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Road Waypoint Keywords Reference #3302
    Date first written: 2013.01.25   Review Date:2018.06.14

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
3. Bridges
4. Gates
5. Jct (Junctions)
6. KP (Kilometer Point)
7. Road Number Icons
9. Label_Here Keyword
10. Segment_End
11. General Footnotes
12. Rules for combining Keywords

1. Introduction
This document has a complete list of all "keywords" that can be used in road waypoints, and shows the icons that result. There is an entry for every distinct keyword. This document is part of the Road Editors Manual. Read it to get an overview of how it all works. See Road Editor's Manual. To see the waypoints on an actual map, see Test Road with bridges and gates and look at the GMap for it. Then use the update link to see the corresponding keywords.


  1. Road_Block
The ROAD_BLOCK keyword is a general purpose keyword for things like washouts, tank traps, rock slides. The ROAD_BLOCK keyword shares the same icon as Bridge_Out. (the red "X")

3. Bridges
The special bridge keywords are used for all "important" bridges. As a road is digitized, the idea is to put in one of the bridge icons every time you see a bridge. In the old days, many waypoints were just labelled "bridge". These should be converted to one of the specific icons, or to Bridge_Unknown.

     An important bridge that is no longer crossable. Can be either a road bridge or a trail bridge. BRIDGE_OUT on a road means a vehicle cannot cross it. (If you can still cross on foot, use ROADBRIDGE_FOOTONLY). If you put BRIDGE_OUT on a trail, it means a normal hiker cannot cross it. Eg: There was an important bridge over a raging stream, but it is no longer crossable. Do not use "BRIDGE_OUT" in places where you can ford the creek. The red X is meant to tell someone when they glance at the map that the normal driver or hiker can't get beyond a certain point, and it would cause you to change your plans. (The road is blocked). Fords can be marked as a "Ford" with a KP mark.

     A road bridge that is in such bad shape that you can't drive a vehicle across it, but you can walk across it. The reason we use an X is to make it as simple as possible to scan a map and see that you can't drive certain roads. Any "X" icon means you can't drive, however a green X means you can still walk.

     An important bridge that is in good shape. Can be either a road bridge or a trail bridge.

     These are important bridges for which we don't know the status. Mostly on roads. Yellow means caution.

  5. Ford (KP)
     A "ford" is a place where you can ford a creek, especially a hiking trail. In some cases, there may have been a bridge there but now you ford the creek. Such places should not be marked as "Bridge_Out" (which shows up as a big red "X" because it would not stop you. Start the waypoint description with "KP" which means "kilometer point". The "KP" causes a brown square icon to show up on the map with a mileage, such that the map reader can click on the brown square and read the waypoint description.


  1. Only important bridges
     The main emphasis is to specifically mark important bridges, not culverts or fords. One reason is because the km distance tends to clutter things. Bridges on trails don't need to be noted, unless it is a really critical bridge that would stop a hiker. Eg: We wouldn't bother with the bridges on the trail across Vargas island that just cross some swampy little stream. Parks might show them as "bridge_out" but we would not show the bridge at all because it's not a stopper.

  2. Make Satellite Assumptions
     When digitizing on a satellite, if you can clearly see the bridge is OK, and it is an important bridge, use Bridge_In. If you can see the bridge is clearly gone, use Bridge_Out. If you can't see clearly, then Bridge_Unknown.

  3. Why Bridge_Unknown instead of just "bridge"
     The difference is that "unknown" means someone has taken a look on the satellite, and can't figure it out, but it is important. The word "bridge" can be used for all sorts of unimportant bridges such as "bridge over unnamed creek".

4. Gates

     A red "G" against a black background meands Gate is normally locked. Includes both gates permanently locked and also gates for which you can obtain the key. If there is somewhere to get the key, put a short note in the waypoint, so people know when they hover over the gate on the map. Eg;
      Gate_Locked - Get key from fisheries @400m

     Gate is normally open.

     A gate you know to exist, but which has been seen to be open or locked on various random occasions. So it's status is variable, and will be displayed as yellow (meaning caution).

5. Jct (Junctions)

 The "Jct" keyword is a special keyword for marking junctions. The Jct keyword is followed by a junction number, eg: Jct 74. The junction number is usually a two digit Jct number.

Results: The Jct code causes the brown "infopoint" icon and mileage to appear on GMap. It also causes the waypoint to appear on the Road page.

You create the junction number from the second decimal place of latitude and second decimal place of longitude. Eg: A point at 50.074990,-126.146543 would be "Jct 74". For more details see Junction Codes.

Rules for Jct

  1. Label All junctions
     - When you digitize with GMap, put a "Jct" code for all the visible junctions, including spurs that are not in bivouac. This will ensure it is easy to fix. Also use the "Jct" keyword for trailheads on a logging road. And any trail junctions within a trail network.

  2. Named junctions
     If a junction has an established name, you don't need a junction number. For example, when I was digitizing the Lost Coast area of California, many junctions had actual names.

  3. Highway junctions
     Highway junctions don't need a junction code, just mention the other highway.

  See Ashlu Main It has numerous Jct marked. Note that those waypoints show up on the RoadxPg.asp.
 - note that Sigurd trailhead is marked as Jct
 - note that KP is marked for generating station.

6. KP (Kilometer Point)
Use the KP keyword to mark any waypoint that has a significant associated feature. It causes a small brown square to appear (the info point) icon, and the distance in km from the start of the road. For Example, you might mark the start of thick alders, and for which we want to display the mileage.


 Here's my latest idea of when to use the "KP" keyword.

  1. Switchbacks
     Don't label switchbacks with a "KP" keyword. The logic is that the reader can see well enough it is a switchback. And also if somebody really wants to refer to that switchback, they can interpolate the distance, or refer to it by height, or by sequence, such as "the second switchback". It doesn't make the map more useful for the person to be able to hover over the switchback and see it is a switchback. However, it is OK to label them with a description, and a height. Eg:

    50.123,0-123.567=switchback @600m

  2. Stream Crossings
     Similar to switchbacks, it is useful to note the crossing of any named creek, and often other creeks. On a level road, elevation is not as useful, so mileage is good.

Status: As of 2018, not used as much as Jct. Trailheads are now marked with Jct.

7. Road Number Icons
GMap puts "road number" icons roughly every km along the road. Eg: Road number 3. The number is just the last digit of the RoadId. Since there are only 10 numbers, it is possible that two roads on a given map will have the same number, but hopefully not side by side.

Below is a crude sketch, where the orange line represents a logging road and the number icons distinguish the two roads.

------ ------- ----------- This is road #1 on this map

----- ------- ------------This is road #5 on this map

The number icon is just the last digit of the RoadxId. Ideally the icons would be perfectly spaced at the exact whole number of km. However that isn't possible, because there is not necessarily a waypoint at that exact point. Or the waypoint corresponds to something like a bridge, so we don't want the title icon.

As you may know, the color of a line indicates the general condition of the road. The road class can be changed in mid-road often after a significant washout or bridge removed. For example the following keyword would be placed after a permanent bridge washout:

This would cause the color to change in the middle of the road.

This is a keyword that does not have a corresponding icon. When you put this keyword into a waypoint, it changes the line appearance from that point on.

The road class can be changed in mid-road often after a significant washout or bridge removed. For example the following keyword would be placed after a permanent bridge washout:

52.12345,-123.59653=Big washout, CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS:Spur3
This would cause the color to change in the middle of the road. Note: Don't put any text behind the road type. (You can't put an elevation tag. Currently the way the program works is to look for the string "CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS" and if it finds that string, anywhere in the description, it then splits the description on the colon, and expects whatever is to the right of the colon is exactly the new road type. Eg; Spur3.


  1. Easiest rule to remember is: Don't put any other text on same line

  2. Permanent washouts
     If a bridge is permanently pulled, or out and not expected to be repaired within 6 months, then Bridge_Out, and also CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS to Spur3 which means walk only. Unlike gates, we don't care if the road surface is perfectly good, it is still classed as undrivable. This is practical because there is usually no way to determine if the road has deteriorated beyond the washout anyway.

  3. Gates
     Should the road class be changed to "Spur3" if there is a permanent gate? Eg: Slesse Road? Answer: The gate must be marked with Gate_Locked, but the road will be classed as drivable. Note this is different than bridges.

9. Label_Here Keyword
(Not used much these days) You can also directly cause one to appear with the Label_Here keyword. Notice that the road title icons have numbers in them from 0-9. These are so you can distinguish between two different roads. (most of the time). I refer to the number as the "local" road number. The local number is just the last digit of the full ID number for the road. For example, supposing a given road is road #3 and then comes to a fork. You can see that the fork is #5 whereas the #3 continues on the same. You can hover over the title icon and see the name of the road.

Please see the example in Test Road with bridges and gates.

Title Icons can be caused either by the LABEL_HERE keyword, or more often generated automatically roughly on km boundaries by the road display program. The LABEL_HERE keyword is only used in special cases, such as when there is a really short road segment.

10. Segment_End

This special icon is used on multi segment highways, where you want to see where one segment stops and the next one starts.

11. General Footnotes

  1. Multiple Keywords with same Icon
     In some cases, there are two keywords that can cause the same icon. Eg: ROAD_BLOCK and BRIDGE_OUT both display a big red X. The reason is to have as few different icon types as possible. If the user wants to see WHY there is a red "X", he can click on the icon.

  2. Case insensitive
     The program that spots the keywords is case insensitive, so both LABEL_HERE and "Label_Here" should work.

  3. Can't have two keywords in same description
     Because of the way the waypoint processing works, it is a giant if - else statement. So you can't put two keywords on the same line, because it sees the first one, puts out that icon and continues to the next point. Eg: I tried to put both ROAD_BLOCK and CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS on one line, and it missed the CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS.

  4. Keywords are always joined by underscores.
     Eg: Road_Block not RoadBLock.

12. Rules for combining Keywords
Note: You cannot combine two keywords on the same line. Instead you must duplicate the waypoint lat-longs. Below is an example:

The following needs to be split:

51.598914,-117.287131=Road_block, CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS:Spur3

Below are the lines.

51.598914,-117.287131=ROAD_BLOCK  This is a barricade

Also, you cannot have any other text on the CHANGE_ROAD_CLASS:Spur3 line. It confuses the Spur type, and makes it show up black. However you can have additional description on the ROAD_BLOCK.

Also, it is useful to always put the keywords as capitals. eg: ROAD_BLOCK, not Road_Block.

  • Note
     When you put two in a row, there is a problem because the brown "info" icon overwrites the Road Block Icon.