I wanted to write a post about the beautiful Miraflor Reserve in the Nicaraguan Highlands. I went on a day ride with the camera hoping to capture the coffee fincas, volcancitos and cascadas. However, shortly into the ride, the rain machine turned on and transformed the dirt roads into muddy rivers. So, I’ve decided to write about maps instead!
I’ve been using OpenMTBMap (OMM) on my Garmin Edge
since we started our trip in Mexico. OMM is a customised and augmented variant of OpenStreetMap (OSM), the open source (free), vector based worldwide map database. OMM builds on OSM by providing custom map layouts and some additional waypoints and tracks specifically for mountain biking and hiking. The maps can be viewed on desktop or portable GPS devices (eg, Garmin Edge).
Up until our arrival in Nicaragua, I hadn’t been impressed by the level of detail for minor roads and trails of the OpenMTBMap for Central America. It provided less detail than Google Maps in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. However, that is not the case for Nicaragua. It seems that some geeky mapsters have added a lot more detail in this country! Hopefully this trend will develop as we continue south.
Previously, I would spend a lot more time using Google Maps ‘hybrid’ view to locate minor roads and trails that might not appear on the map. I would tediously add markers or draw tracks on a custom GPX route. Obviously, being able to use the existing tracks which appear on the map saves a lot of time!
Setting up OpenMTBMap on the Garmin (or otherwise), is not entirely straightforward. It requires some geeky setup and installation, but I find it works without problem once installed. Although, like all Garmin products that I’ve used, you need to overcome the obfuscated user interface of the Garmin Edge and BaseCamp in order to maximise their potential!
I plan to write up a OpenMTBMap tutorial soon for install, setup and usage! Stay tuned!
Oh, and here’s my route through Miraflor and a few more random photos of my soggy ride![iframe height=’405′ width=’600′ frameborder=’0′ allowtransparency=’true’ scrolling=’no’ src=’http://www.strava.com/activities/82898345/embed/db6ecb8b8c78bdf83feccb5c40c8f6eca2c1960f’]