FAQs - GPS Waypoint Data Files

Q. I've got a GPS device but don't know how to use it. Can you help?

For general information on GPS and GPS Devices - see

Hill Skills > GPS Devices - the Myths and Truths Part 1 and

Hill Skills > GPS Devices - the Myths and Truths Part 2

For fellow user Questions and Answers about GPS and GPS Devices - see Q & A - GPS Waypoints

Furthermore, make sure you thoroughly read the manaul that came with your GPS Device and spend some time in the local park trying your GPS device out and getting to know its features before venturing into the hills and high mountains.

Q. What are GPX files?

GPX, or GPS eXchange Format is a common GPS data format for software applications. It can be used to describe GPS waypoints, Tracks (a.k.a. Tracklogs), and Routes. It can be used to store location, elevation and time amongst other things and can be used to exchange data between GPS devices and software packages such as your internet browser.

In GPX, a collection of points, with no sequential relationship (e.g. the summits of the Wainwrights), is deemed a collection of individual waypoints.

An ordered collection of points may be expressed as a Track or Tracklog (an ordered list of points describing a path) or a Route (an ordered list of waypoints representing a series of significant points leading to a destination).

go4awalk.com GPX Waypoint data files are a Route and not a Track or Tracklog. Each walk's set of downloadable GPS Data usually# consist of between 5 and 15 key waypoints located at all the critical decision points detailed in the walk route description. In between these critical decision points you simply follow the footpath on the ground and/or the directions contained within that walk's PDF Route Instructions

Q. How do I get GPS waypoints into my hand-held GPS device?

go4awalk.com offers downloadable GPS Waypoint in two formats:

go4awalk.com GPS Waypoints in Text (.txt) format are in National Grid format e.g. NY 21538 07204 (which is the summit of Scafell Pike)

go4awalk.com GPS Waypoints in GPX (.gpx) format are in Latitude/Longitude format e.g 54.4541° -3.21170° (Scafell Pike summit). Depending on how you have your your GPS device set , it can convert GPS data into any format your require (subject to a small rounding error). To be able to read your GPS data in National Grid format (as used on Ordnance Survey Maps) you should set your device to Position Format = British Grid and Map Datum = ord srvy GB.

To upload GPS Waypoints into most modern GPS Devices simply connect the GPS to your computer using the USB cable and place the GPX document downloaded from go4awalk.com into the GPX folder on your GPS.

Alternatively you can use software to interface between your computer and your GPS Device. Which software you require depends on the file format you choose and your type of computer.

To upload GPS Waypoints in GPX (.gpx) format into your GPS Device from IBM based PC computers (Windows, Vista etc.) we suggest Garmin Basecamp (free) or EasyGPS (free version),

To upload GPS Waypoints in GPX (.gpx) format into your GPS Device from Apple Macintosh computers (Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later) we suggest Garmin Basecamp (free) or MacGPS Pro (small fee)

To upload GPS Waypoints in Text (.txt) format into your GPS Device from IBM based PC computers (Windows, Vista etc.) we suggest GPS Utility (free version). Full instructions are included in every GPS Waypoint Download file in Text (.txt) format. NB. Beware, the free version of GPS Utility will only upload the first 10 GPS Waypoints of a GPS Waypoint data file in GPX (.gpx) format so we do not recommend the free version of GPS Utility for use with GPX (.gpx) data files.

We are not aware of a GPS utility for Apple Macintosh computers that will upload GPS Waypoints in text (.txt) format. This is partly why we have introduced downloadable GPS Waypoints in GPS Exchange GPX (.gpx) format (see above).

Q. Sounds great. Are there some free sample GPS Waypoint files I can try first?

There are links to 56 Free Sample Walk routes, Free GPS Waypoint files in GPX (.gpx) format, Free GPS Waypoint files in Text (.txt) format and a Free Peak Bagging Map/Tick List contained within every issue of our regular FREE HTML Newsletter. (To see FAQs - Newsletters click here)

To access these free samples you must subscribe to our Newsletter. The links to our Free Sample Walk routes, GPS Waypoint files and a Peak Bagging Map/Tick List are included within the newsletter itself. You will be sent a copy of the latest issue automatically once you confirm your newsletter subscription.

To get your copy of our monthly HTML Newsletter click here.

Q. Do I need to download GPS Waypoints in both formats?

You do not need to download both formats since they are the same GPS waypoints but in different formats for ultimate felexibility. To see which format suits you best (without using up any credits) - use the free samples available from a link in our regular newsletter.

Q. When I import go4awalk.com GPX data files into Ordnance Survey Mapping Software like Anquet, Memory Map or Garmin Basecamp it appears as a series of individual waypoints connected by straight lines?

This is perfectly normal. go4awalk.com GPX Waypoint Data Files are designed as a navigational aid to be used in conjunction with the relevant go4awalk.com Walk PDF Route Instructions, the appropriate Ordnance Survey Map and compass. They form a Route but not a Track or Tracklog. They consist of the GPS Waypoint data printed on each Walk PDF Route Instruction in a downloadable form for your convenience. Downloading this information to your GPS Device guards against potentially catastrophic input errors should you attempt to input the data by hand.

go4awalk.com GPX Waypoint Data Files are not designed to be imported into Ordnance Survey Mapping Software though it is possible. If you do, each imported file will appear as between 5 and 15 key waypoints# located at all the critical decision points detailed in the walk route description with straight lines between them.

This can seem disconcerting at first - but in practice between these critical decision points you simply follow the footpath on the ground and/or the directions contained within the Walk PDF Route Instructions.

This system has the distinct advantage of allowing you to see at a glance how far it is to the next critical decision point - such as the next summit. Knowing whether the next summit is 100m or 1km away enables you to pace yourself both physically and mentally. If you have ever experienced the phenomena 'false summit' (i.e. cresting the top of a ridge only to find the true summit far in the distance) you will understand what we mean. Furthermore, it enables you to easily establish which waypoint on your GPS refers to your next summit or target which makes homing in on that target in mist and thick weather much easier.

go4awalk.com has been supplying downloadable GPS data in this format for over 10 years and it is a system that is tried and tested and one that works incredibly well. We have no doubt that when you try it out for yourself you will agree.

Q. I've loaded the GPS Waypoints (.txt format) into Memory Map but some of the points appear to be slightly off. What's going on?

See Importing GPS Waypoints into Memory Map

Q. I'm using a Garmin 60 GPS and have uploaded the waypoints and received the transfer complete message. However, I can't seem to locate the data on my GPS. Am I missing something?

It may be that you have your Garmin set to view waypoints in "Find Nearest" mode in which case the Garmin does not show waypoints further than a specified distance away.

If you switch the view mode in the Garmin 60 to "Find by Name" then you should see the uploaded waypoints listed alphabetically. (See the Garmin manual for how to do this).

Q. I've tried to load GPS Waypoints (.txt format) into the GPS Utility but get a 'grid is not loaded' message?

You are creating your text file (.txt) with a programme like Microsoft Word, Excel or WORDPAD that is introducing extra formatting into the text preventing GPS Utility from reading it properly.

You must use a very basic text editor like Notepad or save your excel spreadsheet as a tab delimited file.

Q. You supply GPS Waypoints as text files. Which formats can I convert these into using GPS Utility?

With this GPS Utility you can Save/Export selectively and in the following formats:

Note: some formats may restrict the selection to just waypoints, routes or trackpoints and some may impose a particular file separator character or date format.

Q. Do go4awalk.com GPX files describe the walk route in minute detail showing every twist and turn?

No. go4awalk.com GPX files are not a track. In our experience, not only do you not need this, it can cause much confusion. Each walk's set of downloadable GPS Data usually# consist of between 5 and 15 key waypoints located at all the critical decision points detailed in the walk route description. In between these critical decision points you simply follow the footpath on the ground and/or the directions contained within that walk's PDF Route Instructions.

Q. Do all walks the on go4awalk.com have downloadable GPS Waypoints?

Not a present though we are working hard to correct this.

Only walks that include the GPS (text format) icon:

Download GPS Waypoint Data

and the GPX (.gpx format) icon:

Download GPX Data

have downloadable GPS data.

# The GPS Waypoint File for Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk has 192 Waypoints and The GPS Waypoint File for The Pennine Way has 219 Waypoints.


If you cannot find an answer to your specific problem anywhere in our help topics - click here to contact us. NB. If everything else fails - we can always send you your walks and downloads via email - so don't worry.


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