What? a Sat Nav in your Austin Seven !!??!!!

Note: The references to TomTom and TYRE in this article are for accuracy and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the Author or the Cornwall Austin Seven Club.  A 6v to 12v step-up converter can be purchased from one of the online market places.

What a conflict of technologies – 1920/30’s Austin Sevens being guided by the latest state of the art satellite navigation system.  What would Sir Herbert Austin have made of this?

Many of us have GPS systems that we use in our moderns that we can also now use in our Austin Sevens using a 6V to 12V step-up converter.  However when normally planning a route on your GPS you are restricted by the variations offered i.e. fastest route/shortest route/avoid motorways etc.

Well this has now changed - let me explain.  As a number of you will know I also dabble in the cycling world and am a member of Audax UK which is a national long distance cyclists association, who turn out a very nice quarterly magazine called “Arrivee”.

In the last edition to fall on my doormat there was an article on Google Maps Workflow – create, edit, save, share & export a route. This article basically led you through the stages of planning/creating your own route on Google Map and transferring this to your GPS.  The only problem for me was that it was based on the Garmin GPS (who do a very neat unit for cyclists) being that I have a TomTom system it needed further investigation.

To cut a very long story short (already too long some will say) with the help of my local computer guru, we found the TYRE (Trace Your Route Everywhere) website which is specifically for TomTom systems and enables you to create/plan your route using Google Maps and transferring this directly to your TomTom GPS.  You would like to know how to do this?  Well I know that you would say YES so I will continue.

The tyre programme is the brainchild of a Dutch gentleman the name of Jan Boersma, so the first step is to log onto his website www.janboersma.nl/gett/index.php.  This provides a general description of the programme etc.

Next click on DOWNLOAD on the left of the page.  This will open a new window from which you can download the tyre programme by clicking on the icon on the left of the page as instructed. (With this download you may get a security warning – I disregarded this and have not experienced any problems).  You should now have the Tyre programme interface, which enables you to plan your own routes (Tyre icon should appear on your desk top).

To create a route open the Tyre programme, then go to File and New or click the New File icon on the Tyre toolbar.  A new Google Maps window will open contained within the Tyre interface.  You can then create your route using waypoints.  To position the waypoints you click on a particular junction or point, then comply with the instructions.  You need sufficient waypoints to ensure that your GPS actually follows your route on-road otherwise you can occasionally get the GPS trying to override your route and send you by a more direct/quicker route.  Once your route is complete close the window by clicking OK. You will then return to the Tyre interface with your waypoints displayed in the window below the toolbar.  Go to File and Save and then save the file as an itn file, i.e. Home_Minions.itn  (You can also set your home address as favourite (default) by inserting this in the box on the left of the map).

The next step is to connect your TomTom to the computer.  This will open TomTom Home and once it has gone through all its perambulations/updates minimise the Home page so you are again left with the Tyre programme.

Then go to File and Open and then click on the route you have saved (Home_Minions.itn) then click on Open.  You will then return to the Tyre interface with the waypoints (route) displayed in the window.  Then click on TomTom on the toolbar then click on Copy to TomTom.  That’s it; your route is now loaded onto your TomTom.  Safely disconnect your TomTom from the computer.

To open route on your TomTom go to Itinerary planning, then Options, then Load Itinerary (with message “Are you sure you want to delete all locations in current itinerary click Yes), then select your saved route from the displayed menu, then click Done, then TomTom will ask to “Navigate there now?” click Yes.  Route is then loaded/displayed on your TomTom.

Like most things it looks complicated/convoluted, but it’s a simple system to work with once you have tried it a few times.  It’s brilliant for those trips away where you do not want to travel on main roads etc. and can potter through country lanes with JANE issuing the instructions.

Note: On checking the latest update of TomTom Home (Version 2.6) there is now a direct link to Tyre.

This article, written by Eddie Angell, originally appeared in CA7C Seven Focus in April 2009 pp20-21.

See also: SatNav as a Speedometer