Upload GPS tracks
|A good way to get involved in the OpenStreetMap project is to upload GPS trace. Recorded by your GPS device or mobile phone, the typical track is a record of your location every second, or every meter. The collected data can be displayed as a background of thin lines or little dots within the map editor. These lines and dots can then be used to help you add map features (such as roads and footpaths), similar to tracing from aerial imagery.|
Upload GPS trace (also called "GPS tracks") is used to support editing OSM and means to upload a own GPS traces (collected by using your GPS device) to the OSM server. Uploading GPS tracks is a different process than editing the map (see below for more info on the difference), and is also different from bulk imports.
Instead of uploading there is also another possibility to use your GPS trance only for your own editing: All of our main editor programs support displaying GPX files from your local storage without uploading them.
How to upload a GPS trace
I have uploaded a GPS trace but nothing has happened on the map
When you upload a GPX file the points are extracted and inserted into the database. We do not however automatically create streets, paths or other map features based on your uploaded files. To add map features you (or somebody else) can use an editor to draw them using the GPS traces as a guide by viewing them as a background layer. (For more information see: Q:Why aren't my GPS traces shown on the maps? or Q:How are uploaded traces (GPX files) from my GPS device used in the OpenStreetMap editing process?)
How can I view my uploaded traces?
Once your GPX file has been uploaded to the database, you will be able to...
When uploading GPX files, tags provide a simple way to describe your GPS traces. They make your GPX file findable with a single word and allow you to group the trace alongside other similar traces. For example, all the traces tagged 'Melbourne' are listed at www.openstreetmap.org/traces/tag/Melbourne. Please note that tags are case-sensitive - so Melbourne and melbourne may supply different results.
Each file can have many tags, and you can enter as many as you like with commas (",") between them. Usually the tags are the names of countries, cities and other places your trace concerns.
My uploaded trace has "PENDING" next to it. Why?
The trace is waiting for processing and insertion into the gps trace database. This usually takes less than 15 Minutes. At busy times (especially weekends), there can indeed be a wait before your trace is added to the database. You don't need to wait for this to start mapping, however:
Why do I get bad signal / traces in city centres / near big metal buildings?
For a GPS to work and achieve some accuracy it needs to receive at least four satellite signals. Often when in city centres there are many tall buildings that can block these signals and stop the GPS from being able to work out where it is. There may also be multi-path effects from the material making up the buildings around you, whereby signals bounce off them so the receiver actually thinks it is somewhere in the buildings around. Another factor that can affect this is the number and position of satellites that can be seen at the time of logging; trying the route on another day or a different time of day may give better results.
See also: Accuracy of GPS data.
Applications supporting direct upload of GPS traces
Software developers may be interested in the documentation for the GPX upload API.
The following applications support direct upload to OpenStreetMap: