Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS data search tool

Google recently announced their custom search engine tool. I didn’t really see how I would use it at first; then I thought about creating a search engine designed to go after GPS data. After all, I find myself searching for it often for trip planning. So give it a try, perhaps with the name of a popular trail or a geographical area: 


Search for waypoints, tracks, POI’s, maps and aerial imagery

I’ve included over 30 sources so far, including National Geographic TOPO!’s MapXchange, the TOPO USA file exchange, MotionBased, several points of interest (POIs) sites, a great U.S. DRG resource, sites with free Garmin maps, aerial photos, and more. I’ve tried to keep out sites that charge for data, or sites that will return massive numbers of duplicate or irrelevant results. Oh, and if you find yourself dealing with data types that your software won’t handle, check out a GPS file converter.


Unfortunately, not all data sites will work. It appears that Google doesn’t index things like .gpx files, so I have to look for pages with HTML links or text.  I’m not a web professional, but that’s my take on it. 

Suggested additions

I will add to the list as time allows, but this isn’t my day job, and I have only a limited amount of time to spend on it. With that caveat, please use the comment form below to make suggestions.

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. I have created a keyword shortcut for thsi search in Firefox so that I can type “gps trailname” in the address bar and get results. I’ll be using it.

  2. Hey, that’s cool. Is that hard to do?

  3. No, pretty easy. Right click on the text box for the search in Firefox and click “Add a keyword for this search.” Give it a name (GPS Data Search), keyword (gps) and select the Bookmark folder to store it in (Quick Searches). And you are done. Now you can type “gps halfdome” in the Firefox address bar to use this search tool.

  4. Gps Explorist 210

    Now i am pretty good with figuring things out, normally, but i have read

  5. Dave Whitman says:

    Hi we use are Garmin7500 to locate campsites and such when we travel. We would like to get our business on the GPS so people can find us. can you tell me if this can be done and how?
    Thanks Dave

  6. Dave,
    Most GPS map data is supplied by two companies, NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas. Both have systems for reporting deficiencies and errors. Here are the links:
    Additionally, NAVTEQ has a system that I suspect they charge for, but it may lead to quicker integration. Here’s the link:
    Regardless, it can take 6-18 months to see an update. They won’t add your business without verifying locations. Maybe they already have it in the works for the next round of updates.

  7. There is an excellent trail in Georgialand called “The Silver Comet Trail” which has been described by National Geographic Channel as “…challenging…” that you might be interested in looking up.

  8. Thanks for the tip. Looks like fun!

  9. is the first site to place google and yahoo side by side on one split screen. The web site takes the user’s query and creates a browser window with two frames, with the results from Yahoo! on one side and those from google on the other. It has completely end up the hassles involved while searching different search engines at the same time.

  10. Equipos de GPS y Rastreo Satelital – Argentina

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