Read and process GPS data

Bon Voyage!

GPSBabel is a jack of all trades and a master of an extraordinary number of formats and protocols; it is constantly learning new ones and thus ideal as a command-line utility for batch file processing and for use in your own scripts. The manual weighs in at approximately 180 pages. If you want to understand the tool and its options correctly, you cannot avoid a thorough training period.

The GUI that comes with the package makes it easier to work with tracks, routes, and waypoints and is great for experimenting with the filters. Because the GUI program displays the full GPSBabel command line with all its parameters at the end, you can use it to copy the shell commands and add them to your own scripts where needed. However, the map view built into the GUI gives you a simple preview on Google Maps.

Although RouteConverter relies on GPSBabel in the background and actually uses it to convert the GPS data, the developers have decided not to use the tool for importing data. The program lacks an option for accessing connected GPS devices. This is a pity; rival GpsPrune offers precisely that ability.

What I really liked about RouteConverter was that it not only creates its own routes but also gives you access to data published by other users. Many users have already made use of the upload feature, and the tool thus offers files for many outdoor activities all over the world.

MyTourbook is aimed primarily at athletes and contains functions for analyzing your training progress. Because the program does without helpers like GPSBabel for importing and exporting, you might first need to convert more exotic formats with another tool. However, it loses points in the editor functions. It is impossible to clean up tracks or edit waypoints, so the tool is more suitable for simply viewing tours.

Unfortunately, MyTourbook crashed frequently in the lab with memory access errors. This happened especially on displaying the 3D view. According to the website, the problem is known. MyTourbook users should therefore save their tours often and regularly.

GpsPrune cannot natively read many formats, but it can optionally use GPSBabel for importing and converting. Apart from the flexible map view, I particularly liked the way it cooperates with POV-ray and Gnuplot. The ability to access various online services is also practical. Because the processing functions for routes, tracks, and waypoints are easy to use and leave no wishes unfulfilled, this candidate is the winner.

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