Using GPX Files with a Garmin Zumo

GPX Files on Garmin ZumoGPX, also known as a GPS Exchange Format File contains waypoints, tracks and routes that can be used on many GPS models.  It’s a nice concept in that it’s intended to share mapping information between applications and devices.

The GPX format was originally released in 2002 and is a standard for the exchange of GPS data.  Not all GPS manufacturers support GPX files let alone a means to transfer it to their GPS models.

Fortunately, most Garmin Zumo models support GPX files.  This article will discuss what’s good about GPS, why you might want to use it and lastly, how to integrate it into your Garmin Zumo.  While this isn’t a step by step tutorial, this article should point you in the right direction for more information.

Garmin GPX Support

Before getting started, be sure to download a program called BaseCamp using this link.  It’s Garmin’s official program for managing GPS Exchange Format files.

Most Garmin motorcycle and handheld GPS models support GPX files.  A GPX file ends in .gpx and can reside on your home PC.  Upload of a GPX file to your GPS is facilitated using a program called Garmin BaseCamp.  The idea is that you can have a GPX file residing on your PC, view or alter it, then upload it to your GPS.  Garmin’s BaseCamp is used to upload many of their map products including most of the maps types described in our article titled Garmin GPS Map Types Explained.

Garmin BaseCamp requires Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1 or later.  It also requires the Microsoft .NET framework.  BaseCamp can also run on an Intel-based Mac running OS 10.10 or higher.

A file with the .gpx prefix is imported into Garmin BaseCamp.  That files might come from external sources such as one of the Garmin map products or another source.  The file can be managed and written by BaseCamp to a memory card or directly onto the Garmin GPS (not all GPS models support direct connect so you may need to use a memory card).  Be sure to use Garmin BaseCamp instead of directly copying the file as it needs to be in a particular location and format not to mention ease of management.

Examples of Practical GPX File Use

So why would you want to do this?  In many cases, you will not.  The latest models such as the Garmin Zumo 595LM includes maps with practically every location you might need.  For day to day riding on known highways and side roads, there might be no need to use these files.

However, in cases where you may want to plot your drive at home on a PC first, especially back roads or off road, it might be something worth looking at.  It’s especially useful for integrating a variety of waypoints onto a map prior to leaving for your trip.

Depending upon the maps being used, you can integrate satellite topology into the maps then upload them using BaseCamp.

You can manage multiple GPX files with BaseCamp.  That way, you can maintain separate sets of waypoints and then use the program to refresh your Garmin Zumo when you need to.  So you might have a set of waypoints for a ride down the Jersey Shore and another for riding up to upstate New York.