Further information can be found in the help index. GPX files can contain tracks, routes and POIs. To make it really complicated, all conceivable combinations are allowed. A GPX file can therefore contain several routes, all kinds of tracks and some POIs. The track can be divided into segments and a point of a route can in turn contain route points. The handling of GPX files is extremely flexible, but it is not easy to understand the many possibilities. The elements in GPX file are based on points reflecting a GEO location. If you look at the GPX specification, only latitude and longitude, as longitude and latitude, are mandatory fields. Other information such as timestamp, altitude above sea level, etc. is optional information. This limitation should always be kept in mind when dealing with GPX files. If you open a GPX file with mixed content with Track of the day version 4.x, all valid elements are read in and displayed.
Route versus track
Version 1.x was designed for analyzing tracks recorded with a GPX-compatible navigation device such as the BMW Motorrad Navigator VI. An important key function is the automatic import of devices that are connected to the respective computer via a USB cable. If breaks and refueling stops are made during a route, recorded tracks are often divided into many segments. The archive of the BMW Motorrad Navigator VI also complicates the analysis of tracks because the segments of a track are often spread over several GPX files. In order to be able to look back at the tour of a specific day, i.e. a track of the day, all recorded waypoints are read in, sorted by date and time and assigned to new tracks for display. After the initial release of version 1.x, many early users tried to open GPX files containing routes with Track of the day. They just knew the difference and there was frustration and lots of support requests. Here’s the difference again:
- Routes are for planning. You have routes before you set off and only with routes can a navigation device navigate, issue turning instructions and avoid blockages. A route usually does not contain altitude information or timestamps.
- Tracks are created while driving and you usually have to activate the recording. With Garmin devices you can set a continuous recording. This is the best option for making good use of Track of the day. With TomTom devices, you always have to keep an eye on the recording and, after stops for gas and photos, make sure that the recording continues without gaps.
In order to simplify the use of Track of the day for inexperienced users, version 2.0 added support for routes in GPX format. Starting with version 2.0, tracks can be converted into routes and vice versa. This makes it possible to create a track from a route and experience it virtually with the integrated street view function.
Microsoft Internet Explorer was integrated into the track of the day to implement this street view function. However, Google now uses a Java Script version on the Streetview websites that is no longer fully supported by Internet Explorer. As a result, some users often encountered Java script errors when using the Google Streetview function. With version 3.0, the Track of the day web browser has therefore been replaced. The new browser is based on the Chromium framework and is largely compatible with Google Street View websites. However, a login with a Google profile is not possible because Google only allows a few certified web browsers. However, no login with a Google account is required to use the Streetview functionality, so nothing stands in the way of Streetview enjoyment. When using Google Streetview, you should always keep in mind that Germany in particular is a patchwork quilt with very large gaps in Google Streetview coverage. In all other EU countries, the USA, Canada, etc., even small secondary routes are often very well recorded and can be viewed with Google Street View while planning the route.
The new route planner
The route planning with Track of the day was extensively revised with version 4.0. In order to simplify user guidance, new small dialogs are used, which have been implemented as pop-ups. In contrast to conventional modal dialogs, popups do not have to be closed explicitly. If the mouse pointer leaves a popup or if you click outside of a popup, it closes automatically. The contents of these popups are based on the items open in Track of the day. If neither a route nor a track is selected, a very simple popup opens as soon as the map is clicked with the left mouse button. This popup offers the following options
- Capture Points of Interest (POI).
- Start a new route at the currently clicked point on the map
- Change the zoom factor of the map (enlarge or reduce the map to fixed scales)
Routes can only be planned using popups. However, it makes sense to dig deeper into a route. The more you know about a country or region, the easier it is to plan a route and ultimately experience a beautiful trip. POIs are a good way to get to know an area. With the POI search based on Google Maps, you can easily find beautiful sections of the route, hotels and restaurants. A GEO location is saved for each POI that you define. This location offers access to street view images at all times. If you have saved a series of POIs, they can easily be combined into a route or help to further refine an existing route that has only been roughly planned. From version 4.1, POIs that belong to a route are also automatically included in the generated road books in DOCX format.
Example: French Alps
In this example, the procedure for using the route planner is shown using a route from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. The route is roughly based on the popular Route des Grandes Alpes. Before we actually start planning the route, we explore the terrain. We roughly estimate where we should go and consider where we could stop and which hotels we could take a closer look at. Briancon seems like a good first stop. If you right-click on the map, you can access the POI search via the context menu. Google Maps is used for the POI search. You can enlarge the window to full screen and now research as you wish and create a POI for everything that seems interesting. In the example we start at Lake Geneva and look for a hotel in Briancon for the first night. The Hotel Auberge de la Paix seems to offer good value for money and has mostly good reviews. To save this hotel as a POI, we click on the star symbol in the address bar of the POI search. The POI editor opens. Here you can store notes and other comments. If you exit the dialog with OK, the Auberge de la Paix will be saved as a POI. This POI is in the SQL database and is also included in the map. Within the map, it can be removed at any time and added again from the database.
Here you can see the POI Editor and how you can enrich POIs with additional information.
All POIs visible on the map are opened in quick view with one click. The icons at the top right of the quick view allow you to define a POI as a start or destination. When a route with more than two waypoints is open, an icon for using the POI as a via point is visible. The POI editor can be opened with the pencil symbol. The white garbage can removes the POI from the map view. The red garbage can also permanently deletes the POI from the database. The X closes the quick view. Alternatively, you can also move the mouse over the popup.
Restaurants and all kinds of other locations can also be defined as POIs.
Hotels can also be defined as POIs via the integrated hotel search via booking.com.
POIs can be enriched with tags in the description and comment fields. This makes it even easier to find them again later using the full-text search of the database.
As soon as POIs are visible in the map display, the list editor for POIs can be opened. To do this, click on the star symbol on the right-hand side of the quick search. A dialog like the one shown in the following image opens. The list is sorted by distance to the current home location. In the example, the home location is Thonon-les-Bains near Lake Geneva. If you set Menton on the Mediterranean as your home location, the POIs would be displayed in reverse order.
Finally, to create a route along the POIs, you can use the POI quick view icons. If you add more POI later, you can include them as a via point in the list of route points.
The street view can be opened at any time with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+S. All points of a route can be selected here. If available, the associated images are displayed in the Street View window.
Here you can see the complete route. Two overnight stays are included in the route. So that you can later see the distance to the daily destination on the navigation device, it makes sense to divide the route so that it ends with the respective daily destination.
To split a route, right-click on the route and select Split route here from the context menu. In the example, the first overnight stay is to take place in the Auberge de la Paix. To find the right route point, you zoom into the map, it’s very easy and the route of the following day starts exactly at the hotel.
Splitting preserves the original route. The parts of the route are marked with the prefix A: and B: in the name. The Rename route dialog can be accessed via the context menu in the list of routes. Alternatively, the name can also be changed in the route summary at the top of the map. In the example, the route is divided into three parts. All days are provided with the correct departure time and fully calculated.
Routes can be converted into tracks via the context menu in the list of routes. Now you can generate a route animation as an MP4 video, or create screenshots for a road book. If a navigation device is connected, you can send the POIs visible in the current map section directly to Garmin and other compatible devices. There they are displayed as Custom POIs.
An overview of the planned tour or excerpts can be saved as a JPG file at any time.