Peakbagger.com

Help - GPS Data

When adding an ascent, you can now include a GPS track showing your track and key waypoints on your ascent, climb, or hike. Others will then be able to see a map with your track on the relevant ascent page, and they can download your track for their use, if they desire.

Important: If you are downloading GPS tracks from Peakbagger.com for use on trips into the mountains, recognize that this data is posted by random users on the internet and has not been verified by anyone at this site.  Do not follow GPS data blindly.  A GPS unit and pre-loaded track is not a substitute for navigational skills and mountain experience.  Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

To upload GPS data, follow these instructions:

  • First, make sure you can save your trip data as a GPX file. This is the only format supported for upload.  A GPX file is an XML file that is becoming the de-facto standard for GPS data interchange, and it is supported by most newer GPS units.
  • You may have to subset or edit your GPX file so that it only shows the one climb you are logging.  Some GPS units will create one huge GPX file that stores weeks worth of hiking data, and you will need to create a GPX of just the data you want.
  • Using the Ascent Editor page (accessed from the "Add Ascent" link under the main banner), find the "GPS Data" box on the lower right of the page.  Click on the "Browse. . ." button and select a GPX file from your computer's hard drive.
  • Then click the "Preview" button.  If you file is under the size limits, and no upload errors occured, then your data should appear displayed on the map in the pane.  Also, a message should tell you that your file is now successfully uploaded.
  • If there are errors during the preview and upload process, a red error message will appear.  You can try selecting another file and clicking "Preview" again, as many times as needed until you are satisfied.
  • You should look at the preview map and make sure that the right track is being shown, appropriate for the ascent being added.  Others may view and download this track, so it is a good idea to double check your GPS data here.  Again, you can try other files until it looks right.
  • Then, you may fill in the other ascent data items (peak, date, gear, weather, trip report, etc.) as you normally have been doing, and save your ascent as usual.  The GPS data will be stored with your ascent.
  • If you save your ascent without seeing a preview map, then your GPS data is not stored.  The site forces you to load and preview a map of your GPS data before it will save it with your ascent.

How GPS data is used on the site:

  • The ascent page for an ascent with GPS data will show a map of the track and waypoints, providing a detailed record of your exact route on your ascent.
  • In the Ascent Lists page for a climber or a peak, a column called "GPS" highlights those ascents that have GPS data stored.
  • All site users, including non-registered users, will have the option to download your data and use it in their GPS units on their climbs, if they wish.  That is why it is a good idea to make sure your data is as useful and accurate as possible.
  • When downloading a GPX file from Peakbagger.com, note that all track segments in the original file are broken apart into separate tracks.  In other works, all tracks in the downloaded file will have just 1 track segment.  This prevents the bogus lines connecting segments sometimes seen in some software and GPS units.

Limitations:

  • GPX files have three main components:
    • Tracks: Lines that shows your detailed route, appoximating the actual path you took.  Tracks can sometimes be composed of track segments, broken up by when you took a break, turned of your GPS unit, or lost satellite reception.  Very simply put, they are a record of where you were.
    • Waypoints: Important points along your hike, such as the trailhead, camping spot, summit, or other landmark.
    • Routes: Composed of a set of waypoints you can string together to follow a route.  A route generally has the minimum number of points needed to navigate to a destination.
  • When you upload a file to Peakbagger.com, it reads the Tracks and Waypoints, but ignores the Routes.  In my experience, Routes are confusing and somewhat superflous.  Track data presents the most detailed record of your ascent, and waypoints show the key spots on your trip.  Together, they paint a complete picture of a journey in the mountains.  If you feel that routes are important and should also be supported, email the webmaster (see the Contact page) and it will be considered--I am not a super expert of the subject and I could be missing something.
  • Since Peakbagger.com is a shoestring operation, we don't have unlimited storage space.  Therefore, a limit of 3000 total points per GPX file (trackpoints + waypoints) is enforced for now.  This should be enough for almost all one or two day trips.  Again, email the webmaster if you feel strongly that this limit is too low.
  • Also, a single GPX file can have a maximum of 50 track segments or tracks, and a maximum of 150 waypoints.
  • And finally, to save storage space, all elevation and timestamp data is not stored.  Without this data, there is still enough information to show a detailed track and follow it in the mountains.  Elevation can be determined by looking at the base topographic map in the map window, and most GPS-derived elevation is not as accurate as lat-long positions.

Other Information:

  • If you are savvy with GIS or other software tools, you can create a GPX file by sketching your route on a map, even if you didn't carry a GPS unit.  Or, if you turned off your GPS to save batteries while hiking a long and well-defined approach trail, you can manaully draw in this segment of your trip from a topographic map and append it to a real GPS track.  As long as the GPX file loads and represents your trip to a reasonable level of accuracy, anything is game.
  • Peakbagger.com makes no distinction between track segments and separate tracks.  If you have a track with multiple segments, at upload time they are split apart into separate tracks.  This eliminates the bogus lines that sometimes appear between track segments.
  • To edit or manipulate your GPX data files, a recommended program is GPS Utility, available for download at http://www.gpsu.co.uk/.  It is fairly simple and easy-to-use, especially compared to many of the complex GIS programs one could use.



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