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Get Trip Waypoints from GPS # 1115 Back to Directory   Review Date:2019.06.07
Help Category: Trip Reports

Summary: How do I get trip waypoints from a GPS or a .gpx file?

(Get Bivouac Waypoints from GPS) (Upload a track log from your GPS to your trip report using your computer file manager)

OVERVIEW: These instructions assume you already know the difference between a "track log" and a "waypoint" on your GPS. And know that the Bivouac waypoints field because is a different format from a .gpx file. If not, see An Introduction to GPS Data transfer.

At one time we had a utility to directly translate and thin gpx files into bivouac waypoints. But there were several problems and it turned out that you get much better results tracing your raw line. This gives you a clean set of waypoints, and you can label key points.

These instructions assume you are going to do everything from your computer, as opposed to trying to write a trip report on your smart phone. That means connecting your GPS or smart phone to your computer via a USB cable. [If you tried to do it on the phone, you wouldn't need a cable. Instead, you would use the phone app to translate the track log into a gpx, then use the browser on the phone to go to the bivouac website, and then "Upload Raw Gpx" directly on the phone. ]

Trace and label that route using the "Draw and Save" function in GMap.


  1. Make .gpx file on GPS
     The first step is to get your GPS to make your track log available in .gpx format. On a Garmin device, track logs are directly available as .gpx files, but on smart phone GPS apps like Backcountry Navigator, there is usually a function called "Export" which does the translation.

  2. Connect the GPS to your computer with USB cable.
     The folders on the GPS should now be visible to your File manager on your computer.

  3. Create a new trip report using the normal form. Just put in a title and the date. You don't fill in the waypoints field yet.

  4. Save your trip report. Now you can look at the trip report page, and see the title of your report, etc. Note: This is on the trip report PAGE, not the trip report FORM. Notice a link beside the title called "Upload Raw Gpx".

  5. Click the "Upload Raw Gpx" link
     Click the upload raw gpx link. This will bring up a dialog that allows you to browse to the location of your gpx file. This loads the gpx file into Bivouac into a hidden place where the server can retrieve it. Notice that after upload you see a link on your trip report called "View Raw Gpx". This link only appears on your trip report once you have uploaded a gpx file.

  6. Click "View Raw Gpx"
     On the trip report, click "view raw Gpx". This allows you to view the gpx file in GMap.

  7. Trace the line
     In the upper right corner of GMap, click "menu" and then "Draw and Save". Now click near the first point of your trip. A red circle appears. Unfortunately, with Draw and Save you can't click exactly on the raw line you are tracing, you need to click each point beside the line, then drag it into place. Continue along your route clicking and positioning each point. As you go, put comments into key points by right clicking on the point. See GMap Draw and Save"

  8. When you have completed your tracing, right click on any point, and scroll down to the bottom of the menu. You see a choice that says "Bivouac Display Waypoint Text". This pops up a box that shows the waypoints you created, in Bivouac format.

  9. Cut and paste the above bivouac waypoints into the normal "WayPoints" field in your trip report or road record.