Using a Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch for Geotagging Photos

Garmin's new Fenix 3 sports watch isn't aimed at photographers, but it makes for a surprisingly useful tool for travel photography.

The model I’m using in this post is the Fenix 3. There have been newer versions since then, now up to the Fenix 6.

Over the years, I’ve used a number of different ways to track my travels so that I can embed GPS data into my photos. Some of the devices embed the GPS data directly into the photo’s metadata when the shot is taken. Others create a track that can then, with the help of software, be synchronized to update the GPS data in batches of photos at once. Some new cameras even have GPS functionality built-in. I’ve put together a roundup of some of the best options for GPS trackers for photographers.

But I’ve never been entirely happy with many of the solutions. Most of them have battery issues. GPS requires a significant (relatively speaking) amount of battery power to function and needs to keep using it at regular intervals to maintain the signal from the GPS satellites. Some GPS receivers are slow to lock onto the satellites and pick up the location. Some are just plain inaccurate. Some get knocked too easily off the camera. And some just aren’t as convenient as they could be to take with you or involve too many pieces.

I have a new favorite. It’s the Garmin Fenix 3.

It’s not perfect. For one thing it’s much more expensive than other options. For another, the battery life is good but it’s still something that has to be managed. And, as with nearly everything to do with photography, there’s no one-size-fits-all that’s going to suit everyone. But this has become a good fit for me.

There are less expensive GPS watches, including Garmin’s own Forerunner series. What makes the Fenix 3 different is that its battery life when using the GPS tracker is a lot longer than the others–up to 50 hours of tracking (or up to 6 weeks without using GPS). Some of this is due to a bigger battery, and a lot of it is due to what’s called an UltraTrac mode that adjusts the interval of the tracking points to save battery life. So rather than having to recharge your watch after 5 or 10 hours, you can potentially go several days of real-world use of GPS tracking before having to recharge the watch. There are other GPS trackers that can provide longer battery life, but 50 hours is pretty good.

A Wrist-Watch GPS Tracker

There are a number of good options for photographers looking for a GPS receiver to geotag photos. You can get one that attaches to a specific camera, which has the advantage of embedding the geographical coordinates directly into the photo’s EXIF metadata. Or you can use a standalone device, which has advantages if you’re shooting with multiple cameras, whether they’re DSLRs or GoPros or anything in between. The Fenix 3 is a bit different to the standalone devices that area usually used for geotagging photos.

The Garmin Fenix 3 isn’t marketed to photographers. It’s aimed at runners, cyclists, swimmers, hikers, and even skiers. It has all sorts of features that would appeal to athletes, especially ones that relate to pace, distance, and calories burned.

Here I’m focusing on the features that matter for the purposes of geotagging photos, which uses only a relatively small subset of the watch’s features. And it turns out it can be a very useful tool indeed for travel photography and even for traveling generally. But the watch can do a lot more than that, including connecting by Bluetooth to your phone, connecting to WiFi, and switching out for more stylish watch faces or bands.1 For an in-depth review of those features, and a lot more, I recommend the review over at DC Rainmaker.

The killer features for the type of use I’m focusing on here mostly relate to the built-in GPS functionality. That enables features such as the GPS tracking, of course, but it also creates opportunities for using that location information in other ways such as real-time, location-specific sunrise and sunset times and even moon phases. Through third-party apps, you can also add things like multi-timezone information and moonrise and moonset times. There’s also a compass, which comes in very useful but doesn’t technically rely on the GPS. And lest we overlook the Fenix 3’s most basic function, it’s also a watch–but it’s one that automatically updates to whatever timezone you’re in at that moment.

There are also advantages to having a dedicated GPS tracker that’s not connected to a specific camera. It allows you to use the same track for photos taken with any camera, no matter how many there are. I often travel with two (and sometimes more) cameras. If my GPS device is attached to a specific camera, I’d have to buy and use two of them to cover two cameras. With a single GPX file that’s camera-agnostic, I can use that information with any photo or video I’ve taken on any camera, whether it’s a DSLR, a compact, or a GoPro.

I’ve found that wearing a GPS tracker on my wrist has a number of advantages. It’s on me and goes where I go. Hanging a GPS dongle off a camera bag is simple enough sometimes, but there are places I don’t carry a camera bag or I don’t want another piece of electronic equipment dangling about and catching on things or attracting attention from curious kids. The first GPS tracker I used, several years ago now, was a Sony tracker. While it looked discreet enough, it had a small LED light that flashed to indicate the status of GPS reception. Several times I found that that small light attracted unwanted attention, sometimes from street kids and sometimes from security guards. I ended up taping over it, but then I couldn’t tell when the device was getting a signal.

What completely sold me on a wrist-watch GPS was the experience of kayaking in Antarctica. At that time I was using the original Garmin Fenix and wore it as my main watch during the trip.

The band is long enough that I could wear it comfortably on the outside of the wrist seal of a drysuit, and I didn’t have to worry about unclipping and carrying yet another gadget (with cold, wet hands!) when we went ashore to explore. Nor did I have to worry about moving it when I switched kayaks or risk having it get knocked off when the kayaks were dragged up in a hurry from the water to the ship’s deck. It was just there, following me around, silently keeping meticulous notes on where I’d gone and when. If I got up in the middle of the night to go out on deck of the ship to take photos of a midnight sunset or whales playing nearby, it was still with me. You can see an example of some of the tracks in the screenshot at the top of this page, which is a combination of tracks while kayaking, while on the ship, and while ashore. Thanks to the Fenix’s GPS tracks, I know exactly where every photo was taken even in a place that’s a long, long way from the nearest street sign and where even Google Maps has trouble because of the constantly shifting ice. (In case you’re wondering–and I was before I went–yes, GPS works in Antarctica.)

Setting Up the Fenix 3 for Photo Geotagging

More recently, I’ve upgraded to the latest model, the Fenix 3. The Fenix 3 comes ready to track GPS out of the box. There’s really nothing to set up. But you can, if you like, customize some of the display screens so that it shows information that you want to see–things like confirmation that the GPS is locked on or the time of the sunrise or sunset. I’ve even created my own display set that shows the information I’m interested in seeing when I travel. If you want to extend the apps that come built-in, you can download apps developed by Garmin and third-parties that extend the functionality. The multi-timezone one if especially useful for travelers. But there’s no need to hack any firmware or engage any special features.

The one thing that makes things a lot easier later on is to synchronize your camera’s clock with the GPS clock. Time is the crucial piece of information in cross-referencing the GPS track with the photo. The software looks at the time the photo was taken (embedded in the EXIF information by the camera) and finds where on the track you were at that specific point in time.

Strictly speaking, synchronizing the clocks isn’t absolutely required. The better geotagging software has a function to allow you to make corrections by adding an offset value. Camera clocks can and do often slip by a few seconds or even minutes after a while, in which case you can use the override to make corrections. And some photo software, like PhotoMechanic or HoudahGeo, lets you adjust the time embedded in the photo’s EXIF information. But having them synchronized makes things easier and reduces the risk of miscalculations and is especially useful if you’re using multiple cameras.

I’m in the habit of keeping all my cameras on UTC time so that I don’t have to worry about adjusting the whenever I move from one timezone to another. (UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, is also sometimes known as Greenwich Mean Time, although that’s not entirely accurate.) If you want to take advantage of the timezone features in your camera, you can–you’ll just need to factor that in when you go to match up the photos with the GPS track.

Creating GPS Tracks

Creating the GPS tracks is straightforward. You simply start one of the built-in apps. For general travel wanderings, the built-in Hiking app is a good place to start. You can either customize that further or duplicate it and create a new one and call it whatever you like (which is the Photography and Travel apps you can see in the photo at the top of this page came from).

You have the option of continuous GPS tracking, which collects data constantly, or Garmin’s UltraTrac mode which spaces out polling to once every two minutes. Or, as the manual puts it:

The UltraTrac feature is a GPS setting that records track points and sensor data less frequently. Enabling the UltraTrac feature increases battery life but decreases the quality of recorded activities. You should use the UltraTrac feature for activities that demand longer battery life and for which frequent sensor data updates are less important.

I find that the UltraTrac mode works best for my purposes.

You have several options when it comes to creating GPS tracks. One of the headline features is that the Fenix 3 can receive data from GLONASS, the GPS-like system run by the Russians. In theory, that makes the tracks more accurate, but anecdotal evidence suggests that doesn’t always pan out in reality. GLONASS reception isn’t enabled by default, but you can turn it on. There’s a small penalty in battery usage. There’s no right answer as to whether GLONASS should be on or not beyond testing for oneself to see you find working best for you. Here’s what the manual has to say about it:

The default satellite system option is GPS. You can enable the GLONASS option for increased performance in challenging environments and faster position acquisition. Using the GPS and GLONASS options can reduce battery life more than using the GPS option only.

There’s also an option on how frequently to record activity data. In most cases the SMART option is going to be best–it provides the best battery usage savings. But you can, if you wish, change it to recording every second for more fine-grained recording.

Saving GPX Tracks

GPX is the most widely compatible of the GPS data file formats. The original Fenix allowed you to save the tracks directly as GPX files. You can’t do that with the Fenix 3. To get the data from the Fenix 3 into a GPX file format requires extra software.

Garmin makes good hardware, but their approach to software leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve never been much of a fan of Garmin software–it looks and works too much like it was designed by hardware engineers, and I find it infuriating that a single device requires you to use so many different Garmin apps to handle individual operations. For instance, for the Fenix 3 alone there’s Garmin Express for updates, Garmin Connect for overall management, Garmin Connect IQ to manage IQ widgets, and Garmin Basecamp for managing GPS tracklogs–not to mention the smartphone app. If you use a Garmin device in your car for driving directions then you’ll also need Garmin’s map managing software. So you end up with the ridiculous situation of using 5 or 6 pieces of separate Garmin software for just one or two devices. It creates a very poor user experience. All that said, the software is free and ultimately gets the job done.

I’ve found that the best way to do it is to use Garmin BaseCamp. That allows you to combine multiple tracks and export them as a single GPX file. BaseCamp is a bit clunky, and I’d prefer to be able to just download the GPX files directly, but it works.

You can also convert the tracks to GPX files with the web-based Garmin Connect, but with that you can only export each track individually, which can become tedious if you’ve been recording over several days or weeks. It is possible to combine GPX files later using something like Adze, but that means an extra step.

GeoTagging

Once you’ve got your GPX file, you can then correlate that with your photos. There are quite a number of apps that will help you with that, and doing it is really outside the scope of this review. But I’ve put together a separate guide on geotagging software. Lightroom has basic functionality. PhotoMechanic is better. Much better still is a dedicated program like HoudahGeo, which is what I use most of the time.

These are some examples of geotagged photos where I used the Fenix 3 in different types of travel environments.

Granada, Nicaragua:

Old Bagan, Myanmar (Burma):

Istanbul, Turkey:

Other Useful Features of the Fenix 3

Creating GPS tracks is a pretty mundane function of what is really quite a feature-packed watch. Here are some of the other apps and widgets I find useful for traveling and photography:

  • Sunset and sunrise times. It adjusts for your specific location for that day. Unfortunately there’s no way to move forward or back in dates with the default widget (but you can with the Sun & Moon widget (see below)), but it’s very handy for looking up the next sun couple of daytime transitions.
  • Moon phases. If the moon factors in in any way to what you’re shooting this can be helpful, especially when used with the sun and moon widget.
  • Compass. A very handy digital compass that’s useful not just in your wanders but also in working out the bearing of your shot.
  • Altimeter. The built in altimeter is handy for any kind of climbing or even hiking. Calculating altitude accurately is a pretty complicated thing to do and requires calibration. The Fenix 3 has both a barometric and GPS altimeter functions, and the GPS altimeter information can be used to calibrate the barometric altimeter.
  • Temperature. I’ve only found this to be moderately useful. Because the watch sits on your body, things like body heat and clothing sleeves can throw it off. If temperature readings are important to you, you’ll probably want to use the external sensor that Garmin makes (sold separately).

The compass.

Sunrise and sunset times for your specific location.

The altimeter. The GPS altimeter can be used to calibrate the barometric altimeter.

The barometer.

Thermometer. It’s more accurate using the external thermometer sensor (sold separately).

There are some useful third-party apps worth looking at as well:

  • Daylight Left. Aimed at hikers, it’s still very useful for photographers relying on natural light.
  • Sun & Moon. This widget displays sunrise, sunset, moon rise, moon set, and moon phase for the day on a single screen. It doesn’t give you all the information of something like The Photographer’s Ephemeris, but it’s very handy info to have on your wrist, especially if you’re in an area without cell reception or wifi.

Battery Life

This is the battery life that Garmin claims:

  • Normal GPS Mode: Up to 20 hours
  • UltraTrac GPS Mode (2-minute polling interval): Up to 50 hours
  • Basic Watch Mode: Up to 6 weeks

Those specs are for ideal conditions, and while they’re useful guidelines for real-world usage, there are a number of other variables that come into play that affect battery usage, such as changing screens, turning apps on an off, and even the ease or difficulty that the GPS receiver has in locking on to the satellite signals. All of those will drain the battery more quickly. On the other hand, I usually wouldn’t use the GPS tracking continuously for 50 hours. I turn it off when I’m not using it, especially overnight. By turning on GPS only when I need it, I can go several days at least without having to recharge the battery.

These are also steps you can take to maximize the battery life:

  • Reduce the backlight brightness and timeout
  • Use UltraTrac GPS mode instead of regular GPS mode
  • Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it
  • When pausing your activity for a longer period of time, use the resume later option
  • Use a Connect IQ watch face that is not updated every second (ie. one that doesn’t indicate seconds)
  • Limit the smartphone notifications the device displays
  • Limit use of features like activity tracking and storm warnings

The Fenix 3 has a built-in rechargeable battery that’s not user-replaceable. Charging the Fenix 3 requires a special docking cradle that plugs into a laptop or an AC or car adapter that outputs 5V 1A. The cradle itself plugs into USB, but you can’t just connect directly to the watch with USB. So if you lose or break the cradle, you’re in trouble. I bought a spare, just in case.

Garmin Fenix vs Fenix 3

A couple of years ago I started using the original Fenix. The first trip I used it on was kayaking in Antarctica. It performed wonderfully and was especially well-suited to the mix of conditions and activities. It sold me on the method.

I skipped the Fenix 2, so I can’t comment on that one, but there have been a number of big improvements since the original Fenix. One thing that hasn’t changed much is that they’re big, blocky watches. If you’re looking for something small and petite, this isn’t it. A lot of that has to do with the large battery they need. But the Fenix 3 definitely looks more stylish than the original Fenix, and it has a much more detailed display. And you can also go for the Sapphire model, which includes a more stylish band (and is more expensive).

The two big improvements that sold me on the upgrade from the Fenix to the Fenix 3 is that the new model more quickly locks onto the satellite signals and it has improved battery life. Both are better on the Fenix 3. And if you’re using it as a sport watch, there are a number of major improvements in that area.

But there are also things about the original Fenix that I like better. For one, it’s simpler to just start and stop the GPS function; you don’t need to go through an activity app, and there’s a little less button pushing required. For another, the original Fenix can save to the GPX file format directly, so you don’t need to use BaseCamp or Connect to convert the file. Even though the Fenix 3 has a much sharper and better-looking screen, the original Fenix is higher contrast and easier to read in low light (both have a backlight). And finally, with the original Fenix you had more control over specifying the interval used with the UltraTrac mode; with the Fenix 3 it’s just on or off. But the quicker lock on the satellite signal and the better battery life have made the upgrade worth it for me.

One thing to keep an eye on is that Garmin puts out firmware and software updates fairly regularly. Both watches benefit from the latest updates, and new features are sometimes added. With the Fenix 3 you can set it to automatically download udpates over wifi, which is a very useful feature, but with the Fenix you have to do it manually.

Garmin Fenix 3 vs Apple Watch

Unless you’ve been off the grid for a while, you’ve no doubt heard about Apple’s much-ballyhooed Watch. There’s a lot of overlap. The Apple Watch can do much of what the Fenix 3 can do and then quite a lot more. It also looks sleeker and there’s a lot of more room for developers’ imaginations to run wild in creating apps.

But there are a lot of differences between them, too, and there are some key areas where the Garmin trumps the Apple Watch. Most important to me is that the Fenix 3 has its GPS built-in. The Apple Watch uses the GPS in your iPhone (and it won’t work without that pairing). So the Apple Watch doesn’t actually have GPS, but it can make use of the GPS data provided to it by the iPhone.

Another key difference is in battery life. With the Fenix 3 you can potentially get up to 6 weeks or more in basic watch mode or up to 50 hours using GPS UltraTrac mode or up to 20 hours in full GPS mode. You’ll get less if you enable more apps and features like Bluetooth, etc. The Apple Watch battery, with normal usage, lasts about 18 hours (or less) or up to 72 hours using a special power reserve mode that displays the time but disables everything else, and the GPS depends on the battery in your iPhone.

Another point of difference that’s important to me when traveling is that the Fenix 3 is a much more rugged watch. It’s built for action, not a night at the opera. That’s especially true when it comes to water. It’s rated to a depth of 100m. It’s not really designed for Scuba diving, and pushing the buttons underwater isn’t recommended, but there’s no problem taking it swimming or snorkeling (it even has both pool and open water swimming modes), or, of course, kayaking or boating.2

By contrast, you can’t really go swimming with the Apple Watch, let alone snorkeling, surfing, or diving. Kayaking or boating are also risky (I mean small boats where you can get wet, not luxury yachts!). As Apple puts it:

Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended. Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. The leather bands are not water resistant.

Of course, the Apple watch isn’t the only smartwatch available. Here are some others. The Suunto Ambit3 is often considered the most direct competitor to the Fenix 3, but I haven’t used it.

Wrap-Up

The Garmin Fenix 3 isn’t going to appeal to everyone, if for no other reason than it’s much more expensive than most other consumer GPS trackers. Or maybe you’ve already got a watch you like. And it’s easy enough to make the argument that it’s overkill for geotagging. But if you’re serious about geotagging or your livelihood relies on accurate location information, it’s an interesting option worth looking at. That’s especially true if you have interest in using it as a sports watch or location-specific information is of interest to you.

Available At

The Garmin Fenix 3 is available at Amazon, B&H Photo, REI, and Best Buy.


  1. In many of the photos I’ve included here, the watch body looks silver. There is a silver version of the watch available, but in this case it’s the light catching the sheen finish. In reality, the version I’m using is a dark gray.
  2. GPS doesn’t work under water, so if you’re taking your Fenix 3 under water, the watch functions will work but the GPS tracking will stop when you submerge and can be reactivated when you resurface.

View Comments

  • In several of the photos in this article, it appears that you can see the seconds in addition to hours and minutes. I would like this feature although I understand it may drain the battery.

    Which watch face are you using that shows the seconds.

    It seems like this would be a very good way of syncing the watch and the Garmin (take a photo of the Garmin with Hours, Minutes and seconds showing and Lightroom can figure out the offset, especially if the seconds are showing.

    I thought I read that you cannot have the seconds showing or they only show up for a few seconds so the battery life isn't pulled down.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Steven Bolton

  • If you don't want to use several Garmin SW packages (which I also find very uncomfortable to use) you can also use the web portal https://connect.garmin.com/modern/ which has all the Fenix 3 data available in a nice dashboard view.
    You can also export GPX data from there...

    • Good tip, so long as you have access to a good internet connection, of course, which unfortunately isn't always the case when traveling.

      • GPS tracking do not require internet. When you process and geotag your photos with captured data internet may be needed but not when actually doing the travel where data is captured.

        • Of course. The thread was talking about using the Garmin web portal as an alternative to the software packages. As the article makes clear in the examples, GPS logging itself doesn't require internet.

  • Thank you for the interesting article.
    You failed to mention, though, that the Fenix 3 can record up to 10,000 track points, making it hardly suitable as a data logger for a multi-day trip to places where you cannot take your pc with you to download the recorded track from your Fenix 3.

    • I believe the 10,000 point limit is for courses loaded ONTO the watch for navigation, not tracks recorded BY the watch. I know for a fact there is not a 10,000 point limit for recorded tracks because I have captured a track of approximately 37,000 pts (10+ hours hiking at 1-second interval data capture).

      For those interested, the resulting FIT file was 983 KB. That was after syncing with Garmin Connect and the choosing "Export Original" which I assume is the same file as downloaded off the watch.

      • Ah, that would make sense. I've been trying to figure this out, because as you point out the compressed FIT files are tiny, and I'd previously calculated that if you go by filesize and storage space alone you should be able to fit many months worth of tracks on the watch—a 10,000-track file won't even fill 1/20th of the available space. I've actually been running a test of logging around the clock for a week or so now to see what happens, but it's still chugging along merrily. But this would make sense--thanks for sharing.

    • At 1 minute intervals around the clock, 10,000 track points will take about a week. In practice, I don't need to log when I'm sleeping or not on the move, so two weeks at 12 hours a day is a more realistic average. If you need more than that or more frequent intervals, then yes, you'll be wanting a dedicated data logger with more memory (and packing plenty of batteries).

  • I came across this article when I was searching online for options to replace my current GPS logger (Amod AGL3080). As it turns out I’m also in the market for a GPS watch, but I had never considered that a watch would be a suitable replacement for a dedicated logger. Battery life and storage capacity being the main constraints. But the “it’s always with me” aspects you point out in your article would be a huge advantage of the watch.

    The Fenix 3 may very well satisfy the battery life concern. I’d simply carry a USB battery pack rather than spare AAA batteries (rechargeable, of course) for the AGL3080, which lasts about the same time on a single set of batteries as the Fenix in regular GPS mode. And having the option of using Ultratrac when less precision is needed.

    That leaves storage capacity. I can’t find information on this anywhere online. The AGL3080 has a huge capacity (128 MB, I believe) and can store well over 1 million data points. Enough to store several weeks of data, at 5 second intervals during the day, for extended travels. I simply mount it as a USB flash drive when I get home and drag the log files to my computer.

    Do you have any info/experience on the logging capacity of the Fenix 3? Is there any way to get the files off the watch to a mobile device (ie, iPhone/iPad) when there is no computer or internet connection available? I wouldn’t need to convert them to GPS files, just copy then off the watch to free up space.

    BTW: From what I’ve read, the Ultratrac interval is one minute, not the two minutes in the article. Could be a firmware update?

    • Connected via USB it shows as a total disk size of 24.7MB. Not sure off-hand about getting the logs off directly to mobile devices.

      • Thank you, that is helpful. A fair amount of memory assuming it is all available for recording data and you don't fill it will downloaded apps. Still hoping to find out how that translates into duration for data capture. For example, if I where to record data for 8-10 hrs/day, how many days would it take before the memory was full? I'll keep searching for that info. Thanks again!

        • Thank you very much for that info! 70 KB for 12-15 hours is very little space, especially if it’s full 1 data point/sec vs Ultratrac. An 11 hour file from my AGL3080 (NMEA format), recording points every 10 seconds, is 1.6 MB! It doesn’t contain any extra info a FIT file would have (HR, cadence, etc), but it does contain a lot of additional GPS data like how many satellites are in view, the quality of the location fix, and a bunch of other signal-related data. If I strip out most but not all of that extraneous data, the resulting text file is 255 KB. Zipping that results in a 50 KB file. I hadn’t even considered that a FIT file could/would be compressed. I now know that the NMEA data from my current logger is quite the space hog.

  • I have been geotagging my photos for years and have been using Geotag Photos from TappyTaps (http://www.geotagphotos.net/) for my iPhone and haven't had to rely on on my watch - for years I used my old Garmin Edge. I email the finished .gpx file to myself and marry the gps and photos within Lightroom. I've used it in 15 countries or thereabouts in the last 18 months and it's worked pretty darn well. The app is $4-$8, which to me is worth it because it saves the aggravation of dealing with Basecamp.

    The Fenix still gets used, but not for this. I'm inherently lazy like that.

  • Fantastic article, thank you. I was wondering if you had any experience with extracting gpx files using smart phone or tablets?

  • I just got a fenix 3 and geotagging photos was one of the things I was interested in from it. Thank you for this great write-up which made deciding easier.

    I saw that you created "Travel" and "Photography" activities, which looks like something I'd want to do. What settings did you use for those?

    • Those are mainly prioritizing the display screens that I find useful when traveling, like sunset/sunrise, elevation, temperature, etc, rather than things like pace and distance. They're both much the same, but I have the Travel one set to use the GPS UltraTrac mode for longer battery life and the Photography one uses regular GPS mode for when I'd prefer more granular tracking and are less concerned about battery life.

  • This is a great review of most of the Fenix 3 features I wouldn't normally use. Typically I use it for sports training, ie Swim, Bike and running. Interestingly I agree with your assessment on the software, I wrote that up here: http://triman.livejournal.com/268036.html

    The reason for the cradle rather than plugging into the watch to charge is to keep the watch waterproof. While an actual cradle isn't required, they could have gone with a Pebble watch style connector, which is also waterproof.

    For those us that have long swum competitively with heart rate monitor/GPS watches have tried and found the ones with any kind of cover, come up lacking. I guess wireless charging would be great, but you'd still need the thing it charges from.

    Thanks again for the review.

      • Indeed, I have used Basecamp now after reading about it here. It did infact converted to FIT and update on the Fenix 3. My primary use had been to create maps via mapmyride etc. and then send to the Garmin 500, when I first got the Fenix 3 I'd assumed I'd stop using the Edge 500 and use the Fenix instead.

        What I've actualy done is to stop using mapmyride and use Garmin Connect. Making the maps on there is as easy, possibly easier than mapmyride. Then you can simply send them directly to the Garmin devices. For cycling I still send them to the edge 500 and use that it ap mode on the bike handlebars. I use the Fenix 3 as a traditional sports watch, HRM etc. to record what I actually do.

      • I'm not aware of a way to do back and forth conversion, as such, but you can export directly as GPX. This is how I do it.

        1. Plug in the Fenix, fire up Basecamp, and select it under My Garmin Devices.
        2. In the bottom left panel that shows the tracks on the Fenix, select one or multiple tracks.
        3. Press ⌘+S (Mac), CTRL+S (Windows), or go to File > Export.
        4. In the popup save dialog you get a choice of formats to export to, including GPX v1.1, etc.

        I like that it combines all of the selected tracks into a single GPX. That makes it much easier when working with tracks from multi-day trips.

        I'm not aware of an app or tool that actually converts back and forth between FIT and GPX, but DC Rainmaker has a great list of tools for viewing and repairing track files here.

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