Using GPX Files

The tech language surrounding GPS watches, navigation, and file sharing can be confusing. This article will help clear up some of the questions that you might have.

GPX Files

The most common files used and referenced when talking about GPS watches are GPX files*. In a simple explanation, GPX files are text files (readable by computer programs/services) that contain data such as geographic locations (Latitude and Longitude), waypoints, track points, and more. When someone uses the term “GPX File”, you can think of this file as a package that gathers all the aforementioned data into one neat format to be able to send and exchange from one device to another.

GPX files are primarily used to share routes from one person/platform to another, as GPX files are simple to create and contain all the necessary information to help navigate from a device such as a GPS watch or phone. GPX files do not contain data such as speed, heart rate, etc.

*Another commonly referenced file type is .FIT. FIT files include ALL data from the device which recorded the activity including device manufacturer-specific data. This includes but is not limited to Pace, Heart Rate, Elevation, Speed, etc. When making an in-depth analysis of a workout, FIT files will be the file type you want to use.

In addition to being the most commonly shared file for navigation, there are also subcategories for different types of GPX files.

Routes

It’s common to hear the term “Route” referenced when heading out for a run, ride, hike, and more. For the purpose of use with GPS watches, a route is a set of location points that are connected and stored by a device to help create a continuous path that can be followed using a GPS device. Routes are one type of GPX file.

An example of navigating with a route would be creating a GPX file on plotaroute.com, Strava, the Footpath app, etc. and saving it to your GPS watch for navigation.

Tracks

While similar to routes, the differentiator between these two files is that tracks have been previously navigated (hint: think of following animal tracks). Using a track means that you are specifically following the path that another individual traveled while recording data from a GPS device. Tracks can be stored as GPX or .FIT files.

An example of navigating with a track would be using the Back to Start feature on a COROS watch.

Trackpoints

Trackpoints are individual points within a track, these are stored when the original device records the activity/workout as needed.

Waypoints

Along a track or route, it is common to create/store “Waypoints” which are also called checkpoints. A waypoint is a specific point along a route or track that contains a name or other text to be displayed during navigation.

An example of waypoints/checkpoints would be adding Aid Stations to a downloaded file for an upcoming trail race.

Where to find GPX files

There are dozens of different ways to find, download, and share GPX files. Some of the most common sites/apps/services are:

Adding GPX files to the COROS app and COROS watches

Once you have a GPX file on hand, you are able to add and store the file within the COROS app Navigation Library. The most popular ways of adding a GPX file to the COROS app include sending a GPX file via: iMessage, AirDrop, Email, Text Message, or by saving the file locally on your phone hard drive. Once the file is made available or sent to your phone, select “Open with the COROS app”.

When prompted, tap to open with the COROS app. Once the route is open in the COROS app, tap Save in the top right corner.  You can then select “Sync with your watch”.

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