San Vicente map MapGazer – GPX files


Download MapGazer

Getting started

Using marks:
   Mark properties

Using the Scale

Using icons

Using transparency

General settings

Getting maps

Using map tools

Elevation data

Coordinate formats

GPX files

Command line


A GPX (Global Positions eXchange format) file is used for storing one or more marks (tracks, routes, waypoints, and areas, or any combination of these). GPX files are often created by a GPS (Global Positioning System) device or smartphone application; MapGazer can create routes, waypoints, and areas, and can load or save all marks from or to GPX files.

  • A track is a recording of a where the device has been (e.g., the path taken for a walk). MapGazer lets you load tracks from GPX files and then trim them to delete ‘junk’ record points at the beginning or end of a recording.

    For details and screenshots, please see Using Tracks.

  • A route is typically a plan for a journey; it has a start and an end point and often has intermediate route waypoints. MapGazer lets you create routes as well as load routes from GPX files. All routes can be modified by adding, deleting, or moving route waypoints.

    For details and screenshots, please see Using Routes.

  • A waypoint is a single site of interest, either recorded during a journey or created in some other manner. MapGazer lets you adjust the position of a waypoint by dragging, and assign an icon to a waypoint.

    For details and screenshots, please see Using Waypoints.

  • An area describes an area (a ‘rectangle’ defined by a South West point and a North East point); it is a special case of a route, currently used for saving subsets of a map. MapGazer lets you create areas and modify them by dragging their borders.

    For details and a screenshot, please see Using Areas.

MapGazer can load the tracks, routes, waypoints, and areas from one or more GPX files and display them as marks added to the map. All marks can be edited or deleted, and you can save either all the current marks or an individual mark to a GPX file. The properties of marks that can be edited and saved include their name, caption, icon, colour, and link URL (Universal Resource Locator).

Loading GPX files

To load a GPX file, use the Marks → Load marks from GPX file menu item (or press the ‘L’ key). This will open a dialog which you can use to select the GPX file to open. Any tracks, routes, waypoints, and areas in the file will then immediately be marked on the map (you may have to change the map or move it for the marks to be in view, but MapGazer will attempt to centre the map on the newly-loaded marks).

Depending on the source of the GPX file, tracks, routes, waypoints, and areas may have a default (golden, brown, or red) colour or may have a colour selected at the time of recording or creation.

If you associate MapGazer with the file extension .gpx then opening a file with that extension will start MapGazer (if necessary) and load that GPX file.

The MapGazer package includes a sample map (MapGazer\MGMaps\SampleMap) and also a sample GPX track (with three waypoints) that shows the drive between two villages on that map (La Hermida and Bejes). You can load this from MapGazer\gpx\samples; see below for how this might appear in a MapGazer window.

All marks have associated status which will be shown (unless turned off – see General settings) at the top left of the screen whenever the cursor is over the mark. Right click on any mark for a pop-up menu of actions that can be carried out on the mark.

Saving to a GPX file

To save a GPX file, use the Marks → Save marks to GPX file menu item (or press the ‘s’ key). This will open a dialog which you can use to select or enter the GPX file to be written. All tracks, routes, waypoints, and areas currently loaded or created (and not deleted) will then be written to the file, including any modifications you have made.

You can also save an individual mark by right-clicking on it and using the Save ... to GPX file pop-up menu item.

When marks are saved to a GPX file a template GPX file is used for the header and footer data that envelop the data items. Normally this will be the default supplied by MapGazer, but you can also use your own custom template. For details, see MapGazer templates.

GPX file format

GPX files are ‘plain text’ files; they can be viewed and edited with a simple text editor such as Notepad. The data within a GPX file are marked-up using eXtensible Markup Language (XML), following an open standard documented at

The GPX markup rules allow the addition of extensions to the basic track, route, and waypoint data, and most applications that create GPX files do add various extensions. The extensions augment the data with additional features – for example, the colour to use for displaying a mark, or a tag that indicates that a route is to be treated as an area.

MapGazer uses the following extensions (special tags):

  • <mapgazer:colour> – a tag whose content describes a mark’s colour. The content is eight hexadecimal digits defining four bytes: transparency, red, green, and blue (all integers in the range 0→255); for example, 00aa6000 describes the default brown colour for waypoints. A transparency of zero indicates that the colour is opaque.

    MapGazer will also load colours from Garmin and MyTrails extensions; these are preserved. When a colour is changed its new value is saved in both MapGazer and MyTrails formats.

  • <mapgazer:heading> – a tag whose content is a decimal floating-point number in the range 0→360. This describes the heading associated with a trackpoint or waypoint; e.g., the heading of a drone or the camera it is carrying – this is the heading it is pointing, not its direction of travel (it could be flying sideways).

  • <mapgazer:icon> – a tag whose content is the name of an icon to be associated with a waypoint. This name is the name of a file relative to the MapGazer icons folder, which is in the same folder as the MapGazer executable. For example, samples\photography.png. For more details, see Using icons.

  • <mapgazer:photo/> – an empty tag added to a trackpoint to indicate a photo was taken here.

  • <mapgazer:routearea/> – an empty tag added to a route to indicate that it should be treated as an area mark (that is, it must have exactly five route waypoints that describe a rectangle).

  • <mapgazer:template/> – an empty tag used in a MapGazer template to indicate where saved marks will be placed. The tag itself is not saved when a GPX file is written.

  • <mapgazer:video/> – an empty tag added to a trackpoint to indicate that video was being recorded here.

Here is an example of a simple GPX file with no metadata and no extensions:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?>
<!-- A sample GPX file with just a waypoint. -->

<gpx xmlns=""

  <wpt lat="43.377226" lon="-4.839000">
    <name>River sounds above Boriza</name>

If a tag has no enclosed content (such as a track point) it can always be marked as an empty tag (instead of a start tag immediately followed by an end tag).

Sample GPX track and waypoints

Here is a screenshot showing the track and three waypoints loaded from the sample GPX file; this shows a drive from La Hermida to Bejes. Note that the three waypoints could be changed from an ‘X’ to an icon; see Using icons for more details.

La Hermida to Bejes

La Hermida to Bejes

MapGazer and these web pages were written by Mike Cowlishaw; Please send me any corrections, suggestions, etc.
All content © Mike Cowlishaw, 2014–2017, except where marked otherwise. All rights reserved. The pages here, and the MapGazer program, are for non-commercial use only. Privacy policy: the Speleotrove website records no personal information and sets no ‘cookies’. However, statistics, etc. might be recorded by the web hosting service.

This page was last updated on 2017-05-18 by mfc.