Sunday, March 18, 2012

Online Sources of GPS Waypoints and Tracks

Some weeks ago I posted about downloading GPS tracks from for trip planning. For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to post other online sources of GPS data. Lets say you’re planning a trip somewhere. Hiking, biking, fishing–it doesn’t matter. Wouldn’t it be nice to get waypoints and tracks from other GPS enthusiasts?

Some mapping software companies allow users to exchange data. Three notable examples are:

The first two are proprietary formats, which can limit their usefulness unless you have that product. The National Geographic TOPO format turns up a lot on websites devoted to outdoor adventure.

MotionBased uses the open standard .gpx format, which is being embraced by more and more software manufacturers over time. An extensive list of online sources of .gpx data is available from TopoGrafix, the developer of EasyGPS and ExpertGPS. This list encompasses everything from dive spots to UK hiking trails. Travel by GPS, one of the sources on the list has a page posted on data I contributed–my Mt. Diablo circumnavigation. I haven’t tried every source on the list, but GPXchange and TrailRegistry look particularly interesting.

There are plenty of other sources out there too. There is even a Yahoo GPS Tracks & Waypoints group devoted to data exchange. It’s always a good idea to search on Google for (insert park name, etc.) and waypoints or GPX. And there are a blue million hiking, biking, kayaking, hunting, fishing, etc., discussion groups out there. Many message boards have regional sections. There are typically some tech-type gear heads there who can help you out with online sources or even their own data.

Winter is a great time for planning next year’s adventures, and I hope these tools help!

Added 04.22.06 –

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Hi Rich,
    Thanks for the mention of our site We’ve kept it low key as it is still beta and a few more features are to be added before we begin to make noise about it. Would love to get your feedback during development. Many features are still hidden from the normal user. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll supply you with some free maps.
    We’re also interested in selling your book.
    Fred Williams

  2. Thought I would toss our site into the mix…
    Though I suppose we are pretty much New England focused, but serves as a community based waypoint and track collective:
    I think we have swell maps as well! They have been newly revised!

  3. Thanks Nathan. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to ride some of your trails. I’m pleased to see continued improvments to Crankfire. Keep up the good work!

  4. One more for you:
    You can upload routes in GPX and KML, and download them in a variety of formats. There are routes all over the world, although the UK is our most popular area at the moment.

  5. Thanks Dylan.

    Also a GPS portal.

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