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Messages - mdxix

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GPS Discussion / Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« on: August 15, 2012, 07:27:40 pm »
specify an ordered list of two or more waypoints and tell the program--in a computer or in a GPS receiver--to build a route from them.
You are correct Fred. This is certainly one way to construct a route. I can understand how this may have been useful for certain units that ignore route points, as you pointed out. Therefore, you had to include the waypoints in the file for navigation.
My old GPS-III+ ignores the route points entirely, showing no waypoints and no routes.

How many of the ACA community have this restriction is hard to know. I want to think this is a rare case, because the GPX 1.1 standard has been around for some time. Units as simple as eTrex 10 now recognize routes. The ACA will have to decide how far back to support GPS units.

That leaves us with routes & route points are the elements we need for navigation.
once the route is built, the waypoints are no longer needed if you never need to change the route.

The programs I use never require that I specify waypoints to construct a route. Here are some examples:
  • MapSource: start on a new map, select from the menu Tools > Route (notice another tool for Waypoints, but we do not want that), use the mouse to drop route points on the map, they get connected by a route, the Waypoints tab in MapSource does not contain any waypoints, select from the menu File > Save, choose GPX format, Save, open the file in a text editor to view its content. There are no waypoints in the file.
  • BaseCamp: start on a new map, select from the menu Tools > Route  (notice another tool for Waypoints, but we do not want that), use the mouse to drop route points on the map, they get connected by a route, the Collection list still only has the route without any waypoints, select from the menu File > Export Selected User Data, Save, open the file in a text editor to view its content. There are no waypoints in the file.
  • Online maps like,, & none of them require waypoints. I simply start charting the route. When I download it, it is also only constructed of routes & route points. There are no waypoints.
    There is an advantage to these online tools: they use Google maps which include bicycle paths. They are also accessible from anywhere and can be easily shared.

With that in mind, it seems that the ACA GPX file is mixing two data sets that are not related in one file:
  • Waypoints that are points of interest
  • Routes that are navigation paths
Each of them is very useful for the trip and needed along the way. I just manage & view them differently.

GPS Discussion / Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« on: August 14, 2012, 11:21:22 pm »
  2. Waypoints created by ACA that mark the riding route.
Waypoints are waypoints and riding routes are riding routes. There is no mixing between the two. The fact that some waypoints happen to be along the route does not make them part of the route. The routes in the GPX file do not have or mix with any waypoints. Instead, they have route points. See prior example.

As we reviewed earlier, one can strip the GPX file completely from the waypoints and still navigate the route.

I believe you have an older GPS-III+ unit that only recognizes waypoints but not routes. That should work as well, as I suggested earlier to separate routes & waypoints. Users can choose to use one or both.

The method for separating them depends on the tool you are using. Manual separation was quick and reliable. I often use online tools like & I think they all yield the same result.

GPS Discussion / Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« on: August 14, 2012, 10:59:31 pm »
I really think it is about consistency, reliability, and usability of the routes. I think it is to the users advantage to have the full route details (breadcrumbs or extensions), in addition to the route points.

It provides the following several advantages:
  • Reliable route: the GPS unit will display the route exactly as intended by the cartographers. It does not rely on the map or calculation method of the device, which may be incorrect. For example:
    • Some units may use car routing, taking a faster route rather than the intended slower road next to it.
    • Most maps (including the current version of City Navigator) do not include off-road bicycle paths. When the route is calculated in the unit between two points, it will follow roads, not bicycle paths. Try calculating route R31101 through Burlington, VT. Yikes!
  • Less cost: with full details, units with or without maps can follow the route. Maps can also be from various sources: Open Street Maps, Topo maps, City Navigator, and others. The route is already known. The map is optional for reference only.
  • Compatibility: I assume not all users have Garmin with City Navigator. But that should not matter because route details are all built in. There is no need to rely on if and how the unit will calculate the route.
  • More view options during trip preparation. With full route details, the route can be easily loaded and viewed on many maps & web sites. There is no need to recalculate or manipulate. It will show as intended.

GPS Discussion / Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« on: August 14, 2012, 12:01:13 am »
Jennifer & team, thank you for making the map data available electronically. They have been essential for my trips.

I use them differently on each trip, depending on my technical skills and the tools I am using. These are ever changing, as the technology advances and GPS units get more capable. There are also many ideas on this forum how people use these maps—there seems to be endless creative ways.

In that light, the maps are easiest for me to use when they are open & accessible.

You are already using an open GPX file standard that has worked for me with any unit & software. It almost always require me to process it manually in three ways:

  • Separate the routes from the waypoints. As Fred and I discussed earlier, the GPX file contains both waypoints and routes. I prefer to keep and manage them separately.
  • Coincide the routes with paper map sections, as Pat suggested earlier.
  • Calculate the route to follow intended path as compared with the paper map. Many (not all) ACA GPX files have routes that are straight lines between marked route points. Some GPS units can calculate the route internally and some others (like my current Edge 705) cannot. Either way, there is a chance that the calculation will not follow the intended route. Besides, this calculation depends on the map set being used, which may not have all roads, and likely do not have off-road trails.
    I am not sure why ACA has some routes with all their details and others without. I hope that the move is in the direction of more details, not less.
Good luck with your new adventure.

Indeed, the waypoint limit of 1,000 is not a problem because there are no waypoints. However, the route limit of 50 in my 60CS was reached. Bill, do you know the route limit on your receiver? If it's 100, and if your receiver will navigate from the route points like Rami's and mine, you could do this in one load. You would give up the ability to edit the route on the road.
Bill, here is the NT file stripped of all waypoints. I created it for testing. Feel free to use it as needed. Please send us feedback how it worked out for you.

For your trip, remember to download the latest file.

Each route includes an ordered sequence of rtept elements, which repeat the information in the wpt elements.
Route points in ACA files repeat some waypoints. Not all waypoints are present in routes. They are points of interest or reference. For example, in the Green Mountains file, near the beginning of route R01010, near its first route point R01080, there are three waypoints that are not part of the route at all: R0104A (hotel), R01040 (bicycle shop), R01030 (bicycle shop).

To clarify, the sample Green Mountains GPX file I provided was not calculated or created by a computer.
Sure it was, probably by my copy of MapSource, or another volunteer's, maybe by Jennifer's at ACA.
Good catch ;) I meant to say that I did not further process this file, create new content, or use a mapping tool. I simply deleted the waypoints using a text editor.

I took it one step further to see what the 60CS does to a route when a waypoint on it is present and is moved by editing in the GPSR but the route is not edited. When asked to navigate the route, the unit follows the change. I'd summarize it by saying that the 60CS uses waypoints info when present, otherwise uses the route points.
The Edge 705 behaved kept the route intact. I edited the waypoint far off course, and that did not change the route.

What happens when you change a waypoint that does not belong to a route, such as R0104A?

rather than using the route that the computer creates.
To clarify, the sample Green Mountains GPX file I provided was not calculated or created by a computer. For simplicity, I did the following:
  • Downloaded the file from ACA Green Mountains route web site
  • Opened the file in text editor
  • Deleted the entire first section for the file that contains waypoints within <wpt> tags
  • Saved & loaded on the GPS unit. Voilà.

Mdxix, could you clarify, please?
My suggestion is to put the ACA route on the GPS unit without the waypoints. You can see the route, navigate, and get prompts for directions.

Fred & Bill, can you try loading the Green Mountains file on your GPS? It is at

I have stripped this file from any waypoints. Can your GPS navigate its routes? Does it show you that it did not add any waypoints?

Let me clarify with some details. ACA files have two main sections in them:
  • The top section has a list of waypoints. These are scattered all over the map. They are independent of each other. They are not connected to each other in any way. They are points of interest. These are wrapped with <wpt> tags. They have the coordinates and name for each waypoint as the following example:
      <wpt lat="44.4690527" lon="-73.1807019">
        <cmt>Holiday Inn</cmt>
        <desc>Holiday Inn</desc>
  • The second part of the file has routes (within <rte> tag) connected by route points (within <rtept> tag), not waypoints. They appear as follows in the file:
        <rtept lat="44.4745800" lon="-73.2195100">
          <cmt>King St/Bike Path</cmt>

As far as I can tell, when you choose a route to navigate, you are choosing it from the second part of the file, not the first. I know this because I can completely delete the entire first part of the file and still navigate just as well. Only the GPS memory is not exhausted by waypoints. See the screen images I posted earlier.

Does the same happen to you with the sample Green Mountains file?

You would give up the navigation feature, though.
That is curious Fred. As far as I can tell, the GPS will navigate based on the route (and route points), irrelevant of the waypoints it has scattered on the map. Do you think it works differently?

I tested the following for the Green Mountains loop. I stripped the file from all waypoints as follows:

I loaded the file on my Edge 705 and started navigating R01010 as shown in the following image:

In the two panels to the left, you see the navigation route, distance to next, and prompts at turns. In this case, the Edge 705 shows only straight lines. But that is a different topic that we discussed at length.

In the right panel, the list of waypoints is empty.

Is your experience different?

Could you load the maps on the GPS unit without the waypoints? Do you need them on the GPS? Refer to the paper maps as needed along the way for points of interest.

New England / Re: New Haven to Albany, suggested routes?
« on: July 27, 2012, 12:21:54 am »
Take a look at CT bicycle map. Route 5 connects New Haven to Canaan in NW CT. From there, head west to reach NY State Bicycle Route 9. That will get you all the north to Albany.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle shop Seattle
« on: June 11, 2012, 01:07:36 pm »
Builders of Davidson bicycles:

Large store with multiple branches in the region:

General Discussion / Re: Images are not appearing in ACA forum post
« on: June 03, 2012, 09:18:47 pm »
That seems to have fixed it.

I edited the post today with links to images hosted externally. I can now see them when logged in or not.

Thank you.

General Discussion / Images are not appearing in ACA forum post
« on: June 02, 2012, 11:10:19 am »
I have attached images to a post on the ACA forum at

I noticed these images do not appear unless I am logged in. If I logout, I can see all the text entries in the post, but cannot see the images.

Is that by design? Is there something I need to do to enable the images to appear all the time?

GPS Discussion / Re: Open Street Map?
« on: June 02, 2012, 12:16:07 am »
I was not able to navigate to addresses in the United States and Canada using OSM.

OSM does not seem to recognize states. It shows data at the country level. I suppose this may work in other countries, where city names are indeed unique in the entire country. Alas, that is not the case in the US.

Below are two sets of images. The first set is when entering an address in City Navigator:

The second is in OSM:

  • Region: City Navigator shows list of states and provinces. OSM shows countries
  • City: City Navigator shows zip codes and city name associated with the state they are in. OSM, however, displays the city name associated with the country.

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