Talk:Visibility of GPS traces

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Description mismatch

On the OSM Upload GPS Trace page the public option is described as "shown in trace list and as anonymous, unordered points". However, the public properties described on this wiki page says "points are chronologically ordered". So which is it?

Please see this question: What does unordered mean in visibility option for gps traces? -- iriman (talk) 12:45, 12 November 2018 (UTC)

Page is complicated

It takes excess time to understand all visibility options. In fact I think this should be improved on OSM side. Separate checkbox for publicity and timestamps would simplify things a lot. Cmazay (talk) 21:29, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Can't see my Identifiable traces in "OpenStreetMap GPS traces" in iD

For months now, I have not been able to view my uploaded Identifiable traces. When I tick "OpenStreetMap GPS traces" in iD, I can see traces uploaded by other people and, if I'm lucky, my traces but chopped-up. Here is an example:

I'm using a Garmin GPSmap 62s with WAAS enabled. This does not happen when I upload traces from my phone, a Droid Razr HD Maxx. Any idea why this is happening? --Maveric149 (talk) 01:40, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

You're not the only one. See e.g. . Workaround: use another editor like JOSM or Potlatch2. They download the raw gps traces from the server and display them instead of relying on a server-generated tiled image. I have just checked with your 1836698 trace – as expected I see it without any problems in JOSM when I use JOSMs GPS trace display feature. But not with the GPS tiles.
Note that if you want to see only your traces you can open them from your local gpx files. I guess the GPS traces tiles will work correctly again at some point in the future. --Aseerel4c26 (talk) 20:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation. --Maveric149 (talk) 02:24, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

What does "public" mean, really?

When uploading a new trace I can choose between Private, Identifiable (those are clear) and Trackable and Public (those are unclear to me):

This page says: "Public" means your username is shown with the trace (green field), the upload and managment tool for the traces says it is "shown in tracelist and as anonymous unordered point list". What is correct now?

Most of the traces in the _public_ trace list are shown with a username. How can you call this "anonymous"?

I've tested this and the website is actually wrong, the table on this wiki page is correct.
The text below the table on this wiki page is also wrong.
You can see this in openstreetmap-website issue 2308 --GoodClover (talk)
Ok I take this back, something else seems to be going on. --GoodClover (talk) 17:43, 30 December 2020 (UTC)

Visibility of GPS traces (on the map)

Yesterday I published one of my traces as Identifiable. I can see it on the list of public traces and in my personal list. But I can not see my trace on the OSM map untill now. I can see traces of other users but not my trace. The only way to see it is opening a "modify" session. When I will see my trace on the OSM map?

--Gbal45 (talk) 08:25, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

The purpose of uploading GPS traces to OSM is to help with creating the map. They don't appear on the map by themselves, but are available when editing the map to help you draw roads and other features. I hope this was clear, please ask again if not! --Tordanik 14:25, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Worth adding that the overlay map of GPS traces (in rainbow colours) is only calculated from time-to-time and is not automatically refreshed when traces are added. SK53 (talk) 15:37, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I thank both Tordanik and SK53 for the clarifications. I am used to other sites where the traces exchange among the users is useful to inspire them and give ideas for their trails. I understand now that in OSM the purpose is very different and targeted only at the editing / correction of the Map itself. --Gbal45 (talk) 16:35, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

"Historical option"

Clarify if

Historical option


  1. This option is left available for old times' sake etc., or
  2. This option has something to do with the history of the timestamps in the trace.

Jidanni (talk) 10:01, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I agree: it is not really clear what it means. This is the edit which added the description (I have pinged Firefishy). I think it means that this option does not make much sense today. With relation to privacy "Identifiable" is not much worse. If you really want some kind of privacy "Private" is a better option. --Aseerel4c26 (talk) 21:36, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Privacy policy states:

When GPS data for an area is downloaded via the API no indication is provided of which user uploaded a point, or of the timestamp that was associated with the point. Points are however returned in timestamp order. GPS data downloaded in this way will include points from traces which were not marked as public. [...] If a GPS trace is marked as public when it is uploaded then the raw trace may be downloaded from the web site or using an API call. In this case the user's display name is shown (regardless of whether the user has made their edits public) and the timestamps in the GPX file will be included.

Somehow this doesn't seem in line with this wiki page, nor with the API 0.6 documentation. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding the privacy policy. @SimonPoole: Mmd (talk) 12:20, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

The difference iirc is because the privacy policy reflects what was really the case at the time the policy was written the actual behaviour of the API didn't actually confirm to the documentation, this was subsequently fixed. See

Table needs a new column named "Shows up in the Public GPS Traces overlay"

This page should really clarify what these options mean for the Public GPS traces layer, it's really unclear specifically for the Trackable and Identifiable options.

--Aerond (talk) 03:46, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Trace is linked to the OSM account when accessed via APIs even when privacy option is set to "Public"

According to the table in this page, when the privacy option of a GPS trace is set to "Public", that trace won't be linked to the uploader's OSM account when accessed via the APIs, but that does not appear to be the case:

$ curl -u user:password ''

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<osm version="0.6" generator="OpenStreetMap server" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors" attribution="" license="">
<gpx_file id="3576249" name="2774762650.gpx" user="Andrea Del Sarto" visibility="public" pending="false" timestamp="2021-02-11T23:39:56Z" lat="44.120037" lon="10.187727">

(I'm not the uploader of that GPS trace)