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Garmin RoadTrip (formerly Bobcat)


The software formerly known as Project Bobcat has renamed itself, and emerged as Garmin RoadTrip. Sporting the same super cool icon, a Mac like interface, and seemingly dropping the “beta” tag, RoadTrip is now available at garmin.com/mac.
Garmin RoadTripWe’ve been fairly critical about how many years it has taken Garmin to take the product from their announcement through several delays– but now we have what appears to be a final product. RoadTrip has shaped up very nicely, and for computer based route planning now trumps TomTom’s offering.

While Bobcat was in development, our biggest issue (as features were still being developed) was the speed of the application. Map pans, zooms, and address searches were terribly slow. But as someone with a software development background myself– I understand how code optimizations and tuning typically happen near the end of the development cycle, so I was encouraged by what I saw.

With the RoadTrip release, most of the operations are much faster now. However you still can’t zoom, pan, and search the map with the speed and ease of Google Maps.

I only have one remaining gripe with the program. The graphical representation of “collections” (aka folders) and then the “items” inside those folders such as routes, tracks, and waypoints might need to be reconsidered. It isn’t immediately clear the relationship between these folders/collections and their associated items. On quite a few occasions I accidentally deleted items, despite the warning message which I thought I understood. Also, there is no “are you sure?” warning on some of the delete actions although the ‘Undo’ option typically works.

I’ve been using RoadTrip (and Bobcat) to create routes, transfer tracklogs, and transfer waypoints/geocaches from handhelds like the Oregon as well as auto PNDs like the Nuvi 200 and 700 series devices. So far everything works very slick, highlighting the typical Garmin stability. If you are one of the many Mac users who has been screaming for full Mac support from Garmin now that RoadTrip is here along with POI Loader and WebUpdater– the time has come, complaints begone!

24 Responses

  1. Nice, but it is still missing some functionality from MapSource specifically the route elevation profile.

    Ben - October 31st, 2008
  2. Hello,
    I just got a nüvi 760 and started using RoadTrip and the new Garmin mac tools, it’s a great improvement over the MapSource+Parallels Desktop solution, althouh I have two questions:
    1) is there a way to DELETE stuff on the GPS from the desktop software? like tracks, favorites etc.
    2) how do you install new maps NOT purchased with Garmin on the nüvi? RoadTrip and MapManager don’t seem to be reading .img map files

    olivier - November 3rd, 2008
  3. Hello,

    So I just purchased my Garmin Nuvi 760 (thanks for the suggestion Tim)! It’s been relatively easy to figure out out-of-the-box, but I can’t seem to figure out how to create a route on Garmin’s Roadtrip program. When I try to enter an address I receive an error message saying “This map product does not support address search.” I’ve registered the device via Garmin’s site but perhaps that wasn’t enough? I can, however enter addresses via the device without any problem. Each address (which shows up as a way point) can be downloaded to my Mac without issue.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Marlon - January 2nd, 2009
    • Unless you received a map DVD from Garmin, or updated your maps from Garmin, then the only map that comes with RoadTrip is a very rudimentary basemap that only includes major highways. Your best bet is to contact Garmin and ask them if they will send you a copy of the map on DVD (sometimes they don’t charge, sometimes they charge $15) to install the detailed maps on your computer.

      Tim - January 3rd, 2009
      • I got the maps but still can’t make it work. There are NO directions from Garmin. I ordered and paid for the maps. They didn’t give me a unlock code and the maps only install on windows and I still can’t unlock. I used my unlock code for the GPS device and that doesn’t work either. Garmin is the worst at HELPING you understand what the heck you are suppose to do.

        Scott Hoyle - April 6th, 2009
        • When you say you “got the maps”, what format did you get them in and what are you trying to accomplish?

          Tim - April 10th, 2009
        • If you have correctly downloaded the maps from Garmin you should find a dropdown box in the upper right hand corner of the RoadTrip window which is labeled “Currently Displayed Map” and make sure that the City Navigator North America is selected. After that you should be OK.

          John - May 24th, 2009
  4. It’s difficult to get the actual lat. and long. in map. mapsource has a X,Y like position numbers.

    Jorge - January 28th, 2009
  5. Some features that are missing but would be useful:

    1. Ability to select the datum: it is presently unclear what the default is and unlike Mapsource, there is no option to change the datum.

    2. The ability to change the grid is much too limited with only a couple of lat/long formats available.

    Hopefully these will be addressed in a future upgrade.

    Bruce Atkinson - February 5th, 2009
  6. I have just purchased the Garmin Nuvi 250 and installed roadtrip on my mac, that all seems great the only problem is I can not seem to find a way to view the trip info that I have sent to my Garmin unit from roadtrip. any suggestions

    help greatly apreciated

    Steve - February 28th, 2009
    • The 200 series devices don’t support that function. You need the 700 series or better to transfer routes. You can send individual waypoints that will show up as favorites, but you can’t build a route and send it to your 250.

      Tim - February 28th, 2009
      • Really? REALLY? You’d think that would be something they might mention on the main page of the software. I just got a nuvi 265wt and all it says on the site is “hey! upload your routes and waypoints to your GPS! Woo!” No mention that most of them don’t support it. Irritating. Besides, I found the software very cumbersome as someone with a lot of google map experience.

        Noel - May 16th, 2009
  7. Hi! great job on the RoadTrip, still a long way to go to have same features as the MapSource, like … printing????? this is a big one in my opinion, hope we´ll be seeing this feature very soon, aside great tool!

    carlos - March 3rd, 2009
  8. I’ve been using Road Trip since it appeared as Bobcat, and I’m noticing that this new version (2.0.2) is *unbelievably* slow in loading long routes with turn-by-turn directions. Anything over 1000 directions is unworkable, and when you get to 3-4 thousand (not uncommon for really long bicycle road trips) it can hang for over 5 minutes.

    Kali - April 6th, 2009
  9. Hello,
    I am new to Roadtrip and have been playing around with it. I read the instructions but can’t seem to figure out how to delete favorites from the GPS unit via my computer. I can add to the GPS from the computer, but can not delelte. Any help?

    Chris - May 7th, 2009
  10. is there any way of printing out a route since i can’t upload and see it on my 260?

    Dena - May 20th, 2009
  11. UK Garmin nuvi 200w user – Roadtrip 2.0.2 for macosx only has one ‘displayed map’ option from the drop down box ie US Basemap V2. Tried importing the ‘current.gpx’ from my device but no joy – also tried unlocking code online – Roadtrip now shows, in ‘Edit codes’ option my UK/Europe map, but says it is not installed !

    Just can’t find a way to get detailed UK mapping – any suggestions please..?

    Ade - May 28th, 2009
    • Ade, the only way you will get the detailed maps on your computer and unlocked is if you purchase the maps on DVD from Garmin or upgrade the maps through you computer. Otherwise all you get is the crude basemap and the detailed maps stay locked on the GPS.

      Tim - May 28th, 2009
  12. I am truly disappointed! Although I am happy with my new nuvi 255W, I seem to have gotten lost in the unnecessary pile of models and capabilities from Garmin. I was looking forward to using software, like RoadTrip, to plan trips, but I see now that routes are not supported by the 200 series. Even so, the entire issue of how to get a map installed on the computer and unlocked is mind-boggling. I suppose I should just appreciate the GPS unit for what it is, although it would be wonderful to interact with it via computer in a less mysterious way.

    Do most people using the 200 series use RoadTrip, or are there other solutions for trip planning – such as Google Earth or Google Maps – that you use?

    I have been able to transfer information back to the computer from the nuvi, such as favorites and history. So really the missing link is finding coordinates for places.

    Cos - July 9th, 2009
  13. I have started using Road trip Aug. 26.09. It is very slow on a iMac G5 PPC. I still prefer running Mapsource on a PC for the GPS.
    Maybe in time Road Trip will be faster, but it sure isn’t now.
    You can get free maps for Road Trip here:

    Earl - August 26th, 2009
  14. Hi
    Ive bought Zumo 660 with N America maps and also City Navigator Europe NT on micro card. Ive installed roadtrip on my Mac and it works fine for US maps. Anybody know how I can import the Europe maps?

    Vic - November 23rd, 2009
    • Hi Vic

      I have the same problem and contacted Garmin support. You will not be able to load the City Navigator Europe NT map into Roadtrip from the SD card. Downloaded maps and SD maps for regions other than the original region (in your case North America) CAN NOT be transferred to your computer and Roadtrip. Only additional maps on DVD can be transferred to Roadtrip. If you want the detailed Europe map in Roadtrip then you will have to buy the map on DVD.

      Garmin should change this in order to provide a better service to their customers instead of protecting their regional sales organizations. Hopefully all these problems regarding regional maps will go away when Garmin is forced to provide world-wide detailed maps with their GPS hardware.

      Sorry, I could not help you.

      Karsten - March 10th, 2010
  15. Roadtrip truly sucks as a route mapping program. It is the slowest program I have ever tried to deal with and while it may have some worthwhile features the frustration level of use makes it a worthless program. Why is it so difficult to get a decent mapping program for a Mac?

    Rh Houston - February 19th, 2010
  16. The Good
    RoadTrip allows you to:
    -Transfer .gpx files quickly to your gps
    -See all your favorite locations as waypoints on the map at once
    -Set Proximity and Altitude alerts for each of your favorites

    The Bad
    – Telephone numbers are wiped out by RoadTrip whenever you import and then export any Favorites. Eventhough the update history says that this has been resolve in v2.0.2. Just not true.
    – RoadTrip has no ability to assign a photo to a favorite.
    – RoadTrip only displays the coordinates of your favorite (not the address).
    – If you edit the name of a Favorite in RoadTrip, it will NOT replace the existing favorite, but instead, it will create a new Favorite in the gps when you send it.
    – Today is April 1st, 2011 and the latest version for RoadTrip is v 2.0.2 from March 24, 2009 (it looks like Garmin dropped the ball on the development of this application).

    Note: Although today is fools day in the US…. everything stated here is true and NOT a JOKE.

    I have:
    -RoadTrip v2.0.2 (this is the latest version avail. today)
    -Garmin Nuvi 2350LMT
    -Macbookpro (from April 2010)

    Jorge - April 1st, 2011

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