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Making GPS routes

smithr

Member
Member
  This is some of the stuff I have learned about doing GPS routes for myself but also for sharing with others.  Feel free to add your knowledge.  I really have not made that many routes but I have worked with many programs, units and with the national rally teams to be sure routes worked for all users.  Not that they all did but that is how you learn.

It really does not make a difference what program you are using, Basecamp, Mapsource, Tyre, Furgot, HD trip planner or whatever, they all do about the same thing.  These thoughts seem to apply to them all.

1.  Routes and not tracks.  Tracks are for hiking or seeing where you have been with bread crumbs.  Routes are for driving on the road and some units may not even see tracks.

2.  GPS units and maps are not all the same.  When you share a route you made others stuff will be different in some way and it will need to recalculate the route based on its settings and maps.  More on this as we go.  Shoot even the map you use to make the route can be different than the one on your unit.

3.  Make your route so it will share.  Here is a sub list of things to do and not do.
a. Make your settings for both your unit and the program for avoidance and routing style something logical to start with.  Do not set no highways unless all your routes truly never touch a highway.  About all I do is set no gravel (if on Concours), no ferries unless I know there is a ferry crossing in the route like in 2012 and sometimes no tolls but I leave town on a toll road sometimes so for me I leave that avoidance off.

I set routing to shortest distance but I usually test the route so that it recalculates the same in either shortest distance or fastest time, you should also.  Your unit or the one you are sharing with may have the other setting and that will change the route.

b. Place your waypoints well.  I was told by Garmin that on many units you have to pass within 10 meters plus or minus the current accuracy for the passing of the waypoint to be registered by the unit.  That is usually about 90 ft.  You have to blow the map up full zoom and check EVERY point to be sure it is on the road within that tolerance.  Be sure it is on the correct side of the road if divided.

Note:  if you do drop points on one side of a divided road then that route may not be reversible anymore.  If you plan on reversing your route consider the effects of where you are placing points.

Watch that the point is not where you can't get to it.  Like over a destination like a building or the grand canyon.  The gps will never know you made it there if you do not drive over it <90 feet.  Not all units have this tight of a tolerance but the ones that do also keep asking for you to do uturns until you do pass the point and that is a real pain for anyone.

Have enough points to force the route you want.  Some programs help with this and will add via points to your route for you.  Others you have to do it yourself.
c. Do not place points at intersections.  This causes some units grief.  Place at least one point on every road you want to be sure you travel.  I like placing them mid point of the road.  Sometimes a little ways after a turn works well also.  Again if you plan on reversing the route then just after a turn is just before when it recalculates.

Always be sure you are thinking the next person will end up having to recalculate the route and their unit will be set up different.  Most web based routing programs like google maps, mapquest and others will let you set a start point and an end point and then you can drag the route to where you want it.  When you send this to your unit, if you can, in most cases you will only get the start and end points and your unit will route you between the two any way it wants.  You will not get the route you saw on your screen when done playing.

Good luck and please add your .02c
Please consider this for a sticky.
Enjoy the Ride
 

Stubby

Member
Member
Good info thanks. I have just started planning routes and to be honest so far its a PITA I know it should not be that hard? I may have a bunch of questions for you down the road?
 

OMoaC

Member
Member
Bob was a great help to me in planning the '13 National. His points are valid. Pay head. Thanks for the post Bob! Oh yeah, don't forget to unlock the maps.  :))
 

bandnuts

Scooter
smithr1 said:
This is some of the stuff I have learned.......................

Great points!  This was helpful. 

I made a short video of making a Garmin Route to copy a Google Map (manually).  I'm sure there's a number of errors in the process, but most of the time it works for me if I follow the points that Smith makes.  Can't stress enough that you need to build enough points on the route to assure you are going on the roads you want to travel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKSHBN1wl4Q


 

kathybrj

Member
Member
Thanks for the pointers! I've found I really need to  take time in making my routes or else we're chasing waypoints. Zoom in and make sure the waypoint is on the route is great advice. Also you are absolutely correct about lots of waypoints- you have to have a lot of them to keep you on your chosen route.

We just picked up a Zumo 660 and we're looking forward to seeing how it does at the National.
 

B.D.F.

Sport Tourer
Forum Subscriber
There will be a seminar on GPS use / route planning (and installing) at the national rally in TN. I believe it is in the schedule for Wed., 9:30 to 11:30 AM. There will be four of us presenting different parts so I think it should be pretty comprehensive, and there should be time afterward for individual questions. The seminar will range from beginner level of how they work and are used, and carry through route layout using various pieces of software as well as downloading / saving routes to various specific GPS units, and even have a section on how to manage, modify and add POI's (Points of Interest).

Brian
 

Aussie

Street Cruiser
It would be great to video this and post ... Maybe to the tech section of COG Forum. Maybe to YouTube.
 

smithr

Member
Member
PS:  I was not closely involved with this years national routes on gps.  I am not sure if they have any problems or not.  It is always best to get them ahead of time if you can and after loading them to your gps check them to see if you see any problems.
 

kathybrj

Member
Member
smithr1 said:
PS:  I was not closely involved with this years national routes on gps.  I am not sure if they have any problems or not.  It is always best to get them ahead of time if you can and after loading them to your gps check them to see if you see any problems.

My only problem was that I *thought* I did not have the software too open a .gbd file. I figured out I needed MapSource and got that downloaded. Then I realized I could just put the routes on the gps and they would be fine (dragged them to my Garmin file on the disk drive). The ones I ended up using Mapsource for were the MSTA rides. I pulled those out one by one and saved them as separate ones. 
 

Gypsy JR

Member
Member
I adopted Basecamp kicking and screaming. To this day, I find addresses in MapSource, put them into a "route", and then import the waypoint into the route I want it in Basecamp.

Found a really neat thing with Basecamp today. Many of you probably already know about it. Using the selection tool (the pointer) you can drag a box over waypoints or whatever, and it highlights them in the list, and you can "remove from route" or delete if you want.

So I have a route to SC for an event next spring with the Denizens of Doom (began in rec.motorcycles decades ago). There are a ton of pure gas stations around the area. I was able to get rid of all the pure gas poi points in the .CSV that weren't in TN, SC, NC or VA, using Excel and KuTools. But after running that through the POI converter at the data-team website(into .gpx format) I realized it was still way too many waypoints.

Well, with Basecamp's selection tool, I was able to prune all the POI waypoints that are too far away (like west end of TN, or SC/NC coast) to be of any use on the trip. The "remove from route" really does the trick. So when I exported the route, it now has 1/10th as many pure gas POI waypoints in it, basically those within 150 miles or so of the event hotel.

I guess I don't know what I don't know, but I've found one more good tool in Basecamp for making custom routes with relevant POIs imported into them.
 

COG-528

Crotch Rocket
Forum Subscriber
Since Alex Benoit (aka Gigantor) turned me on to Tyre I've been using it for creating all my GPS routes.  Tyre works with Google Maps and requires a fairly recent version of Internet Explorer so I'm unable to use it on my old desktop running Win 2K.  I use Google Maps to do the original design of the route and then switch to Tyre for the detail instructions.  This system has worked well for creating GPS route files for the OtP Travelers for a number of years.  After creating a route for my own use, I then open the route file with MapSource to transfer it to one of my two StreetPilot series GPS units which are loaded with two different old mapsets. 

I am very detailed with my use of waypoints.  I put a waypoint after every turn and along long stretches of the same road to ensure the GPS unit follows the intended route without variation and gives detailed instructions.  I take advantage of Tyre's ability to allow me to see the Google Maps Aerial & Streetview of an intersection to pick the exact location of my waypoints.  Because I'm so detailed in my route planning this is not a quick process but it does give me the exact GPS route guidance I want for a 250+ mile ride.  As an example I've attached the gpx route file that the OtP Travelers used from Johnson City to Charleston, WV.  As you will see, outside of 20 miles on I-26 to Kingsport the entire remaining 325 miles is on two lane back roads that a GPS unit would not select when calculating a route. 

Now I just need to figure out when letting my StreetPilot 2820 calculate a route, how to get it to stop sending me via Duluth, MN and Ontario Canada when routing fron New Jersey to Massachusetts.  :(
 

Attachments

  • Johnson City to Charleston.gpx
    8 KB · Views: 8

Jjjtx

Crotch Rocket
gsjay said:
anyone try this route making website?

http://www.motowhere.com/

jason


I was looking for something like this, thanks.

I am a TYRE/TOMTOM user. And their website is based out of a foreign country ( to me ), and theres very little support/info/routes for the US market.

Their website is terrible. Searching routes is a chore.  I should try it in I/E though.  Chrome may not like their site.  But I've uploaded more than one route, and if I search for it, it does not exist. 
 

bobpetit

Tricycle
I too have been very busy trying out software and Apps to handle creating and importing routes. Many riders in our group use GPX (Garmin) formatted files and of course I had to be different. Well, recently I came across a very nice android/Iphone App called Be-on-road. Its a very good navigation app that doesn't require a network connection. Its made by the creators of Sygic and in this version, they save and read gpx files. That makes it real easy to read routes from riders who have garmins. I use my phone for everything and I'm sure many others do as well. Try it out.
Another REAL HANDY app I found lets you create and read gpx and kml routes all on you android and ipad/iphone devices. The app is called Myroutemap. If this isn't the best route creation app, I don't know what is. I use it on my phone or tablet to read in or create my own routes. Its very easy to use and very fast. I read in others gpx files and can clean them up on the fly. The best part is I can travel with my tablet and leave the PC home. It also finds hotels and other useful POI's. The writer of Myroutemap is awesome. I've been emailing him over the past month and he has incorporated just about everything I asked for.
So if you have a smart phone and want to eliminate that extra gps device, try these two softwares out. They are the complete package. :-\
 

COG-528

Crotch Rocket
Forum Subscriber
Kawasaurus said:
i do it with http://www.motoplaner.de/

it is a great, online planner, based on google maps, easy to use, and a big collection of export formats.
Unfortunately, it is not totally user friendly for us English only readers.  :(  I guess I'll have to stick with Tyre for planning the OtP Traveler's routes for now.
 

ChrisD

Scooter
I started using MyRoute-app Web and found that I like it very much.  You can share routes, Tweet, Facebook and email. You can add friends that are signed up and share routes between you.  You can save in Numerous formats and if a Gold Member you can directly Export the file to your GPS device.

Here is a route I did for Georgia Waterfalls

http://www.myrouteapp.com/en/social/route/33992?mode=share

My account is "Chris D" if anyone is already using this app and wants to add me.  Also, I've added some approved IBA routes for Germany and Austria.
 

jimp

Sport Tourer
COG-528 said:
Kawasaurus said:
i do it with http://www.motoplaner.de/

it is a great, online planner, based on google maps, easy to use, and a big collection of export formats.
Unfortunately, it is not totally user friendly for us English only readers.  :(  I guess I'll have to stick with Tyre for planning the OtP Traveler's routes for now.

Works just fine if you use Chrome with translate page enabled (Chrome-More Tools-Extensions-Advanced-Translate Pages)

But Tyre will be fine since most of the Euro guys use it.
 

ChrisD

Scooter
If you like Tyre you will like Myroute even better and it's easier to use.  I tried Tyre then they offered a deal for a percentage off to buy into MyRoute.  Glad I did....
 

COG-528

Crotch Rocket
Forum Subscriber
I use the free version of Tyre.  I'll give the basic version of MyRoute-app a try to see how it compares.
 

freebird6

Member
Member
learning curve is not bad. Can't figure out how to favorite waypoints and use them in subsequent routes/
 

smithr

Member
Member
Here is something cool... There is a way to stop the alerts, U turn prompts and 90 foot rule at a given point in Basecamp.  This is useful for all points that you do not want the new Route Planner type units to keep sending you back to when you have missed passing close enough to that point.

If you have the route editor pop up open, right click on a point and pick Don't Alert on Arrival.  That may(I have not tested only read) make it where you do not have to be as accurate with the placement of those points.  At least that is the impression I got from reading about that feature.  They call it a shaping point after that I think.
 

WG

COG#4627
Member
I don't believe it works as you think it does.  In fact, for my zumo 660, it will still alert that you are approaching the shaping point even if you tell it not to.  The only way (that I know of) to have it not alert on my zumo is to place the shaping point in an intersection.

My current way to add shaping points is to put them in the first intersection that I will ride STRAIGHT THROUGH following a turn.  That way, my nuvi still shows the turn and the shaping point is not announced on my zumo.

It's an art!
 

chrisd61

Moped
Here's how I manage routes on my Garmin 660

1. I make my route in google maps (restricted to ten waypoints)
2. I use the GPSVisualizer site to convert the Google Maps URL to GPX format and download the file.
3. I create a folder and a list in Basecamp and import the GPX file in it.
4. I create a route from the tracks that were imported (putting the tracks in order)

The only caveat with this method is if you select town names instead of exact addresses as your waypoints in Google Maps, the route might make you do some funky back and forth inside the towns selected (whoever maps the towns' coordinates in Google Maps is using some funky data source or was smoking some bad ganja - Lincoln NH ended up making me drive in an empty location near some train tracks, then back to the route I wanted).

But, if you are using specific addresses as your waypoints, it works fairly well.

By the way, I used the Garmin GPS antenna accessory on my last trip; mounted it on the shield with the optional suction cup mount. Not sure if it actually made a difference or not; I think it's only useful if your GPS is inside a cage, quite frankly.
 

Rony6ble

Bicycle
Redlion61 said:
Here's how I manage routes on my Garmin 660

1. I make my route in google maps (restricted to ten waypoints)
2. I use the GPSVisualizer site to convert the Google Maps URL to GPX format and download the file.

What I do is use Google MyMaps and this is not the same as Google Maps. If you have a Google account (like gmail), go to your Drive, add a new folder if you want your maps organized and create a new map. In the frree version you have 10 layers and 10,000 features (points, polygons, lines, etc). you can have up to 2,000 features in each layer. It is very easy to import kml/kmz or gpx files. For example I have all the National Parks Visitor Center in one kmz file that I can import in a specific layer that can be on or off. On when I need the location, create a new pin in my waypoint layer and then turn the layer off. Another nice feature is that you can import a CSV (comma separated values) file (excel spreadsheet saved as "comma delimited") into a layer and then you can save this layer as a kmz/kml file for later use. Imagine a spreadsheet with all your own POI's that can be easily converted into a kml/kmz file.
Now, to create a route just click the route button and then you will have "only" 10 waypoints and the "only" is not accurate. You can add something like the "via points" by dragging the route.
After I have all my waypoints in the same layer I can export the entire map or only a specific layer as a kmz/kml that can be imported into Basecamp. The I create the route in Basecamp, apply layover time and add via-points as needed.

Redlion61 said:
The only caveat with this method is if you select town names instead of exact addresses as your waypoints in Google Maps, the route might make you do some funky back and forth inside the towns selected (whoever maps the towns' coordinates in Google Maps is using some funky data source or was smoking some bad ganja - Lincoln NH ended up making me drive in an empty location near some train tracks, then back to the route I wanted).

But, if you are using specific addresses as your waypoints, it works fairly well.

Addresses are not my favorite when creating waypoints. Maybe just to have an approximate location in the map but then I move the pin to where I really want it: entry of parking lot and this will force the routing to make a specific turn. I always use pair of coordinates in decimal degrees like 32.26607, -107.7568.
I only use City/Town names when creating an overall route to get the mileage and time from Google (generally slow speed that will allow enough time for stops) when planning for an IBA ride for example. After I'm happy with the route I look for specific gas stations or other specific destinations like the Tour of Honor sites (use street view for this to find the best location to park and get my photo).

Cheers

Edit: I forgot to mention that you can share all the Google MyMaps in different ways: send a link or to specific people. When sharing with specific people (need gmail) you can make the viewers or editors. Editors can modify the map, add, delete, etc. Very useful when creating maps with a group and everyone can simply add specific information to the map: a good place to eat, photo ops, .........
 

Gypsy JR

Member
Member
WG said:
I don't believe it works as you think it does.  In fact, for my zumo 660, it will still alert that you are approaching the shaping point even if you tell it not to.  The only way (that I know of) to have it not alert on my zumo is to place the shaping point in an intersection.

My current way to add shaping points is to put them in the first intersection that I will ride STRAIGHT THROUGH following a turn.  That way, my nuvi still shows the turn and the shaping point is not announced on my zumo.

It's an art!

Correct, the GPS will almost always ignore the "Do Not Alert" you placed in BaseCamp.

Sometimes my Navigator on the Harley-Davidson will honor it, sometimes not. I haven't figured out yet what its logic is in that regard.


 

robby1953

Road Bike
kathybrj said:
Thanks for the pointers! I've found I really need to  take time in making my routes or else we're chasing waypoints. Zoom in and make sure the waypoint is on the route is great advice. Also you are absolutely correct about lots of waypoints- you have to have a lot of them to keep you on your chosen route.

We just picked up a Zumo 660 and we're looking forward to seeing how it does at the National.

Me too, anxiously awaiting it to arrive.
 

slingblade

Mini Bike
I like to map-out my route in day long segments using www.MyRouteApp.com.  It is a very intuitive application and the basic format is free - it is developed from the same people who made Tyre.  I like to use this because I can pick what looks like the most fun and interesting roads while still getting from point A to point B.  The only downside is occasionally I get too ambitious and end-up plotting a route that is partially off-road.  :??:

On the road I use a Garmin GPS that I have waterproofed myself using silicone ( look it up on YouTube - it's easy).  IF you have a GPS unit that can handle "multiple destinations" or routes then you can download your routes from www.MyRouteApp.com into your GPS and it will follow the route you chose on the computer.

A couple of pointers.

1) when plotting the route on the application dont skimp on selecting waypoints - if you do, your GPS may end up skipping some of the twisties you selected as it has a mind of its own and will select a more direct point between waypoints. ( I have attached a sample - this is day 4 of my upcoming ride from Harrisburg,Pa to Seattle,Wa)
2) Make sure that your waypoints are dead center on the road - otherwise it will assume you missed the waypoint and start telling you to turn around and go back.

Smartphones are ok but they eat up data and many of the best places to ride dont have a signal - you never have this issue with a GPS unit because it connect to satellites. I do like to use the Compass function on my iphone though.

PS - I HATE Basecamp - it was just too convoluted and NOT intuitive for me at all.  MyRouteApp is a breeze - you will be plotting great routes within minutes!
 

Attachments

  • Day 4.JPG
    Day 4.JPG
    113.7 KB · Views: 12

robby1953

Road Bike
Tom Tom Go for smart phones doesn't require data after initial download, and doesn't require cell signal as it utilized GPS satellite communication. There is a $50 fee for five years though, it constantly updates with new maps that keep the data base current.
 

dale a h

Big Wheel
I agree, Basecamp is NOT intuitive at all.  I used to use Mapsource, but they stopped updating it and so I went to Basecamp.  After using it for a while i feel pretty comfortable, but I'm sure I'm not as efficient as I could be.

I have been exploring some of the other functions in Basecamp, like mapping, and turn by turn.  It seems like the more I learn, the more things I find to explore.
 

Gypsy JR

Member
Member
WG said:
I don't believe it works as you think it does.  In fact, for my zumo 660, it will still alert that you are approaching the shaping point even if you tell it not to.  The only way (that I know of) to have it not alert on my zumo is to place the shaping point in an intersection.

My current way to add shaping points is to put them in the first intersection that I will ride STRAIGHT THROUGH following a turn.  That way, my nuvi still shows the turn and the shaping point is not announced on my zumo.

It's an art!

I agree. Though you can set the shaping point to not alert in BaseCamp, I don't know of any GPS that will honor that setting.
 

WG

COG#4627
Member
Gypsy JR said:
WG said:
I don't believe it works as you think it does.  In fact, for my zumo 660, it will still alert that you are approaching the shaping point even if you tell it not to.  The only way (that I know of) to have it not alert on my zumo is to place the shaping point in an intersection.

My current way to add shaping points is to put them in the first intersection that I will ride STRAIGHT THROUGH following a turn.  That way, my nuvi still shows the turn and the shaping point is not announced on my zumo.

It's an art!

I agree. Though you can set the shaping point to not alert in BaseCamp, I don't know of any GPS that will honor that setting.

From my experience, TomTom GPSes honor this setting.
 

Sailor_chic

Crotch Rocket
Slingblade said:
I like to map-out my route in day long segments using www.MyRouteApp.com.  It is a very intuitive application and the basic format is free - it is developed from the same people who made Tyre.  I like to use this because I can pick what looks like the most fun and interesting roads while still getting from point A to point B.  The only downside is occasionally I get too ambitious and end-up plotting a route that is partially off-road.  :??:

On the road I use a Garmin GPS that I have waterproofed myself using silicone ( look it up on YouTube - it's easy).  IF you have a GPS unit that can handle "multiple destinations" or routes then you can download your routes from www.MyRouteApp.com into your GPS and it will follow the route you chose on the computer.

A couple of pointers.

1) when plotting the route on the application dont skimp on selecting waypoints - if you do, your GPS may end up skipping some of the twisties you selected as it has a mind of its own and will select a more direct point between waypoints. ( I have attached a sample - this is day 4 of my upcoming ride from Harrisburg,Pa to Seattle,Wa)
2) Make sure that your waypoints are dead center on the road - otherwise it will assume you missed the waypoint and start telling you to turn around and go back.

Smartphones are ok but they eat up data and many of the best places to ride dont have a signal - you never have this issue with a GPS unit because it connect to satellites. I do like to use the Compass function on my iphone though.

PS - I HATE Basecamp - it was just too convoluted and NOT intuitive for me at all.  MyRouteApp is a breeze - you will be plotting great routes within minutes!

I agree with this post. Myrouteapp.com is an awesome route planning tool. I have paid the fees and use the upgraded features now. Slingblade is correct, use many waypoints when planning a route. The most aggravating issue that I have encountered is Garmin. They only have two options for route options: 1) Shortest 2) fastest. I really think that they need a third option 3) They way I mapped/planned it!!  Using an abundance of waypoints is the best way around garmin trying to route you other than your planned route.

Myrouteapp.com has now come out with https://navigation.myrouteapp.com/en.  This is an app that is for android and apple. This app allows you to use the route that was planned on Myrouteapp, and to be used on a tablet or smartphone. You can download the maps for the states that you travel, directly to your device and this allows you to use your device offline for navigation. Pretty slick setup IMO.
 

chrisd61

Moped
Redlion61 said:
Here's how I manage routes on my Garmin 660

1. I make my route in google maps (restricted to ten waypoints)
2. I use the GPSVisualizer site to convert the Google Maps URL to GPX format and download the file.
3. I create a folder and a list in Basecamp and import the GPX file in it.
4. I create a route from the tracks that were imported (putting the tracks in order)

The only caveat with this method is if you select town names instead of exact addresses as your waypoints in Google Maps, the route might make you do some funky back and forth inside the towns selected (whoever maps the towns' coordinates in Google Maps is using some funky data source or was smoking some bad ganja - Lincoln NH ended up making me drive in an empty location near some train tracks, then back to the route I wanted).

But, if you are using specific addresses as your waypoints, it works fairly well.

By the way, I used the Garmin GPS antenna accessory on my last trip; mounted it on the shield with the optional suction cup mount. Not sure if it actually made a difference or not; I think it's only useful if your GPS is inside a cage, quite frankly.

A little update - unfortunately, GPS Visualizer is no longer full donationware, you now have to have a google API key (which is only free for a short time, after which you need to purchase from Google) to convert the google maps URL to a GPX. It's a Google change, not from the GPS visualizer guy. However, there is a geocoding utility page on the site that lets you convert addresses and zip codes, so you can still do some decent GPX work with it. (http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/geocoding.html)

Donate a few bucks to the guy if you use it. He's done a lot of work on that thing!

Good routing!
 

robertv

robzilla
Member
Here's an alternative to converting Google maps to GPX files  https://mapstogpx.com/

Very helpful when friends send me their planned rides using google maps and I can convert/upload to my Garmin and/or phone using Rever.
 

Daboo

Moderator
Staff member
Member
Kurviger is about the best route making software I've come across.  https://kurviger.de/en  Importing files and exporting are simple and intuitive.  You set the amount of curves you want in the route and it'll come up with a suggested route for you.  Also, it'll display things like gas stations and scenic spots with the touch of a button.

For simple and quick route planning, I'll start with Google Maps to determine the initial route.  Using the street view makes it easy to check out the type of road and view, especially if you're choosing between two alternatives.  Once I know where I'm going, I change over to Bing Maps.  Bing Maps allows you to display gas stations along the way, and often with the price of gas.  I can set my route up using planned gas stops.  That may not be a big deal on the eastern side of the country, but it can be on the west side where towns and gas stations are not close together.  Once I get those stops figured out, I enter them into the Trip Planner on my Garmin GPS. 
 
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