GPS Visualizer Help

About GPS Visualizer

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ contains a lot of useful information about specific map formats, as well as some more general information about GPS Visualizer.

Form input help file

This is the file that comes up when you click the little "help" icons in the map and profile input forms; it contains explanations of (almost) all the possible form input widgets.


This page contains a few examples of the kinds of maps you can make with GPS Visualizer.

Google Maps Tricks

Google Maps created by GPS Visualizer can be customized as much as you want. Not everything is documented in detail, but here are a few example maps that demonstrate some of the possibilities:


If you have data that came directly from a GPS unit, and you just want to see where you've been, using GPS Visualizer is very easy: you upload the file and you get a map.

For some purposes, though — including some that take advantage of GPS Visualizer's most powerful features — the data needs to be organized a little bit before being processed, and that's where these tutorials come in. They're mostly focused on building plain-text comma-separated value (CSV) files or tab-delimited text files — the kind you would get from a spreadsheet. Assigning a name and coordinates to a point is easy, but what's the best way to assign a color, or a size, or a custom icon? Read on.

  • Building Plain-Text Waypoint Files

    No matter what you're trying to do with your data, read this one first! There are a lot of important concepts in this tutorial that will help when you are reading the others.

  • Building Plain-Text Track Files

    How to force plain-text data to be interpreted as tracks instead of waypoints; how to include multiple tracks in the same file; how to mix in routes and/or waypoints with track data.

  • Smoothing & Simplifying Tracks

    How to use GPS Visualizer's track-smoothing filters to reduce GPS artifacts and create smaller files.

  • Mapping Quantitative Data

    Learn how to take advantage of GPS Visualizer's ability to resize and/or colorize points based on any field in your data, and how to make GPS Visualizer perform automatic frequency counts on your location-based data (e.g., ZIP codes).

  • Drawing circles/range rings around waypoints

    GPS Visualizer can draw circles of a specific radius around your points, allowing for definition of circular ranges or triangulation between points.

Return to the GPS Visualizer home page Guides:
Print or download travel guides to your iPhone or GPS: Skyline to the Sea Trail • Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim • Half Dome • The Boston Freedom Trail • Upper Yosemite Falls Hike • Lands End, San Francisco • Angel Island State Park • Cataract Trail Loop in Marin County • Coyote Creek Loop at Henry Coe State Park • Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail • Bay Area Wildflower Hikes • Bay Area Scenic Drives • Sunol Wilderness • Stanford Dish Hike • Grand Canyon: Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail • The Grand Canyon Rim Trail • Best Bay Area Backpacking • The High Sierra Trail • Best Bay Area Day Hikes • Great Hikes in the Grand Canyon • Queen's Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon Utah • Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park • and more...