Author Topic: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?  (Read 10540 times)

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Offline JMilyko

How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« on: August 08, 2012, 02:28:40 pm »
In a recent blog post (http://blog.adventurecycling.org/2012/08/how-do-you-use-our-gps-waypoints.html), we asked the question: How do you use our GPS waypoints?

As a department we are in the midst of designing a database for map creation and maintenance. Part of this includes our GPS waypoints. As we go along, we realize we really don't know enough about how you are using the waypoints. We want to make sure that what comes out of this process is at least as helpful as what is currently available and hopefully more so.

A few things we'd like to know about your use of the waypoints specifically include:

What would make them easier to use?

What about the waypoint names? Do you rename them? What if we rename them over time?

Do you like/use the sample routes provided?

Anything else we should know?


Routes & Mapping staff will be chiming in now and again throughout the conversation, perhaps asking more questions along the way. Your feedback will have an impact on what we do next so please help us help you.

.Jennifer.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 01:31:18 pm by JMilyko »
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Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline tsteven4

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 03:17:38 pm »
I use the gps data, including the waypoints and routepoints, to create online maps and google earth files showing the ACA routes.  These are available at http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net.  Personally I use these in the winter to get ideas about next summers ride.  Its nice to have the waypoint data so you can scan for campgrounds and imagine how the days might break up.  Once I have the ride selected then its off the the ACA store for good old paper.  No newfangled navigation for me on the bike!

My process for generating these files is up and running, so to make it easiest on me don't change too much!  Actually, if the waypoint + routepoint data is available I can probably adapt.

I don't care about the waypoint/routepoint names, rename them as you wish.  I don't rename them myself.

I certainly display the ACA routes using the routepoints supplied, but I am not sure if you mean something different by "sample routes".

Jennifer, enjoy your ride in Colorado.

Offline Pat

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 12:40:22 pm »
Jennifer,

The team at ACA does a great job pulling everything together.  For us, the routes have been reasonable and safe.  And the information provided for campgrounds, motels, etc, is a lifesaver - often considerably cheaper than the first place you come to down the road.  I really appreciate your efforts.

During the Spring we used the material from Pacific Coast Map 4 as field tests.  This summer, we did two, two week tours, one in Washington State, and the other in Oregon, using Maps 1 and 2.  We also used a combination of the maps and waypoint data.  We used the data in a combination of ways:

(1)  In the preps phase, I use GPSIES.COM to build routes to load into my Edge 705.  The routing waypoints are valuable in making sure I haven't misunderstood the maps (some of the Washington map segments were a little confusing).  Since I have trouble loading the non-route Waypoint into my Garmin, I make an Excel spreadsheet of the remaining data, and put it on our iphone and Kindle.  If the waypoints have contact information embedded in them, I have not found a way to unlock that.  The Waypoint segments don't line up with the Map segments, which makes a little extra work.  (For our in-route replanning, we work from the map segments to get the "next day" down).

(2)  During actual touring, we use the Garmin to figure out where we are and how much further we have to go (are we there yet?).  And the information on the back of the maps is very useful for locating phone numbers and which campgrounds and motels, etc.  The spreadsheet is handy to figure out end of day and other mid-day replanning.

If I were king for a day, I would hope to see the following:

(a)  Waypoint and Map segments aligned, with the same distances and same names
(b)  Contact information for Waypoints that are actual locations.

But, from a business model, I'm not sure how you make this data fusion work.  You charge, understandably, for the maps.  And you provide downloads of the waypoint data.  If you put all the requested data into the downloads, this would probably cannibalize the hard copy revenue source.

Happy Trails,

Pat

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 05:46:53 pm »
... If I were king for a day, I would hope to see the following:

(a)  Waypoint and Map segments aligned, with the same distances and same names
(b)  Contact information for Waypoints that are actual locations.

But, from a business model, I'm not sure how you make this data fusion work.

Pat, this is excellent; exactly the kind of story we have been looking for. Thank you!

Could you clarify "segment" for me, please? We divide each cycling route into sections and print a paper map for each. The Pacific Coast route contains five sections. Section 1 contains 13 maps, along with the narratives, service directories, road conditions, etc. You will see the number printed in each map: Map 1, Map 8, Map 13.

I suspect "map segment" means either a section or a map.

The GPS data include waypoints and GPS routes--not to be confused with the cycling routes. Some of the waypoints mark the GPS routes, while others mark points of interest along the way. Most of the latter come from the service directory on the printed map.

I suspect "route segment" means a GPS route.

The GPS routes are indeed named for the section and map that they cover. We encoded the names to fit within the six-character limit on route names of low-end GPS devices. http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=10775.msg54521#msg54521 describes the coding.

Some receiver limitations affect how we set up the GPS routes. Many of them limit the route to 30 waypoints and can store no more than 50 routes at once. Therefore, many short routes or a few really long ones are not practical. A few maps in urban areas need more than 30 waypoints, so we use two or more GPS routes.

That said, we could probably adjust the starting and ending waypoints of most GPS routes to coincide with map boundaries. This would reduce the average number of waypoints per route somewhat, meaning you would need to reload the receiver a bit more often. If this idea gains some traction, it would not be hard to do when we make a new edition of the maps.

On the matter of contact information, beyond the business model there are some limits in the GPX file format. Garmin has made some extensions to the standard for such data, but I do not know if other vendors support them.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Fred

Offline Pat

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 07:55:30 pm »
Jennifer,

Yes - segment = section = map panel
Yes - route markers (waypoints?) and points of interest which may / may not be on the route

I wish you the best,

Pat

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 09:41:30 pm »
One more try, please, Pat. Is your "segment" what we call a section, hundreds of miles long, or is it a map, one of the dozens of little maps printed for each section and 30 to 50 miles long?

Thanks,

Fred

Offline Pat

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2012, 02:02:09 am »
Sorry for the confusion - A segment is one map - as in Oregon has 27 maps, and each is 25-35 miles long.  Pat

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2012, 06:22:54 am »
Got it! "Adjust the starting and ending waypoints of GPS routes to coincide with map boundaries wherever feasible" will be the first on the list of suggestions we are gathering. Some maps will require more than one GPS route if we keep the limit of 30 waypoints per route. There would be more routes to load into the receiver.

Comments about this from anyone else who has tried it?

Fred

Offline mdxix

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #8 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.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2012, 07:58:51 am »
Thanks for the good suggestions, Rami. I think we could manage most of them. Comments and a question follow.

  • 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.

1. Some of the waypoints in the ACA files mark the route and some mark points of interest like campgrounds, museums, and motels. We have discussed separating these, and could do it easily.

The Garmin mapping software and most GPS receivers--but not the Edge series--when told to navigate by following roads, will calculate additional intermediate routepoints to show the path along the roads. I do not know any way to separate these routepoints from the waypoints except the manual editing of the GPX file that you described earlier. If you know a program that can do this, please let us know too.

Which of these do you mean by "separate the routes from the waypoints"?

3. The inclusion of routepoints or not in the published files is a matter of accident. It depends on whether the Garmin software is set for straight-line or follow-the-road navigation when we prepare a file. The question never came up until you alerted us to the road-following limitation of the Edge. I think we can arrange to include routepoints in future additions of the files.

For those considering a new GPS receiver, we continue to recommend the models intended for long-distance navigation (Vista, GPSMAP, "Western states") rather than those intended as training aids (Edge). Their larger capacities and ability to follow roads when navigating off the prepared routes make them more useful for touring.

Fred

Offline tsteven4

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2012, 09:07:40 am »
Fred,

Let's talk about an example from AC01v007.gpx.    We have wpt elements from the gpx schema.   We have rtept elements from the gpx schema.  The rtept elements may contain RoutePointExtension elements, defined in the GpxExtensions schema.  The RoutePointExtension elements may contain rpt elements from the GpxExtensions schema.  I believe by
Quote
additional intermediate routepoints
you mean the rpt elements from the GpxExtensions schema, show as gpxx:rpt below.

Code: [Select]
   
<rtept lat="44.4350200" lon="-68.9465600">
      <name>A012C0</name>
      <cmt>US 1 &amp; SR 3 bend</cmt>
      <desc>US 1 &amp; SR 3 bend</desc>
      <sym>Waypoint</sym>
      <extensions>
        <gpxx:RoutePointExtension xmlns:gpxx="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3 http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3/GpxExtensionsv3.xsd">
          <gpxx:Subclass>000000000000ffffffffffffffffffffffff</gpxx:Subclass>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="44.4350504" lon="-68.9464883">
            <gpxx:Subclass>0600c39c4000a56001002116000086040c00</gpxx:Subclass>
          </gpxx:rpt>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="44.4352770" lon="-68.9466763">
            <gpxx:Subclass>0200c39c4000be5301001f06010015f5b801</gpxx:Subclass>
          </gpxx:rpt>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="44.4349766" lon="-68.9485216"/>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="44.4349337" lon="-68.9489079"/>
          <gpxx:rpt lat="44.4345474" lon="-68.9515257"/>
          ...

As you indicated we also have wpt elements from the gpx schema that are used in two different ways.  A012E0 is used to mark a point of interest, while A012C0 is used to mark a turn on a route.  Note that the previous example had a rtept A012C0 corresponding to the wpt A012C0.

Code: [Select]
  <wpt lat="44.4350200" lon="-68.9465600">
    <name>A012C0</name>
    <cmt>US 1 &amp; SR 3 bend</cmt>
    <desc>US 1 &amp; SR 3 bend</desc>
    <sym>Waypoint</sym>
    <extensions>
      <gpxx:WaypointExtension xmlns:gpxx="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3 http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3/GpxExtensionsv3.xsd">
        <gpxx:DisplayMode>SymbolAndName</gpxx:DisplayMode>
      </gpxx:WaypointExtension>
    </extensions>
  </wpt>

  <wpt lat="44.4295910" lon="-68.9739490">
    <time>2011-03-28T17:28:58Z</time>
    <name>A012E0</name>
    <cmt>Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort CG</cmt>
    <desc>Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort CG</desc>
    <sym>Campground</sym>
    <extensions>
      <gpxx:WaypointExtension xmlns:gpxx="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3 http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3/GpxExtensionsv3.xsd">
        <gpxx:DisplayMode>SymbolAndName</gpxx:DisplayMode>
      </gpxx:WaypointExtension>
    </extensions>
  </wpt>

It would be easy to separate all the wpt elements from all the rtept elements.  gpsbabel can do this, or it could be done with a xslt processor.
It would be easy to delete the rpt elements with a xslt processor.
To separate the two usages of wpt elements, we would need to make some assumptions about how to distinguish them, e.g. the included sym element is either Waypoint or something else. Note the sym element is optional.  You indicated you have a way to do this, but I am not sure what you had in mind.

Given this example, can you reword your question to include the specific element types you would like to separate?
Quote
The Garmin mapping software and most GPS receivers--but not the Edge series--when told to navigate by following roads, will calculate additional intermediate routepoints to show the path along the roads. I do not know any way to separate these routepoints from the waypoints except the manual editing of the GPX file that you described earlier. If you know a program that can do this, please let us know too.


Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2012, 01:34:16 pm »
Sure. I do not care, but I do care what elements Rami wants to separate. The elements are these:
  1. Waypoints created by ACA that mark off-route points of interest.
  2. Waypoints created by ACA that mark the riding route.
  3. Routepoints created by Garmin software when told to navigate following roads. Garmain calls these mapoints in their user interface, and rpt in the GPX file.

As I wrote above, we can easily separate 1 from 2 and 3 by their symbols, creating two files: (1) and (2,3).

Rami, do you want to separate 3 from 1 and 2? If so, yielding what files containing which elements?

And how do Jenn and the crew do this in a production environment? "With an xslt processor" will not cut it. They need a maintained, documented, supported program to perform the task every week.

I do not understand why one would want to extract just the routepoints (3) from a file that contains (2) and (3). Can an Edge not use the combined file?

Perhaps some of the few who want to use Edge models for long distances can undertake this task themselves, separating the published ACA files for whatever reasons they wish. Would that be practical?

Fred

Offline tsteven4

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 02:00:46 pm »
Quote
And how do Jenn and the crew do this in a production environment? "With an xslt processor" will not cut it. They need a maintained, documented, supported program to perform the task every week

If this becomes desirable I can set the crew up with a maintained, documented and supported xslt processor, and the transform that does what they need.  There are many freely available, they may already have one installed and not know it, e.g. xsltproc is in included in mac os x snow leopard and many other linux distributions.  I would need to know what operating system(s) they use.

A disadvantage of including
Quote
3. Routepoints created by Garmin software when told to navigate following roads. Garmain calls these mapoints in their user interface, and rpt in the GPX file.
may be the gpx file size.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2012, 02:13:03 pm »
Sounds good. Jenn uses a Mac and also runs some PC stuff under Boot Camp. By the time she gets back from her bike respite, we may have sorted out just what the Edge users need or want.

GPX file size should not be a problem. They contain so much repetition that they Zip down really well.

Thanks!

Fred

Offline mdxix

Re: How do you use the Adventure Cycling GPS waypoints?
« Reply #14 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.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 07:39:31 am by mdxix »