Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Guide To Connecting Magellen Triton (1500-2000) To National Geographic Maps

For questions please email:

For the uninitiated, connecting Magellan's Triton can be challenging. I should know for I was once uninitiated!

So, here are the steps to follow to achieve success (and Magellan it really should not be this difficult)

Things you need:

  1. Magellan Triton
  2. USB Cable that came in the box
  3. National Geographic Topo 4! (I have Colorado)
  4. An Internet connection

Steps to success:

DO NOT PLUG YOUR TRITON INTO YOUR PC UNTIL THE INSTRUCTIONS TELL YOU TO. Also, I found the CD that came with the Triton to be faulty so you can do all the necessary set up without it.


  1. Go to
  2. Click on Expand Your GPS (this is the link to download VantagePoint) This software is the link between your GPS and NG Maps.
  3. Click on Free Download Now
  4. On the next screen click on Login and Download
  5. To ensure you get lots of junk mail/spam you are going to have to register.
  6. Once through registration, click on Download VantagePoint
  7. Install VantagePoint

NG Topo

  1. Install NG Topo by inserting the installation CD.
  2. Go to Note, the first time you go here you get redirected to the National Geographic homepage where they try to sell you stuff. The second time you enter the URL, it will take you the right page. Click on Topo! Maps for Magellan Triton GPS Units.
  3. Under the section titled "What do I need" click on the link to download version 4.4.2.
  4. Install the patch

Connecting Your GPS

OK you are nearly good to go.

  1. Attach the USB cable to the GPS then plug the Cable into your PC
  2. Windows should recognize the device and will find the correct driver which will have been installed as part of the installation process defined above..
  3. The GPS will reset and power on.
  4. You will see a screen that says "waiting for connect - press the ESC to cancel"
  5. Hit the ESC button on your GPS
  6. Wait for the GPS to reboot (again)
  7. Select View/Settings/Connectivity. In the USB mode select VantagePoint (it might have defaulted to Power Only, which it does on a total power shut down). You must perform this EVERY time you want to connect to Topo!
  8. Hit ESC a few times until you are back at the main map/nav screen
  9. Just to be sure, fire up VantagePoint ad click on MyGPS. If you see details about your GPS in the upper left hand frame, life is good.
  10. CLOSE DOWN VantagePoint
  11. Fire up NG Topo!
  12. Under the Handhelds Menu menu click on Change GPS settings, then click on Receiver Type. If you have installed 4.4.2 correctly you will see Magellan Triton in the Make and Model drop down lists.
  13. Note, if you click on connection settings and then click on Test GPS Connection you will always get the message "Could not establish USB connection to device". Ignore it! It never works.
  14. Click Cancel to close this dialogue.
  15. Select the area you want to export which will then be indicated by a red rectangle with a red cross through it
  16. Click on "GPS and Handheld Options", third icon from the right on the upper menu
  17. In the Export To Triton box make the export selections you want, enter a name for the export file, cross your fingers and click on Export Now.
  18. You should see a black progress bar along the bottom of the screen. Once this is complete a message will confirm completion, follow the Triton instructions and bingo you are done.


Monday, August 07, 2006

I used to own a Palm Trio. I'm not sure I loved it with the ardent fervour of a Blackberry owner, but I thought it was awesome. We parted company because I had dropped it once too often, the battery was on its last legs and because I started working for a company that refused to install the required Microsoft Exchange/Palm connectors.

Being a traveling sales warrior, I need mobile access to my contacts, calendar and email. So I was forced to look at a PDA installed with Windows Mobile. If you have a limited attention span, I'll spare you the rest of this review and let you know that I give this mobile solution C-. I you want to know more, read on.......

When I owned the Trio I was a TMobile customer. I had to change to Verizon because TMobile do not offer a North American calling plan so I was hit with $0.48 per min when I made calls from Canada. I go to Vancouver about once per 1/4. Also T Mobile's PDA choices are VERY limited and do not have a Windows Mobile option. Verizon's choices are excellent. I decided on the Samsung i730. Click on the link for more information but in short:

  • Glorious colour screen
  • Slide out QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth
  • IR
  • Speakerphone
  • SD slot

It comes with the following accessories:

Desktop Charger/Dual Sync Cradle with USB cable (Awful design, see below for instructions on how to get this working)
Home Charger
Standard battery
Extended battery (Excellent idea)
Stereo Headset
Holster (Doesn't fit the phone!)

All in all, great phone, very happy. But this review is about the operating system and not the phone. Don't blame the messenger!

Like I said I was a Palm owner and before that a Blackberry owner. Both of these were awesome, reliable, well designed environments to work in.

The Windows mobile environment? CONFUSING. Microsoft is the recipient of many critical assaults of late, but something is common amongst them all. KISS, keep it simple stupid. I read a web site recently (can't remember which one) saying that people were returning phones because they thought they were broken, but in actual fact the errors were caused by confusing operating systems. I know exactly what they mean.

The OS (and please note I say OS not phone, again, don't blame the messenger) is just plain badly designed, complicated and hard to use.

Let me give you some examples:

1. I try to make a call when the phone is syncing and I get the message "Data Session Warning - You must press END key to place data session in dormant state". I'm in charge here Bill. I want to make a call. If your software is doing something else, STOP IT and do what I tell you to do.

2. I'm driving down the road. Like a good boy I'm using by blue tooth hands free headset. I try to call someone using voice recognition. The OS presents me with a dialogue that requires me to, with pin point accuracy, click on an OK button. So now, my eyes are directed from the road to my phone. I now attempt to click on the OK button while steering at 65 MPH. Alright, I should pull over, but I don't, get over it.

3. When I close an application, I mean close it. Don't keep it open in memory. I got a message a few days ago telling me that system memory was dangerously low. Turns out that all the apps I thought I had closed down were still open. I'm told that I could cure this by downloading (paying for) a 3rd party application, I don't think so.

4. If I slide the phone open, chances are I want to make a call. Take me to phone screen please.

5. When I plug the phone into the desktop charger, why does the screen come on and stay on, forever. Screens have a lifespan.

There plenty of other frustrations, but I hope you get the idea, hence the C- rating. I'll continue to add to this BLOG entry as I find or remember more.

Suffice to say, Windows Mobile has a long way to go before it comes close to Palm and Blackberry. I see that you can now get Windows Mobile on a Treo, ARE YOU CRAZY?

Note: The Samsung comes with a desktop charger. It is very badly designed.

The desktop charger will look like this out of the box.

You may try to plug the phone it like this. Don't.

Fold the soliver arms around so that it clicks into place

Now plug the phone in like this.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A couple of years ago I bagged 2 local mountains above 14 thousand feet. They were Torreys Peak and Grays Peak. This year Kim and I decided to climb another and after consulting with members of we decided to have a go with Mount Bierstadt.

Leaving Castle Rock on Friday afternoon we headed up to Guanella Pass. This road links I70 and 285. Given that we were coming from the south we decided to head up 285. All was good until we hit heavy Friday traffic heading into the mountains. This was made worse by the road works in Conifer. However, once we got past this it was plain sailing to the Guanella Pass turning about 2 miles west of Grant.

Guanella Pass is in the last stages of a major face lift. The Federal, State and Local Government must have spent many millions of dollars on this project. Signs say that the work will be completed at the end of August 2006. While they are major excellent progress I would doubt if they will make this deadline. There seems to be a lot of work in progress. However, the improvements to the road are amazing.

We set up camp about 3 miles south of the top of the pass. According to my GPS we were at about 10,200 ft. Not sure if this helped us acclimatise, but it didn't hurt. Campsites in this area, right at the tree line, are pretty rudimentary affairs. Basically find a spot in the woods and camp. Do not expect to find any facilities. Bring all that you need in terms of water, toilet paper and a shovel! If you are looking for proper camp sites with all amenities you can find them closer to Georgetown.

We got up at 6AM, quick bacon and eggs, packed up camp and were at the top of the pass by 6:50. After a visit to the restrooms, we were on the trail by 7AM. This is critical for two reasons: 1. Afternoon thunderstorms are notorious in the mountains. On a mountain that is 14,060 Ft, you do not want to standing at 14,066 ft! Lightning has a tendency for striking the tallest point. 2. At this time of year Mt. Bierstadt is a VERY popular place. Setting off early in the morning meant that there very probably 10-20 climbing parties on the route in front of us with about 5 starting with us. Not too bad. However as the picture below will show, by 12 PM the route resembled sale day at Nordstroms. Packed. Luckily by this stage we were on our way down, but it wasn't exactly splendid isolation.
Packing correctly for climb like this is essential but packing light is also important. Once you get above 12,000 ft every pound seems to double in weight. Here is what we both carried:

  • Water - Pretty obvious. A camelback is ideal. We saw many people carrying Nalgene bottles and store bought bottles. This looked like a pain in the arse.
  • Snacks - Nuts, powerbars, apples
  • Fleece - There was a temperature differential of about 20 degrees between the car park and the summit.
  • Waterproof - We should have taken this,I know, but I did check the weather forecast and it showed a 10% chance of rain. So we risked not taking this item.
  • Camera - As you can see from the pictures
  • GPS - Probably did not need it, but it was a nice to have and provided some diversion from the pain of the climb.
  • Climbing Poles - Love 'em or hate 'em, your choice.
The climb itself was hard (oh, really?), but certainly not technical. If you can take your eyes off the trail as you trudge along the views are of course world class and the flora on show is amazing.

The last part of the climb (about the last 300 ft to the summit) is worth noting. It's not tough, but it is a scramble.

We started on the trail at 7AM, were on the summit by 9:30 and were back in the carpark by 12. Total distance was about 7.5 miles.

The car park looks a long way away, probably because it is.

A great day. The weather was perfect. We had a brief calorie replen in the car park and headed back to Denver, this time via Georgetown. Watch out for the Cops!

P.S. Mt Evans is about 1 mile from the summit. Appearances can be deceptive. The Saw Tooth stands in between and it looks like something that should not be attempted without the right climbing equipment. It would certainly add at least 4 hours on to your day.