Garmin BaseCamp -Synchronizing Data in the Newer Hand-held Units with the PC or MAC
This review is based on using the Dakota 20 Obtain BaseCamp (HERE) 3 Nov. 2009
For specific questions about this product, log onto the GPSInformation.net FORUM
11 June 2010 - Create Custom Maps with $5 G-Raster
7 Sept. 2010 -Add discussion about Garmin's new BirdsEye Product
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Program Page with 2-D and 3-D panels Showing a BirdsEye DEMO Insert

OVERVIEW:
BaseCamp can download data from all Garmin outdoor handhelds that support a USB connection.
However, only those with the latest data transfer system (DataSync) can BaseCamp edit and upload data.
These are the Oregon 550 & 550t, and Dakota 10 & 20 v. 2.40.
Colorado and Oregon 200, 300, and 400 are not DataSync compatible.

Use MapSource to install maps with or without DEM elevation data (the only type of map displayed in 3-D by BaseCamp, such as, TOPO U.S. 24K and TOPO 2008.Update to Ver. 2.08 to be able to view ALL MapSource maps on BaseCamp.   Once a DEM map is installed, other maps will appear in 3-D.  THIS is an example of a 2-D 24K Custom Map and tracks rendered in 3-D due to the selection of Topo US 2008 map.  As you place the cursor on a map panel, the program tells you just which Custom Map you are on.  The arrow indicates North.

In the left-hand panel are: In the lower panels are: WORKING WITH WAYPOINTS:
1. Waypoints can be uploaded to the unit directly from Map Source, however, they can not be downloaded from the unit to MS.
2. Waypoints can be imported from .gdb or .gpx files into BaseCamp (Recently Imported) and then "copied" to the unit's List.
3. When waypoints are deleted from the unit's List, they are also deleted from the unit.
4. Waypoints and tracks in the unit can be edited in the bottom panel.

WORKING WITH TRACKS:

1. Unlike waypoints, tracks can be downloaded to MapSource.
2. The current tracks inside the unit are displayed by BaseCamp when the unit is plugged in.
3. Any selected track can be edited in the bottom panel, Properties.
4. Highlighting track segments in the bottom panel changes their color to orange in the Properties and can be deleted.
5. Also available in the bottom panel is the profile of the track.
6. The saved tracks are in:  x:\Garmin\GPX while the current track is in: x:\Garmin\GPX\Current.
     These tracks can be downloaded by programs that recognize the .gpx format.

BirdsEye:  In the menu bar is a BirdsEye icon that allows you to add a "New" Satellite Photograph Map (based on a Subscription service) to compatible Garmin devices, if connected.   One can load one DEMO BirdsEye image into the unit to test the concept.  
In the left-hand list, the icon above the BirdsEye icon is for a Custom Map, 'Roswell Road'.  BaseCamp will show all Custom Maps in addition to the BirdsEye map, but the BirdsEye map will overwrite any Custom Map.

BirdsEye images are very easy to load as compared to other Custom Map programs, but don't have as high a resolution as those programs, possibly because they are satellite images and not aerial photographs. 
 For a discussion of other Custom Map programs compared to BirdsEye, see (HERE).

THE PROGRESS BAR:
NOTE: When uploading or deleting data in the Dakota, one must wait until the green line under the DEVICES disappears, before unplugging the unit, or else the data will be lost.  The data transfer rate to the .gpx files seems slower than that with Garmin's protocol in MapSource.

Typical 2D/3D Dual Panel View (Gran Tetons)

ADDITIONAL BASECAMP FEATURES:
1.  Free-hand draw your own track, handy for trip planning (Select:: File, New, Track)
2.  Work with geocaches (Import Pocket queries, move to device, etc.)
3.  Create additional "smart folders" that contain a subset of "My Collection", a good way to package a bunch of tracks, waypoints, photos,
     geocaches, etc. from a trip (past or future).  When you select a smart folder, only the "relevant" data is displayed.
4.  Track Playback is particularly interesting when you have the map above the elevation profile below.

VIEW IN GOOGLE EARTH:
Google Earth is a free download (HERE).  Once installed, one can view any waypoint or track in any List in Google Earth

Click on thumbnails for larger views
.....
BaseCamp and Google Earth 3D views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone viewed from the south west of the canyon.

.....
Photo of the Copper Canyon in Mexico 3D rendering of the scene by Google Earth


Recorded Tracks can be Displayed on Google Earth

NOTE: In order to get nice thin tracklines without 'boxes':  In the Google Earth 'Places' field on the left side of the Google Earth window there should be a folder named 'Temporary Places'.  If you click on the '+' next to it you should get 'GPS device'.  Clicking on its '+' should show 'Waypoints' and 'Tracks'.  Opening individual tracks should eventually show 'Points' and 'Path'. If you either delete or uncheck the 'Points' you should get a clean path. Right-clicking on the path and opening properties you can change the color, opacity, and thickness of the line.

Now don't get lost out there -youall!

jack yeazel