Just uploaded my first track

Posted by Light Lee on 8 September 2017 in English (English)

I like how easy it is to upload a GPS trace. Does it show directly on OSM? or is there another step to enter the new path into the main database?

Comment from robert on 8 September 2017 at 20:20

GPS traces are simply used as one of many pieces of source data to draw a map from. To edit the map in OSM, navigate to that area in the main map view and hit the "edit" tab at the top.

Comment from Warin61 on 8 September 2017 at 21:19

The GPS trace does not say what it is - motorway, footpath, cycleway, etc. You can also add things like surface=paved/unpaved, maxspeed=* A beginners guide? Or straight to the deep end?

Comment from Light Lee on 9 September 2017 at 00:24

Hi Robert and Warin61,

thanks for your quick replies and help!

Ah, I just found out that I needed to use Polatch 2 instead of the iD in browser editor for adding GPX tracks to OSM.

This is a jungle path. so it would be unpaved and the max speed is erm... as fast as one can walk? haha. Is there a way to provide/attach these secondary details to a GPX track uploaded to OSM's GPS traces? (Other than writing them down in the details and tags).

wow... i never really got involved with a community forum before! this is fun!

Comment from escada on 9 September 2017 at 09:47

Hello Light Lee,

welcome to OSM. Be warned, it can be very addictive :)

No you cannot add additional information to the GPS trace. You can in any editor show your trace (even without uploading it to OSM) and retrace with the drawing tools offered by the editor. After tracing you can start adding the type of path/road and the surface characteristics.

The GPS trace is never automatically converted to an OSM way. The reason: in general a GPS trace contains a lot of errors, depending on the accuracy of the device. This is on its turn affected by the place you are travelling. Much worse near tall buildings or under trees.

Warin61 already pointed out a good guide and the iD editor comes with a build in tutorial.

Have fun mapping your trail


Comment from Warin61 on 9 September 2017 at 10:54

You can also use JOSM. JOSM is a more powerful editor - requires more learning to use all of its features. Having been through the process many times of learning one systems basic editor to then find I needed a more advanced editor to do what I need in the next course. I now tend to start with the most advanced editor - knowing that I won't have to learn something else to do something I want to do. Thus I start with JOSM. Whatever editor you chose to use you will need to understand some basics of OSM - nodes and ways to start with, then the tags used to describe what these are .. and so on.

JOSM instructions for gpx -

Note the comments! " typical GPS tracks will have far to many nodes, so you should at least simplify the ways substantially before actually uploading your work" (from the above instructions) GPS tracks tend to have places where you stopped, went to a lookout - these need to be edited out if your making a track/road (my comment 1) Some GPSes lock on to the map data they have - leading to a copy of what roads/tracks they have. OSM requires that its data is free of copyright .. so you must be certain that the GPS track is not a copy of the map data that th eGPS has. (my comment 2) and escada comment above too.

In short - many pitfalls in the use GPX tracks.

Good luck. Improving the map is fun, but be careful.

Comment from Warin61 on 9 September 2017 at 10:58

Oh .. maxspeed - don't think you 'll find a speed limit sign on a footpath .. never mind a jungle track. So skip that one, possibly a width .. a sac scale if you can be bothered figuring it out. You can find may things on the OSMwiki .. just type it into the search box on the above page. Cna be time wasting though.

Comment from Light Lee on 12 September 2017 at 07:00

Dear escada and Warin61,

Thank you for the pointers. Yeah it makes sense to retrace the trail to reduce/deal with the errors/nodes/copyrights from a GPS. It's just an additional step that's all. Looking forward to community mapping. Haha, even this can be addictive eh.

Ah, a sac scale, never knew such a unit existed for hiking. Although the keys (T1-6, yellow to blue) aren't really... descriptive of tropical forest hiking areas. Most of our trails are hard because of undergrowth bushes, steep muddy slopes based on soil types and forest types...

Yup will look into trying out JOSM maybe later on, for now Potlatch should work fine for me.

A big bunch of thanks for your support! =D

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