Is there a best practice regarding mapping new tracks?

Currently when I found a hiking path that is not yet on OSM, I proceed as follows:

Record the track with the GPS, then drag and drop the GPX file on the OSM editor and manually create a line on the OSM editor.

Is this the best practice or shall I upload the GPX file to allow other to verify it? I’ve seen there is such a functionality (upload GPX track as a public track) but I couldn’t yet figure why it is for.

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Hi, since GPS is inconsistent, what I like to do is record the track going up and down the path/road etc…, (the more the better) put that in the editor, and average it out amongst your trips back and forth.

As far as I know, public GPS traces are mostly used for correcting the imagery offset.

By the way, welcome, and thanks for asking here!


Awesome, thanks for confirmation and hints!

Indeed I used to go twice on the track to be able to average out the errors. Since few days I’m using a multiband GPS to have a higher accuracy since a normal GPS can deviate quite a lot in a forest.


I load my GPX track into JOSM and pull up the best imagery JOSM has for the area. If the trail is visible in the imagery then I only use my GPX track for areas that are obscured or to verify alignment of the imagery. Then I trace the trail, add the tags and upload it to OSM.

After I have made my changes then I usually upload my GPX track. Two reasons for uploading my GPX data: It documents that a OSM mapper was there (data no copied from other source). And it can be used as an imagery alignment aid for other mappers who may add data in that area in the future.


As a beginner, I’m not sure what you mean by uploading the GPX track. Is it uploaded automatically when I commit my changes on the map? (I have already the GPX track as background using the drag and drop feature)

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JOSM, the off line editor I use, can load my local GPX tracks into a layer that I can view. But it does not automatically upload that GPX track to OpenStreetMap. I believe the same is true of the editor you get if you simply click the “Edit” button on the main map page. Basically your map edits and your GPS tracks are two different things and committing your changes does not upload your local GPS tracks.

To upload a GPX track to OSM go to the main map page at If you are logged in then on the top of the window toward the right is a link labeled “GPS Traces”. The page that opens shows you recently uploaded public GPS tracks and has a tab where you can see the tracks you uploaded. There is a button on that page labeled “Upload a trace” which you can use to upload a GPX file.