Creating, Using and Living with ITN and GPX Routes and Tracks - Getting Straight — TomTom Community

Creating, Using and Living with ITN and GPX Routes and Tracks - Getting Straight

cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
edited January 28 in RIDER
In my experience of this forum (and the web) there is widespread confusion and abiguity on how to use tracks, routes and .gpx and .itn files.
Much of this is in my opinion down to manufacturers like Tomtom creating the confusion with ambiguous implementation supported by ambiguous manuals and forums with misleading advice on topics that probably confuse most of us - that's my rant over.

Whilst I have owned a Rider 450 for some time I have never really understood it. So I am now spending a little time unravelling the uncertainty and ambiguity.

So this post is my understanding and it is not complete so I'm looking for any other learned (Factual) wisdom.

I am still not 100% certain about the difference between tracks and routes on the Tomtom device so if I have this incorrect please correct me, but this is based on what I think my experience has been.

File Formats:
There are two file formats that can be loaded to a Tomtom.
1) The ITN format for routes 2) The universal .gpx file format (1.1 is current I understand).

Then we have "how does Tomtom use these files?". This is my understanding after some work this last week or so and from some on the road experience:

So, the usual issues and questions are:
(1) What's the difference between a route and track and how to deviate from a route and then get back to the route
i.e. you are following a route and deviate for some reason and then want to
continue with original route. The answer is "it depends"!
1.1 If it's an .ITN
  • -- It will show all the waypoints
  • -- the Tomtom will take you to the next way point by the best re-calculated route (so you have no control it will tell you the best route according o the calculation algorithm for your selected choice (windy/fastest etc.)
1.2 If it's a .gpx
I 'think' the following is true:
(Note - when you load a .gpx file it will be loaded as two files, both a Route and a
Track. Both have a dotted arrow icon but I think the difference is as per below
(although some people swap these around and I'm still not clear on which way round
is correct in Tomtom!). I have not used recorded Tomtom tracks so have no idea if
they are the same. I am currently exporting from Myroute-app for the below
learnings)
  • All .gpx files: Waypoints are not displayed. It only has "trackpoints" (points to make up the track to follow)
(1.2.1) .gpx TOMTOM Track- If you deviate and it's shown in Tomtom MyRoutes with the
word "Track-" at the beginning of the name then it is a fixed route and it will take you
back to the next plotted track-point, even if you are already past it. No calculation
here except getting back to the track where you left it.
i.e. it will not miss a track point even if you have past it. This is because the Tomtom device will not calculate the route and will follow your track points doggedly (as it should)

(1.2.2) .gpx TOMTOM Route-if it's a .gpx shown in Tomtom with the word "Route-" at the beginning of the name Tomtom will still route you back to the track but will pick up at the next logical point (I think) along the track. This is because the Tomtom device does calculate if you follow a track as a route. One to watch here as it also means it may deviate the route slightly if it calculates a better route using selected calculation algorithm. You won't see this so easily as you won't have any waypoints.

(2) How to add a stop into a route
I think with an ITN route you can add a stop by clicking on the map.

(3) How to stick to a desired route (force Tomtom to follow your route)
Either use enough Waypoints to force the route or use a track and select to follow as a track (as per above 1). Note with a track if you do this and the Tomtom can't map through a road (as it doesn't have it for example) you may get a re-route (that's my experience - very annoying when you know the road is there!) or a 'can't route' error - it may depend on the Route- or Track- file as per above in 1.1.1 and 1.2.2)

(4) How to join a route part way through
(4.1) If it’s a .gpx track- OR route- then I don't believe you can
(4.2) If it's an ITN route you go to Myroutes and click the route to load it
Then quick click on the nearest/desired "Waypoint" and click the 3 dots
Click start Route from here

If you need more control the moral in general is to have many waypoints (OR split the route into smaller routes) to both control the route and enable you to join a route where you choose. On the other hand if you have long routes for a trip that may mean a lot of waypoints (whcih may not be an issue for you?) so you may opt for a track - or you could load both to the device and choose the one you need at time!
My experience with trying most of these on the device is mixed and I'm still working it out fully so happy to be corrected.

I'm learning preparation is key and my best experience is with Myroute-app web that I am trying out now. It can show you the difference between a Tomtom map and a google map route (for example) - Tomtom maps often miss information or won't route down a perfectly acceptable road so it's good to know in advance!

I'm interested in any confirmed corrections to incorrect items above or the leftover ambiguity of course (but please don't if you don't 'KNOW')!
Hope this helps someone.
Cheers.
«1

Comments

  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Sadly I can't edit above post however I just found this from the manual regarding tracks under the Current Route Menu. It is therefore possible to join to a track from it's nearest point (according to the manual).
    How unhelpful is Tomtom here with unclear labels and lack of clear consistency:
    Drive to Route - goes to START of route
    Drive to Track - calculates a route to nearest point on track
    -- However, it is not clear. Is this the nearest 'track point' or the nearest point along the route created by the track points? If it is a track point is it possible it will route you backwards to the last track point if it is nearer to your current location than the next track point along the track?
    Drive to starting point goes to start of track
    ...and we don't need drive to nearest point on route as it will do that without asking.

    However - none of this specifies specifically the difference between a .gpx Track- and a gpx Route- (which leads me to assume the manual author didn't know). Therefore do we assume a Route- is a route (i.e. Device calculates route) and a Track- follows the track points with no calculations as I have suggested in previous post? Can you ride to the nearest trackpoint if it is a gpx Track- ?

    From the manual:
    Drive to Route or Track

    Select Drive to Route to plan a route from your current location to the starting point of a My Route. The starting point is converted to a stop.
    Drive to Track plans a route to the nearest point of the track from your current position.

    Drive to Starting Point

    On the Current Track menu, select this button to plan a route to the starting point of the track. The starting point is converted to a stop. For more information, see Navigating using a track

    This can be found here with the button graphics: http://download.tomtom.com/open/manuals/rider_400_40/html/en-gb/index.htm#TheCurrentRoutemenu-MASTER.htm
  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    I wonder if the .gpx Track- Route- files was the solution to this thread ( https://en.discussions.tomtom.com/rider-51/routes-itn-and-tracks-gpx-what-is-what-in-the-rider-400-989016/index1.html) from two years ago.
    Can we have a clear explanation of the difference in terms of how the Rider uses them please?
  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    GPX is an open file format that supports waypoints (POIs), routes and tracks. There can be some extensions to the format to support more related info (Garmin does that).

    A route is just a list of places in the order you want to visit. The navigation software will calculate a route between all these points according to your settings, various map data (See TomTom IQ routes), traffic data etc.

    A track is like a record of a route ridden in the past. It describes a route meter by meter and you can replay it anytime. Nothing is calculated. It will be always the same.


    TomTom uses GPX files only as a track no matter its content and ITN files (custom TomTom itinerary format) as a route.


    I totally agree with you the user manual sucks. They don’t explain really anything. Definitely not how to use it, how to design properly a route, and what to choose for every occasion... They should describe some scenarios, some examples... etc.
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @cristo
    cristo: Wrote(4) How to join a route part way through (4.1) If it’s a .gpx track- OR route- then I don't believe you can
    (4.2) If it's an ITN route you go to Myroutes and click the route to load it
    Then quick click on the nearest/desired "Waypoint" and click the 3 dots
    Click start Route from here
    If it’s a .gpx track... Tap 4Dot (.... Menu) --> Current Track... Select 'Drive to Track' or 'Drive to Starting point'

    ATB YFM
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  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Ste7ios wrote:
    A track is like a record of a route ridden in the past. It describes a route meter by meter and you can replay it anytime. Nothing is calculated. It will be always the same.


    TomTom uses GPX files only as a track no matter its content and ITN files (custom TomTom itinerary format) as a route.

    When I create .gpx files and import them to the Rider there are two files created on the rider: Route- and Track-
    Both have the 'track' icon - Are you sure they are treated the same? So why do we have two files named differently?
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @cristo
    cristo wrote:
    Sadly I can't edit above post
    To Edit... Click on the 3Dot Edit button, Bottom right of Post

    ATB YFM
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  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Thanks however it only allows edit for a limited time and then the option is no longer available.

    Regarding my last post
    "When I create .gpx files and import them to the Rider there are two files created on the rider: Route- and Track-
    Both have the 'track' icon - Are you sure they are treated the same? So why do we have two files named differently?"

    I have just noticed there is only one file on the rider (viewed on PC) however there are two shown in MyRoutes - so does this mean they are interpreted differently, if yes then how different?! It's a guessing game!
  • AndersNordhAndersNordh Posts: 260 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    cristo wrote:
    I have just noticed there is only one file on the rider (viewed on PC) however there are two shown in MyRoutes - so does this mean they are interpreted differently, if yes then how different?! It's a guessing game!
    Hi cristo,

    There is only one file transferred, but it may contain two sections that the Rider then shows as two options under "My routes". If the GPX file only contain a Track, let's say that you recorded a route, then only the Track will show since the Route section of the file is missing.

    Have a nice day,
    Anders

  • AndersNordhAndersNordh Posts: 260 [Sovereign Trailblazer]
    cristo wrote:
    I have just noticed there is only one file on the rider (viewed on PC) however there are two shown in MyRoutes - so does this mean they are interpreted differently, if yes then how different?! It's a guessing game!
    Hi cristo,

    There is only one file transferred, but it may contain two sections that the Rider then shows as two options uner "My routes".
    Hi again cristo, you may also find more info in this post.

    https://en.discussions.tomtom.com/rider-51/intermediate-stops-on-the-550-1039059/index1.html#post1232772

    Have a nice one,
    Anders

  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    cristo wrote:
    Ste7ios wrote:
    A track is like a record of a route ridden in the past. It describes a route meter by meter and you can replay it anytime. Nothing is calculated. It will be always the same.


    TomTom uses GPX files only as a track no matter its content and ITN files (custom TomTom itinerary format) as a route.
    When I create .gpx files and import them to the Rider there are two files created on the rider: Route- and Track-
    Both have the 'track' icon - Are you sure they are treated the same? So why do we have two files named differently?
    Yes, forget the label. The track icon matters.

    The route section of GPX for TomTom is a track with no detail at all (useless as a track...).

    Totaly idiotic and confusing.

    They should totally adopt GPX and use it properly. ITN should be dead.
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @cristo
    christo: WroteThanks however it only allows edit for a limited time and then the option is no longer available.
    With respect, your statement is incorrect, when Tomtom changed over to inSided as a provider, there was indeed was a 1 Hour time limit, but quite shortly after the launch of the new site the 1 Hour edit limit was removed... Posts that are 5 or 6 years old can still be edited

    ATB YFM
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  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @Ste7ios

    @Daniel Fornies Soria
    From the MyDrive Web Team posted

    Hi,
    The GPX specification supports two main sections in a GPX file:
    • TRK: this is a track, consisting on a path with lots of lat-long coordiantes pairs
    • RTE: this is a sequence of stops, including origin and destination.
    The specification doesn't dictate that the RTE section is precisely mapped over the TRK section. Therefore when both sections are present, a GPX import results in two "routes" in your account.
    We have a future improvement this year where you will be able to control whether to import TRK and/or RTE sections, for your convenience.

    Regards,
    MyDrive Web Team

    See post... https://en.discussions.tomtom.com/mydrive-connect-apps-474/how-to-delete-hidden-routes-in-mydrive-1038775/index2.html#post1233616

    .GPX Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_Exchange_Format

    .ITN Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itinerary_file

    ATB YFM
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  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    Improvements are always welcome but the above statement needs clarification...
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @Ste7ios
    Ste7ios: Wrote
    ITN should be dead
    [h3]Noooooo !!!![/h3][h3].GPX is hopeless for complex routes....[/h3]20 Stop .GPX Track misses many cul-de-sac

    47441e42-f0b4-424d-b47a-1fc6c4d3be10.jpg
    20 stop .ITN Route Using MDW visits all 20 cul-de-sac

    bd6aa25f-40df-469b-a5bf-c1f5d681f106.jpg
    50 Stop .ITN Route Using the MyRoute App visits all 50 cul-de-sac
    4c34c0c4-1212-4569-b5be-ade9edf0faeb.jpg
    ATB YFM
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  • tugmantugman Posts: 337 [Revered Navigator]
    Hi
    I am glad that I am not the only one confused by this track v route business and yes I have come across the round the block situation while planning a ride in the past while the road I wanted was perfectly useable.

    Not sure if this may help but recently I got stuck while on a ride and could not follow the planned "route/ gpx " and just turn of and headed in the general direction I wanted to go. I then stopped cleared the loaded "route" then reloaded it. I was then given the option to ride to the start or to the nearest point. By choosing the later I was taken back to the orginal "route".

    One other point I have experienced and it this. If you load a "route" and then change the type of ride settings on the unit it will use the original setting ie fast, slow etc. Therefore any ride "route type" has to be set before loading your prefered journey.
  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    ITN and the route section of a GPX file contains the SAME info stored in a different way:

    A list of coordinates with a description in the order you want to visit them.

    ITN contains a list of the following:
    longitude|latitude|description|type|
    

    And a GPX


    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    linkType [0..*] ?
    xsd:nonNegativeInteger [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    extensionsType [0..1] ?
    wptType [0..*] ?

    The rtept section contains the list of waypoints you want to visit. The wptType is


    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    xsd:dateTime [0..1] ?
    degreesType [0..1] ?
    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    linkType [0..*] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    xsd:string [0..1] ?
    fixType [0..1] ?
    xsd:nonNegativeInteger [0..1] ?
    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    xsd:decimal [0..1] ?
    dgpsStationType [0..1] ?
    extensionsType [0..1] ?

    Richer than the simpler ITN...

    The problem is that TomTom doesn’t use that section as a route but as a track.


    GPX is better because it supports better international characters (like Greek) through Unicode support and it’s a file format widely supported.
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi

    One thing is sure, If I was delivering Amazon parcels I wouldn't be using a .GPX Track

    ATB YFM
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  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    Cases like that needs routes. It’s versatile and you can avoid traffic.

    A real track can be useful for other scenarios...

    The problem is TomTom ‘s implementation, their choices, not the file formats.


    Routes & tracks are very specific concepts but the user manual doesn’t explain anything, how to use them, etc. It can be easy to understand by technical minded people like me but not by others.

    All those years I only see confusion...
  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Hi Gents
    Thanks for your help and input - I know you are both passionate from reading your many threads and it's great have your input. My intended purpose of this thread is to understand the implementation (with it's flaws) that we have today - not to debate what should be at a later date or what is better.
    My point is this - these discussions often mix up three distinct things which loses the clarity around each.
    1) What are the file standards and different specs
    2) How does Tomtom implement navigation using these files
    3) What are the opportunities to improve in future

    The intended focus of this thread is solely 2 (with necessary support from 1)
    i.e. Getting Straight as per thread title.

    So to continue that discussion (whilst biting emotional tongue due to Tomtom ambiguity):
    _____________________________
    If a .gpx file contains both track and route [sections] the device will import both.
    For Navigation:
    (i) If a user selects a the file pre-fixed "Route-"
    • it will use Tomtom calculated routing between each route (RTE) point
    Result: it is a route and may not follow the exact same route.

    Q's: If I deviate from the route and do not manually intervene, will the TT device stick to the next numbered route point or dynamically re-route to the next Route point or find the nearest point on the route?). (This question is what will the device do without intervention. We are aware that with manual intervention for 'Current Route' we can Drive to Route - goes to START of route or Drive to Track - calculates a route to nearest point on track)

    (ii) If user selects a the file pre-fixed "Track-"
    • it will use each track point and align to the nearest available road
    • create route with no route calculation (it's a track!)
    Result: it is a Track that is followed as closely as possible to the original track (TRK) points (with map dependencies and it can fail with error - or is this fixed now?)

    Q: If deviate from a .gpx "Track-" will it continue to (dynamically route from current position back to the next track point not yet passed? This would be logical to me)

    As for ITN I do think it has its merits as the default goto but I have just plotted a 300 mile route and the number of waypoints to follow my precise route would make it very busy on the device - so I have saved it as both and will start with a .gpx route and see how that goes.
    _______________________________
    Rant to Tomtom product team: This is so sado-masochistic - all the more because Tomtom knows all this and can't get this basic logic published for its customers - crap product management with such a complex product - no excuse in this day an age, especially at this price point. Put the customer first and you'll sell more units doh! It's such a shame as this product is great - just very poorly documented. Get those techies to sit down and spell this out to your product team and then get it published. Jeeze!
  • cristocristo Posts: 16 [Apprentice Traveler]
    YamFazMan wrote:
    Hi
    @cristo







    christo: WroteThanks however it only allows edit for a limited time and then the option is no longer available.
    With respect, your statement is incorrect, when Tomtom changed over to inSided as a provider, there was indeed was a 1 Hour time limit, but quite quickly after the launch of the new site the 1 Hour edit limit was removed... Posts that are 5 or 6 years old can still be edited

    ATB YFM

    Thanks for your respect - with equal respect the 3 dots only offer link to url and flag and Edit is only available for a short time.
  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    i. No it’s still a track for TomTom. The Prefix “Route” only shows you that it’s derived from the route section of the GPX section.

    The result is a useless / weird “track” because the necessary details are missing.

    The user manual is clear about it:

    GPX files (GPS exchange format)
    GPX files contain a very detailed recording of where you have been on your track, including any off-road locations. GPX files become tracks after import.

    ITN files (TomTom's own Itinerary file format)
    An ITN file contains less detail than a GPX file. An ITN file can contain a maximum of 255 locations which is enough to recreate a route accurately. ITN files become routes after import.

    http://download.tomtom.com/open/manuals/rider_400_40/html/en-gb/index.htm#AboutGPXandITNfiles-GOSTARTTRUCKERWINGSITALIA.htm

    With that design choice they should omit the route section completely in GPX files.


    Personally I prefer routes because of their versatility. We always change our minds here, or it’s difficult to follow some routes...
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,976 Superusers
    Hi
    @cristo
    cristo: Wrote
    3 dots only offer link to url and flag and Edit is only available for a short time
    Were you were logged in ???
    You have to log into the site for every visit
    The only time I not offered the 3 edit options is when I'm not logged in to the site

    I find the constant logging in to the site a Pain !!!
    I use Firefox with the Tomtom site login info stored
    I have setup a Desktop Shortcut pointing Here.....
    https://uk.support.tomtom.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/community_redirect/community_path/52Fhttps53A52F52Fen.discussions.tomtom.com52Fsso52Freturn53Freferer53Dtoken526url53D52F526

    First login of the day... I Double Click on the shortcut -> Firefox opens at the login page with Email & Password already entered
    Click Login -> the Forum Homepage opens logged in OK -> Click the browsers minimise button to minimise the page to the PC TaskBar...
    Don't close this page it keeps the forum session logged in

    For the Rest of the Day, I either double click on the Shortcut Icon to open the forum Home Page
    Or Click on the links in my Email inbox to open the individual threads

    Edit... Post now 14 Days old, Still have the edit option

    ATB YFM
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  • JoelS.JoelS. Posts: 286 [Exalted Navigator]
    i would love to add a stop on my route/track/ whatever gpx with specific roads i want to travel on, then have lunch. no way to do that. lol been that way for years since i bought my 400. (myrouteapp or tyre)

    itn jumps point to point, and can screw up a set route, the other way lets you deviate, without nagging about a missed point,

    i use myrouteapp and download the gpx 1.1 itn puts **** tons of flags in the status bar, still not sure if you can make a stop, and makes it hard to see the next gas station
  • 954dk954dk Posts: 292 [Master Traveler]
    May I suggest, that you use Kurviger as a route/track planning app. You'll then be able to select the "density" of waypoints :)
  • Ste7iosSte7ios Posts: 725 Superuser
    Joel S. wrote:
    itn jumps point to point, and can screw up a set route, the other way lets you deviate, without nagging about a missed point,
    Actually ITN (or any route file format) doesn’t screw up anything because the route designed on the screen of your computer is not saved in the file. It contains only a list of waypoints, normally places you want to visit.

    What you’re doing with a route is to tell to a navigational device / app: guide me the best way you think to place #1, then guide me to place #2, then guide me to place #3, ...and so on...

    Only a track describes meter by meter the trip. What you see on the screen is saved in the track file (GPX, NMEA or other track formats...) and a navigational must follow it (almost) blindly.

    i use myrouteapp and download the gpx 1.1 itn puts **** tons of flags in the status bar, still not sure if you can make a stop, and makes it hard to see the next gas station

    Usually a few more intermediate waypoints are enough to guide the device to the roads you want. You can do it manually or let software like MyRoute-app or Tyre to do it for you but it still needs some refinement to remove some unnecessary waypoints.

    It’s better to include any gas stations (or other POIs) in your route during the route design. Gas stations are not always in your route but “near” it and you’ve to deviate a lot from your original route. Not only that the gas station could be closed...
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