How to use GPX Files

A GPX file is a format that enables the storage and processing of GPS data (geodata). You can use our app to record your own GPS data and upload the tracks you have created to our platform in order to then share your routes with others. You can also download the data for existing routes.

GPX Explained

What is a GPX file and how to use it?

When you save a Word file the file will have the extension “.doc” or “.xls” if it’s an Excel file. Similar, a GPX file is a GPS data file saved in the GPS Exchange format. The GPX files can be used to save, send and upload routes that can be used by many GPS programs.

It contains longitude and latitude location data that may include waypoints, routes, and tracks. Sometimes these files are packed in a zip file and you have to unzip the file first. When you download a GPX file from our premium routes page, you’ll first have to unzip it before you can use it.

What data does a GPX file contain?

Thanks to GPX files you can exchange GPS location data, including maps, routes, and geocaching information, between devices or with friends. Today, most commonly, fitness devices and applications, such as Garmin Connect devices, use GPX files to import and export running, hiking, biking, skiing,… routes.

GPX files store three types of data:

  • Waypoint – are the GPS coordinates of a point. The smallest data piece.

  • Track – Basically this is a list of points that describe a path.

  • Route – Includes a list of track points, which are waypoints for turn or stage points, that lead to a destination.

Mapping and outdoor applications combine these three sets of data to create maps and routes that users can use.

How do I use a GPX file?

On desktop

There are several application that you can use to open GPX files and view routes. The easiest way to open a GPX file and view the map data it contains is by uploading it to the web version of Google Maps. After you open and sign in to Google Maps in your web browser, you can add a GPX file as a new map by:

  1. Opening the Google Maps menu and selecting Your places.

  2. Selecting Maps → Create map.

  3. A new Google Maps window opens. In that window, select the Import button that appears underneath the Untitled layer.

  4. Upload your GPX file. The map data the file contains will appear in Google Maps.

You can also use other desktop applications, such as:

 

On mobile phone


To open a GPX file on your mobile phone (Android or Ios), you will need to download an app first. There are many apps on the market that do the job. You are able to use them for free at some extent:

  • Scenic - This is MY favourite and available on the iPhone. 

  • Fatmap – Awesome 3D maps ideal for hiking, skiing, biking,… in the mountains.

  • RunGo – Free on iOS and Android. Gives turn-by-turn voice directions

  • ARA GPXViewer for iOS – Free. The paid version removes ads. The downside is you can’t view many GPX tracks at once.

  • BikeGPX Free and alerts will tell you when you’re off route.

  • Strava – Just “favorite” a route and it will then be accessible on your phone. Press “Record” and click on the dotted line route icon and then “Use Route”.

 

On a GPS device

These days a lot of outdoor sports enthusiasts have a sports watch that comes with GPS features. For biking or hiking for instance, special outdoor GPS devices can be used as well to open route files. Brands like Garmin have all kinds of sports GPS devices.

I.e. if you use a Garmin device. You will first have to upload the GPX file to Garmin Connect and save it. From there you can send it to your GPS device and use the route for navigation purposes on your adventures!

Note

Garmin have VERY cool tools now. 

Plan a ride in Garmin Explore app, share with Garmin DRIVE and the GPX content is synced next time your Zumo connects to your phone. Cool as!)

9 of the best apps for motorbike riders

Most of us have a smartphone of some description by now, but are you using yours to its full motorbike-related potential? Here’s a list of 9 useful apps to consider if you’re a biker.

EatSleepRIDE – Tracking, social and safety

This one sort of does everything. Discover rides, track yourself doing them, see all your data including (route, speed and lean angle) and then upload it to share with everyone else.

Aside from all of that, they also offer their Crashlight service which detects an accident and automatically alerts a chosen person with your location.

 

Waze – GPS

Any road user can make use of Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation system. The routes update in real time according to information provided by other users. It allows you to live-track other users you know, which can be handy on group rides, and even guides you to the cheapest fuel stations.

 

Kappa App – Social and tracking

No, not the tracksuit you used to wear in the ‘90s, the aftermarket off-road specialists. Their social app has an emphasis on adventure and users can post their adventurous efforts to be rated by everyone else.

Autoist – Diary

Keep track of all your servicing, mileages, finance payments, MOT, tax and even fuel costs with this handy little app. You can even scan in documents like your finance agreement r insurance certificate so they’re all in one place. We’re not saying it will make admin fun, but it definitely makes it easier.

 

Riser – Tracking, social, weather, planner

Like EatSleepRIDE, Riser attempts to be a one-stop solution to all your biking app needs. Track and share your trips to friends and add photos along the way. Check your stats with customised charts, even check the weather before you set off.

 

Rever – Social, tracking and planning

Another version of the social ride tracker formula, Rever has offline mapping for tracking without a phone signal and an easy to use readout while you’re on the move.

 

Best Biking Roads – Planner

Great app for discovering new routes near you. Why not get off the roads you normally ride and discover something new?

 

Google maps – Planning and navigation (and tracking sort of)

If you’ve got an Android device, Google maps will have probably come pre-loaded. It may seem obvious, but it’s a great (and completely free) service. Live traffic updates, estimated arrival and gpx file uploads without spending a penny. If you’ve got a google account, you can even log in and see your tracked timeline (although you will be entirely freaked out the first time you do it).

 

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