Using Streets & Trips to Generate Routepoints For A GPX File



One of the most frequent requests of geocachers has been how to easily create a list of caches along a route. Geocaching.com recently introduced a new feature to Find Caches Along a Route.

You can use the popular mapping program MicroSoft Streets & Trips along with GPS Babel to create a GPX file which can be used by this new feature to create a Pocket Query for caches along your route.

This tutorial is divided into three sections:

  1. Setting Up A Route In Streets and Trips
  2. Converting the Streets and Trips file to a GPX file.
  3. Uploading the GPX file to the Caches along a Route page on Geocaching.com .

    The example used is a route between Edmonton and Calgary Alberta.

    If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me.


    Setting Up A Route In Streets and Trips



    On the Standard toolbar, click "Route Planner"





    Select the beginning of the route with the cursor. In our example Edmonton is selected and appears in the route planner window. Click on the "Add to Route" radio button.





    Edmonton has been set as the first point on our route.





    Repeat the process to add the second point on our route.





    A tip from cacher Windchill gives another method of adding additional points along a route. To use this method first define the start and end points of your route and click on the "Get Directions" radio button to generate a set of driving instructions. Your route will be highlighted in green on the S&T map.

    "I figured there must be an easy way to allow S&T to automatically generate the route, then go back and add the intermediate stops at major turns. Using the "enter a name" metiond to add a stop in the middle of an already generated route is kind of a pain. I found that if you click on the route itself, the pointer changes to a little flag. If you then click again, and drag just a little bit it will insert a stop for you."

    Additional points are added to complete our route to Calagary. Points should be added at major turns in the route to avoid cutting across corners. Streets & Trips will handle almost any number of points without complaint so adding more points at this stage is easy to do and increases the accuracy of the process. However, routes need to be under 500 miles and less then 500 points for use by Geocaching.com

    An important point to note here is that while the route generated in Streets and Trips will follow the roads between the points we created, Geocaching.com will assume straight lines between these points. So again, use as many points as required to define your route accurately but stay below the 500 point limit.

    Save this Streets&Trips file somewhere you can find it easily again! In the example below it's saved to the GPSBabel directory/folder.






    Although not necessary for our project you can click on the "Get Directions" radio button to generate a set of driving instructions before shutting down Streets and Trips. These can be useful if you're travelling on strange roads or planning a longer trip.


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    Converting the Streets and Trips file to a GPX file.



    An open source freeware program
    GPS Babel is used to convert the Streets and Trips .est file to a .gpx file that can be used by Geocaching.com. Download it from here and unzip it into a suitable directory. To simplify usage we're going to create a batch file similar to what's described here.

    Using Notepad create a BATCH file called ESTtoGPX.BAT in the same directory as GPSBABEL.EXE. In that batch file, put a single line

    gpsbabel -r -i msroute -f %1 -o gpx,gpxver=1.1 -F %~n1.gpx

    You can copy and paste the line above if you want. Be sure to save the file with the .BAT extension.






    For this to work properly next we'll create a shortcut to the batch file as shown above.





    Now drag and drop the .est file onto the shortcut icon to convert the file. This will create a GPX file with the same name as the EST file.





    Congratulations you now have a GPX file with the route points you created in Streets and Trips.

    Note: Do not double click on this GPX file as GSAK will want to open a database for it.

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    Uploading the GPX file to the Caches along a Route page on Geocaching.com



    This file can now be uploaded at the
    Caches along a Route page on Geocaching.com as shown above.

    Many thanks go to the developers of GPSBabel - Robert Lipe -Chief Babel-Head (and all the rest of the Babel-Heads). Thanks also to all the sites I've linked to.

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    Related Information Links

    GPS Babel

    Download GPSBabel here

    Drag and Drop for Windows - example

    Importing waypoints to Microsoft Streets & Trips

    Tips for hand-building routes to use as arc files

    Hyper Optimizing Trips with Microsoft Streets & Trips



    Geocaching Along a Route
    GPX, KML, EST And ARC File Creation Resources


    Markwell's Route Planning: Waypoints Along a Route

    Geocaching and Route Planning

    Golden Horseshoe Geocachers - ARC Builder

    Using Google Earth to Generate Routes For Geocaching

    Using Streets & Trips to Generate Routes For Geocaching

    Using Streets & Trips to Generate Waypoints For an Arc Filter to Find Caches Along a Route in GSAK

    Using Streets & Trips to Generate Routepoints For A GPX File For Use With The Caches Along a Route PQ at Geocaching.com

    Using Streets & Trips to Generate Polygons For an Arc/Poly Filter in GSAK


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    Updated 2006/09/28
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