I’ve been slowly trying to get away from the Garmin eco-system for the last few months. For years now, I’ve been adding tracks to my Garmin basecamp collection but as my personal computer usage goes to more portable devices like a smartphone or tablet (all the content you’ve seen from me in 2020 has come from an iPad Pro) and being attached a computer to manage my tracks or waypoints isn’t the best scenario.
Bye Bye Garmin Basecamp
At one point, I thought that the inReach portal would be the next platform to manage my tracks & waypoints. And certainly I’ve added a lot of tracks recorded from my inReach devices over the last 7 years. But the portal does not appear to be a priority to Garmin and still locks you in pretty tight in the eco-system. So I needed another app to manage my data especially since I’ve been transitioning to new GPS devices and having the all-in-one inReach isn’t an option anymore as I’ve moved to ZOLEO for satellite communication.
Check out The latest GARMIN devices I recommend (as of December 2020).
Overland ERS Helped Me To Discover GaiaGPS
As I was prepping for another season of truck camping with my Kodak Canvas truck tent, I stumbled across a number of overlanders who were using this smartphone/tablet app for their navigation and I decided to check it out.
GaiaGPS is a web, smartphone, tablet portal allowing you to basically do everything except editing gpx tracks on their service. They offer dozens and dozens of map layers, offline mode and track recording. Basically everything I wanted to do either on my phone or tablet. The small fee to gain premium features is worth it.
But now the question was how do I get my Garmin tracks to GaiaGPS?
Garmin Explore Is the Export Tool
Garmin Explore is in my opinion the light version of Garmin Earthmate where it sits on top of the inReach portal. If you don’t have an inReach device, you can still use it with some of their handhelds or watches like Felix, instinct, GPSMAP 66 series and montana among other Outdoor models.
It’s a true pain to get the inReach collections setup for a handheld device and try to force it to not upload activities to Garmin Connect as you need both to get your handheld to pair and sync. Anyway, the point is, once you get your handheld syncing to Garmin Explore, you now have the ability within the app to share (export) a track as GPX file from your smartphone to GaiaGPS (assuming it’s installed on your phone) there tracks imports easily into the app and is saved.
Now you got your track in GaiaGPS, and can easily add photos you took on your phone. The images are snapped along your track with the embedded geotagged information in each photo and you can switch from your phone to your tablet or even desktop computer later to review, refine and share to the larger community.