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Handling Bivouac GPX Files on a Macintosh #4082
Back To Discussion List Written: 2013.10.10 by: Robin Tivy

As you may know, there is a link on every trip report page and road/trail page in bivouac that allows you to download a .gpx file containing the waypoints. This gpx file can then be imported into your GPS, or displayed on Google Earth. I have done this procedure many times on a PC, and yesterday wrote some new instructions on how to do it: How to Download a GPX file...

However, Bivouac member Andrew Lawton has had problems with a Macintosh (iMac). Here's what he says:

  When a .GPX file is downloaded from BIVOUAC onto a PC, the file can be opened or drag/dropped into Google Earth just fine. The downloaded file will have the .GPX extension. However, on my iMac (OS X 10.6.8) the downloaded file arrives with an XML extension appended to the file from BIVOUAC. Perhaps there's some file association screw up on my machine? At any rate, no matter what i do with that file it cannot be recognized as a GPX file on the MAC. Now, when I email the BIVOUAC .GPX file from my PC to a Yahoo account which is open on my iMac, it arrives a .GPX file and opens perfectly in Google earth on the iMac.

I (Robin Tivy) don't have an iMac, but below is the method by which I think the problem could be investigated. Can someone who has an iMac tell me if my idea below makes sense?


Can you try the following: create a text file by hand using any text editor. Then cut and paste the text from a GPX file into that file, and give it the extension .GPX. All GPX files are just plain text files, so it should be within your control.

Can one of you try and download one of the bivouac .gpx files, and import it into Google Earth? Tell me if you have the same problem?


#1799 - 2015.03.14 Robin Tivy - I finally fixed this problem
The problem was that the bivouac site was not setting the mime type correctly. The mime type has to be application/gpx and I had it set to a text file. Although a PC assumes the type from the file extension, the macintosh and also android phones do not.

Once this was fixed, I could then directly download .gpx files onto my Samsung Galaxy S4 and import them into Backcountry Navigator.

#1725 - 2013.10.16 Andrew Wong - Problem opening files with Google Earth and OS X
Looks like my issue is a user problem :-) nothing to do with Bivouac. Have concluded that Google Earth only recognizes .jpg files on my computer. It refuses to open any other file type (they're all greyed out). I'm not in a rush to find the solution since I don't use Google Earth, however, if other Bivouac & OS X users have the same problem maybe someone can offer a solution? I installed the desktop version of Google Earth (ver, not the browser plug-in.

#1724 - 2013.10.15 Robin Tivy - How can Google earth know it is not a gpx file?
Sometimes I've seen the files named .gpx.txt as well on the PC. But when I rename it, then it works.

How can Google earth know it is not a gpx file? Open it with a text editor, and it should just be text, like a gpx. So what's with the Macintosh that it doesn't understand file extensions? Is there somewhere else in the file that it makes secret notes that it has decided it is not a gpx file, so even if it contains exactly a gpx file, it won't process it?

The way computer text file systems are supposed to work is that you should be able to construct one by hand with a text editor.

#1723 - 2013.10.15 Andrew Wong - Unable to open GPX file in Google Earth
The GPX file gets saved as a .txt file on my machine, for example "Trip7885_Mount Seymour, ..GPX.txt". Google Earth doesn't recognize the file, even after I rename it to "Trip7885_Mount_Seymour.GPX". I used Safari to download the GPX file from Bivouac and am running OS X 10.8.5. I'm not a Google Earth or GPS user so I can't offer more help beyond this.

#1722 - 2013.10.13 Scott Nelson - Works fine for me
I can download a GPX file and open it in google earth without making any modifications. I'm running OSX 10.7.5