POIs, Waypoints, Via-Points, Shaping Points 101

The concepts are quite simple. It's the method of distinguishing one from the other that is likely quite subtle in the code.

POI - A formal Point Of Interest. An entry in the internal POI database with a name, location and usually other information associated with it.

Waypoint - Any arbitrary point on the map that you have designated you want to keep track of. Usually stored in the "Favorites" or "My Locations" or whatever your personal navigation device calls its waypoint storage database. Your device will usually allow you to store such things as the location, any arbitrary name you want to supply and other information such as address, phone number, category(ies) and a symbol/icon to be used when displaying it.

Via Point - A point used to create a multipoint route, e.g. Go from Point A to Point B via some other arbitrary point(s) that you will designate. If your personal navigation device supports multipoint routing, the via point can be a POI, an existing waypoint/favorite or any other form of location that is searchable on your device, e.g. address, intersection/junction, custom POI, etc. In most cases, to use something as a via point it must already exist in one of the devices' searchable databases.

Shaping Point - In Mapsource, to "shape" a route to go exactly where you want there are a couple of methods. Just as with the personal navigation device, you can edit the route's properties to insert Via points (these are not shaping points although they do serve a similar purpose). You can also just use the route tool to click on spots on the map to force the shape of a route. When you do that, you are using a location that is not already in one of the searchable location databases. Mapsource does not force you to add these points to any of the formal databases. It simply inserts the actual coordinates invisibly into the route. These are shaping points.

Shaping points occur in another, automatic, fashion as well. Even when you only designate a two-point route, e.g. go from Point A to Point B, there will usually be multiple places, usually intersections, where a change in direction is required. When building the route, the personal navigation device (or Mapsource/Basecamp) will automatically include all of these points in the route.

To easily illustrate this, you can create a two-point route in Mapsource by clicking on a Point A and a Point B that will require a few turns to get from one to the other. Now export the route to a GPX file and take a look at it with Notepad or your favorite text editor. You will see that, in addition to the starting point and the ending point, there will be a bunch of other points <rtept> in the file to control all the turns.

I apologize if you already knew all that. Perhaps it will be helpful to others with inquiring minds. :)

...ken...
  • Thanks for this.

    I´m a mapsource user, but until now I cannot figure how to add a via point under a pre created troute under Basecamp.

    1. First I select 2 point and choose to create the route. Until now, fine.

    2. Double click on previous route created and want to add another waipont to the open route.

    I cannot figure how to do this on Basecamp.

    Thanks
    Eduardo
  • The concepts are quite simple. It's the method of distinguishing one from the other that is likely quite subtle in the code.

    POI - A formal Point Of Interest. An entry in the internal POI database with a name, location and usually other information associated with it.

    Waypoint - Any arbitrary point on the map that you have designated you want to keep track of. Usually stored in the "Favorites" or "My Locations" or whatever your personal navigation device calls its waypoint storage database. Your device will usually allow you to store such things as the location, any arbitrary name you want to supply and other information such as address, phone number, category(ies) and a symbol/icon to be used when displaying it.

    Via Point - A point used to create a multipoint route, e.g. Go from Point A to Point B via some other arbitrary point(s) that you will designate. If your personal navigation device supports multipoint routing, the via point can be a POI, an existing waypoint/favorite or any other form of location that is searchable on your device, e.g. address, intersection/junction, custom POI, etc. In most cases, to use something as a via point it must already exist in one of the devices' searchable databases.

    Shaping Point - In Mapsource, to "shape" a route to go exactly where you want there are a couple of methods. Just as with the personal navigation device, you can edit the route's properties to insert Via points (these are not shaping points although they do serve a similar purpose). You can also just use the route tool to click on spots on the map to force the shape of a route. When you do that, you are using a location that is not already in one of the searchable location databases. Mapsource does not force you to add these points to any of the formal databases. It simply inserts the actual coordinates invisibly into the route. These are shaping points.

    Shaping points occur in another, automatic, fashion as well. Even when you only designate a two-point route, e.g. go from Point A to Point B, there will usually be multiple places, usually intersections, where a change in direction is required. When building the route, the personal navigation device (or Mapsource/Basecamp) will automatically include all of these points in the route.

    ...ken...


    Ken

    You've touched on the confusion Garmin has created by changing their naming conventions on the fly. Originally, you had POI, and Waypoints that were/are as you've noted but "via points" were the ones created when you edited a route or created one from scratch with the route tool, that contained no POI or Waypoints. These worked the way that you describe shaping points as working. The beauty of these is that they did not contribute to the Waypoint/POI overhead limit in the GPS route or the GPS itself. The second benefit is they were automatically deleted when the route was, making housekeeping much easier. The internally created points were referred to as "route points". At some point (sorry) Garmin renamed Waypoints to Favourites and in BaseCamp for the Mac started calling any point used in the creation of a route a via. Shaping Points, IIRC were only mentioned in MapSource discussion but I haven't been following the Windows BaseCamp discussions.

    It appears to me that we have at least 3 or more naming conventions depending on the GPS, OS, application, and possibly the age/version of the .gpx file. It makes communication very difficult. I've yet to see a definitive response from Garmin on exactly what is named what and where. :confused:
  • It appears to me that we have at least 3 or more naming conventions depending on the GPS, OS, application, and possibly the age/version of the .gpx file.

    Reminds me of that quote from Andrew S. Tanenbaum

    "The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from".

    To be honest I'd never heard of "Shaping Points": until recently even though I've been using Garmin units and software for over a decade. From what I've read here the term came from the Zumo unit world.

    I've been using the route line drag'n'drop feature in MapSource for a long long time to "force" routes to go the way I want both on a PC and in GPS units. In the end I don't care what the points are called as long as they work.
  • Thanks for this.

    I´m a mapsource user, but until now I cannot figure how to add a via point under a pre created troute under Basecamp.

    1. First I select 2 point and choose to create the route. Until now, fine.

    2. Double click on previous route created and want to add another waipont to the open route.

    I cannot figure how to do this on Basecamp.

    Thanks
    Eduardo


    With BaseCamp 3.3 (currently in Beta) there is a + button in the route dialog that allows you to add waypoints.

    In 3.2 this task is somewhat difficult, you can drag a waypoint to a route and then drop it in the via point list. But it's not very straight-forward, that's why we added the + button for 3.3.
  • My view of routing points...

    Mapsource and BaseCamp both have Route Property dialogs with tabs for Via Points [MS] and Via Point Name [BC]. These tabs will show all of the points defining the route except those that are created internally by the routing algorithms, as mentioned by KGANSHIRT.

    POIs, Waypoints, Via points, AND user created shaping points are all viewable. Some of those points are not in a database [non DB] with a location, name, or other attributes. The only way those non DB points can be created, in either MS or BC, is by dragging and dropping points using the route tools provided in MS [route tool] or BC [pencil icon].

    Each application will allow a route to be totally defined by non DB points including start and destination points. You can use the route tool [MS] or the pencil icon [BC] and drawn a route only defined by non DB points, but still viewable as Via Points [MS] and Via Names [BC]. No POIs or Waypoints. I don't do it and it's not the easiest way to create routes.

    So maybe there are only two types of points that can define a route: those in a database with viewable attributes [e.g POIs, Waypoints], and those that are not [route tools and algorithms]. BTW BC seems to only use the terms Waypoint and Via point as seen in it's dialog boxes for Route Properties and Data Views.

    I mix and match but way prefer points that are not in a database and I minimize the use of those that are formally stored. My choice, as it is yours.
  • Mapsource and BaseCamp both have Route Property dialogs with tabs for Via Points [MS] and Via Point Name [BC]. These tabs will show all of the points defining the route except those that are created internally by the routing algorithms, as mentioned by KGANSHIRT.

    POIs, Waypoints, Via points, AND user created shaping points are all viewable. Some of those points are not in a database [non DB] with a location, name, or other attributes. The only way those non DB points can be created, in either MS or BC, is by dragging and dropping points using the route tools provided in MS [route tool] or BC [pencil icon].

    Each application will allow a route to be totally defined by non DB points including start and destination points. You can use the route tool [MS] or the pencil icon [BC] and drawn a route only defined by non DB points, but still viewable as Via Points [MS] and Via Names [BC]. No POIs or Waypoints. I don't do it and it's not the easiest way to create routes.

    So maybe there are only two types of points that can define a route: those in a database with viewable attributes [e.g POIs, Waypoints], and those that are not [route tools and algorithms]. BTW BC seems to only use the terms Waypoint and Via point as seen in it's dialog boxes for Route Properties and Data Views.

    I mix and match but way prefer points that are not in a database and I minimize the use of those that are formally stored. My choice, as it is yours.


    Minor nitpick: I wouldn't call those waypoints non-DB points, because they are still in the DB, just not displayed. Internally we call them route-only waypoints (vs. user waypoints for "real", visible, editable waypoints).

    If you export a route with route-only waypoints to gpx you should see that they are indeed exported. They are also in gdb, but that format is harder to disect.
  • Reasons to use shaping points

    Shaping points are:
    • not displayed on the maps,
    • not announced like other via points,
    • are displayed on a GPS route edit add/remove points list
    on the Zumo product line. This is an important feature for motorcycle riders that like to travel on twisty roads instead of interstates.

    I'm not sure if other Garmin products treat shaping points the same.
  • Reversing a saved Route?

    I'm using a Nuvi 2460LMT and have created several cross country routes, 100 - 400 miles in length, using waypoints and via points to force the route to use my preferred roads.

    Is there a way to reverse the route for my return trip home? So far I haven't seen any way to reverse the route other than just to create the same route in the opposite direction.

    Thanks for any help.
  • A Stab in the Dark...

    Right off, I don't have any experience with the Nuvi 2460LMT. I have a Zumo 550 and by using some creativity, it can invert an existing route. Using the abbreviated technique below, experiment with the 2460LMT and see if it has a similar functionality. The Zumo 550 has a screen that displays the via points including Start & End points AND allows updates. This is a key part of the technique.

    1] Delete the Start point replacing it with the End point.
    2] Delete the End point and replace it with the Start point.
    3] Recalculate the route using Optimal Reorder.


    It's not quite that easy on the Zumo 550, but you get the drift. There are a few Zumo steps that you have to meddle with, but it does work and will produce an inversion of the route using the same via points in reverse order. I imagine that it might depend on the complexity of the route and especially whether it crosses over itself several times.

    Best I can offer.
  • I'm using a Nuvi 2460LMT and have created several cross country routes, 100 - 400 miles in length, using waypoints and via points to force the route to use my preferred roads.

    Is there a way to reverse the route for my return trip home? So far I haven't seen any way to reverse the route other than just to create the same route in the opposite direction.

    Thanks for any help.


    Doesn't BaseCamp for windows have an "invert" command under the advanced tab of the route properties window?