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Convert Google Maps directions into a GPX file?

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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Google Maps used to allow users to convert navigating directions into a KML/KMZ file; or you could import the URL for your Google Map directions into a GPX file using an app like GPS Visualizer.

Google have disabled that very useful functionality and you now have to register, give your credit card, get an API code and then do the conversion. You do get $300 free credit before being charged, but I don't know how many conversions that lasts for. So I prefer not to sign up.

I have tried a manual workaround for a route with only 10 or so directions, by plucking latitude and longitude data off a route in Google Maps and plugging it into GPS Visualizer. But it is too time consuming for a route with many directions.

Does anyone know of a better workaround?

Bob M
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
If you want to save data, just download the map to use it offline, then use Google Maps instead of a decent map reader app like Orux or your favourite app.
If it is related to Camino, the app below gives you access to tracks of all Caminos de Santiago and you can use it freely. Interface and functionality are pretty much identical to those of OruxMaps

 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
I should have been a bit more explicit.

I am creating a new (for me) walk in Israel that does not include the INT or any other local route with GPX data uploaded by other walkers.

I also prefer to import my data into Locus Map pro instead of using Google Maps offline because I know that app well and I like it.

Bob M
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Google Maps used to allow users to convert navigating directions into a KML/KMZ file; or you could import the URL for your Google Map directions into a GPX file using an app like GPS Visualizer.

Google have disabled that very useful functionality and you now have to register, give your credit card, get an API code and then do the conversion. You do get $300 free credit before being charged, but I don't know how many conversions that lasts for. So I prefer not to sign up.

I have tried a manual workaround for a route with only 10 or so directions, by plucking latitude and longitude data off a route in Google Maps and plugging it into GPS Visualizer. But it is too time consuming for a route with many directions.

Does anyone know of a better workaround?

Bob M
Sorry, may be me being dense this morning but still not quite clear about what you want to do. Seems like you want to import GPX data by others, manipulate it to form a new route and then convert it to what?
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Have not used it but try this....


I did use this site to convert from gpx to kml since I use maps.me for my caminos and they only support kml.
Good luck...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
[Edit: Besides using Google you can also use the OSMand app to plot a route for you between two points.]

I thought that the OSMand app would probably be able to save a plotted route as a GPX file so I did a search. It looks like the Android version can. Also, after getting the directions you can reroute the route you where given (e.g. visit a town a short distance away from the track their directions give). Read about OSMand's navigation features at the link below. The part dealing specifically about your question is the last section of the file.

 
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Simon B

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
Google Maps used to allow users to convert navigating directions into a KML/KMZ file; or you could import the URL for your Google Map directions into a GPX file using an app like GPS Visualizer.

Google have disabled that very useful functionality and you now have to register, give your credit card, get an API code and then do the conversion. You do get $300 free credit before being charged, but I don't know how many conversions that lasts for. So I prefer not to sign up.

I have tried a manual workaround for a route with only 10 or so directions, by plucking latitude and longitude data off a route in Google Maps and plugging it into GPS Visualizer. But it is too time consuming for a route with many directions.

Does anyone know of a better workaround?

Bob M
If this in order to have a GPS route of the Camino Frances I would not bother you do not need a map or hardly a guide book!!
 

apoivre

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe de Almería in March 2019
Or you could use a trekking app that lets you plan and edit routes. Of the three or four I tested, I'd say ViewRanger is the best, with Openrunner coming in a close second. You can use it to plan your walk on your desktop and then use the app on your smartphone to follow the route or export it as a GPX file if you're using a dedicated GSM unit.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
google.com/mymaps Is different from Google maps and you can export your map file to KML/KMZ. Only your Google account needed
I had a quick look at MyMaps. It is good, but for a brand new route (ie no downloadable WPs or tracks available) you have to manually place all your waypoints (WP) to create your map, adding nav instructions if desired at each WP.

The big advantage of plain vanilla Google Maps is that I can create a walking route from A to B by simply inputting A and B. Google Maps automatically generates all the WPs and associated nav instructions for a walking route. It is remarkably accurate for the few Israel routes I have created so far - and I can easily 'drag' the route to fix minor anomalies. The other big plus of Google Maps for my routes is that a surprising amount is available in Street View, which enables a 'virtual walk' through many sections.

It saves a huge amount of work, but as I said earlier, Google no longer allows free conversion to any other format for export to other apps. And I prefer not to use Google Offline maps as a workaround. There is also some web chatter that you can't use Google Offline maps to actually navigate a walking route, but that may be rubbish.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
[Edit: Besides using Google you can also use the OSMand app to plot a route for you between two points.]

I thought that the OSMand app would probably be able to save a plotted route as a GPX file so I did a search. It looks like the Android version can. Also, after getting the directions you can reroute the route you where given (e.g. visit a town a short distance away from the track their directions give). Read about OSMand's navigation features at the link below. The part dealing specifically about your question is the last section of the file.

I just had a quick look and OSMand it may be exactly what I need. It allows you to plot a route by just inputting the start and end points and choosing a 'profile' eg hiking. Obviously, any auto-generated route needs checking and tweaking, but that is faster than creating a route by plotting every WP manually.

I will give it a go and compare the result with Google Maps.

Thanks for taking the trouble to do a bit of digging for me. Much obliged.

Bob M
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Thanks, everyone. Apologies for not replying individually for all your tips. I will check out a few of the recommended apps.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Just had a quick look at OsmAnd. Quite impressive and available for both Android and IOS devices. Very similar to Locus Map, but which is for Android devices only. Have not done a side by side comparison, but OsmAnd is definitely worth considering for offline navigating.

BTW, on further digging I found that Locus Map does in fact have a Route Creator in which you enter the start and end points. But you have to download and activate a plug-in called BRouter that does the actual route creating and smoothing.

Bob M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Do reply about how OSMand did with the job you had for it. I like the app but it isn't as simple to use as Maps.me (which doesn't work with GPX file formats). I find that both the above work better than Google for hiking as I haven't seen many trails on the Google maps. Wikiloc MAY work for plotting A to B routes but I'm still a novice with it and can't really say.

OSMand is free if you download only a few base maps (5 I think).
 

JLWV

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
Did you try with Google Earth?
I easily plotted some route with it, and you can keep them as kml which is convertible in gpx.
buen camino
JL
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Do reply about how OSMand did with the job you had for it. I like the app but it isn't as simple to use as Maps.me
I got a bit carried away with my quickie review . . .

Both Locus Map and OsmAnd use OpenStreetMaps (OSM) as their underlying map source, which is why the maps are so cheap. OSM maps are usually excellent, often amazingly so. You have to pay an extra ($5.99) for OsmAnd contour overlays, but contours/topo information is free in Locus Map Pro.

Both apps show routes for many well-known walks eg Via Francigena, the various Ways of St James (Europe); the INT and Jerusalem Trail in Israel (my current project country).

The free version of Locus Map gives you 3 free maps. You can buy more maps using Locus ‘coins’ (nothing like bitcoin, just accounting tokens which are non-tradeable and useless anywhere else). 100 coins cost me $A1.45, and a typical map of say Italy might cost 30 or 50 of these ‘coins’. Some tiny countries (eg Solomon Islands) cost only about 5 coins. The point being that map costs are negligible.

OsmAnd Unlimited costs $14.99 to buy (there is also a subscription option), but you get unlimited downloads. Locus Map Pro costs $10.99 to buy, but you pay extra for new maps.

Both OsmAnd and Locus Map use BRouter (so does OruxMaps) as their underlying ‘auto route generator’. The version of BRouter on Locus Map gives you about 1400MB of free map tiles (ie map regions which ‘tile’ the entire globe). The tile for Israel (which also includes Lebanon, Jordan, parts of Syria and Iraq), was only 14MB.
But generating an automatic route in Locus Map Pro using BRouter is frustratingly non-intuitive and clunky. The reason is that BRouter is a plugin and not tightly integrated into Locus Map and you have to pick your way through its complexity.

By contrast, OsmAnd is a pleasure to use because BRouter has been coded into the app and is invisible to the user. You just choose the start and end points and the app produces an excellent route with an elevation chart and other metrics (so does Locus Map). I used OsmAnd to make a hiking route for a part of Israel I plan to walk and the app routed me off main roads where walking tracks existed. Even better, the route looked sensible, with no crazy diversions, which minimizes clean-up work and tweaks.

BTW, any of these ‘auto route generators’ only work if the map shows actual roads and tracks. If you are hiking in forest with no (or changing) tracks like parts of the Via Francigena for example, they are useless.
If your route is straightforward and simple it would probably be better to plot your own WPs instead of using an auto-generator to produce a draft which you have to tweak. Both OsmAnd and Locus Map have good tools for manual route creation, although it is a bit of a pain doing it on a small phone screen.

There is a learning curve with both these apps. It seems to me that anything out of the ordinary in any nav app requires patience to figure out and get right. And you have forgotten it when you come to do the same thing months later! Or is it only me?

There is plenty of jargon to master and it is not always easy to find exactly what you need among all the options and menus. Both apps have a large degree of functionality that can be a bit confusing. It’s my biggest gripe with Locus Map Pro. There is so much functionality built in that it can obscure the basic essentials. OsmAnd seems to have a simpler interface – at least on my very quick superficial look at it.

Both apps are excellent and there is little to choose between them. The choice might come down to aesthetics and which app you find the least complicated and easiest to use. But if I were choosing purely on the auto-generate feature to create routes, OsmAnd would win hands down. It’s fantastic and I will test more of its nav features.

Bob M
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Did you try with Google Earth?
I easily plotted some route with it, and you can keep them as kml which is convertible in gpx.
Googe Earth is great, but the 'auto-generate' feature for creating routes does not exist in Google Earth so far as I can tell. You have to create a route manually in Google Earth I think - please correct me if I am wrong on that.

Google Maps and other apps like OsmAnd OruxMaps and Locus Map Pro allow you to 'auto-generate' a route for driving, cycling, hiking etc by simply entering the start and end points. It saves time for long hikes with maybe 30+ WPs per stage, because you only have to clean up the auto-generated route instead on manually plotting every WP to create a route from scratch.

Google Maps used to allow users to convert an auto-generated route and nav instructions to a GPX file which made it easy to import into a nav app (eg Locus or OsmAnd) on your phone. Google have blocked that convenient functionality (unless you register and pay), presumably because it was being abused. I was looking for a (legal) hack to get around that limitation.

Many people just use Google Maps (offline) to navigate with, using its auto-generated routes. Great for driving and walking around cities; but for hiking I much prefer to use a dedicated nav app like Locus (or an equivalent) because their topo maps are so much better than Google Maps. It's a personal choice.

Bob M
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Thank you for the detailed reviews Bob.
Thanks for bringing OsmAnd to my attention. I am still exploring it. The menu system and ease of finding options is better than Locus Map. I will be off on a short trip next week and will compare its track recording with Locus Map Pro.

Best wishes
Bob M
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Member of the Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (2020)
@BobM

If you are planning a route using GPX/GPS files, will you be sharing? Have RWGPS which has a route creator function but the OSM maps it uses (my preference) are in Hebrew.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
@BobM

If you are planning a route using GPX/GPS files, will you be sharing? Have RWGPS which has a route creator function but the OSM maps it uses (my preference) are in Hebrew.
I will be the only person using my GPX files. My Locus Map of Israel is in English, which makes planning at home a bit easier.

Unfortunately, the Locus Map route creator is irritatingly clunky (as I mentioned in an earlier post). OsmAnd has an excellent route creator option (although its Israel map is in Hebrew), so I will experiment with it to create my routes and export the GPX files to Locus.

BTW, I have also developed a manual workaround to turn Google Maps auto-generated routes into GPX files for import into Locus Map. I copy and paste the coords of each Google Maps WP and nav instructions into a spreadsheet and use GPS Visualizer to convert that data into a GPX file which is easy to upload into Locus Map. It is practical for short, uncomplicated stages with maybe 20 WPs max.

So, with the help of everyone here I now have a couple of workable solutions to experiment with.

Bob M
 

apoivre

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe de Almería in March 2019
Thanks for the detailed review, @BobM. Did you try ViewRanger? You don't even have to input start and end points - just click on the map to set waypoints and it will autogenerate a route. Now this is much easier done in the desktop version, of course.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
I had a quick look at a review of ViewRanger. Another excellent app, with stand-out maps (eg France IGN series) - but you pay heaps for those top-quality maps.

BTW, there have been many great apps mentioned in this thread. I don't have time to do it, but it would be a great resource if someone could gather them all in a separate thread. Even weblinks to reviews would help.

Anyway, I would also add PocketEarth (Apple only) and BackCountry Navigator (Android only) to the list.

Bob M
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I will be the only person using my GPX files. My Locus Map of Israel is in English, which makes planning at home a bit easier.

Unfortunately, the Locus Map route creator is irritatingly clunky (as I mentioned in an earlier post). OsmAnd has an excellent route creator option (although its Israel map is in Hebrew), so I will experiment with it to create my routes and export the GPX files to Locus.

BTW, I have also developed a manual workaround to turn Google Maps auto-generated routes into GPX files for import into Locus Map. I copy and paste the coords of each Google Maps WP and nav instructions into a spreadsheet and use GPS Visualizer to convert that data into a GPX file which is easy to upload into Locus Map. It is practical for short, uncomplicated stages with maybe 20 WPs max.

So, with the help of everyone here I now have a couple of workable solutions to experiment with.

Bob M
Good tip on the conversion of a spreadsheet to Visualizer - did not know it could do that, thanks! 👍
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Here's another useful website and app, Wikiloc. It is access to a huge collection of GPS tracks, con mucho en España. Access is free to the world. Free membership allows you to post your own tracks (like requested above). Paid membership gives you some other privileges such as better searching for uploaded tracks in areas of special interest.
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Good tip on the conversion of a spreadsheet to Visualizer - did not know it could do that, thanks! 👍
The interface is not 'pretty' (or simple to figure out) but GPS Visualizer is a very flexible app with many conversion options.

You can choose various options for file conversion spreadsheet to GPX: The default output is WPs, but you can also choose 'track' or 'route' the latter being navigable, the former not. You can also add a column for notes, directions etc for each WP. Finally, you can choose to have the app add elevation data - very useful if your route is taken from Google Maps, which has no elevation data.

Bob M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Another thing GPS Visualizer can do is create profiles. I used it to create the chart below. I told it to find the elevations for the trackpoints in two GPX files I had since they were missing in my files.
That is so cool:)

You can also generate a route by plugging in a URL (weblink). For example, Google Maps (and other sources) produces a shareable weblink for a route that you can plug into GPS Visualizer to create a GPX file to use on whatever device/app you choose. But as I said at the beginning of the thread, Google has 'monetized' that useful option, so now you have to pay for it - once you have used up a free allowance to get you hooked.

Bob M
 

kiwiDavid

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - SJPP-Finisterre
Does anyone know of a better workaround?
Another thing GPS Visualizer can do is create profiles. I used it to create the chart below. I told it to find the elevations for the trackpoints in two GPX files I had
Bob - After reading all the posts here my head is spinning (no it's not the vino rosso) - will definitely be looking into Rick of R & P post about the elevation profiles - could be very handy for picking routes which have alternatives.

kiwiDave
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Bob - After reading all the posts here my head is spinning (no it's not the vino rosso) - will definitely be looking into Rick of R & P post about the elevation profiles - could be very handy for picking routes which have alternatives. kiwiDave
Plus, it colour codes the elevation profile to show the slope. That's neat. I would definitely have a celebratory swig of vino rosso after successfully slogging up a long 20% slope.🍸🍾 Or maybe before, to dull the pain.🍷

Google Maps usually produces several suggested routes for the same start/end points. I might compare a couple of stages near Jerusalem where the elevation rises from roughly 70m up to 750m, with ups and downs in between.

On a related subject, there are rules for correcting walk times for net elevation gain. I add 1 hour for every 300m net gain, but I am not sure if that is a commonly-accepted rule. My Brierly guide to the Camino Frances used a variant of this method, which seemed great at the time to figure out the time to walk each stage.

Naismith's Rule is another such rule.

Bob M
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
- will definitely be looking into Rick of R & P post about the elevation profiles - could be very handy for picking routes which have alternatives.
Wikiloc would be the better choice for this. It has the profile for a chosen route already and can show it, the track and a base map at the same time. Also you can slide along the profile and see the position of a point of the profile on the track and map. So, for example, you may see a steep rise on the profile so you slide your finger/cursor to the base and on the map you may see a trail going around the hill that looks like a faster or better way to go. The map might even show that there is a tram going up the hill.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Plus, it colour codes the elevation profile to show the slope.
It being https://gpsvisualizer.com/profile_input

It allows you many other ways to color code, e.g. speed, track, latitude, elevation, heart rate, course heading and more. It allows captions, computes elevation gain/loss, puts in waypoints or not and cooks your eggs to order. You just have to learn it and that isn't the easiest thing to do. I've learned a number of things it can do but I have trouble remembering what I have to do to make the tool do them. Sometimes I worry that the sever might cut me off because I've hit the "Draw the profile" button so many times with different input.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
WikiLocs certainly has heaps of useful stuff, eg, for my present interest in Israel, see https://www.wikiloc.com/trails/outdoor/Israel

I read one review (actually, a bad-tempered rant) that carried on about privacy issues (among many other irritants that bothered the reviewer at that moment - coffee too weak, sky not blue enough . . . etc etc blah blah)

Anyway, does anyone have any similar concerns (I don't mean sky not blue enough)?

Bob M
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
On a related subject, there are rules for correcting walk times for net elevation gain. I add 1 hour for every 300m net gain, but I am not sure if that is a commonly-accepted rule. My Brierly guide to the Camino Frances used a variant of this method, which seemed great at the time to figure out the time to walk each stage.
I'm not sure net gain is the most useful measure, but if it works for you, there is no compelling reason to stop using it. Time adjustment techniques can generally be traced back to a 'rule' developed by a Scot named Naismith in the late 19th C. The basic rule has had improvements and corrections over time. Naismith and his successors used total gains and losses, sometimes referred to as the cumulative climbs and descents. Brierley's formulation gives slightly different results to the formulation I normally use when I am bushwalking, but this is not enough to be really significant in most places.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
The map might even show that there is a tram going up the hill.
I decided to try a search like this. The US state of New Hampshire has 48 mountains above 4,000 feet elevation. A guide has them listed so hikers can check them off once done. Peg and I decided to save Wildcat Mountain for last because there is a ski lift that runs all year that could carry non-hiking friends up to celebrate with us (though a good day came and we did it instead on the spur of the moment). We used the Appalachian Trail for the ascent.

Looked this hike up on Wikiloc and a base map does show the lift runs.

 

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