For routes in systems that haven't been
activated, you can fix them up as needed before activating them. They
don't work, so you aren't "breaking" any routes by even small tweaks.
Once a highway system is completed, I flip a switch and it is activated. This means three things:
- All users can use the highways in their .list files, and that
system now appears on the site along with all the maps and stats for
- All important changes to this system must be logged by the editor in the updates web page!
- Changes to waypoint labels can break a route for the user. This is to be kept to a minimum!
Which changes to activated routes are newsworthy (need to be reported to the updates web page)?
- Waypoint label is wrong. (Not newsworthy)
Waypoint P1 is mislabeled but at the correct location. It should be NewP1 instead.
Check the LabelsInUse page.
If the label is not in use:
Simply change P1 to NewP1. The line is: NewP1 [url]
If the label is in use:
Put the new label first in the line, and add a + to the old label: NewP1 +P1 [url]. The coordinates should remain identical.
+P1 is now an alternate (= deprecated) label and is hidden in the HB,
but it can still be used by everyone who is trying to use it. The
correct label NewP1 is the new primary label will appear in the HB for
future use for the same point.
- An actual route was truncated. (Newsworthy)
You need to truncate the route by the deleting the waypoints that are no
longer part of the route. This action will break the route for anyone
using the removed points, but there is no way around it.
Possibly there will be the need to change the label of the new end waypoint. See "Waypoint label is wrong." above.
- An actual route was extended. (Newsworthy)
Adding new waypoints can be done without worrying about breaking the route for anyone using it.
Possibly there will be the need to change the label of the old end waypoint. See "Waypoint label is wrong." above.
- Part of an actual route was relocated. (Newsworthy)
To update the route, you need to remove some waypoints in the middle of
the file and insert new ones there. Anyone using a removed waypoint will
have the route break for them, but it is unavoidable.
Possibly there will be the need to change the labels of the two "pivot
waypoints", where the old and new alignments meet. This should be done
without breaking the route for anyone. See "Waypoint label is wrong."
- One route
was newsworthily changed (extended/truncated/relocated) and begs for a
now- or previously intersecting route's waypoint to change.
See "Waypoint label is wrong." above.
- A route has new exit numbers, so many of its waypoints should be relabeled with the new exit numbers. (Possibly newsworthy)
If none of the new exit numbers are the same as the old ones, then this
update can be accomplished without breaking any routes for anyone. Hide
copies of the old waypoints that are in use so that they continue to
function, and delete the old waypoints that are not in use. Add the new
waypoints. (Not newsworthy)
If some of the old and new exit numbers are identical, then some route
breaking may be necessary. Proceed in the same way to minimize the
impact. You can't retain old labels as alternate labels if they must
become the primary label of a different waypoint. (Newsworthy)
Example: waypoints 74, 75, 76 become 1, 2, 3; only 74 and 76 are in use:
New file: 1 +74, 2, 3 +76.
74 and 76 were retained as alternate labels because they were in use.
Example: waypoints 74, 75, 76 become 76, 77, 78; only 74 and 76 are in use:
New file: 76 +74, 77, 78
75 was removed instead of demoted because no one was using it.
76 is now used for the former 74 point and no longer represents its former location.
The change to point 76 becomes "newsworthy".
Sometimes in the latter case, a second option can be chosen for the
duplicated point (76) that causes the small problem. If new interchange
76 is in use has A and B exits, then this is preferable:
New file: 76A +74, 77, 78 +76.
- An intersection was closed.
Add an asterisk(*) at the beginning of the waypoint and leave it
otherwise unchanged. If the point 37 was closed, change it to *37. Any
.list file using "37" or "*37" will use this point, since asterisks are
ignored when matching waypoints in .list files with waypoints in the HB.
Note that if you give a route both of the points 37 and *37, this is a
duplicated label error that needs to be corrected.
- Anticipated questions:
Q: I found a route where most of the labels are correct but are applied
to the wrong waypoints. To fix it, I should use many of the same labels
but shift them to the correct waypoints. Since that fix will alter but
not really break most of the points in use, can I just reenter the whole
route and forget about hiding old points?
A: Probably. Mention the problem in this forum so we can make sure that breaking the route is warranted. It might be needed.
Q: I want to add a new system of highways to a region, and I found some
changes to make to an activated system in the same region. Since I
expect users to update their .list file with the new highways, can I
break those activated highways at the same time rather than hiding used
points I changed?
A: No. Adding a new highway system shouldn't be an excuse to break routes in another system.
Q: Don't you think you're way too gung-ho about not breaking routes? I'm
only making changes one or twice a year that would break only a route
or two, so it's not a burden for the users to update their files once in
awhile. It should be fine to "unnecessarily" break a small number of
A; No. There are more than 10 of you sporadically (and sometimes,
frequently) making minor changes, and without hiding copies of used
waypoints, that adds up to breaking routes every few weeks, sometimes
even more often. Users shouldn't have to make frequent changes to
1000-line files every few weeks when the changes don't reflect real
changes to highway alignments or real changes to the extent of their
Q: Is there a preference for the order of hidden/visible pairs of same-location waypoints?
A: It's a little bit helpful if the first and last points of a file are
always visible points. Otherwise, there's no significant preference for
whether the hidden or visible point comes first.
Q: Can I delete unused hidden points with a visible companion point?
A; If you have verified that a hidden point isn't in use and that there
is a visible point at the same location, then you can delete the unused
hidden point. Just make sure you don't accidentally remove a shaping
point or a used point or a not-duplicated point. But also ask yourself
how this can be worth your time to do.
Q. I made a necessary change that will unavoidably break a route for
some users. So would you include "Update your .list file if you've
included any part of this route." with the entry on the Updates page?
A: No. That note is implied for most or all entries on that page, so it's not worth mentioning on any individual basis.
Format for reporting newsworthy changes
Report the changes you make in the email to me with the updated
files. Don't let the changes get lost in the forum or elsewhere.
- Non-newsworthy entries (.list file update not needed):
Just give an rough idea of what you changed. There's no need to go into lots of detail as in the newsworthy entries.
"Added shaping points and corrected a few bad waypoint labels in the
Illinois US highways" is sufficient, rather than a list of 50 detailed
changes. Save yourself some time!
- Newsworthy news entries (will likely require a .list file update):
Phrase newsworthy changes in plain English and how they are on the updates page:
Keep them concise but just specific enough for someone to understand in
the HB since they can't compare with the old route. Examples of common
changes are here:
Pennsylvania I-67: Added route.
England M1: Deleted route.
Pennsylvania I-99: Extended northward from Exit 52 (PA 350) near Bald Eagle to MusLn (Musser Lane) near Bellefonte.
(mentions intersections at old and new ends)
Maryland US 15 Business (Emmitsburg): Truncated from the old south end at US 15 to the new end at Main St in Emmitsburg.
(This mentions intersections at old and new ends. As you compose lines
like this one, remember that highways can be truncated, but end points
Relocated route (in middle of route):
Pennsylvania US 220: Removed from Main Street and 5th Avenue, and
relocated onto a new northern Georgetown bypass, between US 23 and PA
(mentions both ends of the new part, that is, the intersections/places
where the old and new alignments meet) and both the old and new routes
Relocated route (at end of route):
Pennsylvania US 220: Removed from Main Street and 5th Avenue between 4th
Street and 9th Street, and relocated onto a new northern Georgetown
bypass between 4th Street and PA 70.
(mentions both the new and old routings as well as the bounding intersections of each)
Changed label or recycled label:
Ontario ON 444: Changed waypoint labels 51 to 52 and 52 to 53.
(mention old and new waypoints for a small number of changes)
New York I-490: Reentered route with corrected waypoint labels.
(if there are too many changes to mention individually)
You can also mention actual waypoints labels where skipping them isn't clear.
Avoid the following in the entries:
- Don't refer to "the old route" or "the old end". Instead, say what the old route or end was.
- Don't refer to "the new route" or "the new end". Instead, say what the new route is.
- Don't use vague phrases like "the correct location", "onto new construction". Instead, say what the location or highway is.
- Wherever possible, avoid describing old and new routings by highway
names that changed. Use stable highway names if they are available, or
describe the type and location of the highway.