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iPhone ANT to Garmin - any interest?


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by many of the current mapping systems and device <non>interoperability. So - I'm considering building a simple site +IOS that <might> do something like this . Let me know if its worth pursuing - or it's just not worth it...

Site Concept: Mainly to be accessed by Smartphone.

1) User can list 'courses' based on current starting location (LBS)

2) Courses will be gleaned from various other mapping sites (RWGPS, Garmin,Strava,etc) or perhaps later - also stored on our servers. But this is not a mapping site - just a course repo.

3) Upon selecting a course, you can transmit it directly to your Garmin Device by ANT protocol. Or, if the Garmin SDK doesn't support it - then we'll make a USB cable option.

4) You would use your regular mapping site otherwise (uploads and stuff), this is just to allow for easy search, selection and transfer of a course TO your Garmin. (Key Value Points).

Oh yeah - I might throw something like this in there, too -- and make the whole prject a Creative Commons. .. http://www.goldencheetah.org/


Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
While it is clear what need you are going after - getting routes in the Garmin without having to sync with PC - I don't really see how it can be done your way without creating a similar amount of trouble.
If the garmin had a wireless data connection, the problem would be solved.
Pioneer's Potter Navi bicycle computer to be released this autumn has just that, free 3G connectivity over Docomo's reliable network for 2 years.

To pull the syncing off, I don't think there is no other way than an app for the hardware access.
In terms of ANT+, only a handful of Sony ANDROID phones support it(no iOS except with the Fiscica dongle), but I highly doubt that the protocol can be used for data transfer without a device update through Garmin. And even then the data rates strike me as quite low.

You might be able to go via wireless USB as part of the USB3 spec, but I think that would require powered ports on both sides, plus I don't know about device/backward compatibility for this. In general, Smartphone USB ports don't allow for host mode, so even when using a common cable, both Garmin and Smartphone will just sit idle in client mode waiting for a host>no file transfer possible.

If you can bake your own device, you could build a bluetooth box with USB host port and support for automatically syncing any route file pushed over bluetooth from a custom iOS and ANDROID app. Sounds like a lot of trouble (one extra box to carry) and risky as well, as Garmin might just implement it in their next top of the line device, putting you out of business.


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
Actually I was thinking of several ways for this:

1) There are host mode USB dongles for Smartphone and iOS prdts. So - cable type might be possible.

2) There are SD card reader for mobile devices - and using 'sneaker net' to xfer the courses data from Smartphone to the Garmin SDcard may be possible.

3) ANT+ aint that bad and if the course data has most of the personal stuff stripped, it's quite light. But I haven't finished reading the SDK to see if we can access the Garmin's SDCARD or internal memory that way. Typically the Garmin just 'listen's' for incoming data based on a specified structure.

By the way - the Ant dongles are cheap - about $50 max and way cheaper in any kind of qty. So - could also use another way to make cheap(er) GoldenCheetah IOS app for example.

Anyway - I appreciate all the comments - keep them coming!


Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by many of the current mapping systems and device <non>interoperability. So - I'm considering building a simple site +IOS that <might> do something like this . Let me know if its worth pursuing - or it's just not worth it...

I found it's not worth uploading track data to my GarminEdge500, so I only use it for tracking. I use my IPhone and the Cyclemeter app to guide me when I am lost (loading the gpx directly from mapmyride or send them by mail before), the only missing feature in that setup would be offline maps (in case you don't have reception and the map cache has been flushed).

For Edge800 it might be different ...

So - could also use another way to make cheap(er) GoldenCheetah IOS app for example.

Not sure how GoldenCheetah fits in with the app concept? It's focused on post-processing power data isn't it? :confused:


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
I think for the 500 it works best as a ride tracking tool rather than a ride guidance tool. Though it does support breadcrumb type. I also used cyclometer - and it seems acool tool. But with most IOS apps - they drain the battery quickly and are not so convenient to have always on in front of you for doing things like 1:1 course comparison, etc.

The GC inclusion would be more of a fun thing. Since I'm looking at this from a creative commons point of view and GC is an Open Source project, I can put it in with a reasonable licensing perspective.

Bear in mind - my intentions are to do this as a free app and service. Mainly because I want it and use it to solve some of my own routing and performance tracking issues which are probably in common with alot of other people. So - now , I'm just checking to see if that is really the case.

I've already built, for example, a pretty good event scaper and will be putting it online soon. This would be an adjunct to that.

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
This sounds interesting, Tim. I'm not sure how much use I would make of it personally - I'm pretty happy with using MapMyAssos etc. to upload to the Edge 800.

Just as general wishlisting, probably not for your current project...

What I would really like from an mapping app is a way to split and combine course segments. e.g. tomorrow I want to start here, and do this mountain and this mountain, and the software will fill in the rest using known cycle-friendly routes.

What might really be fun is iEventPostmortemizer, which combines the actual GPX/TCX tracks of people doing the same event and then allows them to re-live it with little on-screen avatars battling up and down a virtual Google Earth landscape.


Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here.....MapMyWhatever and RideWithExtraElevation etc all allow searches from a given location. Downloading the gpx and uploading to the Garmin device or Mapsource for editing is not that hard....
Is the intent to use it out on the road (hence the smartphone)? I expect most riders would have a fair plan of where they are going and it would be rare to make big changes to a planned route. Maybe for weather or mechanicals but still rare.
I like Mike's idea for mashing different route segments together. I have not found an efficient way to do this yet.

Just my tuppence worth...maybe I miss the point.


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
For the record I've had no issues ripping routes, rides and tracks for my GPS using ridewithgps,mapmyride, yahoo latlonglab or others out there.

Just a case of downloading the GPX, TXC or other files, dropping them directly into the Garmin and off I ride.

Also have never experienced any issues with both my Garmin 500 or my Garmin 705 (apart from the unit just dying on me which Garmin Japan dealt with)

I'm with Alan, not really sure what it is you are trying to accomplish or what the actual issue is to begin with.


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
I'm looking at this from an 'on the road' perspective more than a 'behind the PC' one. Actually many times I go riding I don't have a particularly predestined route in mind. For example - once we get up INTO the Greenline, there are many routes and options available. But I'd like to be able to search from THERE and load up a course based on maybe trying a new route or simply challenging a previous rider'S KOM.

This would also be good when you are touring or riding in a new location and just don't know the area well enough to make choices in advance.

Also - with the Garmin 7xx,8xx - you can ride against a virtual partner. I really like this. So - it would be cool to select, say, Machin's Yabitsu course and then see how you could pace him.
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