Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

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Mike W.
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Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Mike W. »

As many longtime listeners know I tend to do some traveling on vacation, which while not near enough, is approaching.

My longtime standby is MS Streets and Trips, which has the enormous value to me of being able to be used offline, where I often find myself. But it is old and cranky and while MS hasn't quite killed it, they definitely would like it to go away and kind of push in that direction. But gawd is it useful.

Google Maps, the basic online version is good, free, which is always good, sometimes has incredible detail, other times you have to check to make sure you're on the right planet, but it's absolutely web based, which can be an issue for me.

Am I missing something? I know there's some place that pretends to be a replacement for S and T, but it's $600, clearly not intended for me and not an option unless suddenly my income has an extra digit before the decimal point, which isn't likely to happen.
1st 5er
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by 1st 5er »

:popcorn:
athayer187
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by athayer187 »

I've had good luck with Google Maps using the offline feature - assuming where you're going has sufficient detail:

https://www.tomsguide.com/how-to/how-to ... oogle-maps

You can get a good chunk of a few states at a time, which should be plenty until you can get cell service/internet again.
stuartinmn
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by stuartinmn »

I use Google Maps, but have always just printed out the route and bring the hard copy with me.
I'm old, so I still prefer paper maps. :) If you happen to have AAA, I believe they still will provide a Triptik route planner.
gadget73
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by gadget73 »

I tend to stop at state rest areas and get a free official state map. I'll be honest and tell you I don't use them all that much, but sometimes its nice to see where you are vs where you need to be and come up with a route that the cell phone isn't impressed with. Normally I either print directions or jot some notes as a backup in case the GPS freaks out.

Also brings back memories as a kid when mom would hand me the map and tell me to figure out where we were and how to get to wherever we needed to be. That was her method for teaching me to read a map. If we weren't on a schedule she'd just follow my directions until we were either hopelessly lost, or ended up where we were supposed to be.
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

I use a combination of three things to do my route planning and in the car: Google Maps, GPS Visualizer, and Organic Maps.

I create the routing in Google Maps, convert that routing to KML format via GPS Visualizer, and then use it in the Organic Maps app. I also create KML points of interest via a spreadsheet and use those in conjunction with the routing; I can turn on/off various categories as necessary and do side trips or stops at various spots if I am coming up on them. Additionally, I can drop temporary pins in Organic Maps and investigate the sites later. After a trip, I will go back and create KML tracks and put them in a "history" file so I can avoid routes I've taken previously; I do the track at 10% opacity magenta, and as I go over the same sections multiple times, the colors add up until it's solid (I-85 between Atlanta and Greenville SC is more than solid!).

The great thing about Organic Maps is that no connectivity is required. I'll use my tablet for OM and have Waze going on my cell phone.
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Great topic.

Having grown up on maps I remember reading a map before I went somewhere new and writing down the roads to be taken, what towns and miles you turned onto another road, and very attentively watching the odometer. Those days are gone.

Shawn's method will be my next planner as I love taking new roads (at least through the mountains) and documenting my favorites. Time to start planning the next adventure.
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

Bonsaibacker wrote: Jun 19, 2022 4:22 AMHaving grown up on maps I remember reading a map before I went somewhere new and writing down the roads to be taken, what towns and miles you turned onto another road, and very attentively watching the odometer. Those days are gone.
Same here. I have even held on to multiple old printed maps, I like them so much.
Bonsaibacker wrote: Jun 19, 2022 4:22 AMShawn's method will be my next planner as I love taking new roads (at least through the mountains) and documenting my favorites. Time to start planning the next adventure.
Aww, shucks! I can go into more detail with an example if folks want and could email a couple of my files.
vinceg101
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by vinceg101 »

Shawn D. wrote: Jun 19, 2022 11:23 AM
Bonsaibacker wrote: Jun 19, 2022 4:22 AMHaving grown up on maps I remember reading a map before I went somewhere new and writing down the roads to be taken, what towns and miles you turned onto another road, and very attentively watching the odometer. Those days are gone.
Same here. I have even held on to multiple old printed maps, I like them so much.
Damn, I feel like such a dinosaur. To this day I always pack my trusty Thomas Guide California Road Atlas when I hit the road for a long trip. That and whatever AAA map I have for whatever area is beyond that road atlas; it's all in my "Cabin Bag" sitting in the passenger seat. Heck I always have a Thomas Guide LA Street Map book in my car; old habits.
(*Thomas Guide maps are probably THE best street maps ever made for any and all California cities. Before the advent of Google Maps and MS maps, they were the default map system for the City of LA and were built into their Planning Maps.)
Shawn D. wrote: Jun 19, 2022 11:23 AM
Bonsaibacker wrote: Jun 19, 2022 4:22 AMShawn's method will be my next planner as I love taking new roads (at least through the mountains) and documenting my favorites. Time to start planning the next adventure.
Aww, shucks! I can go into more detail with an example if folks want and could email a couple of my files.
I second that; reading your system made me realize how unworthy a navigator I am. :bow:
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Shawn D. wrote: Jun 19, 2022 11:23 AM
Bonsaibacker wrote: Jun 19, 2022 4:22 AMShawn's method will be my next planner as I love taking new roads (at least through the mountains) and documenting my favorites. Time to start planning the next adventure.
Aww, shucks! I can go into more detail with an example if folks want and could email a couple of my files.
Taking you up on your offer. I know you have explored Western NC, SC and Northern GA (any Tennessee?). I have a group that hits the vintage every year but the side drives have evolved into our zen. Needless to say we have found some gravel roads due to ignorance.
This year I am planning a round trip route with several hours of driving daily and camping nightly for 3-4 days. Mountain terrain is the objective.
I will gladly sift through your documentation- thank you!

ericbacker09@yahoo.com
Panici
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Panici »

I wish there was a gps/route planner that took the "Scenic route".
Rerouted you by local attractions, and down fun roads (even if it takes a little longer).
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

So, let's take a road and go through my process to create something usable in an app that can utilize KML or KMZ files. Wayah Road in North Carolina looked interesting to me, so it's in my "scenic" KML file, along with multiple other routes.

For Wayah, I used the endpoints of 35.27352N 83.68227W and 35.1593N 83.45658W. Put those into Google Maps, then put the resulting Google Maps URL into GPS Visualizer (note that using this site might require a Google API key, which is easy to get; I have one on a "paid" plan which I never have to pay for, as my usage falls far below threshold). I usually select "Output file type" as KML and "Open in new window." The other option I regularly change is "Max. points per track", depending on what level of accuracy I need vs. memory/processing usage; for tight roads, I use 10 points per mile, and for roads that aren't tight (e.g. interstates), I use 4 points per mile. Note that all the options have extensive explanations if you click on their accompanying "?" icon.

Doing three outputs (default, 10 points/mile [280 for Wayah], and 4 points/mile [112 for Wayah]) in three different colors (blue, green, and red, respectively) gives us this:

Image

So, at large scale, not bad. Up close, however, the differences are noticeable. For comparison, the blue/green/red tracks have character counts of 72,866/5,292/2,137.

Image

I redid it at 20/mile and got a character count of 10,546 and this (default blue, 20/mile magenta):

Image

I don't use the "straight" GPS Visualizer output, though. I clean it up and put it in a file as such (for simplicity's sake, I redacted all but the end points):

Code: Select all

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://earth.google.com/kml/2.2">
<Document>
	
<Style id="placemark-green"><IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-green.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>

<name>Routes -- SCENIC</name>

<Placemark><name>Wayah Road</name><Style><LineStyle><color>7f008000</color><width>6</width></LineStyle></Style><LineString><coordinates>-83.68227,35.27352 -83.45658,35.1593</coordinates></LineString></Placemark>
<Placemark><name>Wayah Road | West End</name><styleUrl>#placemark-green</styleUrl><Point><coordinates>-83.68227,35.27352</coordinates></Point></Placemark>
<Placemark><name>Wayah Road | East End</name><styleUrl>#placemark-green</styleUrl><Point><coordinates>-83.45658,35.1593</coordinates></Point></Placemark>

</Document></kml>
EDIT to add: Take the above in the "code" box, put it into a text editor, and save the file with a .kml extension -- bam! -- you have a KML file that can be opened and used by multiple applications.

I make files containing single routes, multiple routes, and multiple points of interest. Then I can open or close each track (or keep open, but display or hide each track) as necessary. I categorize the routing types and waypoints by color. Y'all can figure out your own hexadecimal colors, but you can see the green one I use for scenic routes above. The Organic Maps standard "lollipop" icons (that one can hand-code; I don't have URLs for the other symbology) are:

Code: Select all

<Style id="placemark-blue">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-blue.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-bluegray">  <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-bluegray.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-brown">     <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-brown.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-cyan">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-cyan.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-deeporange"><IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-deeporange.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-deeppurple"><IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-deeppurple.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-gray">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-gray.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-green">     <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-green.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-lightblue"> <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-lightblue.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-lime">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-lime.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-orange">    <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-orange.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-pink">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-pink.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-purple">    <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-purple.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-red">       <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-red.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-teal">      <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-teal.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
<Style id="placemark-yellow">    <IconStyle><Icon><href>https://omaps.app/placemarks/placemark-yellow.png</href></Icon></IconStyle></Style>
So, that's the basic version of how I do it.
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

For the actual planned routing, I will usually lay two of the same track on top of each other, in different widths and colors:

Image
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

Panici wrote: Jun 21, 2022 2:54 PM I wish there was a gps/route planner that took the "Scenic route".
Rerouted you by local attractions, and down fun roads (even if it takes a little longer).
I don't know of any that do that as an option. I used to accomplish that by setting up "avoid" intersections in Microsoft Streets & Trips, but I no longer use that, and Organic Maps doesn't have that feature yet.
Shawn D.
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Re: Best route planning, site/ap/program/???

Post by Shawn D. »

There are multiple sites where one can find waypoints and/or routing, and of course you can right-click in Google Maps and copy coordinates. Various ones I use are:

https://bridgehunter.com/

http://www.poi-factory.com/poifiles

https://2lanetraveler.com/

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/

https://www.alltrails.com/

Wikipedia often has associated KML files, such as List of National Historic Landmarks in Georgia. Do a <ctrl>+f and you'll see "Download coordinates as: KML."

It's not a straightforward process, but I often extract things like county boundaries and local trails using https://mygeodata.cloud/osm/data/download/ or http://overpass-turbo.eu/ (I use the latter so infrequently that I have to learn it each time, so I have basically quit using it because it's a PITA).
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