What would you do if you accidentally deleted all the waypoints on your Garmin by tapping the wrong button? Or maybe you are starting to get confused by all the waypoints cluttering your GPS but you don’t want to delete some of those cool places. The same goes for your track files.
BaseCamp is a great solution for these problems. And because it’s free you can download it and play around with it with no commitment at all. You don’t even have to create another username and password for a myGarmin account, unless of course that’s what you want. BaseCamp can do a lot of really cool things but I want to cover some of the basics here to get you started.
Back up waypoints from your GPS:
All you have to do is connect your Garmin to your computer with the USB cord. As soon as your computer recognizes the GPS it will show up in the top left corner of the window. Next go to the File drop down menu and select “create a new list.” Once you’ve done this its just a matter of selecting the waypoints and tracks on your GPS then dragging and dropping them into your new list just like you’d move a file from a thumb drive to your computer. This entire process works in reverse too, so when you want those waypoints back on your GPS just drag them from the list over to the Garmin and drop them.
Create and edit waypoints on your computer:
This may not seem like a cool feature, but stop and think for a second how much of a pain it is to type in coordinates on your GPS. It doesn’t matter if it’s lat/long, UTM, or MGRS it is a hassle. You can use BaseCamp to plug in those coordinate, name the point, fill out all the extra information you want, change the symbol, make some notes, whatever, then just drag it over to your GPS. To edit waypoints, just double click on one in the left hand menu and to create a new one use the flag symbol in the “creation tools” options at the top of the window.
Edit your track files:
This feature also may not seem all that necessary but what if you hiked half of a trail one day, and the other half another day but only wanted one track file to represent the entire trail. Or, what if you got yourself a little bit lost between point the car and the lake and while you want to keep the route you finally found, you also want to get rid of the part of the track where you were hopelessly off course. These are two excellent reasons why you may want to edit your tracks. You can double click on a track to edit all it’s details just like a waypoint. If you select two or more tracks and right click on them, you can also join them together.
Organize your files:
Once you start to get a lot of waypoints and tracks from a lot of different places you’ll want to organize them. With BaseCamp you can create lists and folders to your hearts content to help you organize all of your GPS data. As it stands right now I have 1,670 waypoints backed up on my computer along with 794 tracks and 1 route. Even with all that, I can very quickly find the what I’m looking for.
Again, BaseCamp can do a lot of other cool things, and maybe I’ll get to some of them another time, but for now, if you’re looking for a way to manage your GPS data and the price and complexity of other software has scared you off, give this one a try. I feel like I should add that I’m not on the Garmin payroll or anything. I’m sure there are other good options out there for all the major GPS brands, but I can only talk about what I know.
Did this help? Did it create more questions? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.