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I have just uploaded a GPS trace to Some trails from my hometown. But when I go to search for them they cannot be found. What do I have to do to make sure they can be seen by the public when searching? Here is some I uploaded so far

asked 07 Sep '19, 19:06

cooloutac's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

What is it you try to achieve? If you expect that the traces get "translated" into tracks shown on the map then this is not how it works. Traces can be uploaded so that they can be used by you or other mappers as a guide when drawing new tracks or adjusting existing ones but there is not automatism.

(08 Sep '19, 19:54) TZorn

Yes but how do the other people find them. When I try to search for them myself they don't show up in the list. Did I label them wrong?

(09 Sep '19, 14:40) cooloutac

I think you've misunderstood how OpenStreetMap works.

We're not a big database of GPS traces. There are plenty of sites that do that, but OSM isn't one of them.

Instead, we're a complete map of the world with everything from highways to buildings... to rivers... to shops... to cafes... even trees. And yes, walking and cycling trails are part of that.

But to do that, we need more precision than a GPS trace provides. We need to say where roads connect, what type of roads they are, what they're called, what the surface is, and so on. You can't do that just with a database of GPS traces. Instead, we carefully draw the map (using the "Edit" button on the site) and classify each road/building/whatever.

GPS traces are something we use to help us with that. If you've gone out and "surveyed" a trail, you might record a GPS trace on your phone or handheld GPS receiver. You then upload the trace to OSM, and use it as an aide-memoire or background line when drawing the map on the "Edit" button.

But just uploading the trace doesn't make it appear on the map by itself. You still have to draw the lines over the top of it.

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answered 09 Sep '19, 19:28

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

Hi, They can be found seen by folk. I can overlay your GPS traces to JOSM and the iD editor. I see you are using the iD editor, open the editor and zoom out to cover the park area. Click on Background Settings (shortcut B). Scroll down to Overlays, check the 'OpenStreetMap GPS traces' box. Your traces appear. Need more help please just ask.

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answered 08 Sep '19, 08:03

BCNorwich's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

coolotac i just seached for your traces ( subtituted your name for my name to do that, and saw your three traces) and i found your three. On that list i ckicked on word map below a trace to centre map map on the trace then zoomed in. I clicked edit and choose EDIT/iD. the editor opened. I clicked on layers( looks like a pile of papers or books) tic the box label traces and they appear for the mapper to begin drawing paths or roads over them. Did this work for you?

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answered 09 Sep '19, 15:55

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

I was hoping to paste a JPEG showing what to do, but that does not seem to be availabe any longer??

(09 Sep '19, 15:58) andy mackey

I did see my traces, removed my name and inserted your. then i got them

(09 Sep '19, 16:04) andy mackey

I've come to the conclusion gps traces are not searchable and its a waste of time uploading any. You guys say they can be found and seen by people. But I don't think that is true.

Say someone wants to find trails in rancocas state park or rancocoas nature center, or in westampton nj, or they just type in the trail name. Its not showing up. And if you click on gps traces, there is no way to search them just a giant list by most recent of millions of uploads. SO I've wasted my time.

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answered 09 Sep '19, 14:47

cooloutac's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 09 Sep '19, 14:47


Anyone can open the area you mentioned, (or any other area), in the JOSM or iD editors and then load all GPS traces as a layer. This is what I explained above. To search for specific GPS traces you would have to have an idea of how the trace is tagged. For example to look for public GPS traces tagged with Westampton use This turns up your two traces because Westampton is used in them.

(09 Sep '19, 15:07) BCNorwich

There are tools like GPSies that collect traces and provide them to hikers, runners, etc for planning routes. If you are aiming at such usage this site is the wrong place for you indeed.

Still it's no waste of time uploading tracks here. They will ultimately be used by mappers to improve the map.

(09 Sep '19, 15:52) TZorn

BCNorwhich, how the heck did you search the traces by tag? I click on gps traces and just see a huge list with no search option.

TZom, ya exactly its a waste of time. I was deluding myself thinking i'd be able to upload trails to some site for other hikers to find... There really is no such thing. I've searched around and openstreetmap was all I could find. And a pay site called strava which i'm not even sure would list gpx trails. If there is dozens of sites nobody knows about I don't see the point. oh well. Americans don't even go outside anymore anyways lol.

(10 Sep '19, 02:20) cooloutac

I think for you a site like fits your needs. Select the little 'World Map'image/link on the right side and zoom in to your area of interest. You will find gpx tracks others have listed and you can upload your own and describe the hike for others with images. I find it an excellent site for downloading gpx tracks prior to hiking them myself. At the top right of the map you can choose to display the OSM too.

If you also upload your gpx traces to the OSM then others can display all those available for the area they are editing and make adjustments to the hiking trails, etc. You are also invited to edit the OSM too if you find something is incorrect or has not been added by someone else yet.

(10 Sep '19, 09:10) nevw

"I was deluding myself thinking i'd be able to upload trails to some site for other hikers to find" - This is exactly what OpenStreetMap is for, though it may just not work the way you thought it would. There are countless people using maps based on the OSM data while out hiking, including myself. I build maps for my Garmin device based on OSM data. IIRC, there are even hiking-specific apps using OSM data. Adding a trail won't be as simple as uploading a GPX file and expecting magic, but it honestly doesn't take much effort once you have a basic understanding of how OSM data works. Your contributions would then be available for many people to use, which seems to be what you're trying to accomplish.

(10 Sep '19, 17:07) alester

@nevw no point in uploading to a site noones ever heard of. I'd rather not waste my time. It was a nice idea for me to upload trails, but not practical in reality.

@alester, its too complicated man. countless people who can use it is probably nothing compared to the amount of people who tried to search for downloadable gps trails on it and gave up. I do expect it to be as easy as uploading the gpx file and presto, but apparently I need to take a CAD class for this shit lmao All I wanted was to upload the gps trail with its name and location so people can search for it and download it.

I too have a garmin device and I am now going to downgrade since my return period is not up yet, to a device without navigation. There is no need for it. Its sort of like the terrible altimeter and some other features. Just a gimmick.

(11 Sep '19, 04:38) cooloutac

Perhaps is better suited to your needs. The Strava app is loaded on a smart phone and all your rides and hikes, etc get loaded automatically and are available to all other Strava users. It is very good for discovering new routes because they have so many users. It is a very refined system and easy to use. Many of the tracks and paths in the OpenStreetMap have been improved by using the Strava global heatmap to assist with mapping.

(11 Sep '19, 07:30) nevw
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question asked: 07 Sep '19, 19:06

question was seen: 1,970 times

last updated: 11 Sep '19, 07:30

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum