GPS Routes Apps:If you are a lover of outdoor sports and want to discover new itineraries, you may be interested in an app to follow GPX routes for free. And thanks to mobile GPS , today there are hundreds of software that take advantage of this instrument to offer us a geolocation service. Now, which are the most recommended?
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Best apps to follow free and paid GPX routes
The files with extension GPX is the most popular format for storing, sharing and import maps between devices. With its help, access to new routes for athletes can be simplified.
GPX Viewer, Tracks, routes and waypoints
In addition to reading files in GPX format, this application is also compatible with maps that have a LOC, KMZ and KML extension . It is one of the most popular tools in both the App Store and Google Play, to the point that it has been deserving of more than one award.
In it, you can collect travel statistics and observe all the incidents of your adventure, including temperature, cadence, heart rate or power. It also allows you to access thousands of online maps from different platforms such as Thunderforest, Google Maps, Mapbox, Here or based on OpenStreetMap.
On the other hand, it has a tool that shows you the current position on the map thanks to the use of GPS, in order to avoid disorientation. In addition, the system will send you a notification when you are near a waypoint.
- It has a user and technical service manual.
- You can contrast different maps on the screen.
- You can make notes in the margin about your experience on the journey.
- On Android, access to all functions is only possible after a subscription or by downloading the GPX Viewer Pro version . On iOS, the app costs € 2.29 .
- It does not allow to create GPX maps.
- You cannot share the experience on social networks.
One of the highlights of this first recommendation is that it can be used without having great knowledge. You will discover hundreds of routes!
Geo Tracker is a tool that allows you to import routes from other devices as long as they are in KML or GPX format . It also has an important database of Yandex Maps and routes found in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Besides being a map reader, it allows you to create your own maps and export them for other users to enjoy. This route recording function is available even if the mobile is switched off. The hour limit only depends on the internal memory of the device.
Among all the things that it is capable of measuring, it is worth highlighting the possibility of calculating the average speed of the route, the duration, the altitude, the ascent or the average, maximum and minimum slopes.
- It is free.
- It can be used in the background without a decrease in device performance.
- Allows you to import and export maps in GPX.
- It is only available in English.
- Low update frequency . The latest version is from August 2019.
- Starting with Android 8.0, newer operating systems need to do a couple of extra settings before using the software.
Don’t be fooled by the little modern look of its interface! It is a very intuitive app that helps conventional users to understand all the data and statistics that the app collects.
Wikiloc Outdoor Navigation
With Wikiloc you can download topographic maps of all parts of the world with built-in waypoints. But this is not all; Its main strength is that you can create routes yourself and share them with your friends. To access this function you just have to click on the option “Record Route” and then, “Start Recording”. Too easy!
The software allows you to pause the recording in case you stray and don’t want it to be reflected in the final result. You can create as many points of interest as you want. To stop the recording, you just have to select “End the route”.
As we said, you can share your outings with your contacts or, if you prefer, save the result on the device. In the first case, you can accompany the map with photos, specifications and additional information (such as the level of difficulty and personal recommendations). Then you can publish it on the Wikiloc account or on your social networks.
- You can use its features both online and offline.
- It integrates natively more than 15,000 outdoor routes .
- It has smart search filters that allow you to access the maps more easily.
- When used online it drains the battery a lot.
- Some of the tools are difficult to understand for the most inexperienced.
- The free version is very limited.
Because it is an app with several payment functionalities, the ideal is that you are familiar with software of this type so that you can get the most out of it. If not, we invite you to use it repeatedly during the trial period to familiarize yourself with its interface and functions.
Sketch to Track
This app to follow GPX routes has two of the functions most appreciated by lovers of outdoor sports: GPX map reader and creator / editor to share them with the community.
And how it works? When you export a map, the software analyzes it and applies some settings so that you can better interpret it (like adding elevation graphics on the track). It fits all kinds of activities you want to practice outdoors.
As for its function of creating maps, you can design your own route based on elements that have already been designed and customizing them within the app. Your location on the map will be displayed in real time and the elevation on the screen is cataloged in various types of metric units.
- You can edit multiple tracks by overlaying them.
- It is compatible with pencils.
- You can download all the content locally to enjoy it offline.
- The function of exporting gpx files only comes with the Pro version.
- It does not have an iOS version.
- It is only available in English.
Sketch a Track is a little known alternative in the community, but it has excellent ratings from users who have downloaded it. Although it can be a bit complex to get used to its interface at the beginning, you only need a couple of hours of practice to be an expert at creating maps.
MAPinr is another of those applications little known by users, despite the virtues of its tools. All its functions revolve around creating, saving, editing and sharing map files in GPX, KML and KMZ .
On the one hand, you can import maps from different platforms (OpenStreetMap, Opencyclemap, Opentopomap and Google Maps) and save them later in the app. Something interesting not available in other similar apps is that you can create and share waypoints individually, either in photos or in photomaps.
On the other hand, it integrates a search system by name, coordinates or specific addresses and allows you to download the maps to use them offline. Likewise, the icons that you can add to your waypoints are very varied and allow you to fully customize the maps you create. Of course, its download is free.
- It can work without having an internet connection.
- Integrate a customer service by email.
- View multiple files on the screen at the same time .
- Some functions are not supported on mobiles with outdated operating systems.
- It does not include a user manual.
- The latest updates have caused unexpected closures of the app.
Although getting used to MAPinr may take longer than expected, it is a very useful tool that offers everything you need to have routes in different formats. Download it and you will soon discover a great app that will keep you company during your future forays.
OsmAnd is an application where you have access to the entire OpenStreetMap map catalog. But this is not all, you can also use other means to import content into GPX. No matter which of the two options you choose, the routes can be stored on your memory card to access them offline.
On the other hand, the GPS location of the device can also guide you through a voice command along the route and offer you visual content so that you do not leave the road at any time. You can see all this from your location in real time on the map that you have on your screen.
In addition, it is worth highlighting other functions such as bookmarking some visited places, use the built-in compass, discover the name of the places in your local language, access to Wikipedia entries and many more. All the images are in high resolution so they don’t lose quality when you zoom in on them.
- You can upload your own GPX routes to OpenStreetMap.
- It allows you to record your trip in the background (even with the mobile locked).
- The app is open source, which allows the developer community to improve it to reinforce its benefits.
- Some tools can only be run with the Premium version.
- Its interface is a bit complex for novice users.
- Some secondary routes are not included in the software.
OsmAnd is an application that has been on the market for a long time, but it is constantly updated to add new functionalities. With an average rating of 4 and a half stars with more than 5 million downloads, it is, without a doubt, a safe bet.
Open GPX Tracker
To end this list, we present Open GPX Tracker. It is an app that allows you to create, run and share maps in GPX format without any type of restriction. All content can be consulted offline and you can upload it directly to OpenStreetMap with personalized points of interest.
Thanks to the great acceptance among iOS users, it also has a special app for Apple Watch. In case you don’t like the standard map style, you can configure it with other softwares like Carto DB, Open Topo Maps or even Apple Maps.
As for the process of recording your tracking, you can pause and resume the process as many times as you want. The final result will have additional information such as speed, exact coordinates and total travel time. Also, the app allows a higher level of customization compared to other apps. Its installation is free and the base software is open source.
- It does not require additional costs after installing it.
- You can restart the maps in the places where you have left them before.
- Allows you to collaborate directly with OpenStreetMap.
- When zooming in, some quality is lost on some routes.
- It generates lag in devices with operating systems that are not updated.
- Its interface can be somewhat simplistic.
With this last option you already have a complete overview of apps for GPX routes. If you want, you can use it in the company of specialized devices for a more professional experience.
What is a GPX file?
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the GPX format is the most popular for sharing information between devices. that have an app to process maps. Among the main benefits of files in this format, it should be noted that they tend to be light in weight and are used as standard in some Google Earth processes and in the local routes of Garmin devices.
The elements created in this format can be processed in other different computers (which facilitates their massification). Although there are other known extensions, none of them account for the popularity of these files.
How and where to download GPX files to continue with your mobile?
There are several options that allow you to download route tracks in this format. You can even find third-party pages created solely to facilitate access to them.
However, you should know that it is advisable to do it from sites with a good reputation to avoid getting outdated or erroneous maps. In this article we have proposed several options to download them. Therefore, below we explain how to do it from one of them: Wikiloc.
Find the route that interests you
To start, log in to Wikiloc with your data or sign in with your Google account. By doing so, the system will locate in the country where you are. From here you will have to find the route you are interested in downloading.
You have two options to do it: either proceed manually or use its search engine (which integrates all the journeys stored on the platform). To facilitate the search, you can use the different categories (ski mountaineering, mountaineering, …). This way you will focus the route depending on the activity you want to practice.
You can also use other tools to further customize your search, such as desired mileage range, difficulty, and even whether it is a one-way or circular route. The community has several permanently active users that you can follow in case you like their recommendations.
Download the GPX file
As soon as you have identified the map, you just have to select the “Download” section and choose some of the proposed options.
If you want the file, click on the appropriate section. You can also download it directly to your mobile, to your Garmin or in KML format. Before downloading, Wikiloc will ask you what type of format you want. The three available are the following:
- Simplified track: allows greater compatibility with apps and GPS and operates based on 500 points. It is the most recommended for practical use.
- Original track: operates with a higher number of points (it varies on each route) and its level of detail is even higher. Some simple apps may not be able to process this version.
- Track division: allows you to download several tracks with a maximum of 500 points each. Although some quality is lost in the process, full compatibility is ensured .
After choosing one of the three formats, you can also include the locations indicated on the map in the download by checking the corresponding box. Finally, you just have to click on “Download” and it will be available on your device.
How to open a GPX file with apps
The final step will be to use the route downloaded in one of the GPX apps that you have on your mobile. If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to open the file. This runs automatically in most software, so you won’t have any kind of difficulty in the process.
Keep in mind that this type of format is the same as others that you are already used to, such as JPEG or MP4. So that you do not have to perform additional steps, we recommend that you follow the steps using the indicated platform. This is free and can be used in conjunction with the app that we suggested at the beginning.