Using Your Downloaded GPX File

GPX files make use of a highly portable XML data scheme that's useful on many different GPS platforms. A number of online resources offer the option to export in GPX format, making it a popular extension for both online presentation and personal use. Sites such as GPS Visualizer, RideWithGPS and GPX2KML aid in the conversion to (and from) this globally recognized codec.

It's this portability that makes it perfect for our map downloads. Route plotting/editing, visual previews and turn-by-turn instruction are all quickly accessible whether using a desktop computer or mobile device. Before you can view your newly downloaded GPX file however, you'll need (free) software that's capable of reading it.

On a desktop/laptop, the easiest way to view your GPX file is by downloading Google Earth. Not only does it give you a sense of where your map takes you, it can "fly along", giving you a virtual tour of the ride (see video above). Google earth also lets you highlight surrounding roads and tourist attractions.

For turn-by-turn voice navigation, most major mobile device companies have third party apps in place that readily traverse GPX routes. OsmAnd, for example, is available for both Android and iPhone while word has it that Open Street Maps can do the same on Windows Phones. Our in-depth instructions regarding track creation and import for use with OsmAnd can be found here.

As for editing your downloaded route, we're aware that you might need to alter the riding plan a bit. RideWithGPS is our favorite map building resource as it's both reliable and easy to use. Open a free account, upload/import your map and edit as necessary. Note that within their editing interface, the "add/remove control point" option (located to the bottom right) is most useful. That allows you to change (or add to) your path of travel to suit.