GPX format is a type of file that contains map data including coordinates in the Global Positioning System (GPS). Unfortunately, there is no universal standard, and GPX is just one of many map data formats. But GPX is an open standard, so more and more manufacturers are using it as the native format on their devices.
Google Maps uses the KML format for its map data, but they support many formats, including GPX. Google claims that they support all basic map data, but certain formats will be easier to import than others. GPX is not an easy format, so in this article, you will see how to convert GPX files to the preferred format.
What’s the deal with GPX?
The GPS Exchange format has existed since 2002, and many satellite devices use it to store their map data. Even satnav devices that don’t produce GPX files have the option to import them. There is no point in conducting in-depth dissertations about this file format; think of it like JPG, an open standard that is used almost universally.
Because this is an open standard, GPX is very popular for creating maps that can be used on a variety of platforms. If you want to share GPS tracks, try converting your files to GPX. That will ensure that anyone who receives it can see it on the device of their choice.
If you want to get a good idea of points of interest, try searching the GPX map for various purposes. For example, search on Google for “GPS trail running routes.” The popularity of the format makes it a good choice for people who want to share good findings. Or, how about “GPX scenic road trip?” Get creative, you will be surprised by what you find.
Import GPX to Google
If you have a GPX file and only want to put it in Google Maps, the process isn’t too complicated. This is not an ideal scenario, because Google Maps must convert the file, but it will definitely work.
First, log in to My Maps, then follow the steps outlined below:
Click on the button labeled Create New Map in the upper left corner.
Click Add Layer in the menu on the left, and under the layer, click import.
You will be given the option to upload files from your computer or simply drag and drop them into the recipient area. Upload your GPX file and map waypoints will be added automatically.
As simple as that. However, this might not import all data from GPX files. If you want to ensure that the map feature is imported, you must first convert the map file to KML format.
Convert Google Map to GPX
Sometimes the GPS device you choose is compatible with GPX. Google Maps is one of the easiest and most popular directions services so it is not surprising that both are easily converted.
To do this, follow these steps:
Open Google Maps
Enter your location
Drag ‘Maps GPX‘ in your web browser
Copy and paste the URL from Google Maps
In a web browser, click CMD + C on your Mac keyboard or CTRL + C if you use a PC to copy the URL in the address bar. Paste the URL into ‘Maps GPX’ and click ‘Let’s Go’
The newly converted Google Map will start downloading to the GPX file for you to save and use elsewhere. You may have to allow download access to compatible applications so we have included other options below if this does not work for you.
We like ‘Maps GPX’ because it’s free, doesn’t require any software downloads, and doesn’t ask for any personal information.
Convert GPX files into KML
To ensure that all data from your file is uploaded correctly to Google, first convert it to the preferred format, KML. You can convert GPX to KML using various software, but the most convenient way is to use an online converter. GPS Visualizer is a very lightweight and free converter. All you have to do is upload your GPX file and then choose Google Maps as the output format. Within a few seconds, you will have a KML file available.
After your file is converted, download and follow the steps to upload the file to Google Maps as described above. This extra step will ensure that nothing is lost in uploads to Google. After your file is uploaded to Google Maps, you can share it and take whatever action you normally take on Google Maps.
Make a Google Map
Maybe it’s easier to make your own Google Map. You can add your destination and change the map as I wish. To create your own Google map, do this:
Open My Maps and type your location in the search bar
Click ‘Add to map’
Your map will automatically be saved to your Google Drive, so make sure the sign in to the correct Google account before proceeding.
Behind Every Great Map Is a Great GPX
Viewing and using your GPX file on Google Maps is actually not very complicated. Just upload the file to My Maps and the map feature will fill in by itself. A good added benefit is that you can also export files in GPX format from My Maps. So, if you want to send someone map data that can be read by their car data, use the GPX format.