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  • Editing and managing GPX files

    What is the best GPX viewer now? I use GPS Track Editor and Base Camp, but both have problems, especially for my older files created by Garmin which have many sub tracks. I've tried using Google Earth Pro, but first of all it takes forever to load, and the GPX tracks don't always show up.

  • #2
    I find GPSBabel extremely useful for conversions, frequently to and from .gpx, .kml, and .csv for track and route data processing along with Base Camp and Google Earth Pro.
    "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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    • #3
      Thanks for the suggestion, Wldrns. I downloaded it and tried it, but have two problems: I don't think it does what I want (simply display the track on a built-in map), and it didn't seem to work. It has only one input format labeled GPX (none of the Garman GPX formats were listed), and when I ran it, trying several different output formats, either it immediately returned a "successful" comment and wrote the file, but the file was blank, or, if I selected .txt, it thought awhile and then crashed.

      Is there another program which will simply display the track, without editing or altering it in any way, like MapSource used to do?

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      • #4
        I have not used any other programs for my purposes. GPsbabel does not display anything, it simply converts data formats from one to another. If Garmin gpx formats are different from any other gpx format, I am not aware of that and have not had any problems with the format I have. I can upload and download gpx data files from my garmin gps, and readily make conversions for use in other programs, particularly csv for Excel.

        I readily convert raw gpx format to and from csv for Excel and to kml for GE as I manipulate the data. I have had great success with gpsbabel with GE since my first Yukon canoe race in 2008. Starting with GE maps I created and labeled as many as 738 routed waypoints, adjusting and labeling them in Excel, then loading back into GE and my gps. From that I also created an Excel predictive point location arrival database program for my pit crew to follow me on the 1000 mile Yukon canoe race at any given location. For post race analysis, the saved gpx track files from my garmin gps are transferred back to GE for ground truth visualization and adjustment for future race route modification.
        "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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        • #5
          I think my issue might be that some (maybe all) of the files I'm have problems with are from my Garmin GPSMAP device, from the early 2000's and each file includes multiple tracks from different dates. If, during the hike, I stop, sometimes the Garmin would start a new track. When I had MapSource, I could combine these multiple sub-tracks, and separate them from the rest, and maybe GPSbabel chokes on them.
          The other source of GPX files I have are from my iPhone, created using GAIAGPS. If I take pictures during the trip, the links to those photos are also included in the GPX file; maybe those tags are also confusing GPSbabel.
          If I try to convert one GPX file to another, I don't think anything happens. The only output format for GPX I can see is called GPX XML; is there another GPX format?
          Thanks for your advice.

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          • #6
            My preferred device is the Garmin GPSmap 60Csx from early 2000's. I first bought that one because it is the one the DEC Rangers used at the time. I have four of them because I so dislike the later models in the 60 series for various reasons. I do have a 62. 64, and 66 all purchased for SAR use, but I still use the 60 for my own purposes, even on SAR. GPX XML is the format that I use. On the other hand you can do a lot of manipulating just with Garmin Basecamp in gpx and kml/kmz formats along with GE. I do use a Macbook for all of my computations, maybe that has something to do with ease of use?
            "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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            • #7
              You could use the CalTopo web site to view the GPX file...

              https://caltopo.com/

              It is a free website and nothing to install.
              My hiking blog

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              • #8
                I use caltopo quite a lot, particularly when as all too commonly happens, my area of interest happens to fall on the corners of four topo maps. A confusing point is that caltopo is a direct image copy of USGS topo maps with their existing NAD27 datum grid lines, so that if you are using the more up to date but slightly offset WGS84 datum, caltopo overprints those additional grid lines offset which can lead to confusion. Either system is just as easy and accurate for those knowledgeable with UTM. If using with a GPS, be sure to set it to the correct desired datum.

                sartopo.com is a sister site, very similar, but with some options more directly geared toward SAR users.
                "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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                • #9
                  Just today I created a paddling route that I will use on a guided navigation/paddling lesson for Brian McDonnell's Celebrate Paddling event still scheduled for late June (hopefully). I only needed to use GE, caltopo, and Basecamp. In the end it will be map and compass only navigation training, but I do have the .gpx route to run on a solo pre-trip test familiarization trial for me. I do something similar for SAR incidents, if I have the time before departure.

                  If I had needed to more automatically label many more waypoints and to calculate leg direction and distance/time, then I would have used GPSBabel to go through a .csv transformation for use in Excel calculations and then put back into .gpx.
                  "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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