(See Links Below)
|The length of a waypoint name is usually limited
and varies from model to model. Many early Garmin receivers and
some other manufacturers were limited to six characters. Many
Magellan receivers are limited to eight characters and many current
Garmin receivers are limited to 10 characters. Some models have
larger limits and lower case letters may not be supported.
Another item to consider is the small screen size on handheld
receivers. Long names cover up whatever information is "under"
them (and very near them too) so names as short as possible make for
less screen clutter.
Usually the name of the place the waypoint marks will be used as the name of the waypoint. Since many names are longer than the space allowed for a waypoint name, the place name probably has to be abbreviated. This is often done by eliminating silent letters, double letters, vowels, etc., doing as much as possible to keep the name recognizable until it is down to the allowed length.
Users of primitive roads, trails, rivers, backcountry, etc. may be interested in features that don't often have names or be interested in their progress along a road, trail, or river. In this case it would be desirable to give the waypoint a name reflecting the type of feature such as where a trail crosses a stream. Since there may be many such points along a route, they need a method to distinguish between them. We just append a number to separate one from another. No other significance is placed on the number so that management of them is easy. Note that "Blue Lake Trail" could cross "Bear Creek" eight times on the way to Blue Lake. Marking the crossings with reduced names could be something like: BLUL-BERCK, BLU-BEARCK, BLULK-BEAR, BLUL-BEAR, BLUE-BEAR, or BLU-BEAR1, BLU-BEAR2, BLU-BEAR3, etc. This can get cumbersome.
So we name waypoints in a defined way to identify locations. We might have "stream crossing # 1" (ST1) and "stream crossing # 2" (ST2), etc. for waypoints along a trail or road. This gives the traveler useful information such as there probably is water available 1.55 miles ahead (distance to ST1 from the GPSR) or "that location is a trail junction" (JC3). We put the names, if available, or other pertinent information in the comment field of the waypoint. If available the comment field has a longer length for names.
These codes are useful for travel by foot, horse, car, jeep, or boat, etc. in the country, wilderness, or down a river. For organizing waypoints we use a structure outside of the waypoint name to group them according to regions pertinent to the kind of travel for which they will be used.
The codes are divided into two basic groups based on the
source of the information. One source is map based, which implies the map
determines the waypoint’s accuracy. The other source is a single GPS field
mark whose accuracy is determined by the GPS receiver and satellite
constellation at the time the mark was taken. The map-based codes
are also divided into 2 subgroups. One subgroup is "strictly" map
based and the other is a map based or a processed (averaged) GPS mark
combination. The files we have provided use the GPS mark coded waypoints
even though they are an average of a number
of marks. In the future we may provide waypoints with the "Processed" codes.
In the field we mark locations with the "GPS" codes followed by
a number. For example the stream crossing will be given a name
something like ST12 then ST-12 on
the way back and maybe ST012 for a third mark. The next stream
crossing will be given the name ST13 and ST-13 on the way back. A
program to average waypoints that represent
the same location uses the codes to process multiple GPS marks of the
same location. The program writes out the averaged waypoints into two
types of files, one with "GPS" codes and the other with "Processed"
codes. So ST12 and ST13 will be found in the "GPS" coded file and
STR12 and STR13 will be found in the "Processed" coded file. We
can then load STR12 and STR13 into our GPSRs, return to the same
location, and mark ST12 and ST13 another time for more averaging. Other
users probably don't need to concern themselves with these aspects but
might find it useful when adding additional waypoints based on a
map. In other words the map shows the trail crossing a stream and
there's no waypoint. Mark a waypoint and call it S6834 or
STR98. When you are in the field you will know that point was
marked based on the map and not a GPS based field mark.
If you download the waypoints we have made available
on this site or from www.gpsmap.net, you might find these documents
useful. Looking through the waypoint name format specification will help in understanding what
the waypoints represent that we have posted.
Also included below are some documents specifying which Garmin
waypoint icons are used with which waypoint codes. Since the
number of icons useful for wilderness, park, trail, and rafting type
activities is limited; you may have to use your imagination.
The following are links to the HTML pages:
The following are links to download RTF format files:
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