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GPS Exchange Format

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GPS Exchange Format
Filename extension
Internet media type
application/gpx+xml and application/octet-stream
Initial release2002
Latest release
August 9, 2004; 19 years ago (2004-08-09)
Extended fromXML
Open format?yes

GPX, or GPS Exchange Format, is an XML schema designed as a common GPS data format for software applications. It can be used to describe waypoints, tracks, and routes. It is an open format[2] and can be used without the need to pay license fees. Location data (and optionally elevation, time, and other information) is stored in tags and can be interchanged between GPS devices and software. Common software applications for the data include viewing tracks projected onto various map sources, annotating maps, and geotagging photographs based on the time they were taken.

Data types[edit]

Waypoints, routes and tracks recorded by GPS receivers.

A GPX file's main components include waypoints, routes, and tracks:

  • A waypoint (wptType) consists of the WGS 84 (GPS) coordinates of a point and possibly other descriptive information.
  • A route (rteType) is an ordered list of routepoints (or waypoints representing a series of significant turn or stage points) leading to a destination.[3] In general, a route is used to describe directions for a journey which someone wants to take at some point in the future.
  • A track (trkType) contains a series of waypoints what might also contain a timestamp. It is typically used to represent journeys which somebody has already completed or recorded.

In addition to the above, GPX files can also contain additional data. The minimum properties for a GPX file are latitude and longitude for every single point. Some vendors, such as Humminbird and Garmin, use extensions to the GPX format for recording street address, phone number, business category, air temperature, depth of water, and other parameters.[4][5]


Latitude and longitude are expressed in decimal degrees, and elevation in meters, both using the WGS 84 datum.[6] Dates and times are expressed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) using ISO 8601 format.[1]

Sample GPX document[edit]

The document below is a sample GPX file which contains three waypoints which correspond to the locations of the German, Swiss, and Austrian parliaments.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?>
<gpx xmlns="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/1" version="1.1" creator="Wikipedia"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/1 http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/1/gpx.xsd">
 <!-- Comments look like this -->
  <name>Data name</name>
  <desc>Valid GPX example without special characters</desc>
   <name>Author name</name>
 <wpt lat="52.518611" lon="13.376111">
  <name>Reichstag (Berlin)</name>
 <wpt lat="48.208031" lon="16.358128">
  <name>Parlament (Wien)</name>
 <wpt lat="46.9466" lon="7.44412">
  <name>Bundeshaus (Bern)</name>

See also[edit]

File formats
  • GPSBabel, used to upload/download/convert GPX files


  1. ^ a b GPX: the GPS Exchange Format
  2. ^ topografix.com
  3. ^ topografix.com
  4. ^ "Garmin Mass Storage Mode Devices - Garmin Developer". Garmin. Archived from the original on 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  5. ^ "Garmin Gpx Extensions Schema" (xsd (XML schema)). Garmin. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  6. ^ "GPS eXchange Format (GPX) Reader/Writer". docs.safe.com. Retrieved 2024-02-04.

External links[edit]