HOWTO: Transfer summit/track GPX files to your Gar

The SOTA Mapping Project (SMP) can export GPX files of summit positions and also tracks for direct use with your GPS receiver. As there seems to be some interest how to do this with recent Garmin units I decided to summarise the steps here.

This works with recent Garmin outdoor models like the Oregon, GPSMap 62, Montana, etrex (20/30) and Dakota series with USB interface. Older units need special software like Garmin Mapsource, Garmin Basecamp (free!) or third party software to transfer waypoints. I can give assistance on this if required.

Transfer summit positions to the GPS-receiver:

  • Go to the SMP or click “Mapping” on top of the SOTAWatch page.
  • You should be on the main page (see top line).
  • If hidden click the “tools” sidebar on the left hand side of the screen.
  • Click “Export Summits Data…” button on the main page tools sidebar.
  • Choose an Association and a Region (or the whole Association).
  • Switch the Output Format to GPX-File.
  • Click “Create File >>”
  • Your browser will download a ZIP-archive. Save it anywhere on your harddisk and extract the GPX-file in it.
  • You can rename the file to a more descriptive name, e.g. HB-LU.GPX for the Luzern region of Switzerland.
  • Connect your Garmin GPS to the computer via USB.
  • After the Garmin has booted it will ask you whether to enter mass storage mode. Select yes.
  • Now you should see two additional drives in your Windows Explorer. The one called Garmin XXX is the internal memory of the Garmin the other the SD-card slot.
  • Navigate to the folder Garmin\GPX of the Garmin XXX drive.
  • Copy the GPX file into this folder.
  • Now disconnect the Garmin. When switching it on again, all summits are present as waypoint. They are displayed on the map and can be used as destination for navigation.

Procedure for tracks is very similar. Here select the tracks page and download the GPX-file of the desired track. Copy it also to Garmin\GPX folder and it will show up in track manager of the Garmin.

When taking your GPS with you on SOTA activations record a track and upload it to SMP. So we get a library of recommended ascents.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

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I would like to add an update to this: I wanted to load all summits for a region on my Garmin (eTrex Touch 25) as waypoints, so that they all appear on the map, and I can tell when I am at the summit/activation zone. I have done this on my phone using Guru maps simply by downloading a GPX (as above) and opening it on my phone with Guru. Guru is an excellent app which has offline maps, and is free or has a lifetime purchase which is inexpensive.

To load a GPX of summits on your Garmin, save the GPX locally on your computer, then do the following:
Install/open Garmin BaseCamp.
Right-click “my collection” > New List Folder (I created a SOTA folder, then subfolders for regions)
Right-click your SOTA folder > New List (name List for region)
Select List
File/Import into “(List name)” the GPX with the relevant summits.

Once this is done, you can connect your Garmin to your computer, and click the icon that looks like a green arrow pointing to a tablet “Send new list to device” (I believe the list needs to be selected for this to work). Once sent the waypoints should appear on any map on your device, once booted.



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