What is a gpx file and how do I open it?

In any discussion of routes, navigation, or GPS devices, you’ve probably seen people mention the gpx file type. If you are a lover of hikes or regularly make escapades in unknown terrain, you will inevitably be dealing with the gpx format at one time which is one of the most used for sharing routes.

Open a GPX file

Open a gpx file is not always an easy task. You have just retrieved one from a site, it was sent to you by an acquaintance. And you want to read the content. Follow the guide on how to handle this type of file whether you are on an Android smartphone, iPhone, or even Windows or Mac computer.

What is GPX?

This acronym is only an abbreviation of GPS eXchange which is a file format that, as the name may suggest, allows GPS coordinates to be exchanged by sharing them as a file that can be imported into a GPS application. It is therefore a list of precise, ordered locations that constitute a route for hikers, cyclists or anyone carrying out an activity requiring the following of a specific route. This route can be indicated on an interactive map, or even printed on paper.

How to open a gpx file?

Open a gpx file can be a real headache if you are experiencing this format for the first time. Not all GPS navigation applications allow you to open it. It is however possible to access a gpx route using Google Maps. Here is the procedure to follow:

On computer

  • Go to the page https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/
  • At the top right, click on the button Create a map
  • In the left menu, click on the link ImporterImporter gpx
  • Then select your gpx file from its location or drag and drop in the window to import it into Google Maps

To open the route from the gpx file:

  • Open Google Maps on your computer
  • Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner
  • Select Your addresses in the side menu
  • Go to the tab Cards to view all your created or imported routes

From a smartphone

If you are using an Android or iOS smartphone, the process to open the gpx file is pretty much the same:

  • We recommend that you import the file from a computer as indicated above
  • Then open Google Maps on your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad and make sure you’re signed in with the same Gmail account you used for the import.
  • Tap the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner to open the side menu or simply swipe right from the left edge of the smartphone
  • Go to Your addresses from the side menu then in the tab Cards

You can now access all your created addresses, but also open the imported gpx routes in your account.


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