About a month before the race, we will have final GPS data files corresponding to the route published in the Route Book, to which racers must conform. These files will be labeled as RAW20XX(FINAL), when they are posted here.ﾠ Because GPS units are sometimes complicated to program with race information, it is strongly recommended that each RAW support crew become familiar with the specific GPS system they will be using during the race in time. This way, problems uploading race data and displaying it so that it can be easily used are identified with sufficient time to resolve them before the race begins.ﾠCrews that have not done this have been unknowingly led off the route specified in the Route Book by believing their GPS units, which had not been properly uploaded with FINAL race data.
What follows are links to various computer files, which you may download for use in your GPS devices. Preliminary versions available for review and practice with GPS systems are labeled PRELIMINARY rather than FINAL, and must not be relied upon to correspond to the Route Book when published in hard copy.
The files are in ASCII text comma separated values format (indicated by the .CSV file name), and may be opened in any text editor (notepad, etc.), word processor, or as spreadsheets with Excel or compatible software for editing and sorting. Many of the GPS devices have vendor proprietary data formats, which only their units will accept, so the files supplied here will in most cases have to be translated before being uploaded to a GPS processing handheld/automobile receiver. Programs to do this are normally provided on an installation CD that accompanies GPS receivers with data upload capability. For those with some computer expertise, or lacking the vendor installation CD, GPSBabel is a free downloadable program with translators to and from a many GPS data formats.
These CSV files have three fields (columns) in each record (line in the file):ﾠ latitude in degrees, longitude in degrees (negative degrees indicate West longitude), and name.
The RAW20XX-Time-Stations(FINAL).CSV file will contain the latitude/longitude of the 15 RAW time stations.ﾠ In this file, the “name” field holds the TS number and town or city.
The RAW20XX-Turns(FINAL).CSV file will contain the latitude/longitude of all the required route turns described in the Route Book.ﾠ In this file, the “name” field holds the reference (ref) number as listed in the Book.
You should check your GPS operations against the directions as they will appear in the route book to be sure your GPS device is properly displaying the correct information.
Download the RAW2023-Directions.PDF file (Preliminary July 2023).
More GPS file info and help:
Be extremely reluctant to let GPS devices or mapping software create routes for you or, even more dangerously, recompute routing automatically when traffic problems or road construction is sensed ahead.ﾠ RAAM does not allow for racers to leave the route prescribed in the Route Book for these or other considerations without an approved route change from the Race Director transmitted from Race Headquarters.
Experience with popular devices and software in the past:
There is a common GPS format used by Garmin, Microsoft, and others to import and export GPS waypoint and path/route/track information. This format for RAW is the file RAW20XX Preliminary.GPX. RAW-2023-GPS_EXCHANGE (Preliminary July 2023)
The free internet application, Google Earth, is available for many operating systems in many languages. It accepts the KMZ file found on the “Route” page of the RAW website and will display all the RAW 2024 route data and allows saving of routes (called “paths” in this application), time stations, and turns in separate KML files. Google Earth will accept KML files which can be made from CSV data with GPSbabel. (KML files can be converted to other GPS device-specific formats with GPSbabel, another free application available for download from http://www.gpsbabel.org/)
Some Magellan devices will accept CSV data into the Magellan POI Editor program for conversion to MGLN format before uploading.
Microsoft Streets and Trips will import CSV files and, since the 2011 edition, also GPX.
DeLorme Street Atlas and Topo will import CSV data as “RAW” files once the CSV file name extension has been changed to TXT.ﾠ An easier way to get the complete race description for Street Atlas 2011 or Topo8, or many earlier or later editions of both, is to request a copy of the Delorme map transfer file (DMT) from the route designer.
Most mobile device GPS applications require connection to the internet to function. Keep in mind that even though service providers can advertise they provide mobile internet access to more than 85% of Americans, they can do that by covering only about 6% of the country – the very 6% that RAAM tries to avoid because of traffic hazards. (2010 US Census data.)
The route designer will also try to answer specific questions about GPS and RAW 2023 sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.