dinsdag 26 juli 2016


I plan a cycle tour this summer around the city of Venice in Italy: Giro del Veneto. When preparing for the trip on racing bikes we got the GPS tracks. I use my android phone for maps and my friend use a Garmin Edge Touring. I stared studying about how to use GPS tracks, different formats; loading tracks in your phone with Google maps; and finally creating tracks yourself in Google maps and exporting them. The first look into the GPS area reveals: it is a wonderful landscape of different format; Babel at large.  This is what I think you need to know.

1. Universal format. gpx
In the world of different format for .gps tracks there is one format that is more or less universal: gpx. Most devices are equipped to import a .gpx track. For the Garmin for example you use Basecamp to connect the Garmin to your computer. In Basecamp - not the most user friendly software - you create a new folder for your gpx tracks. Use import function to download the gpx you need into Basecamp. You can see your track on the maps in side Basecamp. Next click on you track in the folder and send to your device. Now you can use the track for your cycle tour. Here is an overview of the procedure.

2. GPS Babel
It did not work! Your device wants a specific format. No problem; there is GPSBabel. It is a piece of software you can install on your machine; it translates one format to another. So it also helps you to convert a Garmin format like. gdb to the universal. gpx format.

3 Google maps
Why should you want to do that? Well, I am not using a Garmin but my Android Galaxy S5 phone to load tracks with Google maps.  So: How to load a gpx in Google maps? Login to maps, go to my place, go maps and create a new map. Choose import and new screen open where you can upload from your machine or Google drive format like. gpx  .kml and .csv. Now the track will be in your maps and saved to Google drive; click on the track and here is your cycle route. But I am in Italy with a Dutch provider...that is expensive

4. Off line maps
Generally, when traveling I have roaming off, to avoid unexpected surprises from the money hungry providers like KPN.  I need a map; the positioning down by the GPS satellites is free, but you need a map to show where you are going with the. gpx track. The good thing is that Google maps has a possibility to download a map off line. Open Google maps on your phone, log in en search for the place you want to go: Venice in Italy. At the bottom of that screen click on the name of the city, next download, and select the area. The downloaded map is in my places, off-line maps. If you to follow the track you quickly connect to internet, go to Google drive to pen the track in the off line map. Close the connection and your roaming and cycle the track off line. Tech Crunch is reporting that Google is working on WiFi only mode, which would solve this problem

5. Your own bread crumbs
You want to create a nice route yourself. Most devices have a possibility for that, creating trail of bread crumbs. The easiest way I think is to use Google maps again. Let’s go walking from Waterkant to the Table Mountain at Cape Town. Go to your places in Google maps create a walking route from Waterkant to Table Mountain.

Edit the track by dragging the line of crumbs over the road or path you like. Of course you want to export this track as a. gpx and save it or share it.
GPS Visualizer is now your helper: copy the url of the track you created in Google maps. Choose: convert to. gpx and start converting, when done you get a download link.

Finally, and this is for map experts. You can show your track in the open source mapping program: QGIS. To import the track, you install the plug-in GPS Tools. When installed you load the. gpx and together with Open Street maps you can see and edit your track.
Close the machine and get on your bike! To register my biking activities; velocity, track, heartbeat, time, altitude, cycles etc. I use Samson Gear Fit on my wrist and the S Health app on my Android S5.

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