What is a Track, Route, Waypoint etc. ?

Discussion in 'Garmin GPS' started by Nuvi-Nebie, Jul 16, 2017.

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  1. Nuvi-Nebie

    Nuvi-Nebie Moderator

    Aug 16, 2015
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    These terms have specific meanings when applied to Garmin products, that may differ from their more generic meaning :-


    The Waypoint also known as a Favourite, MOB (Man Over board), Mark etc, is a single location, it usually has a single set of Latitude / Longitude coordinates associated with it, it may also have a title and other text associated with it.

    A waypoint can be generated automatically by a GPS as part of a Track or when the user manually makes a 'Mark' or MOB entry, it can also be manually generated on a GPS or computer program such as Garmin Basecamp, by either clicking on a map location or by manually entering the Latitude / Longitude coordinates


    A Point Of Interest is also a single location and is similar to a Waypoint, but it can be given exta attributes so that it can alert a user when it is approached, a group of POIs can be sent to a GPS device that all have the same attributes that can include a picture icon used to display each POI, a sound file used to announce that the POI is near and a selectable distance that is used to trigger the announcement, further details on POIs can be found here (Click Link)


    An automated Track is a History of where you have been

    A Track is a series of Waypoints that is usually generated by a GPS automatically as it moves on a trip, at each waypoint location, the GPS will log the Latitude / Longitude coordinates, time / date, and with a series of these Waypoints, the GPS can calculate the speed and heading on the unit.The GPS may store extra data at each waypoint such as altitude etc. but usually, no other text is stored at each location.

    A track can be generated using a computer program such as Garmin Basecamp by clicking on successive points on a map, this Track is independent from the map and when downloaded to a GPS (with or without a map), the connection from one Waypoint to the next is always a straight line


    A Route is trip you intend to make in the future following a map feature

    A route is similar to a Track, as it is a series if Waypoints (or shaping points), but there are differences, Routes are not automatically generated by a GPS on a trip, they can be generated by a user either using Garmin Basecamp or on some GPS unit directly, The main difference is that a Route is associated with a map, a Route generated using a specific map on Basecamp, will only reproduce the same trip when downloaded to a GPS that has the same map installed onto it.

    This is because unlike with a Track, the 'jump' from one Waypoint to another is not a straight line, the GPS will auto-route following the road, path or other map feature in order to get to the the next Waypoint, if there isn't a road / path etc. the GPS will try to get you to the next Waypoint using the nearest map feature it can find, this can result in a very different trip to the one you planned.

    Because a Route will always follow a map feature it is possible to create a very detailed trip over long distances with only two Waypoints in it, this is because the GPS will auto route in between Waypoints / shaping points

    There is more detail of different ways of generating routes at this link :-

    1) In order for a Route to follow a road, path etc., the map must have 'Routing' or 'AutoRoute' built into it, maps that don't have this feature will not allow your SatNav / GPS to auto route between waypoint / shaping points

    2) Auto Routing will use buit-in critetia to determin how to get from one Waypoint / Shaping point to the next, e.g. Shortest, quickest, side road to main road and back to side road etc., because of this you may not get the Route you wanted, to fix this problem a user will have to add shaping points along the Route in order to force a particularly path to be used

    3) Manually inserted points in between the Start and End Points default to Waypoints (that MUST be visited), they can be changed to Shaping points (that can be avoided), Waypoints are marked as 'Alert on arrival', whereas shaping points are marked as 'Don't alert on arrival'


    A Garmin Course is a somewhat vague term for a future trip that is somewhere between a Track and a Route, it is generated with multiple waypoints and is initially plotted with straight lines between as a Track would be, however it can be made to autoroute between Waypoints like a Route.

    I think a Course is best described as a Multi-destination Route rather than a Route with a single endpoint


    Another name for a Route, e.g. Trip Planner = Route Planner


    A general term detailing a path followed usually on foot, 'off-road', during a hiking / walking trip, it may contain Tracks, Routes and Waypoints

    Shaping Point

    A shaping point is similar to a Waypoint, but is only used when creating a Route, the difference is that if a Route is generated from Waypoints, they MUST all be visited, if a waypoint is 'missed out' you will be directed back to it, whereas shaping points are Via points towards a final destination, if one is missed out you will be re-routed towards the destination rather than the missed shaping point
    (See notes HERE)
    (More Notes HERE)

    Nuvi-Nebie, Jul 16, 2017
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