Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cool Tools for GPX files

I use GPSBabel for most GPS file conversion/downloading jobs, but I've recently started experimenting with a couple of web-hosted converters:
  • GPSVisualizer graphs data extracted from tracklogs; converts GPX, KML and text-format files; generates user-defined maps; generates coordinates from street addresses (and vice versa); and allows sketching directly on a map to generate GPX files of waypoints and routes. That last capability is way cool because it permits instant switching between USGS topos, Google terrain vectors, street maps, and aerial/satellite imagery. 
  • GPSies convert page accepts tracklogs (or lists of coordinates) and converts them to routes in a variety of formats. Its outstanding feature is the refined way it handles route simplification: Instead of just dropping waypoints, it apparently recalculates the shape of the path and sequentially numbers the newly generated points. GPSBabel's simplified routes have gaps in waypoint numbering (e.g., RPT046, RPT051, RPT053, RPT054, RPT060) that can be confusing on the trail.
Just this morning I dumped a tracklog from everytrail into the GPSies converter and created a much-simplified route, cutting a couple hundred trackpoints to just 30 route points. Superimposed 'em on the map and got a very satisfactory match. Nice. Just in time for my Bull Springs exploration.

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