The selected map data format for Google Maps is KML, but it supports many other formats, including GPX.
GPX, also commonly referred to as the GPS Data Interchange Format, is an open standard XML type that contains Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates over additional map data. This format is gaining traction and is used by many manufacturers as their preferred source format regardless of device.
Think of GPX as an image file format like JPG or PNG. There is no one universal standard for an image file, but most would prefer using JPG or PNG to any other available format. They are easy to use and are accepted on almost all platforms.
GPX is essentially the JPG of the map data world. This makes it easy to share map data with your audience and allows you to view this data on virtually any device of their choice.
Although Google Maps supports GPX, the file still needs to be converted to KML format. GPX is not considered to be one of the easiest formats to import into Google Maps and can be challenging depending on the amount of data being moved.
Google Maps will automatically convert the GPX file with different results, hence the difficulty indicated, or you can pre-convert the file yourself before importing. However, GPX is still widely popular and ubiquitous on virtually all devices that can store map data.
Importing GPX File into Google Maps
Import GPX file into Google Maps
The process isn’t too difficult if all you have to do is upload the GPX file directly to Google Maps. This is not an ideal situation, as there is a possibility that this could directly lead to the loss of card data. The reason is that Google Maps will be forced to convert your GPX file to a KML file for use on the platform.
It may still work fine, but I felt it was relevant information to have just in case there is a lot of data to be converted. If all you need is a quick solution to display the GPX file in Google Maps, you can follow these steps.
- The first thing you need to do is log into My Maps
- Then, in the upper left corner of the screen, click the menu icon and find â€œCreate New Mapâ€. Click on it to open a new map, the center of which should be centered on your current location.
- Then do this by clicking Add Layer. You can find this option in the menu on the left. Right below this layer, click the Import link.
- You will now be able to import a GPX file from your computer. You can do this or simply drag and drop the file directly into the provided area. Click the Upload button and your map waypoints will be automatically added to the new map.
It seems simple enough, right? There really is a process. However, there is still the possibility that your GPX file has not been fully converted by Google Maps and does not contain all the required data. If you choose to convert the map file to KML yourself before uploading it to Google Maps, it will be more beneficial for you.
How to convert GPX to KML
How to convert GPX to KML file
The best way to make sure that all the data from the GPX file is correctly imported into Google Maps is to convert it to KML, Google’s preferred format first. There are many conversion programs on the internet which are probably the more convenient route. Just enter the GPX to KML converter into your search engine and you will get a variety of results from which you can choose.
Usually these programs are free to use, but some require quick installation. I would recommend gpsvisualizer.com as it is lightweight and easy to use.
- Once you find what you need, just download the GPX file and select KML (or Google Maps) as the output format. Most conversions take very little time, so you should expect a fully converted file to be created fairly quickly.
- Once the file has been converted, download and save it on your system, then follow the steps above on how to upload the file to Google Maps.
Spending a few extra minutes disabling this step will ensure there is no data loss during boot. After the converted file has been uploaded to Google Maps, you can perform any of the necessary actions that you would normally do when using the tool.
Already working on a map? Optionally, you can save the recently imported data to the currently viewed map as a replacement for the current data or as an overlay.