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Trans Libya 99 4x4 Rally

Updated 1600 Monday 15th March 1999 UK Time

4x4 in Desert
above picture based on that from Steven Janda in Australia, who can be contacted via the GPSS Links Page


Route ? Robin This page is in support of the 'Trans Libya 99' 4x4 event, to be held soon. Over 22 participents from Portugal and Spain will be navigating across desert terrain in Tunisia and Libya. Jose Ramos, the 'GPSS Expert' in Portugal, put Oscar Hernandez in contact with Robin. First email contact was only Monday, 8th March, but rapid progress has been made. Robin is very grateful to all those who are helping to ensure that reliable and accurate mapping is available in time for free use by all participents who wish to use GPSS - if only to see where they went when they got home.

The map on the right is from Oscar, showing the route.


Please do not abuse the fact that you may contact these people.

Robin only speaks English, but you may contact him on

You may also contact others who speak Portuguese or Spanish. Jose Ramos, a 'GPSS Expert' may be contacted on Jose is in Lisbon near 384800N0091140W, and has a Garmin 12XL. Jose sells Garmin cables, details of which can be seen on Jose's Garmin Cable Page Jose is Portuguese.

Oscar is a new contact of Robin, but we hope to include more detail here soon. Oscar owns a chain of shops which, among other things, sell Garmin GPS systems, and may be contacted by email on Oscar is Spanish and will be on the Trans Libya 99 expedition.

Downloading the GPS Software and Mapping

The GPS Software should be downloaded and tested with your GPS and cable, before you add the maps for Spain, Portugal, Tunisia or Libya. You should contact Robin by email, with answers to 'Quiz Free Registration' on the same GPSS Download Page to get a free 'Snoopy Suppression' key, more data, and technical advice. Robin may be able to put you in touch with someone already using GPSS near you, who speaks Spanish or Portuguese.

If you wish, Robin will also add you to the GPSS Links Page and this page. The more people who help test GPSS and new mapping - the better.

You should learn how to use GPSS now - before you leave Spain or Portugal. You will find GPSS mapping for Spain and Portugal on the European Download Page

Mapping is available for Tunisia and Libya on the African Download Page

Waypoint Data

This page is being used to make sure there is a common understanding on basic information such as the approximate route, and the locations of relevant waypoints.

Robin can e-mail you other data, such as waypoints provided by Oscar, processed into GPSS-compatible form.

Tunis WAypoints ? Oscar emailed Robin a Waypoint+ TXT file late Tuesday 9th March (saved as OSCAR2.TXT), and Robin received answers from several contacts on this file format (e.g. latitude of 35.1234567 means 35 degrees 12 minutes 34.567 seconds). Software has been modified to convert the TXT file into various forms, including HTML text appearing below, and a NME file suitable for 'playback' on the GPSS maps. The first picture on the left shows a plot of the first waypoints near Tunis. This is typical of the minimum detail of the maps covering all Tunisia and Libya that you can download. The downloads also include the approximate locations and names of several thousand villages in each country. Here are the first three points of the waypoint data:

Waypoint = Lat/Lon (degs,mins,secs) = degrees = GPSS(15 character) =  Name
1=36°48'56.05"N 10°15'56.73"E=36.81557 10.26576=364893N0101594E=PORTO DE TUNIS
2=36°47'48.91"N 10°06'51.47"E=36.79692 10.1143=364781N0100685E=PONTO CONTROL
3=36°40'37.28"N 10°19'30.29"E=36.67702 10.32508=364062N0101950E=PORTAGEM
Here is the same data, converted into a GPSS-compatible TLIBYA99.GTX file:
TLIBYA99.GTX holds waypoints for Trans Libya 99 Event
cat,,location,name,  - note these two lines are comments
L,,364893N0101594E,0001 PORTO DE TUNIS,
L,,364781N0100685E,0002 PONTO CONTROL,
L,,364062N0101950E,0003 PORTAGEM,

Robin can e-mail the whole file to those who contact us with Quiz Answers.
Please see the 'Quiz Free Registration' section on the first Download Page

Waypoint Plot The picture on the left shows a plot of waypoints in the area of the event, based on the ordered list of route waypoints e-mailed by Oscar to Robin on Saturday 13th March.

This data has been processed into two files: TL99.GTX suitable for being searched and used to select the next waypoint as the destination. TL99.NME suitable for being 'played back' or plotted - to produce the picture on the left, with the GPSS Control-A DRAW facility. NOTE: the waypoint number (e.g. 0001) may be different between files. You would normally only use one waypoint GTX file.

Waypoints ? The map on the left shows a plot of waypoints (in green) and a selection of wayoints to make a Route (ROO) file (in red). The picture below shows some of the same information, as shown on the more detailed Libya mapping you can download. Waypoints ?

Use of GPSS

It is best to have learned how to use GPSS before you start the expedition, using mapping for your home area of Portugal or Spain.

1. first test GPSS works with your GPS connected, and contact Robin by email to get a 'Snoopy Supression' code. You will need to send your quiz answers.

2. learn how to use the simple facilities in GPSS:
a. looking at the map, and use of W key - to get 'Where are we ?' response.

At present the TUNISIA.WAW and LIBYA.WAW files, used to say where you are relative to major cities and small villages, are very big (thousands of villages), and may be a little slow on some older Laptop PC. If you have this problem, contact Robin, who can provide a smaller WAW file, that will not include the small villages.

b. searching a GTX file and use of D key to select a destination. looking at the Instrument Panel switched on with _ key, and listening to voice guidance.

You may also want to put the most important 10 destinations into GPSS.LOC, so you can select them with 1D, 2D, etc.

If you are VERY CAREFUL, and you have the time, you may wish to create suitable ROO files, for automatic change of destination, but this requires the data to be exactly correct. So it may be best, simply to use the facilities above. But for those that need to know, here is some information about ROO files.

Route Files such as 99X.ROO

Route files can have a maximum of 100 waypoints. They must be accurate - i.e. to within GPS accuracy of 50m to 100m, or better. They must be in the correct order. i.e. the first waypoint first. When using ROO files, you must drive to within typically 50 metres of a waypoint in the file, to cause GPSS to automatically select the next waypoint as the destination - for the Instrument Panel, and voice guidance.

The above are reasons why it is often best not to use ROO files: Easy to make mistakes.

Here is the start of the 99X.ROO file illustrated in the pictures above:

263395N0131536E *R150
271085N0095694E *R150
271025N0095640E *R150
270917N0095574E *R150
270863N0095544E *R150
The first line is the number of waypoints in the file. This must be 100 or less.
Then each line holds the GPSS format 15 character lat/lon, in degrees, minutes, and 1/100ths of minutes. e.g. 263395N = 26 degs 33.95 minutes North.

The *R150 at the end of the line, is the Threshold Range in metres, used by GPSS to automatically switch the destination to the next waypoint. 150m is a practical value, for use with a normal GPS - which is only accurate to typically 50m to 100m. Making this a bigger value, such as *R500 means less accurate data can be used, but it means the automatic switch of destination will happen earlier. e.g. when you are 500m from the waypoint.

Robin can e-mail data in the format needed for a ROO file, as TL99ROUT.TXT BUT THIS MUST BE BROKEN INTO SMALLER ROO FILES with the correct sequence of waypoints. If others create these files, they may be available.

To use a ROO file, it must be copied to GPSS.ROO. This could be done with a number of little .BAT files, with Icons on the Desktop, each with a simple command like "copy 99roo1.roo gpss.roo". To select that route, you would then double click on that icon.

But then you must make the Route Guidance in GPSS active. To do that you hit Control-C, click on the RouteMan button, to get the Route Manager. You then click on READ to read GPSS.ROO and display the route on the map. You can then switch on (or off) the automatic Route following.

But Robin stresses - you do not need to use this. Maybe much easier to use the simple facilities described earlier. i.e. manually select a 'final' destination for that particular journey, from a GTX file.


Please do not forget that GPSS and all this data is used at your own risk,
and is no substitute for good paper maps, a compass, and navigation skills :-)

Take Care & Safe Travelling.