Garmin: GPS Maps

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (VS HR+) is the perfect fitness watch because it measures GPS, Heart Rate, steps, Intensity Minutes, floors, and pace. The purpose of this post is to explain workarounds for things that the Vivosmart HR+ does less than perfectly.

Avoiding Bad Maps

  • Problem: The Garmin VS HR+ may not record your run or it may record that you have run over buildings and houses.
  • Solution: Do not start an outdoor GPS exercise without verifying that your watch has begun mapping your run, walk, or bike ride. Here is how to map a run:
  • Let your watch know which GPS satellites are overhead (assuming you don’t live near the equator where there are no roving satellites). If you have used GPS within the last 4 days, your watch will remember your coordinates. If you have not updated your location within the last few days, then charge your watch with a USB charger plugged into your computer. Your watch will search Garmin Express for your location.
  • Choose run (or walk or cardio) and outdoors. Wait for the Garmin to acquire a GPS signal. Except for your first run in a new city, this wait should be less than five seconds. Click the Start/Stop button. Verify that the screen changes to the one you selected as your default GPS screen (ie, the watch knows you are in GPS mode).
  • If you fail to verify that your GPS map has started and it has indeed not started, about ten minutes later your watch will abort into an energy-saving mode. You will lose your map and data.
  • At the end of the run, click the Start/Stop button. Touch the “save” option. Click the Start/Stop button again to put your watch into its normal mode. Sync to Garmin Connect. Open your computer’s Garmin Connect and look at your GPS map.
  • If the GPS map shows the runner (or walker or cardio person) going over tall buildings, do nothing. Your bad map cannot be salvaged. If the GPS map is accurate, with the runner always on streets, save it as a “course.” Attach the good course to any future runs of the same route.
  • Conclusion: If you momentarily lose your GPS connection, your map might show you walking over tall buildings and low houses during the lost moment. More often than not, you will lose connections during an outdoor activity and you will get bad maps. A good GPS map is the exception. A good GPS map is rare. Repeat your route on future days until you get a good map. Set the good map to be a permanent course. You may assign this course to all your similar runs in the future.

Tags: Garmin; Vivosmart; HR+; GPS; map of routes; inaccurate maps; courses; Bluetooth; lost connections; recording an exercise; supported watches; unsupported watches.