How to create a URL to display any Big Sur Trailmap route
(also creates link to obtain the route's metrics)
(but is a bit geeky/technical)
Create URL by appending text, then enter into browser URL "address bar" box to display plot of route
Route URL consists of following pieces, appended together:
• Route URL header:
• Parameters controlling route creation
(note: '?' always precedes 1st parameter, '&' precedes all other parameters)
‧ ?r=1 ⇒ CAN use roads *VICE* ?r=1 ⇒ can NOT use roads
‧ &u=0 ⇒ can NOT use usetrails *VICE* &u=1 ⇒ CAN use usetrails
‧ &c=1 ⇒ DO show metrics to camp-only intersections *VICE* &c=1 ⇒ do NOT show metrics to camp-only intersections (will not affect route, just the displayed metrics intersections)
‧ &X=1 ⇒ ignore any closures
‧ &route= ⇒ route points will follow
• Route points
: consisting of 2 or more strings ala Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name
separated by a ~ (tilde)
character. The displayed route will be the shortest path (for the specified route parameters)
connecting the route points
(Trail_Name is ala those displayed when clicking on a trail/usetrail/road or camp/campground on the interactive Big Sur Trailmap)
(but blanks are NOT allowed - must instead use underscore '_' character)
(Intersection_Name is another Trail_Name *or* a trailhead ala North_end/South_end/West_end/East_end)
Boronda_Trail_:_North_end ⇒ North end (trailhead) of Boronda Trail
Boronda_Trail_:_North_Coast_Ridge_Road ⇒ Intersection of Boronda Trail and North Coast Ridge Road (this point is actually the same as the above)
Ventana_Camp_:_none ⇒ Ventana Camp (note: camps, being themselves points, do not need/use an Intersection_Name - but none is required for such cases, for format consistency)
• Optional parameters
Plot title: to display your title on plot instead of default title, add &Title=My_Title (again, blanks are NOT allowed - must instead use underscore '_' character)
Elevation profile: by default the elevation profile is also displayed - but the profile can be hidden (i.e. not initially displayed but available by clicking a button) by adding &e=1
(FYI there are other parameters to add markers, etc. but that is "advanced usage")
(since "monkey-see, monkey-do" can be the easiest way to learn)
Clicking the example URLs below will the display the route on a map and display the URL in the browser's "address box" as a single (long) line.
Note screen width truncation issues in the example links below: these URL link lines can be very long - so your browser may cut/wrap them into multiple lines for better visibility. But when actually used, a URL must be a single line, i.e. without any internal line breaks or blank spaces!
Also, despite displaying multiple lines a small-screen may still not display the entire URL, forcing you to scroll this page horizontally to see the full URL text.
Simple example using trail junctions: for the Pine Ridge Trail segment from its intersection with the Terrace Creek Trail to its intersection with the Big Sur Trail, the URL is:
Simple example using trailheads: for the Boronda Trail, from South to North end, the URL is:
Complex loop example: created by adding more Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name points, each preceded by a ~ (tilde), to the above example
to give the URL:
(note: this is a 'lollipop' loop route with identical start and end points, ascending/descending the Boronda Trail at its start/end)
Add custom title: created by adding &Title=Boronda_Trail_Loop to the above, to give the URL:
Initially hide elevation profile: created by adding &e=1 to the above, to give the URL:
(note: the profile can be displayed by clicking the Profile: show button when the URL is displayed in a browser)
Complex route with a backtrack: for a route from west end of Terrace Creek Trail to the Pine Ridge Trail, then westward on the Pine Ridge Trail to visit Ventana Camp, then climbing back up to the Pine Ridge Trail and continuing eastward to Redwood Camp, the URL is simply:
(note: the 'Pine Ridge Trail' name is not used/needed anywhere since the shortest route between the specified points is along the Pine Ridge Trail)
Route URL creation "How to"
Suggested method for creating a route URL:
Type text directly into browser URL "address bar" box (or use "pro tip" below to copy+paste from editor)
Browser "address bar" box:
• Start by typing the route URL header: https://bigsurtrailmap.net/cgi-bin/googlemaps_display.cgi
• Then append the route parameters ?r=1&u=0&c=1&X=1&route= (this parameter choice is suggested as best for most cases, but you may need to use different parameters - for example, if you want to include usetrails or exclude roads (including dirt roads))
• Next append the Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name of your starting location
• In selecting the following route points, you want the most distant location to which the shortest route (for the specified route parameters) follows your desired route.
• So append a ~ (tilde) and then the Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name of the furthest location to which the shortest route will follow your desired route from the start
• Test the resulting URL in your browser, to see if your desired route is indeed followed. (Specifically, after typing/copying the URL text into your browser's "address bar" box, press the "Enter" key)
• If the route is not as expected, add an intermediate point(s) [i.e. insert a ~Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name], again testing in browser
• If the route is as expected but not yet complete, append an additional point [i.e. append a ~Trail_Name_:_Intersection_Name] , test that in the browser, and repeat to reach the final location
• Finally, save the route URL as a browser bookmark or in a separate file or wherever, to use later as needed
Pro tip: it's often easier/better, especially for complex routes which create very long URLs, to create text in an editor then copy+paste it into browser, since can then use separate lines to keep track of different URLs used to make error spotting easier and/or also save multiple URLs for later use. For such, using a simple text editor ala Windows Notepad app is simplest - but you must not enable "word wrap". Using a word processor is trickier, since you must copy simple text only, i.e. not include any processor markup characters - you can mimic a simple text editor by first saving a blank file in "text" format (a ".txt" file), instead of as a formatted file, then opening and using that file and again saving as "text". In any case, you must always copy text carefully and not include any extra characters (such as line breaks).
Route metrics display & URL
The plot displayed by the route URL will contain a "Route details and metrics" link under the title, which if clicked will display metrics (route length & elevation gain/loss) for
the entire route and between intersections. The "metrics URL" used for that link will be displayed in the "address bar" box and can be copied and used/saved separately, e.g. mailed to someone.
Computers are very picky - a single incorrect character can either not give the desired route or display an error message.
The possible mistakes and possible error messages are numerous so cannot be detailed - I can only emphasize that your URL must be exact to get the result you want:
for example, capital letters must be capitalized and blank spaces are not allowed! For complex cases,
it's best to start with a simple path - so if an error does occur you will have fewer URL characters to check - and then extend the route
piece by piece, checking each for correctness as you go.
There are also parameters for adding markers, labels, arrows, and displaying a map without a route.
This is "advanced usage" and I'm not going to describe them in detail, just give my own notes and examples.
Markers - add specified color icon at specified lat,lon with optional specified text, specified border color, specified font size
&Marker=latitude,longitude,iconcolor,text,bordercolor,fontsize (last 4 parameters optional, default value used if not specified)
• in text, use '_' for spaces/blanks, can use html markup
• icon/border Colors=red/yellow/green/magenta/white/black
• for NO marker, use "none" as color
• can display multiple markers
• *NB: markers will overlie all else on map
• best for single line - for multiple lines, can use markup
but border appears around all lines so use "white" border - must use "_" (underscores) on each side of text to center
Box and Arrow
- adds box containing text and optional arrow
alabel=arrow_mode,box_content,arrowhead_lat,arrowhead_lon,box_side,arrow_length_x,arrow_length_y,line_color,line_width,box_style (10 parameters)
| Parameter || Example || Description |
|• arrow_mode || 3 || 0⇒ none 1⇒ pointer 2⇒ arrow+box |
|• box_content || Gorda || html allowed - must use "_" instead of spaces|
|• arrowhead_lat || 36.1234 || latitude of arrow head at point of interest |
|• arrowhead_lon || -121.123 || longitude of arrow head at point of interest |
|• box_side || bottom || box side for arrow/pointer base |
|• arrow_length_x || 20 || x length (pixels) from head to base |
|• arrow_length_y || 20 || y length (pixels) from head to base |
|• line_color || red || color of box border & arrow line |
|• line_width || 1 || width (pixels) of box border & arrow line |
|• box_style || 10 || integer (experiment to see different styles) |
• can have multiple boxes, each separated by "|" delimiter - must supply 10 parameters for first label, must supply 4 parameters for subsequent labels (will use values of previous label for missing values)
Map only - for map without route, typically adding "Marker" or "Box and Arrow" ala above to show locations on map
Instead of "route creation parameters" and "route points", specify first parameter as
• higher zoom integer is "closer in"
• Certain characters have special meaning in URLs so cannot be used in text - these are: space/blank, "?", "&", "+", "=", ",", ":", ";", "$", "@", "/", "%", "#"
• Remember to use "_" (underscores)
instead of spaces/blanks
• Text can be centered by adding underscores before text
• HTML tags can be used with text, as in web pages, to alter text appearance - tags are typically paired, before & after the text to be altered.
Basic HTML Tag Examples:
<b>bold</b> ⇒ text "bold" appears bold, eg: bold
<small>smaller</small> ⇒ text "smaller" appears smaller, eg: smaller
<br> ⇒ line break, a special, non-paired tag to create a new line
HTML tag cheat sheet