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GPS Visualizer: Do-It-Yourself Mapping

GPS Visualizer is an online utility that creates maps and profiles from geographic data. It is free and easy to use, yet powerful and extremely customizable. Input can be in the form of GPS data (tracks and waypoints), driving routes, street addresses, or simple coordinates. Use it to see where you've been, plan where you're going, or quickly visualize geographic data (scientific observations, events, business locations, customers, real estate, geotagged photos, etc.).

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GPS Visualizer is a free service and hopefully always will be; however, if you find it interesting, time-saving, or just plain fun, you can say "thanks" -- and encourage further development -- by clicking the button above and making a contribution via credit card or PayPal. Or, you could send an Amazon wish list item.

GPS Visualizer can read data files from many different sources, including but not limited to: GPX (a standard format used with many devices and programs, including Garmin's eTrex, GPSMAP, Oregon, Dakota, Colorado, & Nüvi series), Google Earth (.kml/.kmz), Google Maps routes (URLs), NMEA 0183 data, Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets, XML feeds, Garmin Forerunner (.xml/.hst/.tcx), Timex Trainer, OziExplorer (.plt/.wpt), TomTom (.pgl), IGN Rando (.rdn), Emtac Trine, Suunto X9/X9i (.sdf), Geocaching.com (.loc), FAI/IGC glider logs, Fugawi, Cetus GPS, PathAway, cotoGPS, CompeGPS, NetStumbler, and of course tab-delimited or comma-separated text.

GPS Visualizer is based in Portland, Oregon, and has been on the Web since October 2002.

   


NEWS & UPDATES
New server! [12/20/14] GPS Visualizer has been moved to a new, faster server. Because the new machine can handle a little more stress, the upload limit in the input forms has been raised from 3 MB to 5 MB.
Fugawi .wpt files [11/11/14] Waypoint files (.WPT) from Fugawi software can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
Swiss Map Mobile
.xol files
[10/03/14] GPS Visualizer can now read tracks and waypoints in .XOL files created by SwissTopo's "Swiss Map Mobile" software.
IE 11 bug [07/24/14] Fixed a bug that caused file uploads to fail when targeted to a new window in Internet Explorer 11 running in Windows 8.1.
Locosys SPN/SPB,
Bushnell BTK/GTK
[05/05/14] GPS Visualizer can now read .sbn and .sbp tracklogs from Locosys Genie GPS devices, and .btk tracklogs and .gtk waypoint files from the Bushnell Backtrack D-Tour.
EnerGymPro
& CycleOps
[04/21/14] Two new input formats are supported by GPS Visualizer: .cpo files from the EnerGymPro GPS sport watch, and .xml files from CycleOps' VirtualTraining software.
SeaClear .srw files [03/29/14] Waypoints created by SeaClear chart plotting software (.SRW files) are supported by GPS Visualizer.
GPS III+ .trk files [02/26/14] Tracklog files from GPS III+ (which have the suffix .trk and which contain the text "GPS III+ Softw") can be read by GPS Visualizer.
Dash-cam data [02/05/14] .log files from TrueCam dashboard cameras can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
Track segment
time threshold
[01/30/14] If you have plain-text data, you can now set a specific time threshold beyond which tracks will be broken into segments; look in the "advanced track options" of the map or conversion input form.
Google Maps
elevation lookups
[01/25/14] There's a new Elevation Lookup Utility for finding elevations using the Google Maps API. It's based on the batch geocoding utility, so it's entirely browser-based and a bit slow, but it might be helpful if you need a few high-latitude or alpine elevations that aren't covered by GPS Visualizer's built-in DEM database.
Sandbox updated [11/19/13] GPS Visualizer's freehand drawing tool, a.k.a. "The Sandbox" -- which allows you to draw markers and tracks on a map and then save them as KML or GPX -- has been improved and updated to v3 of the Google Maps API.
Sportek XML files [11/08/13] XML files from Sportek's sports-oriented GPS units can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
Filter by trackpoint
distance threshold
[10/23/13] GPS Visualizer can now smooth out GPS tracks by only plotting points that are at least a certain distance from the previous plotted point; you'll find the new parameter in the Track Options sections of the map, profile, and convert input forms. A detailed explanation is available in the Tutorials section.
Merge tracks [10/21/13] The conversion utility now has an option (in the "advanced options" section) to merge all uploaded tracks into a single track in the output file.
Quick Geocoder
improvements
[10/03/13] GPS Visualizer's Quick Geocoder has now been updated with the same data sources as the Batch Geocoder.
Batch Geocoder
improvements
[09/29/13] GPS Visualizer's batch geocoding utility has been updated with two new data sources: MapQuest and Bing Maps. (Yahoo's free geocoding service no longer exists.)
Transas RT3 files [09/07/14] Files from Transas marine ECDIS systems (typically ending in ".rt3") can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
Google Maps
v3 migration
[09/06/13] Version 2 of the Google Maps API is going away soon. If you have older GPS Visualizer maps that need to be upgraded, read the v2 to v3 migration guide.
Garmin icons in
Google Earth
[07/04/13] If you generate a KML (or .kmz) file with GPS Visualizer, and your waypoints use standard Garmin icons, those icons will now be displayed in Google Earth.
OakLog, SmartMaps,
Northstar
[06/23/13] GPS Visualizer has recently learned how to read three new file formats: OakGPS .olg files ("OakLog"); .trk files from a Czech-language Android app called SmartMaps Navigator, and ancient "WayPtDB.dat" files from some Northstar marine GPS units.
ViewRanger
.VRTP files
[05/28/13] Raw .VRTP track logs from the ViewRanger app for Android devices can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
Remote files
in GPSBabel
[05/24/13] GPS Visualizer's online "front-end" to GPSBabel now supports the conversion of remote files via a URL (e.g., from dropbox.com). This should make it more usable for mobile users whose browsers won't let them upload GPS data files.
Google Maps v3 [04/30/13] The process of converting GPS Visualizer's Google code to utilize v3 of the Google Maps API has begun and is progressing well. Many "power-user" functions still need to be tested, however.
Topo maps of
Europe (et al.)
[03/16/13] European topo maps from 4UMaps.eu (OpenStreetMap data with 20m contour lines) are now available as a background option in GPS Visualizer's Google Maps. These are similar to the OpenCycleMap topos, but with a less bicycle-centric presentation. UPDATE: 4UMaps.eu now covers the United States and southern Canada; U.S. users should note that the elevations are given in meters, not feet.
OpenAerials and
better OSM data
[03/01/13] Two new Google Maps backgrounds are available; they're labeled "World aerial (MQ)" and "World streets (MQ)." Both come from MapQuest; the first is MapQuest's "OpenAerial" satellite pictures, and the second is their excellent rendering of OpenStreetMap data.
U.S. NAIB
aerial photos
[02/11/13] GPS Visualizer now lets you use background maps from the USDA's National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). Imagery from the NAIP map server can be used in Google Maps, in JPEG/PNG maps, or as a KML overlay. Thanks to Joseph Elfelt at MappingSupport.com for the tip!
Pioneer AVIC
.LTB files
[02/08/13] .LTB track logs from Pioneer AVIC navigation systems are now supported by GPS Visualizer.
Google Maps v3
coming soon
[12/14/12] Google recently notified the world that version 2 of the Google Maps API might be going away soon. Therefore, GPS Visualizer's JavaScript functions will have to be updated in the next few months. Once that happens, changing existing GPSV maps to the new code should be pretty straightforward -- it will just be a matter of changing a couple of URLs.
GpsLogger
.gpl files
[10/13/12] Another file format supported: .gpl files from "GpsLogger" software, which comes with the SkyRC GPS logger for remote-control vehicles. (Apparently GpsLogger's own export functions aren't very good and produce "chunky" tracks with no elevation data!)
DataCenter
.gsr files
[10/12/12] GPS Visualizer can now read .gsr binary files from the DataCenter software supplied with USGlobalSat's DG-200 GPS logger (and possibly other devices as well).
Icon offsets in
Google Maps
[09/20/12] New feature for power users: using an "icon_offset" field in the input data, you can now shift the placement of an individual waypoint's icon -- in pixels (not degrees or meters), so the offset is the same at any zoom level. This should be helpful for showing multiple markers in the same location.
Orion SkyTrack [09/19/12] GPS Visualizer can now read binary .Trk logs from Orion Electronics' "SkyTrack" devices, which are frequently used by law enforcement vehicles.
Skydemon logs [09/18/12] GPS Visualizer can now read plain-text flight logs from Skydemon GPS devices. These files usually have a ".flightlog" suffix.
USGS topos
are back
[07/06/12] Great news: The USGS topo maps and black-and-white aerials (from terraserver-usa.com, a.k.a. msrmaps.com) have returned! This will be most useful for those needing to place topo overlays into Google Earth.
SpeedView
track logs
[06/09/12] GPS Visualizer can now auto-detect and process raw track log files (yyyy-mm-dd.log) from the SpeedView app for Android. However, the developer notes that it might be a lot easier to just use the "Export GPX" function!
TrackMaster 2000
track logs
[04/08/12] GPS Visualizer can now read .trk files from "TrackMaster 2000."
KML tag order [03/28/12] The tags in KML files are now output in the exact order that Google specifies; this should help compatibility with fussy apps.
MaxSea waypoints [03/23/12] GPS Visualizer can now read .wpt files from MaxSea Marine Software.
URL shorteners [03/12/12] URL-shortening tools (is.gd, bit.ly, & tinyurl.com) have been added to the "Link to this view" feature in GPS Visualizer's sandbox and Atlas.
Backup server [02/27/12] When you make a Google Map wih GPS Visualizer, the JavaScript code and waypoint icons are loaded from "maps.gpsvisualizer.com"; that domain is now hosted on a different server, to reduce the load on www.gpsvisualizer.com.
OpenGTS [02/18/12] The .csv tracklog files from OpenGTS (Open-Source GPS Tracking System) can now be read by GPS Visualizer.
GPX colors [02/09/12] Some GPX files (e.g., from Garmin software) have display colors defined for tracks. GPS Visualizer will now honor those colors, unless you change the "Preserve colors and widths from input files" setting (in the Advanced Track Options) to "No."
GiSTEQ
PhotoTrackr
[11/01/11] GPS Visualizer can now read the "GisteqLog.dat" files generated by GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr.
Crossbow Xsensor
track logs
[08/08/11] Sensor logs from Moog Crossbow's xSensor app for iPhone can now be processed by GPS Visualizer.
GPX styles [07/29/11] GPS Visualizer will now recognize line and fill colors from the official GPX Style Schema; the syntax is basically <trk><extensions><line><color>... This should be helpful if you want to manually control the colors of the tracks in uploaded GPS files. In the future, GPS Visualizer may include support for colors in GPX output (from the conversion utility).
Twitter &
Flickr feeds
[07/01/11] You can now make dynamically-generated maps from Twitter and Flickr feed URLs. (Note that flickr.com URLs must include your user ID in the 12345678@N09 format.)
InstaMapper [06/15/11] GPS Visualizer can now read data feeds from InstaMapper, a GPS tracking solution for smartphones (iPhone, Android, & Blackberry). You can paste your InstaMapper feed URL into GPSV's Google Maps input form -- either as "static" or "dynamic" data.
Routepoint bug [05/11/11] Fixed a small bug that was causing the "force type = routepoints" option to create duplicate track lines. In the near future, that code may be altered so that ALL data files (not just plain text) can have their type altered -- e.g., from waypoints to trackpoints.
Marbella, ArkNav,
Xplova files
[02/12/11] Three new file formats are supported: .bin files from Maka GPS devices (from Singapore & Malaysia), including the Marbella M880 Slim Deluxe; NMEA files from ArkNav loggers that can include manually-inputted "Marks"; and .log files from the Xplova G3 bike computer.
Geonaute Keymaze
.ghd files
[01/02/11] Tracklogs on the Geonaute "Keymaze" series of GPS units (Keymaze 300, Keymaze 500, Keymaze 700) are stored in a ".ghd" file. Those files can now be read directly by GPS Visualizer.
Pace calculation [12/30/10] GPS Visualizer now lets you use "pace" (minutes per mile or kilometer) as a parameter for colorization, or as an axis on a profile. But because pace is an "inverse" function, it will be very large when travelling at slow speeds. So you may want to manually set the maximum colorization or y-axis value when using pace on your map or profile. The "moving average" option in the conversion and profile forms might also be helpful.
<gx:Track> tags
in KML files
[12/08/10] Recent versions of Google Earth can create KML files with <gx:Track> tags, which can contain time stamps (unlike the old <LineString> tags). GPS Visualizer can now read the new time-stamped tracks -- but it can't create them yet.
New topo maps
for Canada
[12/06/10] Natural Resources Canada has a new "Toporama" server with nicer images than the old ones. These are now available in GPS Visualizer as a Google Map background layer, as JPEG/SVG backgrounds, and as KML or Garmin overlays. There are two versions: one is complete, the other omits place names and man-made structures. (Whether the NRCan maps are better than the MyTopo.com layer available in Google Maps is a matter of opinion.)
Garmin .fit files [12/05/10] Some Garmin fitness-oriented devices have the ability to generate files with a .fit suffix; GPS Visualizer can now read basic information from these files (time, latitude, longitude, altitude, speed).
Timex .pwx files
[12/01/10] GPS Visualizer can now read .pwx files from the Timex Global Trainer wrist-mounted GPS system; the files are associated with "TrainingPeaks" software from Peaksware.
.nmeadb files
[11/24/10] NMEA-like files with a ".nmeadb" extension -- which apparently come from "Navibe" GPS receivers -- are now supported by GPS Visualizer.
Garmin .tcx
Course Points
[10/31/10] If you have a Garmin .tcx file that contains "Course Points" (left, right, straight, summit, valley, water, etc.), those points will now be displayed on Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer. (The points will also appear in Google Earth, but without the fancy Garmin icons.)
Measurement tools
on Google Maps
[10/29/10] All Google Maps generated by GPS Visualizer (including ones you've already created) are now equipped with a small "ruler" icon in the lower-left corner that you can click to bring up a floating panel containing tools to measure both length and area on your maps.
Velocity
made good
[10/27/10] GPS Visualizer can now calculate an estimate of "velocity made good," if you supply the name or coordinates of a VMG target waypoint (if you supply only a name, make sure that waypoint is included in your data). VMG is available as a colorization parameter in maps, or as an added field in plain-text conversion.
Trackpoint
templates
[10/25/10] When you use GPS Visualizer's "Draw trackpoints as waypoints" feature with Google Maps or Google Earth (preferably Google Earth), you can now specify a custom template for both point names and point descriptions. It works just like the existing "synthesize descriptions" feature, using field names in {curly brackets}.
LiteTrack
.ltf files
[10/08/10] .ltf files from the Windows Mobile application "LiteTrack" are now supported. They're simple text files, but with some unusual formatting that had to be accounted for.
The Atlas:
map sharing
[10/06/10] GPS Visualizer can now host some simple maps for you, if you have the data stored on the Web somewhere. This new feature is called The Atlas. Unlike normal GPS Visualizer maps, which are deleted after a few days, links to Atlas maps should work forever (as long as your data remains online). Learn more.
More Garmin
GPX cleanup
[09/27/10] GPX files from some Garmin GPS devices (especially the nüvi series?) frequently end up with corrupt data in them, usually in the "gpxx:Address" or "gpxx:PhoneNumber" extensions. GPS Visualizer will try to overcome this corruption by eliminating "bad" bytes before processing your files. Meanwhile, those address & phone number fields can now be exported by GPS Visualizer's converter or used with the "synthesize descriptions" feature in the map form.
New formats:
Suunto X10,
Bendix, iGO Primo
[09/13/10] Three new input file formats have recently been added to GPS Visualizer's capabilities: (1) XML tracklog files from the Suunto X10 GPS watch. (2) Flight logs (.txt format) from the Bendix King AV8OR handheld GPS. (3) Binary track logs (.trk files) from the latest version of the "iGO" software (iGO Primo). As always, all formats should be automatically detected.
UTM output [08/30/10] The conversion utility now has an option to convert latitude & longitude to UTM coordinates when generating plain-text output. Look for the new menu near the bottom of the "advanced options" section. (Fields called utm_easting, utm_northing, and utm_zone can also be used in the "synthesize names" or "synthesize descriptions" features.)
Range rings
around waypoints
[08/24/10] If you supply a "circle_radius" or "range_ring" field in a manually-created (plain-text) waypoint file, you can simultaneously draw circles around multiple points. In fact, if you separate a list of distances with commas (e.g., "10mi,20mi,30mi"), you can even draw multiple rings around multiple points. (Triangulation and range ring examples)
Extended data
in KML files
[08/14/10] Placemarks in Google Earth KML files can contain an <ExtendedData> tag, with extra information that can be displayed in Google Earth markers. GPS Visualizer will now read that extended data, which means it can then be used in "synthesized" names, descriptions, or labels. (See the map form's help file for more info on synthesizing fields with GPS Visualizer.)
Label colors [08/11/10] You can now use a "label_color" parameter in your input data, if you want some markers' "name" (in Google Earth) or "label" (in Google Maps) to have a different color than the default. Read more about manually creating input files in the waypoints tutorial.
Cleaning up
Garmin's mistakes
[08/04/10] It seems that Garmin's technical support department has been referring people to GPS Visualizer to help get their corrupt GPX files cleaned up! This week, two more patches have been added to GPSV's code specifically to deal with more of Garmin's bugs.
Sport Tracker
.gst files
[07/30/10] GPS Visualizer can now read raw .gst files from the "GPS Sport Tracker" application for Windows Mobile.
New legend and
track options
[07/27/10] There are two new options in GPS Visualizer's map input form: first, you can enable "color blocks" in the colorization legend, to make it easier to see which colors correspond to which values. Second, you can make it so tracks are not "clickable" in Google Maps; this may allow very complex maps to load a bit faster. Both new items are in the "advanced" track options.
Garmin Edge
raw .dat files
[07/25/10] Support has been added for the raw .dat files that are found in a Garmin Edge's file system when it's connected to your computer (e.g., "/Garmin/History/Laps/1/Lap1.dat"). Turns out they're a lot like .tcx files, but with a bit less information in them.
MapMyIndia
.bin files
[07/19/10] GPS Visualizer can now read binary tracklogs produced by "MapMyIndia" GPS devices.
Facebook [07/12/10] There is now a GPS Visualizer page on Facebook. In the future, updates that are posted down here will also go on the Facebook page. To get GPSV updates on your Facebook feed, be sure to click the "Like" button.
GPSed files [07/09/10] GPS Visualizer now supports binary .gpsed files from the "GPSed" BlackBerry app.
Wintec WBT-202
.TES files
[06/07/10] GPS Visualizer now supports binary tracklogs (with a .tes suffix) from the Wintec WBT-202 Bluetooth Data Logger.
About GPSV [05/15/10] There is finally a page where you can learn a little bit about GPS Visualizer.
Canmore
.logg files
[05/06/10] A bit of code has been added that allows GPS Visualizer to read decompressed .logg files produced by Canmore GPS loggers -- for example, the Canmore GT-730F(L).
Jeppesen FliteStar
.fpl files
[04/26/10] GPS Visualizer can now read XML files exported from Jeppesen FliteStar flight-planning software. These files normally have a .xml or .fpl extension. Note that FliteStar's route packs (binary .rpk files) are not supported.
"Link to this view"
in the sandbox
[04/15/10] The Freehand Drawing Tool ("The Sandbox") now has a link in the lower-right corner that you can click on to get a URL that will take you back to the same view later. This could be helpful if you want to show a specific location to a friend, using the background map of your choice.
Label alignment
in Google Maps
[03/29/10] A minor but potentially useful new feature for power users: in addition to label_offset, you can now specify label_left or label_centered to adjust the position of permanent labels on markers in Google Maps. See the waypoint tutorial for more on customizing and fine-tuning Google Maps.
Chrysler MyGig
.wpt log files
[03/15/10] GPS Visualizer can now detect and read ".wpt" files from the MyGig navigation system in Chrysler/Dodge vehicles. (Despite the waypoint-like filename suffix, these are actually time-stamped tracklogs.)
New Magellan
binary formats
[03/14/10] Support has been added for a couple of new file formats that come from the SD cards in Magellan GPS devices: ".bin" files from Magellan Roadmate GPS (which are really just standard NMEA data wrapped up in some binary junk); and ".pvt" files from Magellan Maestro GPS units. For the .pvt files, only latitude and longitude are supported so far; more sample data is needed before the other fields can be confidently decoded.
Newer, bigger
Garmin icons
[02/21/10] When you create a Google Map from files created by Garmin's software (Garmin Mapsource, Garmin Road Trip, etc.), GPS Visualizer uses Garmin's actual icons whenever possible. Until now, the icons used have been the ones displayed on the GPSMAP series of devices, but now you have to option to either use the small 16x16 icons from GPSMAP (), or the newer, larger 24x24 icons that come with the newer versions of Garmin's applications (). Look in the "advanced" section of the waypoint section of the Google Maps form to enable the larger icons if you want them.
Easier-to-edit
Google Maps
[02/15/10] Some more behind-the-scenes changes have been made to the way GPS Visualizer builds Google Maps. The appearance of the maps themselves hasn't changed, but the JavaScript commands that build the various configurable options are formatted differently. In the new format, they take up a little more room but should be a little easier to follow, and there are more helpful comments at the end of each line, in case you want to edit the HTML yourself.
Cross/plus
waypoint icons
[01/12/10] Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer now have a new set of icons available for waypoint markers: crosses (or plus signs, or crosshairs, or whatever you want to call them; they look like this: ). They're available in any color and opacity.
Dates included
in profile labels
[01/05/10] A minor update to the profile utility: if you use "time" as one of the axes and your data spans more than 36 hours, the date will be included in the gridline labels.
UTM Coordinates [12/16/09] GPS Visualizer now supports UTM coordinates in plain-text input. Just be sure to label the columns correctly; you need one for UTM Zone, one for Easting, and one for Northing. The ellipsoid will be assumed to be WGS-84. If you convert from plain-text to plain-text, the output file should contain both latitude/longitude and UTM coordinates, which may be helpful.
More input
formats
[12/14/09] Support for several GPS data file formats has been added in the last couple of days, including: MapAsia MapKing track logs (.ppg or .tr7 files); MemoryMap (.mmo files); Nokia Sports Tracker XML export files; and a weird old Garmin text format whose header begins with "Garmin:Trk:L001".
Northstar
waypoints
[12/10/09] GPS Visualizer can now read waypoint databases (possibly named "NSTAR_DB.DAT") from Northstar marine GPS systems; the files are a modified NMEA format where each line begins with "$PNTI". Routes in these files (which are basically lists of waypoints) should be supported as well.
Bearing/distance
calculator
[12/09/09] The Calculators page now includes a form that will tell you the latitude and longitude of a point at a given distance and bearing from another point.
FlightAware
track logs
[11/29/09] FlightAware is a Web site that tracks commercial airline flights and allows you to see a "track log" of any given flight. If you select the text in a table containing track log data on flightaware.com, you can paste it into GPS Visualizer's input forms to map it, see it in Google Earth, or convert it to GPX. Supplying the URL of a FlightAware tracklog page will work too.
Excel 2007-2008
(.xlsx) files
[11/24/09] You can now upload newer Microsoft Excel .xlsx files to GPS Visualizer. However, copying and pasting from your worksheet into the input forms is still quicker and easier in many cases!
Fugawi
.trk files
[11/23/09] GPS Visualizer can now read binary track log files (.trk) from Fugawi navigation software. Time stamps may or may not work properly, depending on the version.
Garmin Nuvi
track logs
[11/06/09] Many models in the Garmin Nüvi series of GPS devices have the ability -- via either an obvious menu or some button-pressing voodoo -- to store a raw GPS track log. These files, typically called "gps.bin" in the device's file system, can now be read by GPS Visualizer. (See GpsPasSion for a thorough discussion about these tracklogs and how to enable and access them on your Nüvi.)
Garmin GPS
Custom Maps
[10/14/09] Some small behind-the-scenes changes have been made to the way KML overlays are created, to allow them to be used as Garmin Custom Maps with Garmin's latest handheld GPS devices (Oregon, Colorado, and Dakota series); this will allow you to easily load topographic maps, among others, onto your Garmin device. There is also a new Garmin-optimized version of the network link/plug-in that creates overlays from within Google Earth.
Sonocaddie
golf GPS files
[10/04/09] GPS Visualizer can now read .bin files from Sonocaddie devices, which record your track on a golf course. Note that the files must retain the default name of "RecordTrack.bin" or "RecordShotTrack.bin" for GPS Visualizer to recognize them as Sonocaddie files.
Axis titles
on profiles
[09/24/09] A long-overdue option has been added to the profile input form: the names of the X and Y axes (e.g., "Distance" and "Elevation") can be printed below and to the left, respectively, of the graph. Drawing the axis labels is the new default behavior; if you want to turn them off, open the "advanced options" in the General Parameters section.
Star icons on
Google Maps
[09/23/09] A new star-shaped icon has been added to the collection of built-in icons that can be used in Google Maps. The list of recognized symbols is now: circle, square, triangle, diamond, star, cross, pin, airport, camera, googlemini, googleblank, google, & blankcircle. Of course, as always, you can also supply the URL of a graphic on the Web, but keep in mind that only the built-in ones can be colorized or made semi-opaque.
OpenCycleMap
global topos
[09/20/09] In Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer, you can now select map tiles from OpenCycleMap.org as the background.
TMQ C-Plot
.usr/.mrk files
[09/19/09] GPS Visualizer can now read marine waypoint/marker files generated by TMQ's "C-Plot" software; these files have a suffix of .usr or .mrk. Support for C-Plot tracklogs should be coming soon.
Filters in
dynamic data
[09/14/09] When you create a Google Map using dynamically-loaded data (e.g., from a Google Spreadsheet), you can apply filters that will only cause some of the data to be read from the source document. For example, you can only let in the first X or last X markers (e.g., first:10 or last:2), or you can filter on any data field using text-matching patterns (e.g., filter:{field:'name',pattern:'[A-M]'}). This filtering needs to be applied by editing the map's HTML after it's been created, so contact me if you have questions on how to set it up.
Clickable
tracks
[09/06/09] In Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer, you can now click on tracks and polygons to see their name and description (if they have one). Note that unlike some other improvements, this one is not retroactive; maps created before today will not have clickable polylines.
Custom icon
defaults
[08/27/09] In the Google Maps and Google Earth input forms, you can now specify the URL of a graphic on the Web as your default marker icon. (Just keep in mind that in Google Maps, you can't apply a color to a custom icon.) Select "custom icon" from the bottom of the marker icon drop-down menu, and a box will appear where you can enter the URL of your image.
GPSMeter
.gpm files
[08/12/09] GPS Visualizer can now read .gpm files from GPSMeter PDA, an application for measuring areas and lengths with a GPS-enabled PDA or mobile phone.
GPSLogger
.gpl files
[07/26/09] GPS Visualizer can now directly read raw files from GPSLogger, a track-logging application for Blackberry devices. GPSLogger binary files have a suffix of ".gpl"; it's the same file extension as DeLorme tracklogs, but GPS Visualizer can detect the difference in the structure of the files.
WKT polygons [07/23/09] Support has been added for text files containing the "POLYGON" command from the WKT (Well-Known Text) markup language, which is apparently used to pass information around between various GIS systems. Note that only polygons are supported so far; more WKT support may be added if there is demand for it.
USGS NED
elevation data
[07/01/09] There's a new choice in the "Add DEM elevation data" menus in GPS Visualizer conversion and profile utilities: The USGS's 24-gigabyte "National Elevation Dataset." It only covers the United States, but in many cases it seems to be more accurate than the SRTM data, and more importantly, there are no "holes" in the coverage. Read more about elevation data.
Open Street Maps [06/16/09] When you draw a Google Map with GPS Visualizer, you can now choose road map tiles from OpenStreetMap.org as the background; supposedly, in some areas, they have more detail than Google's street data.
Multi-stop
Google routes
[05/26/09] GPS Visualizer can now draw complete maps and elevation profiles from Google Maps URLs that reference multiple destinations. (Due to a bug in Google's KML output functions, previously only the first leg of the trip would be mapped.) Just plan your trip in Google Maps, then click the "Link" button to get a URL that you can paste into GPS Visualizer's input forms.
Geocoder
updated
[04/02/09] GPS Visualizer's "Quick Geocoder" now uses JavaScript for faster results from Google and Yahoo, and displays results on a map so you can double-check the location of the address you entered.
New file types
supported
[03/27/09] GPS Visualizer can now read files from Furuno NavNet 3D (*_wpt.csv waypoint files, *_trk.csv track files, and *_rte.csv route files); from Silva Multi-Navigator (.cwp waypoint files, .ctr track files, and .crt route files); and .nav files from some unknown GPS logger (they're usually called "gps_log.nav" or "gpsdata.nav"; if you know the source, please tell me).
Elevation data
installed
[03/06/09] Thanks to a much bigger hard disk on the new server, GPS Visualizer is now hosting 70 gigabytes of worldwide digital elevation data from NASA, which can be plugged into your data upon request. Look for the "Add SRTM elevation data" menu in the profile, conversion, and Google Earth input forms, or read more on the Elevation Lookup Utility page.
New server! [03/02/09] GPS Visualizer is now running on a new Linux server. It's not orders of magnitude better than the old setup, but it's definitely faster and has 4 times as much memory; hopefully those midday overloads will a bit be less frequent.
Tracklist
zoom links
[02/01/09] It's a minor detail, but "track lists" in Google Maps now include a small icon by each track's name that allows you to zoom in on that track. (Clicking the track's name still toggles the track's visibility.)
Map-enabled
geocoder
[01/30/09] The multiple-address geocoding utility now shows a progress map while it's finding your locations. It also has the ability to use Google again.
Locate-GPS
CSV export
[12/26/08] GPS Visualizer can now handle the bizarre .csv export files from locate-gps.com, the online service associated with tracking devices such as the Espace Mobilité "Locate Box" or the Flextrack "Lommy."
iGO 8 files [12/18/08] Tracklogs (.trk files) from Nav-N-Go's "iGO" software for Windows Mobile devices are now able to be detected and read by GPS Visualizer's mapper and converter.
Geosetter
track logs
[12/10/08] Geosetter tracklogs (.gst files) are now supported by GPS Visualizer.
Dynamic GPX
example
[09/26/08] A side effect of GPS Visualizer's new-found ability to read data dynamically (e.g., from Google Spreadsheets) is the ability to read KML and GPX files on the fly; there's an example map that reads tracks and waypoints from a GPX file.
NoniGPSPlot
track logs
[08/27/08] Track logs (.ngt files) from the PocketPC program NoniGPSPlot are now supported by GPS Visualizer.
MyTopo.Com
topo maps
of Canada
[07/29/08] GPS Visualizer Google maps can now access topographic data from MyTopo.com. This is especially good news for Canadians: the MyTopo layer has complete, high-quality NRCan topo maps for all of Canada. MyTopo's coverage also includes USGS maps for the U.S., and in many areas, the maps are higher-quality than the ones previously available through terraserver-usa.com. (By the way, MyTopo's business is selling waterproof or poster-size maps, optionally with your data overlaid on them.)
Google Docs
spreadsheets
[07/01/08] You can now supply the URL of a "Google Docs" spreadsheet as input for a Google Map. When the spreadsheet is updated, the map will be updated! See an example here; to try it with your data, paste its location into the "URL that will be loaded into the map dynamically" box in the Google Maps input form. (And make sure your spreadsheet is "published," preferably using the "auto-publish" feature.) Note that if you want to use data from a Google Spreadsheet but DON'T want the map to be dynamically updated, you can supply its URL in the "static data" box.
Google Maps
marker folders
[06/17/08] When you enable a "marker list" in a Google Map (look for "Generate list of waypoints" in the form), you can now group the markers into "folders" in the list by simply providing a "folder" field in your input data. An example map is here.
Synthesized
"desc" fields
[06/06/08] A new input widget for "power users": Using the "synthesize descriptions" box under the map form's Advanced Waypoint Options, you can build a description field for points that don't have one! For example, if your data has columns labeled "x", "y", and "z", you could enter this into the description synthesis box: coordinates = {latitude},{longitude}<br>x = {x}<br> y = {y}<br> z = {z} -- this would cause each bit of info to go on its own line, thanks to the HTML <br> (line break) tags. There's no limit to how much stuff you can load into a description; just insert existing field names by surrounding them in {curly brackets}, and include any HTML tags you want. (Note that any existing "desc" field you may have supplied will be overwritten, although you can use it in the new description by including {desc}; this might be useful to, for example, quickly apply a style or color to all descriptions.) This new feature should be easier than having to dump your data into Excel and building text formulas.
Google Maps
marker filters
[05/28/08] This is sort of an advanced feature, as it involves editing the HTML of your maps after GPS Visualizer creates them, but it's potentially very useful: you can use the new GV_Filter_Waypoints_With_Text JavaScript function to filter markers on a map based on their name, description, or color. To see how it works, look in the source of this example page, and feel free to drop me a note if you have questions.
Tracks in
custom folders
[04/24/08] A small update to last month's "custom folders" feature: you can now use a "folder" field put both tracks AND waypoints into custom folders in a Google Earth file.
Google Earth
custom folders
[03/07/08] It's a small thing, but it may come in handy for some people: you can now supply a "folder" column in your raw waypoint data, and GPS Visualizer will use that field to group your points into folders in Google Earth.
3-digit
ZIP codes
[02/26/08] You can now plot ZIP codes (and Canadian postal codes) using only the first three characters, which could be very helpful for plotting information using the data form. Note that GPS Visualizer will not automatically truncate and compile 5-digit ZIPs; you must reduce them before uploading. (It's easy to do it in Excel.)
Google Maps
tickmarks
[12/06/07] Distance- or time-based tickmarks in Google Maps now show the direction you were traveling at that point, indicated by a small triangular icon. Look for "tickmark interval" in the advanced track options.
Freehand
drawing tool
[12/04/07] This is an interesting new utility, still in the experimental stage: the Freehand Drawing Utility (a.k.a., "The Sandbox") lets you click on a map to create tracks and waypoints, which can then be saved as GPX or KML files. It's also handy for exploring alternate background imagery (e.g., USGS topo maps) using a Google Maps interface.
Easily editable
Google Maps
[11/29/07] You've always been able to edit the HTML source of Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer to make them meet your specifications, but it's much easier now. Most of the parameters you'd want to change are in an easy-to-edit list in the guts of the page.
Google Maps
BG opacity
[10/05/07] You can now alter the background opacity in Google Maps; this could be very helpful for creating maps that are intended for printing. And despite the fact that this is the first "news" item in almost 4 months, smaller updates are happening all the time...
Directional
KML icons
[06/15/07] Icons in KML files can be rotated, so distance/time tickmarks in Google Earth are now much more useful. (Instead of a circle, they are now represented by arrows pointing the appropriate direction.) You can also manually rotate any waypoint's icon by including a "rotation" field in your plain-text data.
Automatic
geotagging
[04/12/07] GPS Visualizer can now assign coordinates to time-stamped waypoints that have no latitude and longitude, as long as you provide other valid time-stamped data (such as a tracklog) from which the waypoints' locations can be interpolated/extrapolated. This may be very helpful for things like mapping digital photos.
Address
distances
[03/21/07] New on the Geographic Calculators page: the ability to find the great-circle distance between two addresses. (Before, you needed to enter a latitude and longitude for each point.)
Elevation
lookups
[03/13/07] A new, experimental Elevation Lookup Utility is online, which takes pairs of coordinates and adds elevation data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission via a remote Web service.
Easy Batch
Geocoder
[03/01/07] GPS Visualizer is now home to a JavaScript-based Batch Geocoder, which lets you geocode a whole pile of addresses -- using either Yahoo or Google's geocoding API -- without the intervention of GPS Visualizer's server.
Canadian
postal codes
[02/26/07] The server now includes a database of Canadian postcodes, so looking up codes in Canada should be quite a bit faster now. (Before, you could do it, but it was slow because they had to be fetched from a remote site.) Donations to offset the cost of the new data would, of course, be much appreciated!
Globalsat &
iBlue support
[02/26/07] GPS receivers by both Globalsat (DG-100) and Transystem (iBlue 727, 737, 747, 757) come with software that produces strange output files, but GPS Visualizer can now (hopefully) sensibly read the .csv track files that each produces.
Excel files [02/07/07] GPS Visualizer can now read .xls spreadsheet files from Microsoft Excel. Of course, a header row is still required.
Garmin icons [01/28/07] If you draw a Google Map using a file that came from Garmin MapSource or a Garmin receiver, GPS Visualizer will now attempt to display the Garmin icons that you applied to your waypoints. To turn this feature off, say "No" to "Preserve waypoint colors and symbols" in the advanced waypoint options.
Forerunner
.TCX files
[01/25/07] GPS Visualizer now supports the latest XML format generated by Garmin's "Training Center" software: .tcx files. The Forerunner splitter can read them too.
New input
formats
[12/04/06] A couple of new formats have been added to the list of file types that GPS Visualizer recognizes: plain-text track logs from Jeppeson Flightdeck, and "course files" (.crs) from Garmin's Training Center software.
Customized
spectrums
[11/05/06] You can now specify the starting and ending hues of the colorization spectrum on your maps and profiles. This means, for example, that you could set minimum values to green and maximums to red, instead of always going from red to magenta (which is still the default, of course). Enable "advanced track options" to see the new hue controls.
Tutorials [09/20/06] A set of tutorials is now available that will show you the best way to organize your data for upload to GPS Visualizer. They're not complete yet, but they'll be added to over time.
Google Maps
improvements
[09/15/06] Two notable updates: (1) When you draw a track on a Google Map, GPS Visualizer can automatically reduce the number of points in a way that won't seriously alter the shape of the track. (2) Tracks are now hidden when "off-screen." Both of these improvements should result in slightly faster performance with Google Maps.
Google
marker lists
[09/07/06] When you create a Google Map that includes waypoints ("markers"), GPS Visualizer can now automatically generate a list of markers; mouseover or click on the list items to identify the markers on the map.
.ZIP input [08/22/06] You can now transmit zipped (.zip) or gzipped (.gz) files to the map forms.
New server [06/02/06] GPS Visualizer now has its own server. Of course, having a dedicated server isn't cheap, so keep those donations coming!
Topographic
Google Maps
[05/06/06] This is huge: you can now use USGS topographic maps with Google Maps. The USGS 1m black-and-white aerial photos are also available, as are NRCan/Toporama maps for Canada.
Easy geocoder [05/01/06] The address converter page now has a Quick Geocoder for finding the coordinates of a single location (street address, city, ZIP code, airport) without having to worry about the formatting.
Google Maps
point labels
[04/26/06] Thanks to the "ELabel" function at Mike Williams' very helpful Google Maps API Tutorial, you now have the option to display permanent waypoint labels on Google Maps.
Google Earth
overlay plugin
[03/13/06] There is now a GPS Visualizer Network Link for Google Earth that allows you to download static KML overlays (aerial photos, topo maps, etc.) of your current position.
Yahoo! Maps [03/03/06] Yahoo! Maps can now be created with GPS Visualizer; unfortunately, tracks are not supported yet, but waypoints are.
KML overlays [02/23/06] There's a new utility that creates alternate overlays for use with Google Earth. That means USGS aerial photography and topo maps for the entire U.S., as well as NRCan maps for Canada and daily satellite views of the whole world.
Updated the
help file
[02/14/06] The documentation about all the options available in GPS Visualizer's map forms has been updated again; it now includes many of the Google Maps and Google Earth parameters. (This is the help file that pops up when you click on the little help icons next to the map form input widgets.)
Legends in
Google Maps
[01/29/06] Now, when you choose colorization in a Google Map, you can also get a legend showing what the colors mean; the legend can be moved around, plus you can click on the track names to hide or show them.
Google
colorization
[01/20/06] Tracks drawn in Google Maps and Google Earth can now be colorized by altitude/elevation, speed, heading, etc. It actually works very well with Google Earth KML files (even though each track must be broken into innumerable individual placemarks to allow for different colors), but it's quite slow in Google Maps, so be careful.
Airport
database
[12/14/05] You can now enter waypoints as 3- or 4-character airport codes. Also, the geographic calculators page supports airport codes in the Great Circle Route and Range Rings forms.
Google Earth [11/13/05] GPS Visualizer can create Google Earth KML files from your data. Please let me know how it works.
Google maps [11/07/05] GPS Visualizer can now plot your data using Google Maps.
GPS Babel [11/03/05] GPS Visualizer is now home to an on-line interface to the freeware program GPSBabel. It'll come in handy if you have data that's in a format that GPS Visualizer's map form doesn't support (e.g., Garmin Mapsource binary files).
JPEG output [05/19/05] GPS Visualizer can now draw maps in JPEG and PNG format in addition to SVG. These bitmapped graphics aren't nearly as versatile, but they don't require a plug-in. Just choose "JPEG" or "PNG" from the "Output format" menu on any map input form. See the FAQ for the pros and cons of SVG vs. JPEG.
Calculators [04/15/05] There's now a stand-alone page with some useful geographic calculators on it. For now, you can convert between decimal degrees and degrees/minutes/seconds and draw the great circle route between two points. More to come later.
Weather maps [01/01/05] Try out the Interactive Weather Mapper. It's got nothing to do with GPS Visualizer, really, but it's still interesting.


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