictions), but it is intuitive and simple to use. A couple of years ago I discovered that Garmin were phasing the product out in favour of BaseCamp. Great news I thought. A new product must be an improvement. How wrong I was. We’ve still got the same small viewing window, but all of the intuitive elements have disappeared. It’s nigh on impossible to use. Take a simple task that I would do all the time: View the track that I walked last Sunday on the map. In Mapsource I would click the tracks tab, find the one with the desired date on it, right click, then show on map. Simples. So I try the same in BaseCamp. Hang on, where are the tabs with tracks, waypoints, routes? They’ve merged them into a single list. Only a madman would do that. I eventually find the tracks at the end of the list. OK, so now I want the tracks for last Sunday, but all I see is Active Log 002 etc. Where’s the date and time (not to mention all the other data). I have no way to determine the correct track logs without clicking on each one, and there are often a lot of them. So I pick one that may be what I want (though I don’t really know). I right click. Hang on, where’s the show on map! I did subsequently update to the latest version (3.2.1) and show on map is now available, but little else has changed.
So why have Garmin shunned a useful and popular tool in favour of developing a piece of junk? My guess is to gain revenue from their BirdsEye imagery, though I don’t know anyone that has it and I’m certainly not interested. They want to sell more product and that’s fine, but don’t regress our existing resources.
I also found it amusing that you can select an option to view your logs in Google Earth. This seems a very strange option from someone providing a mapping solution. A quick glance shows that they are integrating to Garmin’s new Opencaching.com geocaching site, which might be useful if they actually had any geocaches in the UK.
Personally I use Memory Map to plan routes and Mapsource to manage log data and that’s the way it’s going to stay for me. If you feel BaseCamp has merits over Mapsource please feel free to leave a comment. If you are of the same opinion as me, then I’d also like confirmation that I’m not missing something huge.
: Stop press : Late addition : Hold the front page :
I have just started calculating Total Ascent and as bikehike.co.uk doesn’t appear to be available any more I have found that I can calculate this with BaseCamp. This was a poor omission from Mapsource. Now I finally have a reason to keep it installed.