Help with GPX & KML

What to do with a gpx or kml file
1 hour walks

Why bother with GPX files


Anyone used to written instructions will find it hard to appreciate the value of a 'sat nav' for walkers .

True, it's more fun to unravel text or regularly consult maps than follow an arrow on a device.

However, if you are tired of going wrong because of missing signs/clues or unclear instructions, a gpx file on a mobile or gps device 'forces' you to take the correct turn at the right time ,useful particularly in forests and open fields.


Actual Written Instruction :

'Next, cross the field to a stile in small gap in hedge...'.

Which way?

How many of us have followed hedges just to locate a stile?

What is a GPX file?    

A gpx file contains points on a route. These points are just coordinates ,strung together by a gps device, and displayed as dots on a line - see below

When you switch on your gps you can see your position and that of the 'route line'.

You walk towards the nearest point on the 'route line' until you are on the route itself.

Without a gps you often need to 'get your bearings',particularly if you have parked away from the suggested parking area!


I have downloaded a gpx file - now what ?

Your gpx file contains the route of a walk.

It has to be unzipped - on a PC

Why is is zipped in the first place?

Unfortunately , some browsers including IE , when trying to read a gpx file if unzipped, open it as text , which is very confusing.

How to unzip?

Once downloaded, right click on the file and select Extract All

How to view my gpx?

Programs   Mobiles

Basecamp (Windows & Mac): website

Basecamp will show your gpx but it needs a map of the area.

We have produced a free map of Devon which can be downloaded and installed on Windows.

Once installed select your map named Devon2015 (Garmin calls maps products)


Android/Ios : OSMAnd

We fully recommend this free app .

  • Double click zip file to extract
  • Select OSMAndroid to import

. You can import your gpx and follow it on your Android mobile

Basecamp screenshot   Basecamp screenshot
    TOPO map option showing gpx track in red
How to display KML files   What are the best satnavs for walking?

Install Google Earth (free!)

When double clicking on a KML file , your computer automatically opens it on Google Earth.

Search the net for Google Earth (FREE) ,then download and install.


For more information and what to look for when buying a GPS read this artcle.