RWGPS Questions - CycleBlaze

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RWGPS Questions

George Hall

I have used RWGPS to create maps of my daily rides on tour.  I have been using the free version and it works fine.  A few months back I upgraded to the paid version ($50/year I think).  Honestly, at the time I thought I should do that because they were about to go up in price and I thought I "needed" the paid version.  I really don't remember why I thought I needed it as opposed to the free version.

I'd like to be able to add daily maps together and create a bigger map - hope this makes sense, I want to do what computer programmers call "concatenate" the maps so that I could take say 3 individual maps and have the program make them into 1 overall map.  I don't seem to be able to do that - do I need the deluxe version of RWGPS to do that (I think it costs $80/year)? 

What can I do with the paid version that I can't do with the free version?  I may have made an unwise purchase.  I don't usually use a GPS on tour - I rely on paper maps and cue sheets - if I need to I will just open up Google maps to see where I am and develop an alternate route if things go awry.  So why do I need or want the paid version of RWGPS?  I know some of you are expert users of it, please give me the benefit of your expertise.  Thanks,

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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo George Hall

The plans are explained here.

I pay for the "Basic" plan because it has two features I have found very useful: The ability to download routes to my phone and use them without an internet connection, and the turn-by-turn navigation (spoken turn-by-turn directions.) I keep my phone in my handlebar bag while riding, and don't have to look at it - I just listen to the spoken directions.

The "Premium" plan apparently allows you to do more advanced route creating and editing. So far I haven't felt like I needed any of those things.

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3 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo George Hall

In addition to the link Jeff provided, and rather than risk being wrong with my own summary and recollections of what I got each time I changed subscription levels, herewith are links to the "What do you get" pages from the RWGPS help website, specific to each of the paid levels.

Basic subscription level

Premium subscription level

It seems that to combine multiple individual routes (or rides) into a single unit you need the Premium level.  You also need the Premium level if you want to use the mobile app (rather than the website) to plan a route using your phone or tablet.

I'll note that the web version is nearly useless for route planning on a phone: the phone screen just doesn't have enough real estate and the website style sheets mash things together to the point where it's virtually impossible to find and use what you need, and to actually *see* the map.

On the other end, the mobile app is pretty limited (read "lousy") when it comes to editing a route.  I could not figure out how to re-direct segments of a route once RWGPS had laid it out.  

For example, when routing along the Katy Trail in Missouri the RWGPS algorithm continually moves you back and forth between the trail itself and roads that cross or parallel the trail surface.  On my computer I was able to "easily" drag the road segments back to the trail proper.  ("Easy" should not be construed as equivalent to "painlessly": there are so many segments that needed correction that it still took me an hour or more of very fiddly editing to get the thing to put me on the Katy and leave me on it.)  

I was utterly unable to accomplish this same task on the mobile app; instead I learned to simply pay attention to the larger picture and have the map zoomed to a level where I could see the "get off the road / ride through this parking lot or turnout for 500 feet / get back on the road" red herring routing and ignore it.

One other note, which also doesn't apply to the use case you describe: no matter what subscription level you have, exporting to a GPS file format and importing to (an older Garmin Edge 810 in my case) GPS unit will possibly cause some very hinky behaviors.  There were LONG segments (many miles, in some cases) where my Garmin urgently insisted that I leave the roadway, proceed to ride directly into a cliff face on the opposite side of the road, and then... it never did tell me what came next, but at the points where it wanted me to leave the road there was absolutely nothing there onto which I might have turned.  The RWGPS app, on the other hand, never insisted that I make such a course deviation and blithely kept me on the roadway.

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo George Hall

Are you familiar with Events and Collections?  I’m not sure but I think both are available in the free version.  If not, I know both are available in the Basic version because that’s the level of our own subscription.  You might check, and you might experiment on how to find them.  I always have trouble finding them on Rachael’s iPad which is a mini, because the displays are different on hers than on my larger display.  I’m sure it’s the same with display on  phone - they’re there somewhere, but it might take some searching and research to discover how to find them.

Events and Collections are similar, in that they both allow you to organize individual routes into groups.  Collections are simpler - they’re basically just a pure grouper, with no other functionality than letting you organize a set of routes into a collection and view an integrated map of the whole collection.  For example, here’s the map of our collection of rides we took when we were hiding out in Corvallis for a month during the Covid year:

Below the map is a list of items (routes) in the collection.  It’s a pretty limited function, not well developed - there’s not even support for removing a route, once added - and the map is basically just a static image - you can’t zoom or change the overlay.  

Events are a much more robust function, and are designed to support true real world events such as group rides or organized tours.  You can add multiple people, send invitations and so on.  It too is a collection device and has a function to let you display all of the routes in the collection in an integrated map.  This one though is a fully functional map that you can zoom in on and change the base map of.  

I find events to be quite useful especially in tour planning.  I can load all of the pieces of a tour or sub tour we’re planning or brainstorming and share the composite with others.  It’s one of the primary tools Rachael and I use when we’re planning tours together.  And again, as far as I know it’s available in the freeware version.

For example,  here’s the combined map for our 2013 tour of southern Portugal and  Andalucia:

Bilbao to Gerona, 2014.

Hope this helps.

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3 weeks ago
George HallTo George Hall

(replying to myself rather to each individual) - Jeff, Keith, & Scott, much thanks!  This is very helpful info and I'll dive into it.  I find myself in an unanticipated time rush to plan a tour - a window of time has "developed" when I can do a 4-5 week fall tour, but I must leave on it 2 weeks from tomorrow!   So I'm currently in a rush looking at lodging, 1-way car rentals, seeing how much time I can be indoors and how much camping (or if I even need to camp) for my intended route.   I have been using ACA maps & Google Earth as my primary planning tools - when I think I have some jumps worked out logically I like to create a RWGPS map of the day's ride to look at elevation and check the mileage in greater detail.  

So many pieces have to fall together just right when you plan a tour, especially a last-minute tour.  RWGPS is a great tool, I'm just not expert with it, so your help is very appreciated.  

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3 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Scott Anderson

"Below the map is a list of items (routes) in the collection.  It’s a pretty limited function, not well developed - there’s not even support for removing a route, once added - and the map is basically just a static image - you can’t zoom or change the overlay. "

Perhaps that's a difference between the mobile app version and the full website version, or in the way you are using the app.  I've definitely added and removed items to / from Collections on my computer / browser, and the map zoom/pan is also functional although there's no provision for changing the base map.

To remove an item from a collection does seem to require either a mouse (on desktop / laptop computer) or a keyboard with a track pad (on phone/tablet)- in other words a pointing device that generates and moves an arrow cursor that can access the "hover over" capability, and not your index finger.

Screen capture from my PC. I hovered the mouse cursor over a route and the Edit, Remove From Collection [in the red box], and Reorder (four-headed arrow) icons showed up. I also tested and confirmed that the map zoom in/out buttons are functional.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith Adams

That’s really interesting.  I don’t have a keyboard for the iPad other than the virtual one that pops up  for text entry and editing.  The only functionality from the map itself is to jump to the individual routes from it.  It’s too bad.  I might use collections more as groupers for our historical tours if there was a way to remove routes from them short of deleting the route itself or destroying the collection and recreating it.

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3 weeks ago
Paul MulveyTo George Hall

Main useful feature for me was the ability to download maps and use the service offline. I have an old iPhone 6 which I removed the SIM card functionality, but it works perfectly well as a GPS device. With the ability to download maps, I get turn-by-turn directions and can check the maps as I travel.

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3 weeks ago