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Master Waypoint Specification (Input Spec)
    Date first written: 2000.01.01     Last Review: 2017.06.15

This document contains the master specification for inputting Bivouac waypoints. As you know, both the trip reports and road records have a "waypoints" field. This document has the syntax that is common to both of them. Things that are specific to one or the other are factored out into Trip Waypoint Syntax and Road Waypoint Syntax.

Below are a few typical waypoints so you get the general idea:


  52.45000,-117.44333=start at Icefields Parkway @1540m
  52.46667,-117.35000=Leave trail here
  52.50667,-117.31167=*Camp1,2 at the pass at head of N Fork of Poboktan Cr
  52.50667,-117.31167=cp //somewhere on the ridge
  52.55000,-117.35000=Mount Brazeau @3470m

In the above example, note the following:

  1. Waypoint Line format:
     Each waypoint line consists of a lat-long pair, followed by an equals sign "=", followed by "waypoint text". (The word "text" is used to refer to all the text, which may include both a description, keywords, elevation, etc.)

  2. One Per Line:
     Each Waypoint must be on its own line, and ended with a carriage return. For simplicity, it is desirable to have the waypoint text short enough that the waypoint is on a single line. However in special cases it is OK to have a multi line text, as long as you let it "word wrap" to the next line. Do not put in a "hard" carriage return for a two line waypoint text, because the waypoint parsing program uses hard carriage returns as the line separator.

  3. Coordinate format:
     Waypoint coordinates must be entered as Lat-Longs. As of October, 2011, the preferred coordinate format is latitude, followed by a comma, followed by a negative sign, followed by longitude. Eg:

      52.45000,-117.44333
    This standard format can be cut and pasted directly from GMap4 and other digitizing programs. Note that we store 5 decimal places. For a discussion of other lat-long formats, see Lat-Long Formats.

  4. Contents of Waypoint text
     The Waypoint text usually consists of several separate parts, depending on the type of waypoint. For roads, it can contain various keywords such as KP or LABEL_HERE. See Road Waypoint Syntax.

  5. Elevation tag (@)
     The elevation tag can be used in either road or trip waypoints. The waypoint text can contain an elevation tag, which consists of the "@" symbol, followed by a number, followed by units.

      52.45000,-117.44333=bridge over river @2000m
    Units can be either meters (m) or feet (') or (feet). The elevation tag causes the elevation to be translated to both feet and meters. Eg: If a given line ends with "@2000m", that line will be displayed as 2000m (6600'). The "@" symbol triggers the translation, do not use @ symbol for any other purpose. The elevation tag must be the LAST thing on the waypoint line. Here is a list of all the formats:

      @3400m
      @3400 m
      @3400'
      @3400feet
      @3400 feet

  6. Control Points: (cp)
     Both road and trip waypoints can be marked as "control points". Control points are points that do not have a significant description. They are only for purposes of controlling the position of the line, when drawn on maps. Control points are marked with a "cp" keyword. Here are some examples:

      52.45000,-117.44333=cp
    A cp line can also contain "digitizing notes".

      52.45000,-117.44333=cp (curve west by clearcut)
    Digitizing notes are for use by future editors. When you are editing waypoints put in by a previous editor, it is sometimes difficult to make sense of previous points. And sometimes you make mistakes and get mixed up. In these cases, it is useful to have some quick notes as to what is what.