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I want to use OSM to show some GPS tracks from kayak tours. But if I click on the GPS track, I can not see it on the map. Is it not supposed to OSM must be used this way? (Track

asked 27 Sep '10, 19:24

nanDK's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

retagged 27 Sep '10, 20:12

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦

No, OSM isn't intended to be used this way.

GPS tracks are merely an aid to editing the map. They are not the data itself.

The idea is that you upload the GPS track to OSM, then you draw the map data by tracing over it using editing software. (Potlatch on the 'Edit' tab, JOSM, and Merkaartor are the most common editors.)

Unlike the GPS tracks, the map data has junctions where roads/rivers/paths meet; it is properly categorised according to what it is (is this a road or a river?); and it's drawn neatly to miss out any places where, for example, you might have turned back on yourself for a minute. That's why it needs to be drawn in manually, rather than just uploading a trace and waiting for it to be used on the map.

Bear in mind that OSM is a place for creating an objective, accurate map of the world, not for showcasing your own particular favourite routes. It would be great if you could use your GPS tracks to map the rivers that you kayak along, but you shouldn't add subjective data like "this is my favourite route" or "this is where I went on holiday last year". Rather, you can use third-party sites for this (Bikely, MapMyRide and BikeRouteToaster are popular ones for cyclists: I don't know of any for kayakers but others might). Many of these offer OSM as a base layer.

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answered 28 Sep '10, 10:47

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

GPS Traces are useful while editing the maps and they are only visible while in the edit mode.

Additional information is available on the OSM Wiki. You can, however, display your GPX file using OpenRouteService.

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answered 27 Sep '10, 19:42

Shaji's gravatar image

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edited 27 Sep '10, 19:50

You may also display your track using the GPX slippy map. Just mark your track as public, enter your trace ID and your track should show up on the map. However, it seems to be buggy in some situations/browsers(?).

It is also very easy to visualize your trace using OpenLayers as shown in this example. It works even locally, you just need your track and a browser supporting java script.

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answered 27 Sep '10, 20:11

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 27 Sep '10, 20:17

Many thanks for the replies. OpenStreetMap is currently the most obvious to use. The program I want to get to know better. So I stick to it. But this does not work when I tried:

" Lakeside cycle ride is the name of the track, this is displayed in the Layer switcher. around_lake.gpx is the path to your GPX file on the server. NB you cannot call for a file from another domain. style: {strokeColor: "green", strokeWidth: 5, strokeOpacity: 0.5} these control how the track looks on the map. See the OpenLayers documentation for details of what can be configured here. If you would like to display more than one track, just copy these 2 lines and change the values again. "

From Scai "this example"

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answered 28 Sep '10, 20:09

nanDK's gravatar image

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After just testing GPSPrune it seems to be a useful way to see a trace on OSM. Primarily it is for editing a trace but it's quick, simple, free and seems fuss free. You need Java installed but if you tried JOSM you'll have done that already. see

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answered 08 Oct '14, 11:36

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%


You can also display your GPX track in JOSM. Also JOSM can display all the OSM data, the renders show only small amount of it.

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answered 28 Sep '10, 09:05

ivanatora's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

Other editors support GPX tracks, too.

(28 Sep '10, 09:34) scai ♦

Sure, you can name them. I have experience with JOSM only and I can't say anything about other editors.

(28 Sep '10, 15:52) ivanatora

Thanks for the replies. It works. But I'd love to be able to get related on the track. Are there examples of how it's done?

(02 Oct '10, 21:41) nanDK

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question asked: 27 Sep '10, 19:24

question was seen: 17,590 times

last updated: 08 Oct '14, 11:36

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