Export GPX with Elevation data

Danny Murphy's Avatar

Danny Murphy

09 Jul, 2020 04:31 PM

Any update on this? This would be the one feature that would make me subscribe to your premium plan.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Meghan on 09 Jul, 2020 08:20 PM

    Meghan's Avatar

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for reaching out! If you record a mobile track using the CalTopo mobile app, you can export a GPX of your track with the elevation data. For a number of reasons, CalTopo does not embed GPS elevation into GPX files that are exported unless you have actually travelled that track (I.e. recorded it with the mobile app).

    With a pro, desktop or team account, you can export the profile as a PNG or PDF image with the elevation data in it, or CSV raw data file.

    I've attached a sample CSV file for you to take a look at if you are interested.


  2. Meghan closed this discussion on 09 Jul, 2020 08:20 PM.

  3. Ben Lantow re-opened this discussion on 10 Jul, 2020 01:02 AM

  4. Support Staff 2 Posted by Ben Lantow on 10 Jul, 2020 01:02 AM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    For a variety of reasons it's not actually super efficient to embed theoretical elevations in GPX tracks. I'm super curious what your specific use case or reason for looking for that data. Many major device manufacturers such as Suunto actually avoid embedding elevation as well. Most common applications (including ours) instead use what is called a DEM (digital elevation model) lookup to find theoretical elevations along a track which is what we use to create our profiles unless you've actually travelled the route which then embeds GPS directly.


  5. 3 Posted by jerry.ellsworth on 14 Jul, 2020 06:12 PM

    jerry.ellsworth's Avatar

    This is an extremely important feature that should be implemented. I requested it via email a couple years back, and I have been anxiously hoping it was in the works.

    When I lay out a route in CalTopo and export it to share, the route profile and elevation statistics are critically important. Today I have to go through gymnastics to get the gpx to another app that will allow me to "Lookup Elevations" using their DEM, and then re-export the route. These are a number of extra steps that really should not be required.

  6. Support Staff 4 Posted by Julie on 14 Jul, 2020 10:00 PM

    Julie's Avatar

    Hi Jerry,

    You can build an elevation profile in CalTopo, the way Meghan described above.

    It is fairly uncommon to embed elevation within a GPX file unless it represents a real world travel. As this isn’t a very common request, and the way we build our GPX files is fairly standard across the industry, we would like to better understand your use case so as to prioritize future improvements. We would be interested to know exactly why you need the data within the GPX file itself.


  7. Julie closed this discussion on 14 Jul, 2020 10:00 PM.

  8. jerry.ellsworth re-opened this discussion on 15 Jul, 2020 01:14 AM

  9. 5 Posted by jerry.ellsworth on 15 Jul, 2020 01:14 AM

    jerry.ellsworth's Avatar

    Hi, Julie. Thanks for responding.

    I am happy to explain my use case, but I am kind of confused why it is even a controversial point. GPX is intended for exchanging GPS information (in 3 dimensions), and that includes planned routes as well as recorded tracks.

    My use case is simple. The reason I am a pro-subscriber to CalTopo is because it excels at trip planning tools. I’ll use it to plan hikes using a variety of drawn routes, imported tracks, downloaded waypoints, etc. When complete I generally have a collection of routes and waypoints that I want to be able to share with other hikers that use a variety of devices and navigational apps. The common denominator is they all support importing GPX, but they do not all support replacing elevation data with values from their own DEM.

    So, I want to export my CalTopo routes and waypoints to GPX. I want to be able to directly import that GPX into GaiaGPS or any other outdoor navigation app and have the routes with elevation data available. I assume each app is responsible for drawing profiles and computing statistics, but the data to do so is contained in the GPX.

    I hope that makes sense, but I’m glad to clarify further.



  10. Support Staff 6 Posted by Julie on 28 Jul, 2020 10:56 PM

    Julie's Avatar

    Hi Jerry,

    Thanks for sharing that with us. We don't have plans to change our methods any time soon, but we do keep track of user feedback and it has a great influence on our priorities.


  11. Julie closed this discussion on 28 Jul, 2020 10:56 PM.

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