Route planning software

Submitted: Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:28
ThreadID: 79623 Views:5072 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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My wife e and I are leaving shortly for an 8 week journey from Perth to the top end of WA. There are a lot of internet based route planners which work out the shortest route etc similar to what you get on Tom Tom or Google Earth.

The resultant route produced is generally a list of directions, distances and intersections to turn at. None lists the various towns on the way.

I wanted to set up an itinerary with the towns, points of interest etc so that we can then figure how long we need to stay at each place.

I've tried to do it manually, but generally run out of time & then patience. While 8 weeks sounds like a long time away, just a quick calculation the other day got me thinking that we would not even get halfway round what we had originally planned. Initially we had looked at going through Karijini, Broome, Derby, Gibb River Road, Kununurra and around the Ord, then home via the coast Exmouth, Coral Bay, Steep Point etc.

Anyone got any suggestions for good software,
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:59

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:59
We use Oziexplorer, which is a gps mapping tool, but which can also be used for planning a route. Unless you're going to team it up with a gps and laptop to run on the road and keep track of where you are, it's overkill for your planning requirements. There is however a free trial version that might be worth considering, though I'm not sure just how much route planning you can do with the free one. It's available at


J and V
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Follow Up By: dond1947 - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:09

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:09
Hi John,
Thanks for that. I have Oziexplorer and have tried to set up routes previously. I actually got it to navigate with and to track our progress. I will have a closer look at the Route planning capabilities,
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 13:01

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 13:01

Good way to go. It's not hard - simply click on the waypoint icon in the top bar, then click on a series of points you want on your route. (Unclick the waypoint icon to turn off waypoints when not using them to avoid laying down spurious ones.) Waypoints can be in any order. Next, open the route editor (top bar, hand-with-pencil icon) and double click one of the routes (R1, R2....) and open the "properties" box - in there you add the waypoints (using the add button) in exactly the order that you wish to travel through them. Then using the "show" button you should be able to see your route displayed on the map.

You can do a lot with those tools once you have got the hang of it.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 08:18

Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 08:18
Right on John

We have even added a recording to some telling (reminding us mainly) whats coming up. What to look out for ,where to get fuel, there is a good bakery in town, etc. Beats having wads of paper around. Takes a bit of time but its worth it. We dont use them to tell us to turn left or right as we may take a different route. Excellent feature.

Another vote for Oziexplorer. VMS running OziCE actually.

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Follow Up By: dond1947 - Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 12:34

Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 12:34
Hi John, Phil,
Good suggestions. I will sit down with the help file & research all the functions that I can use. Although I have only played with it so far there is obviously lots more that the program can do.

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Reply By: Member - John D, Wandong (Vic) - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:38

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:38
Hi Don,
I use Google Maps to plan some of my trips...

Google maps

On the left and almost at the top of screen click the link "Get Directions".
In the "A" text box, enter your start point and in the "B" box enter your 1st destination, click the "Add Destination" link below the text boxes if you want to more than one town to your route, then click "Get Directions"

You will now get directions, distance and approx travel time between each selected destination along your route.

I hope this is something along the lines of what you were looking for, other than that ,I use my dedicated gps software.

Regards, John
AnswerID: 422086

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:53

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:53
I use Google maps too and then transfer the info to an excel spreadsheet so that I have a record I can use without having to go on line.
FollowupID: 692471

Follow Up By: dond1947 - Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 12:45

Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 12:45
Hi John, Rod,
I have been trying to use Google Maps to get distances betwen towns. It makes it a long process in having to choose two locations then get directions. I then use the towns, POI's and distances in an Access application I developed as a Travel Itinerary.

Google Maps works OK for calculating distances, but as I said in my original post, when you use google and some of the other internet based Route Planners, they map a route and give you directions from waypoint to waypoint. They dont highlight the towns you pass through, nor calculate distances between towns.

As some others have said, manually setting waypoints on Oziexplorer is probably the best way to go in the absence of a dedicated program.

I will explore the google maps transfer to EXCEL. That sounds like it may have possibilities.

Thanks again
FollowupID: 692550

Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 14:41

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 14:41
You having a holiday or doing a route march? ;-)

If you want a holiday just head off and stop wherever you want for however long you want. I gaurantee that if you try to plan it out to any great degree you'll be leaving someplaces before you've seen everything you want to see and spending time in other places with nothing to do.

Just go.
AnswerID: 422099

Follow Up By: Member - Cantiva Clay (NSW) - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:42

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:42
I agree with Mr B, get a big map of Australia and a sharp pencil to roughly plan your route then narrow it down from that, also print out a list of information centers along the way and plan to drop in and say hi. and remember, all the interesting stuff is on the unplanned detours! And if you find out afterwards you missed something, well that's a blimmin good excuse to return again!

Anyway to be more helpful, for long tarred stretches I just use a cheap tom-tom not so much for finding my way but its handy when you arrive in a strange town late at night and also has one undervalued virtue - if your in a "fuel range challenged" vehicle you need to plan your fuel stops pretty accurately - and its indispensable (but not perfect) for that and finding gas stations. I then use a 7" gps with ozi and topo maps for dealing with detours, getting to a grid referenced camp-sites or planning to visit/explore a specific area. But to be honest my hema paper australia, state & hema maps get the most use - the australia & state maps for general long range planning and hema local for more detailed area info. Also for longer trips there are some well thought out tourist (in the loose sense) routes eg The Savannah Way (Broome East) and the great central road which I though was part of the adventure way extension west - but could definitle be corrected on that. This defined routes have comprehensive info including downloadable and printable brochures on the web.
FollowupID: 692466

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:29

Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 15:29

We use Oziexplorer to plan the route that we want to follow - but may deviate from that for all sorts of reasons. But having that sort of outline gives a good idea of distances and travel times.

Having said that, I do agree with comments below about not over-planning, as that is a good way to kill a trip stone dead. There is nothing worse than being tied to an itinerary just because you put in time and effort to construct it. How can you possibly know, while sitting at your computer at home, what the road conditions, weather, etc etc will be like when you are actually doing the trip.

You will not see all that there is to see in any one trip, and in any case the best bits are often not to be found in any of the published material.

My approach to what you are proposing to do would be to use OziExplorer to plan out travel routes but without putting any timeframe around them. Then just go, and when your time is about half way through, turn towards home. Though I reckon in 8 weeks you could have a good look at most of that area. We have done that area in the past 2 years (have a look at our blogs). I would give preference to the Kimberley and Pilbara over Exmouth/Coral Bay.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 422101

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 04:53

Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 04:53
Funny thing I agree with all the above.
As I am a keen hunter, I need portability, waterproof & of ruged construction.

There is nothing like a good map, either Westprint or Hema are just fine.
Having said that read below

It was simple when I had my little Garnim Etrek Legend...just open up Mapsourse on the computer, and just use the tools available, and string plot my course, and when happy dump it all onto the GPS and awat we would go

I have updated to a Majellan Explorist 600, with Hema Roads, Contours,& Towns. I get all the maps I need, and land & mountain contours. But as far as the backup software, for trip planning, I prefer Mapsourse
It's always a compromise


AnswerID: 422159

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