GPX Library

Hiking with GPX

I haven't been a fan of GPX tracks so far. A first experience with a Garmin could not really seduce me because of its user unfriendlyness : quite a heavy device, AAA batteries, a small screen and a very clumsy navigation. More was not needed to be discouraged.

However, a new smartphone appeared to offer more opportunities. Indeed, the GPS feature of our Nokia Lumia 520 allows to use it as a GPS device in the car, but also for recording and displaying GPX tracks. Apparently other smartphones have more or less the same possibilities.

On this page you will find a brief guide 'for beginners', which might offer you a first experience with' walking with GPX.

It is not a complete guide, which is valid for all devices and all softwares or applications that you can find on the market. But provided some research you can probably also use our experience to get started with your hardware and software. We assume here also that you are just looking for existing GPX routes. So we will not explain how you can record, edit and upload GPX tracks.

Our GPX-library

We have copied all of our GPX tracks on our Onedrive, where you can easily download them on your computer or smartphone.

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Manual : how to use 'GPX-tracks'

What do you need to load and view GPX tracks on your computer?

  • You need a software to work with GPX files. We use Basecamp Garmin (GB). This software is free and has the most important features that you need. In addition, you also need the Garmin MapInstall and Javawa.
    You can download them here : Garmin Basecamp, Garmin Mapinstall, Javawa
  • You also need the 'maps'. We use the maps of this OSM (Open Street Map). They are also free and are usually very well updated. Thus, most of the hikes on our website display quite well.

    You can download the OSM-maps here. Choose the cycling maps. If you download an entire country, you do not have to wait before you can download them. If you make a selection (to limit the size of the file that) you'll get in a queue and can take a while (mostly some minutes) before you can start the download. Choose the windows_exe or version depending on your system and install the map by clicking the file.

    If you have multiple maps, you have to use the Javawa program after each installation in order to give the new map a different name and ID. Otherwise it will be overwritten when installing the next map. You can find the appropriate option in the menu item 'extra' of Javawa.
    Important: Close Garmin Basecamp before you run the installer files. When you start it afterwards, Basecamp will automatically find the new map under the tab 'maps'.
  • The GPX files can be found in our GPX library. Store the files on your computer and import them into Garmin Basecamp. Just choose the option 'Import' under the tab 'Files'.

Below you see the result: the track with the corresponding OSM map and below the altitude profile of the track.

Out in the field, you obviously need a smaller navigation device. The most famous brand is Garmin. Many smartphones, however, have potential as navigation devices. Every smartphone captures indeed the GPS signal. The big advantage of smartphones is of course that you already have one with you. I personally use a Nokia Lumia, with a free app ("Run the Map"). The free maps from Nokia are not perfect, but still adequate.

To get the GPX-tracks on your smartphone, copy the link of our library in the browser of your smartphone. You just have to click the the track you want. Your smartphone will then ask you which app you want to use to open it. If you don't have one, look in the store for an app with GPX and take any free one.

Warning: A navigation device is a handy tool. A classic map (or a print of your GPX route) is always a good back-up !