What is a GPX file?
What is a GPX file?
The question we get asked all the time is, what is a GPX file and can I use them with my Outdoor GPS Unit?
A GPX file is the standard format that many different makes of GPS Devices such as a Garmin or SatMap etc use and also many different mapping software’s use to display information from the GPX file to help us navigate with either on our GPS device or to view the information on the mapping software, which could be on a computer or an app on a mobile device.
The GPS data file saved in the GPS Exchange format contains longitude and latitude location data that may include waypoints, geocaches, routes, and tracks. GPX files are saved in XML format, which allows the GPS data to be more easily imported and read by many different mapping programs and web services.
The GPX files are commonly used for exchanging GPS location data with others, creating routes, waypoints, and geocaching. If you come across a GPX files there are a variety of applications that can open them, including Garmin’s Basecamp software, Garmin’s Explore & Connect Apps, GPS Training’s OS Planner software, Ordnance Survey App, View-ranger App, Google Earth and many more mapping programs and apps.
GPX files store three types of data:
Waypoint - Includes GPS coordinates of a point. It may also include other descriptive information and can include height data
Route - Includes a list of route points joined together, the route points can be waypoints for turn or stage points, which lead to a destination, the route points will include a grid reference location and can also include height data depending on the software on which they were planned.
Track - Includes a list track of points, a GPX track is often a recording taken from a GPS device and will include track points often known as a breadcrumb trail, track points recorded at intervals will show grid reference location of each point and can show height data, speed etc depending on the GPS device on which they were recorded.
How do we create GPX files?
Routes - When we pre-plan a route on some mapping software or an app there is normally an option to download the route in a GPX format, this GPX format can then be transferred onto a compatible GPS device or also shared with others to either transfer onto their own GPS device or to import and view on some mapping software.
Waypoints – some mapping software’s such as Garmin’s Basecamp allow you to create a Waypoint or number of Waypoints (A fixed location on a map which can be given a name i.e. Viewpoint 1 etc.) these single waypoints or a collection of waypoints can then be exported from Garmin Basecamp software as a GPX file to transfer onto a compatible GPS device or also shared with others to either transfer onto their own GPS device or to import and view on some mapping software.
Waypoints marked on a GPS device such as Garmin or Satmap are also saved in a GPX format and can transferred out of your GPS device.
Tracks – When you record a track in a GPS device such as a Garmin or SatMap this track recording is saved as a GPX file and can then be transferred out of your GPS device to view all the information about your recording in software such as Garmin’s Basecamp software, GPS Training OS Planner or other mapping software’s and apps.
THE GPX track recording file will include track points often known as a breadcrumb trail, track points recorded at intervals will show grid reference location of each point and can show height data, speed etc depending on the GPS device they were recorded on.
This GPX track file can also be shared with others to use to navigate with in their own compatible GPS device or to import and view on some mapping software.
In conclusion a GPX file is a fantastic way to share different types of GPS data across different makes of GPS devices and multiple mapping software’s and apps.
Below is a video (extract from the Garmin GPSMAP 66s walk and talk) looking at importing a .gpx file from a third party website into Garmin BaseCamp and editing it on a Mac.