GPS Tracks

I have a Garmin eTrex Venture Cx GPS device which I usually populate from my Memory Map software. Can anyone please explain how I can download GPS tracks from the mapping project onto my Garmin or even onto Memory Map. Not being a software specialist can you please explain in easy steps :smile:

73 Glyn

Its pretty self explanatory Glyn. You view the track download button at the bottom. It gives you a couple of options on format. Saved as a Zip, open and upload the .GPX file to your device. Simple. Superb facility, and many thanks to Rob.


Can anyone explain the explanation please :-s

73 de Paul G4MD

You want more detail Paul ?, I was referring to the process itself :S
It actually helps if you follow it through.

Go to SMP.
Click on “Tracks” in the top menu bar.
Select desired Association, then Region, then Summit.
Make sure the tracks you want are ticked, and click the “Download” button above the list of tracks.
Select the format you want and click “Download” in the pop-up…

You probably want GPX format…

HI Glyn

As a user of Memory Map I can continue from there…

Once you have your unzipped GPX track on your PC rename it to something meaningfull such as TW-001.gpx (after you have created a folder for these saved tracks) go into Memory Map Menu item Overlay > Import > (Note - You must change the format to GPS eXchange Files (GPX) from mmo format) > Find your file and click open.

You should now be able to see your downloaded SMP track as an overlay on Memory Map. I just wish more of us would find the time to download their tracks, most of us use GPS now. Let’s help each other!

If you get stuck you can phone me and I will talk you through the process on the phone. E-mail me via QRZ.COM for my landline number. I am in most of today.

73 Phil

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Couldn’t agree more and I am one of the culprits. And as mentioned in this Topic SMP improvement: track availability in main page - #4 by GM4COX playing at amateur radio gets in the way - hi!

And yes like yourself Phil I have a folder for every Activation by Year/Summit Ref - within which are the initial .mno to .jpg (I picture grab the .mno route info along with the overlayed elevation box and save as a .jpg then print this out on an A4 sheet then into a A4 plastic binder pocket for protection, this is what I use on the Activation along with the GPS (compass ALWAYS resides in my SOTA rucksack - never rely on GPS - though saying that I has never let me down in 12 years use)) route planning files, then any .jpgs taken on the Activation along with the Track Back off the GPS, Marks (usually to mark where I took the .jpg) and final modified Track if required.

As I alluded to to Rob in the Topic, I intend to get around to up-loading more of my Activation Tracks along with descriptor. And anybody reading this Topic require a .mno track on any Activation which I have done just email me gm4cox at



Hi Phil and Jack

I agree that we should upload our GPX to the mapping project and support Rob and the end users. Speaking personally, the reason I have held back from doing so is the lack of confidence that my tracks may not be the best routes/shortest/safest etc. even though I have arrived safely on summit and returned. Maybe others feel the same way?

Another point is the fact that if there is already a GPX track on the site do I upload another different one/modified…I suppose in the end it is up to the end user to make a judgement as to which track/route to choose during planning.

Just my thoughts

73 Allan GW4VPX

Yes Allan I do, I would feel OK doing routes that I had done before. It picks up a fair amount of detail with respect to the way you walk, sometimes my zig-zag deviations are noticeable when recorded etc. The worst thing tracks could do is give someone a false sense to what the route is like, especially if it has scrambling involved.

I was using Orux maps the other week to go from Snowdon to Y Lliwedd incredibly helpful with the loaded track that Roger put up and it takes seconds to put onto your smart phone.

Problem I have sometimes is getting the GPS to lock at the start of the route, So I tend to record going down from the top. I have yet to feel confident enough to upload a track myself.


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Notwithstanding my earlier comment which I’m afraid was a bit tongue in cheek, thanks to the posters for the pointers on using the facility, I will definitely give it a go!

As regards posting tracks to the Project, like Allan and Jonathan I have concerns about mine which generally with the benefit of hindsight turn out to be from the “how not to” series :flushed: I am always conscious also that perception of suitability of a route varies with experience, ability etc. and I would not want to lead someone into a situation with which they were not comfortable.

73 de Paul G4MD

I haven’t done much pioneering, and l appreciate people sharing their routes - I would never hold them responsible for leading me astray, though, its entirely up to me to make decisions on the ground. Finding my own alternatives is part of the fun.
A bit like amateur radio - I rarely copy a project exactly from a published article, but they provide a good starting point…


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The problem occurs because phones use A-GPS (assisted GPS). In this configuration the mobile network passes the satellite ephemeris to the phone and so the GPS receiver can lock onto the spread-spectrum GPS satellite signals very quickly. In the absence of mobile network, the phone GPS receiver has to do it the hard way, the way old stand-alone GPS receivers did it, scan the GPS frequencies with its chip clock running fast till it finds a satellite, lock to that and download an ephemeris from that satellite which is slow. Then from the ephemeris data it can sync to more satellites and then give you a position fix. It takes 12mins to download the ephemeris and to do that you need to receive from that one satellite without interruption. It’s possible you may start to download from a satellite which will drop below your horizon before the download finishes. In that case you have to find another satellite and start again. Depending on your receiver, it may gain sync and start downloading and then try to gain sync on another satellite. These are quicker to get a position fix.

Modern stand-alone GPS receivers brute-force the time to first fix. My own stand-alone GPS receiver (and all other post 2005 units) can do 256000 correlations in parallel and that means it can try every possible frequency very fast. So a stand-alone GPS will typically give a +/15m in 35secs from cold start.

So it taking in excess of 15mins to get a fix on a phone based GPS would not be unusual if there’s no mobile signal. Another reason whilst relying on a phone GPS alone is not a good idea.

That is very interesting Andy, this explains the behavior of the phone. I also reckon the inbuilt compass helps provide data to assist the position lock.

Some applications tend to obtain a faster position fix. I tend to use a app called “GPS status” this locks it pretty quickly and transfer to Orux after that.

It would be good to have a separate receiver, I have waited over 20 mins for a position fix at times.


Some good points on this thread.

As the most prolific uploader of tracks in the UK to Rob’s SMP I think it would be foolish and risky to download any track from there to a GPS and just use it. If you did that with some of my tracks in the G/LD for instance you could be choosing a long route over several Wainwrights and not just to one or two SOTA summits. That is why Rob created a comments box for details.

So it is user beware as far as I am concerned - you need to download a track and then evaluate it in detail before setting out using your own maps and IT based tools before deciding to use all or part of it. If you don’t do that and you run into trouble then it is your fault and your fault only and not the person who has kindly offered to make that GPX information available to anyone who wants to use it.

Alan said we should think twice about downloading more than one track to each summit - not so in my opinion as there can be multiple routes to a top. Yuu can do a straight up and downer or make a walk of it by doing a circular scenic route if you have the time. The user can decide which he/she prefers.

On the times I have gone the wrong way up to a summit or gone around the houses, or felt it was a challenging and risky route I either edit the route to something better, or I add a caveat to the comments, or I don’t bother uploading it.

So if you do what Adrian says: “A bit like amateur radio - I rarely copy a project exactly from a published article, but they provide a good starting point…” you won’t go far wrong.

As Paul says - “experience and ability are of prime importance”. So don’t take on more than you are capable of unless you want to risk your life!

The SMP is a fantastic resource. I use it a helluva lot. We must remember this facility isn’t provided out of SOTA fund raising, the creator Rob DM1CM pays for it himself, so a modest PayPal donation I’m sure, is always appreciated!

73 Phil


Speaking as a rare SOTA activator, but also as a seasoned hill-walker/climber/ascensionist, (summer and winter, from gentle strolls to fairly hard rock-climbing [English E2/E3 5c/6a, US 5.10b, UIAA VI+] and winter mixed climbing to Scottish grade V), I would say that:

  • if you consider your recorded GPS route to have in any way wandered off-track, or off the path, or “off-piste” in any way,
  • AND you would consider on grounds of safety or common-sense NOT taking that particular line up the hill again,

then DON’T UPLOAD IT TO THE SMP tracks page.

Anything else is fair game - within reason, of course… :smile:


Just make sure you also include a route description so people get some idea what to expect.

This routes feature is a useful aid to PLANNING YOUR OWN ROUTE. Just like reading the notes on the SOTAWatch summits page. They all help with a picture, but none of them are a substitute for personal responsibility for planning and executing a route on the ground, in the prevailing weather, with the underfoot conditions, taking account of available daylight, subject to the fitness and capabilities of the party, etc. etc.

So to summarise, use these routes and notes as a useful aid to planning your own walk.

(I’ve uploaded loads of mine and have a backlog to do).


Thanks for that Phil, that was all I needed to know, works a treat.

All other comments noted - its a case of ‘caveat emptor’ ish. Even when I am working with very good navigators I always double check rather than take for granted that they have got it right. Must be my military background kicking in.

Thanks Glyn

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Not so Paul, your routes are usually spot on… except when a turning is missed as you listen to the inane prattle coming from your walking companion. :wink: I well recall the forest ride ascent of Bainloch Hill GM/SS-261. That was a “bleeping good” ascent as your GPS registered all those waypoints you had programmed into it.

This reminds me I must buy myself a new GPS since my daughter has permanently snaffled mine. :open_mouth:

73, Gerald G4OIG

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One point I have learn’t experimenting with mapping recently is most of the distances quoted I believe are “as the crow flys” on plotted routes. For example I plotted a route to GW/NW-032 however I did not expect that it goes over a huge valley which takes all the height gain from the first part of the climb as you can not tell the true depth of valley on some maps. The route is much shorter then previous activation’s but the loss makes it impractical.

SMP draw tool is really an invaluable resource. I draw the route load it to Orux. I plot the record route as I go and I can overlay it back when I get home to see the changes in the actual route taken. Very very useful.

All my activation’s usually go via known routes and start locations, having these great tools does make it significantly more interesting.


…so somebody actually uses the SMP draw tools!!! :pencil: