Waypoint Information and Help

PaddleOn waypoint files have been created using either an XML, GPX, KML, or WPT file extension. Each file is formatted using version 1.1 of the GPX schema. This data format is expressly designed for GPS waypoint storage and is widely supported by GPS software. Most Internet browsers support both displaying and saving XML files but do not have default support for files with either the GPX or KML extension. Google Earch is the default viewer for KML files. Magellan-Mapsend utilizes the WPT format. The installed client GPS software being used will determine how the files are displayed and utilized.

Garmin's MapSource will utilize a GPX file as input while alternative software such as USAPhotoMaps will work directly from XML files formatted using GPX schema. PaddleOn supports a subset of the GPX schema with the valid fields being Name, Latitude, Longitude, Comment, and Description.

Based upon the available GPS device, a waypoint format conversion could be required before importing the data. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of waypoint formats currently in use. One of the most well known conversion programs is GPSBabel. This is a free/donation software program with a small footprint that is supported on all common PC platforms. Information and version downloads are available at the GPSBabel website.

Another free/donation program is USAPhotoMaps. I, along with many of my paddling partners, use and like this program. USAPhotoMaps downloads USGS aerial photo and topo map data from Microsoft's free TerraServer Web site, saves it on your hard drive, and creates GPS-accurate maps from it. You can: Scroll and zoom, See latitude/longitude, USGS Landmarks, Tiger/Line streets, elevation and contour lines, Add waypoints, routes, and text, See photos associated with waypoints, Go to any address, populated place, USGS landmark, or lat/lon in the U.S.A., and transmit, receive, and show APRS data. Version 2.77 has improves APRS client capabilities. Among many other places, this program can be downloaded at CNET.

The dropdown list of supported waypoint type files determines which file will be downloaded or displayed. By default, most browsers will automatically display the contents of an XML file. If Google Earth is installed, it becomes the default viewer of KML files. There is no default viewer for GPX or WPT files unless the user has installed a program that defines itself as the viewer.