Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creating routes for GPX files with Basecamp

Over the course of the past couple months I've had some folks ask me how I go about making the gpx files that we distribute for the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club runs and rallies. I use a combination of Google Maps and Garmin's software, Basecamp (not to be confused with the project management platform that goes by the same name). Garmin had a software product called MapSource that I used until this past year. However, they decided to retire the MapSource product and focus their development efforts on the Basecamp product. I'm not real sure what the purpose was other than a guess that the underlying code is somehow easier to maintain across multiple platforms.

In any case, the Basecamp software has been slowly improving over the course of the past year since I started using it. My own skills and familiarity have been improving as well to the point where I feel like I can crank out a gpx file about as fast with Basecamp as what I was able to do with MapSource.

Anyway, the process of putting together the maps can be kind of tedious, especially if it is a long route (more than 4 hours estimated travel time). It is also something that is easier seen that described. Which is why I decided to take a crack at putting together a video showing how I do it. Hopefully anyone watching the video can figure out what I'm trying to explain and will be able to apply it themselves.

As far as the videography, I used Quicktime to record the screen. I figured it would be a mistake to use the MacBook's built-in mic and that proved to be true. I pretty much had some time to work on the video but not enough time to go buy a proper mic. I also discovered that importing the raw footage into iMovie cut some of the audio off, so I had to re-record the very beginning. Figures that was the one part where I tested out a teleprompter app on my Galaxy Tablet running along side the MacBook while recording. Just my opinion, but the resulting video is not as sharp as some that I see posted on-line. I'm not sure why that is other than the import/export routines that iMovie uses is causing the loss of data (and resulting loss of clarity). Perhaps one day I'll be able to invest in Final Cut Pro to compare how that works.

Anyway, enjoy the video.

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