Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

What is GPX

GPX is the short name for the GPS eXchange Format and is a file format that records route and track data such that it can be interchanged between supporting applications and mapping devices. The data is stored in XML markup but the end user does not really need to know this. For those who want to be able to navigate a route or track then GPX enables the route creators to share their data with other walkers.

How can GPX be used

GPX can be used by virtually all dedicated GPS navigation devices. Such devices come in all sorts of ranges and sizes and generally are a large financial outlay and therefore are probably only suitable for the hardened walker or hiker. A more economical method for the casual walker who owns a smart phone is to use an app which will use the phones' GPS location facilities to provide a similar capability to the higher end dedicated devices.

GPX Enabled Apps

There are many Track and Route smart phone apps available for both Android and iPhone based mobile devices. It is worth experimenting with a few of these before deciding upon the app that suits oneself. One should weigh up the capabilities and features of each app. Some are free, some are paid for or have subscription based accounts to enable OS maps to be viewed. Each app will have an array of features that may include such things as

  • recording of tracks
  • sharing of tracks and routes
  • importing of GPX routes
  • statistical analysis of a walked route including height, speed and graph based data representations
  • downloadable maps to avoid the requirement of a internet connection when navigating

Here at Griffmonster Walks, we use an app called ViewRanger which are linked to from the walk pages. This specific app was selected after experimenting with several apps and although it took a little effort to learn to use, it nontheless ticked all the relevant boxes of what was required to create and follow a predefined route for a full days hike. The basic app is free to download and use. One requires to set up a free account from which routes and tracks can be shared, created, imported, recorded and followed. Route creation and management can be performed on a PC and routes and tracks synched with ones mobile device. The basic app offers a free mapping service known as ViewRanger Landscape maps which are downloadable to the mobile device and are sufficient for most navigation requirements. ViewRanger Landscape maps are based on Open Street Maps and although it does not include all public footpaths is nonetheless an excellent mapping service which can be referenced against a paper OS map.

The app does offer an annual subscription service to enable the viewing and downloading of OS maps. If one is purchasing several OS maps each year then this service is well worth the outlay.

Is it for me?

For the purist who likes the challenge of map and compass, then GPX is probably not for you. For the avid walker or hiker with map reading skills, this offers a complimentary method of deducing ones location. Given a landscape where landmarks are limited such as woodland or open flat landscapes, or where weather or light provide limited visibility, then the use of a GPX enabled app is a great asset as it will provide ones exact location. For the casual walker who has limited map reading skills and relies and descriptive directions then such an app will provide the means and confidence to explore further afield.

What does Griffmonster Walks offer

Each walk on Griffmonsters Walks provides access to both the ViewRanger route and the downloadable GPX file that can be used in other apps and navigation devices. The downloadable GPX are hosted on a separate website due to the limitations of Googles Blogger service that hosts the main website.

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