Note: This page describes an obsolete version of GPSBabel that may substantially differ from the current or development version.

Route and Track Modes

Most formats supported by GPSBabel will make a reasonable attempt to work transparently with waypoints, tracks, and routes. Some formats, like garmin and magellan require the -t flag to work with tracks and -r to work with routes. -w is for waypoints, and is the default. So if you wanted to read all data from a Magellan Meridian GPS receiver into a gpx file, you might use a command like:

gpsbabel -t -r -w -i magellan -f com1: -o gpx -F backup.gpx

Tracks and routes are advanced features and don't try to handle every possible hazard that can be encountered during a conversion. If you're merging or converting files of similar limitations, things work very well.

Many of those hazards can be overcome with our filters but there are often compromises to be made. For example, if you have a GPX route that contains 150 turn points but you're sending the route to a GPS receiver that supports only 30 turnpoints, something has to go. One might use our 'simplify' filter to produce a route that retained the 30 most mathematically significant turnpoints but that may not really be the route you had in mind.

Tracks and routes will sometimes be converted to a list of waypoints when necessary, One example is when writing into one of the CSV formats. The inverse operation is not supported right now, so reading the converted track back from CSV will always result in a list of waypoints, not the original track.

The presence of -s on the command line tends to create havoc on tracks and routes since many of these formats rely on internal linkages between such points and renaming them may break those linkages. In general, don't use -s when tracks or routes are present.