Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Garmin 920XT Fenix3 Routes

This is an explanatory article showing you how to install a graphical route onto your Garmin Smartwatch

Garmin now makes some high end Smartwatches and Marcus and Agata currently have the 920XT and the Fenix 3 units respectively.

They have Colour LCD screens, onboard GPS and battery lives of over 12 hours  (with GPS on once per second).  So if you like trail running, or running a complex ultramarathon, wouldn't it be really cool if you could load up the exact GPS based route onto your watch.

So if at any point you got lost,  or say your Smartphone Internet reception died (say instead whilst you were just hiking) then you could goto your watch for precise Navigational assistance.

Basically, with this fall-back you can't easily get lost.  And sometime on Ultra races or just Hiking in the mountains this is easily possible.

[NB: For Ultra races, that is anything exceeding a Marathon in distance,  you normally would definitely carry a Smartphone in case of emergency and some races make it a mandatory kit item. Whereas for complex trail races under 42Km you would rely solely  on your SmartWatch. - since you would not be carrying a Rucksack for reasons of weight on shorter races you would not be able to carry a SmartPhone]

What About Garmin?
Oh, I should mention that Garmin Connect does have a facility to import a .gpx route file from an external source.  Trouble is it never works!  (Try it, take a .gpx route from a race website!)

Garmin Fenix3 or 920XT watch
Garmin Connect on your PC/MAC
Runkeeper free subscription
Paid account on SwitzerlandMobility  35CHF per year
Tapiirik free <many> to <Garmin Connect> fitness sync
(Tapiirik is free but you can pay a trivial amount so that activities are automatically syncd between fitness platforms. Hint: It's really cheap and you will reward the author for his time and effort)

  • Draw and save your route on the SwitzerlandMobility portal.  You will need to login with your paid subscription userid/ password and draw the route

  • In SwisMobility save the route as a .gpx file
  • Goto Runkeeper  (we use Web logon) and create an Activity.

  • Upload .gpx information as the map for this activity.

    If you are extremely tight and talented then instead you can simply draw the map course directly within Runkeeper  (and not use Switzelandmobility)
  • Optional/ Recommended:  Save this activity as a Runkeeper Route using the 'make this a route' option.  This will allow you to ride this route using Runkeeper   (example Marcus has Runkeeper on his Smartphone mounted on Triathlon bars)
  • Synchronise RunKeeper with Garmin Connect via Tapiirik
  • Goto Garmin Connect on the Web  (not your Watch) and save the "fake" Activity you synchronised as a Course
  • Finally, In Garmin Connect "Send the Course to Device"
  • At the next Synchronisation between Garmin Express (which for Marcus / Agata lives on our Windows / Apple OSX computer) and our 920XT or Fenix3 Smartwatch, the course is transferred.
  • Now arrive to the start of the course and for 920XT I go into activity, press bottom left button, Navigation, Courses, select course,

For readers outside of Switzerland you will either have to draw the route manually using RunKeeper, or get the .gpx file from your race Organiser, or find a suitable substitute to the Switzerlandmobility draw a route feature.


Tapiirik keeps your fitness in Sync