OFFICIAL 2016 GPS Support
RAAM GPS Support
About a month before the race we will have final GPS data files corresponding to the route published in the 2016 Route Book to which racers must conform. These files will be labeled as RAAM2016-----(FINAL) when they are posted here. Because GPS units are sometimes complicated to program with race information it is strongly recommended that each RAAM support crew become familiar with the specific GPS system they will be using during the race in time so that problems uploading race data and then displaying it so that it can be easily used are identified with sufficient time to resolve them before the race begins. Crews that haven’t done this have been unknowingly led off the route specified in the Route Book by believing their GPS units which had not been properly uploaded with FINAL race data.
What follows are links to various computer files which you may download from this web site for use in your GPS devices. Preliminary versions available for review and practice with GPS systems are labeled PRELIMINARY rather than FINAL and must not be relied upon to correspond to the Route Book when published in hard copy.
The files are in ASCII text comma separated values format (indicated by the .CSV file name) and may be opened in any text editor (notepad, etc.) or word processor or as spreadsheets with Excel or compatible software for editing and sorting. Many of the GPS devices have vendor proprietary data formats which only their units will accept so the files supplied here will in most cases have to be translated before being uploaded to a GPS processing handheld/automobile receiver. Programs to do this are normally provided on an installation CD that accompanies GPS receivers with data upload capability. For those with some computer expertise, or lacking the vendor installation CD, GPSBabel is a free downloadable program with translators to and from a great many GPS data formats.
These CSV files have three fields (columns) in each record (line in the file): latitude in degrees, longitude in degrees (negative degrees indicate West longitude), and name.
· The RAAM2015-Time-Stations(FINAL).CSV file will contain the latitude/longitude of the 55 time stations. In this file the “name” field holds the TS number and town or city.
· The RAAM2015-Turns(FINAL).CSV file will contain the latitude/longitude of more then300 required route turns described in the Route Book. In this file the “name” field holds the reference (ref) number as listed in the Book.
· The RAAM2016-Track(FINAL).CSV file will contain the latitude/longitude of a set of more than 25,300 points at intervals from a few hundred feet to about a quarter mile along the route specified in the RAAM2016 Route Book. These form the “trail of bread crumbs” marking the track when displayed as part of GPS maps. Here the “name” field is a sequential number in case the GPS system wishes to route you through the points in proper order.
You should check your GPS operations against the directions as they will appear in the route book to be sure your GPS device is properly displaying the correct information.
Download the RAAM2016-Directions.PDF file (Preliminary 2016).
More GPS file info and help
Be extremely reluctant to let GPS devices or mapping software create routes for you or, even more dangerously, recompute routing automatically when traffic problems or road construction is sensed ahead. RAAM does not allow for racers to leave the route prescribed in the Route Book for these or other considerations without an approved route change from the Race Director transmitted from Race Headquarters.
Experience with popular devices and software in the past:
· There is a common GPS format used by Garmin, Microsoft, and others to import and export GPS waypoint and path/route/track information. This format for RAAM 2016 is the file RAAM-2016-GPS-Exchange,GPX.
· The free internet application, Google Earth, is available for many operating systems in many languages. It accepts the KMZ file found on the “Route” page of the RAAM website and will display all the RAAM 2016 route data and allows saving of routes (called “paths” in this application), time stations, and turns in separate KML files. Google Earth will accept KML files which can be made from CSV data with GPSbabel.
(KML files can be converted to other GPS device-specific formats with GPSbabel, another free application available for download from http://www.gpsbabel.org/)
· Some Magellan devices will accept CSV data into the Magellan POI Editor program for conversion to MGLN format before uploading.
· Microsoft Streets and Trips will import CSV files and,since the 2011 edition, also GPX.
· DeLorme Street Atlas and Topo will import CSV data as “RAAM” files once the CSV file name extension has been changed to TXT. An easier way to get the complete race description for Street Atlas 2011 or Topo8, or many earlier or later editions of both, is to request a copy of the Delorme map transfer file (DMT) from the route designer.
· Most mobile device GPS applications require connection to the internet to function. Keep in mind that even though service providers can advertise they provide mobile internet access to more than 85% of Americans, they can do that by covering only about 6% of the country – the very 6% that RAAM tries to avoid because of traffic hazards. (2010 US Census data.)
The route designer will also try to answer specific questions about GPS and RAAM2016 sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .