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We have updated the USA vector data on from Robin on 20th April 2007: Please see the USA Download page for the latest USA mapping. This page is simply some "history" for those interested.

USA Street Level Mapping for GPSS

All USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico

Updated 1400 Monday 31st October 2005

Robin Tiger Streets Hi Folks ! This page tells you what you need to know to download and use the GPSS USA street level mapping, first released here in early 2001. Little has changed on this page in recent years.

Let me start by expressing my thanks to Ted for sending me that 3.8 GB of TIGER source data on seven CDs in 1999, and to all those who helped us test both the resulting 290 MB of highly compressed data, and the v5 Baseline of GPSS - needed to exploit the mapping.

The most recent of these people is Marty Brilliant mentioned on our "change history" at the bottom of this page. There is also a link to the TIGER.EXE technical page.

Tiger Roads We are about to update the USA street mapping based on the latest Tiger/Line source data. The TIGER.EXE program has been modified to run under Windows XP and the slow process now takes a few hours instead of 10 days - as it did in 1999/2000. Luckily we only have to do this once - correctly, before we upload the final result onto for your download and use. The picture at top right shows the level of detail available for all the USA. This is the default scale at which the mapping is used. The picture on the left shows an example at two scales wider.

Please do not mis-understand the role of this free mapping. It is NOT intended to compete with the excellent CDs such as Microsoft Streets 2001, already used with GPSS via use of ARED on the trips/autoroute page. It simply sets a minimum standard for mapping that the Public can download for free use with GPSS, and helps me promote GPSS to my future business partners.

Please note the copyright statements further down the page. This mapping is only free for use with GPSS.

How do I use this mapping ?

For those who do not know already, these are the steps you must follow:

  1. Test the GPSS Baseline from the download page with GPS->Laptop PC running GPSS.
  2. Fill in the "Quiz" answers in step 2 on the same page - to get free support.
  3. Use the tips given in my reply, to add more local mapping from the USA download pages. This will normally include USADISK.EXE or modules with more detail near you. These EXE downloads include sound files and WAW files which control things such as GPSS speaking your position relative to towns in the USA instead of London.

How is the mapping organised ?

1 degree tile The vector data is organised into self-extracting EXE files, each covering an area of 1 degree latitude x 1 degree longitude. i.e. approx 60 miles north-south. e.g. 37N122W.EXE holds data for the San Francisco area, 37N to 38N and 122W to 121W.

Each EXE file will be in the ballpark of 1 MB. e.g. 37N122W.EXE is 1,002,924 bytes, and 37N121W.EXE is 846,928 bytes.

You can download the data simply by opening the appropriate URL, such as
- or, if you are getting a slow response from, try the mirror site on


There are 1192 EXE files, each covering a 1 x 1 degree area, but only five are above the 1.44 MB capable of being held on a floppy disk. They are 33N117W for Los Angeles, 40N073W and 40N074W for New York, 42N071W for Boston, and 40N075W for Philidelphia.

help us test new mapping

The mapping described above was uploaded onto in early 2000. Good progress is being made with processing the latest Tiger source DVDs into the same GPSS-compatible format. You may wish to help us test the new pre-release data. If so, you should follow the path of steps 1,2 and 3 on the download page, until you have tested GPSS with the GPS, using the street level mapping described above. You may then wish to testing with the latest pre-release version of the data from
- note the use of lower case in the filename. More details about this ongoing work are here.

Things to Test

Here are a few things to test with GPSS and the USA vector mapping:

  • Street names: check your local streets have the correct name. See below.
  • track accuracy: If you find errors bigger than the 5m radius history circles, please send Robin an NME File recorded "around the block". You can also use Control-A DRAW to REPLAY recorded trips.
  • better presentation of display - ideas welcome.
  • better speed - ditto - e.g. faster street name rotated text in v4.95e and later.
  • simple piecemeal addition of mapping. e.g. automatic WAW in v4.95f
  • any bugs, such as patches of streets missing (e.g. cache logic bugs).

See the OLDNEW page linked above for the very latest GPSS.EXE

Tips on Testing

Some tests can obviously be done "on the road", but please get someone else to drive, while you look at the screen.

For those who want to test "on the desk", here are a few tips:

  • run GPSS without your GPS connected.
  • use Control-C STOP DEMO to switch off the demonstration.
  • click with right mouse button to move the car.
  • Z key should zoom out, and X zoom in to most detailed map.
  • GPSS.EXE v4.95j introduced search of ALL the WAW files.
    e.g. `new (then Enter) will find nearest place starting "new" e.g. Newcastle.
    Enter key then finds next nearest. e.g. New York.
    V key then "Visits" the location with the car.
    `*york finds nearest which includes "york". e.g. York.
    Enter key finds next nearest. e.g. New York.
    `New York - should find it first time, of course.

TIGER Source data and TIGER.EXE


The source "Tiger" data is US Government Public Domain, and so there are no copyright fees to be paid to the US Government - unlike mapping for most other countries.

Information on TIGER source data is on and may be purchased on 7 CDROMs for 490 USD. (i.e. 70 USD per CDROM)* It can be downloaded from - but remember these are BIG files, of typically 5 to 15 MB each, and for the USA, there are 3234 of them :-) * this was cost in 1999: Robin just purchased the complete 2004 Tiger-line data, released in August 2005, on two DVD for 70USD + 25USD for overseas shipping.

TIGER.EXE is a program written by Robin, to process TIGER source data into the GPSS-compatible form that can be downloaded from this web site. Robin is happy to release information on this offline software, and the format of the GPSS-compatible files, to those who have a "need to know". e.g. business partners creating similar data for other countries. TIGER.EXE already handles data from both TIGER and DCW (Digital Chart of the World) and could be modified to process other sources into the GPSS file formats.

For those thinking of "hacking" the files, for use with their own software, please do not forget that this is strictly illegal. Also, it was not difficult for the data to be given a "signature" to trace it's origin from this GPSS data. e.g. "hidden streets".

If you have a software talent, use it wisely ;-)

Here are some words from the TIGER README.TXT documentation file:

The TIGER/Line files were created from the Census Bureau's TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) data base of selected geographic and cartographic information. TIGER was developed at the Census Bureau to support the mapping and related geographic activities required by the decennial and economic censuses and sample survey programs. TIGER/Line files are made available to the public and are typically used by people to provide the digital map base for their Geographic Information System or mapping software.

- and here are some more words from the TIGER99.PDF documentation file:

Census TIGER , TIGER , TIGER/Line , TIGER/SDTS , TIGER/Census Tract Street Index , TIGER/CTSI , CTSI , TIGER/Census Tract Comparability , and TIGER/GICS are registered trademarks of the U.S. Census Bureau; ZCTA is a trademark of the U.S. Census Bureau. As such, these names cannot be used as or within the proprietary product names of any commercial product including or otherwise relevant to U.S. Census Bureau data, and may only be used to refer to the nature of such product. The U. S. Census Bureau requests that any repackaging of the TIGER/Line data (and documentation) and other files accompanying it for distribution include a conspicuously-placed statement to this effect on the product's cover, the first page of the website, or elsewhere of comparable visibility. Further, U.S. Census Bureau trademarks, when used in reference to the nature of the product, should be accompanied by the (registered) symbol or symbol, where convenient.

change history for vector mapping in GPSS

Here are some details, most of which have been on this page for years.

updates to street level mapping - October & November 2005

See "help us test new mapping" above.

Water bug until v5.96 GPSS - October 2005

I'm grateful for the good work of Martin Brilliant in USA for bringing my attention to a major omission in GPSS.EXE which stopped it plotting the water details in *W.VEC files. This omission - or bug - has been in GPSS for years. The fix was put onto the oldnew page in October 2005, and will be in all copies of GPSS v5.96 and later. Thanks Marty :-)

Minor Zoom bug in v5.3 GPSS - June 2002

The v5.3 Baseline of GPSS included the DES files, but not the VEC files contained in the EXE downloads. A minor bug in GPSS.EXE v5.3 results in the Z key (Zoom) not responding as you would expect if no VEC files have yet been added. i.e. you need to hit Z a number of times to step past the missing vector maps. Most will be happy to live with this bug, which was fixed in the pre-release v5.4 of GPSS.EXE available on the oldnew page, and all copies of GPSS after v5.3.

Remaining Problems - in 2002

There have not been any new problems reported for over a year, with new users each day registering GPSS and making use of this free mapping. However, we have had reports, made some time ago, of problems with data in the extreme north-east of USA. If you experience problems yourself, please report them to me, after obtaining free registration and a REF code to quote for free support.

GPSS.EXE v5.1 April 2001

The v5.1 24 April 2001 Baseline of GPSS includes changes made to fix bugs (described below) in the v5 January 2001 Baseline. Prior to the v5.1 Baseline appearing on the GPSS DOWNLOAD Page, pre-release versions of GPSS.EXE were available on the OLDNEW Page.

The old v5 (January) baseline of GPSS worked with this new vector mapping, but improvements were made to the GPSS.EXE logic. The main benifits in v5.1 are:

  • fixing of the bug which caused occasional gaps in street mapping due to wrong caching logic.
  • automatic zooming out until the map includes streets or roads - other than just a major highway. This should solve problems crossing into Canada or Mexico. It should also provide a more useful map in remote area, where there is only the major highway. Further changes are expected to this logic soon.

Street Name Bug found by Patrick - February 2001

Early spot checks on GPSS using the data showed it looked OK, when compared against other sources, such as Streets 2001. However, Patrick Jankowiak was the first to find errors in the 32N096W.EXE data, resulting from a bug in my (Robin's) offline TIGER.EXE software. The error was found on 6th Feb 2001, TIGER.EXE corrected, and a corrected 32N096W.EXE uploaded after the 8th February re-run of TIGER.EXE.

On 1st March 2001 all data was replaced by the corrected files.

If you find a problem, of streets having the wrong name, please tell me.

Please provide information, such as this from Patrick:
wrong name - correct name - lat/lon location
GRAND PLZ - GRACEY AVE. - 324153N0964771W
AVENUE G - ATLAS ST. - 324146N0964769W
etc. One or two examples are all I need from you.

Thank's Pat - for finding this (data) bug, and Tom Alcorn for finding other examples, plus the bug in the GPSS.EXE cache logic - corrected in v5.1 of GPSS.EXE.

Corrections to Street Data - March 2001

On Thursday 1st March 2001, all EXE data in was replaced by corrected data. This was to fix the "street name bug" described below. i.e. a small proportion of streets in the old data had the wrong name, starting with the same first letter.

more information about TIGER.EXE ...

You may read more information about TIGER.EXE and the methods used to create the VEC files used by GPSS here.

© 1991-2007 Robin Lovelock, Sunninghill Systems.
Any links to this web site should be direct into the homepage of
Robin Lovelock, Sunninghill Systems, 22 Armitage Court, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks SL5 9TA, United Kingdom.
Sunninghill Systems International Limited and Sunninghill Software Limited are registered at the above address.