A blog about e-bikes, mobility, technology, sport, transportation, recreation.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Trail Tech Voyager GPS
Wow, Trail Tech just released a GPS system. Called the Trail Tech Voyager GPS, this system is full integrated and bike specific, built for motorcycles.
Question: Voyager kits include physical sensors, magnets, and other cables. Why does the unit need this if it’s a GPS?
Answer: You can use Voyager handheld without any sensors connected. However, physically bolting Voyager to your vehicle provides many advantages over what you are used to in a “standard” GPS.
Power from the machine enables several integration features, such as extended run-time and maintenance-free charging. (Voyager can be run using only the internal battery and charged with a wall charger.)
The engine temperature sensor monitors the health of your machine and enables two major features: engine temperature diagnostics and over-temp warning LEDs.
The ignition sensor tells Voyager when the engine is running. This enables logging of tracks only when engine is running and tachometer display features.
The wheel sensor can also control when to log, and provides a more accurate odometer than GPS. See next question.
Question: Do I really need a wheel sensor? “Standard” GPS units get along just fine without one.
Answer: All speed/distance data can be gathered from either GPS or the wheel sensor. Voyager kits provide a wheel sensor for several reasons:
When using a wheel sensor, Voyager knows to stop logging when the vehicle stops moving. When you start rolling again, the wheel sensor tells Voyager which starts logging again (without a GPS induced lag.)
The wheel sensor will track distance regardless of GPS conditions. This is important under several circumstances:
GPS cannot tell the difference between a motorcycle moving under its own power or in the back of a truck.
The GPS signal can be lost, especially around metal structures or in tunnels. With no signal, speed and distance accuracy is lost.
GPS cannot see small changes in elevation (i.e. whoops and ruts.) Over time this will create significant odometer error.
GPS is accurate while travelling in straight lines at constant velocity. However, tight, fast corners will cause the GPS to skip over part of your path. Over time this will contribute to odometer error.
Trail Tech believes an accurate odometer and hour meter are critical features. To maintain this accuracy, kits are provided with a wheel sensor included.
Question: Can Voyager use GPX files?
Answer: Yes, GPX (GPS Exchange Format) files are the main format that Voyager uses. Import and export GPX files directly from Voyager using the accessible waterproof MicroSD memory card slot. Download new GPX trails directly from OHVtrails.net and ride new areas with confidence. GPX also works well with Google Earth™,GPSBabel.org, the Trail Tech's GPX Editor software and many other resources.
GPX (the GPS Exchange Format) is a light-weight XML data format for the interchange of GPS data (waypoints, routes, and tracks) between applications and Web services on the Internet. GPX is being used by dozens of software programs and Web services for GPS data exchange, mapping, and geocaching.
Question: Does Voyager have topo maps?
Answer: On the trail, OHV (off-highway vehicle) riders do not typically utilize elevation data found on topo maps; instead, topo maps are used because of trail route information. Topo maps are mostly based on aerial photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s, so many are out of date and inaccurate. While some updated topo maps are available, the efforts to restore them focus on hiking trails, not OHV trails.
Because topo maps are not particularly well suited for use on OHV trails, Voyager provides a better means of collecting, displaying and sharing up-to-date OHV trail information. Routes may be imported into Voyager from standard GPX files, or exported for later review and sharing. Using Voyager’s trail-centric approach, riders can enjoy a superior experience using up-to-date trail maps.
You can find up-to-date trail information at Trail Tech’s OHV map website: www.OHVtrails.net. There you can plan your rides by overlaying a library of OHV trails and roads on top of detailed topographical maps and satellite images courtesy of Google Earth™. Create your own custom trail collection and upload it to your Voyager GPS dashboard. While OHVtrails.net currently covers only North America, it is being actively developed for other parts of the world. OHVtrails.net is provided free of charge for all to use.
Question: How many track points can Voyager hold?
You can have up to 200 waypoints.
You can also have 1 track with 72,500 points (or up to 300 tracks with 241 points, or some hybrid.)
You can also have 1 route with 72,500 points (or up to 300 routes with 241 points, or some hybrid.)
Route and track memory are independent (e.g. you can have up to 72,500+72,500=145,000 points total if track and route memory are both full.)