Should I upload 500+ GPS tracks I have record during hiking?


I am new to OpenStreeMap so please be gentle with me…

I have record more than 500 GPS tracks (GPX files) during my hiking. Most of them are in Wallonia (South part of Belgium), but also in France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland.

Each time I record a new track, I use it to edit OpenStreeMap to add missing items. My hikes are mainly in the countryside and in the woods, so I often find paths and trails missing. So far so good.

Should I upload those tracks to OpenStreetMap? Will this be useful? How can I do that automatically? (Uploading 500 files will be very tedious and boring).
All my tracks are already there:

François Piette


Yes, by all means! You’d want to upload them via the “GPS Traces” function on the main website, or possibly via another means to the same end (eg the Locus Map Pro app that I use to record traces allows upload to OSM directly, as traces). This puts them into a “holding area” of sorts, not directly onto the map. You or another mapper can then update the map using (among other things) your GPS traces - and those of others - as a guide. For a popular trail, there may be dozens of traces, the average of which should be quite accurate.

Some people have uploaded their traces - raw - directly into the map data, which I absolutely don’t recommend. Most data needs cleanup, smoothing etc, before it’s suitable for the map.

I’m a software developer. If there is an API, I can probably write my little program to upload my 500+ tracks.

I already do that. Using the web editor, in edit mode, I drag and drop one of my tracks and then I create missing elements on the map, of fix some misplaced paths.

I used to do it this way. It becomes a (minor) conundrum between your own recently-recorded trace, and the existing trail already in OSM. How much knowledge is embedded in the existing map data? Hard to know.

What I like about adding a new trace to the existing ones for the same trail, then viewing them all in the editor, is that you’re more likely to give all traces equal weighting. And your trace stays in the traces database indefinitely, for future mappers to consider along with the others.

I like the idea of automating the API. Obviously there is an API, and it sounds like a fun challenge. (I already tried multi-selecting files in the Upload Trace dialog, nope, that would’ve been handy, had it worked.)

EDIT: from the wiki: “multiple GPX files can also be submited if using a single zip (or tar/tar.gz) file.”


I think hiking is really tricky to map… You can find some paths that seem “easy” and “safe” for you so you use them. But it may be hard for unexperimented people, and even deadly… So as a general rule, I suggest nobody should upload GPS tracks when the path isn’t well marked and in the same time it require the use of hands (even just once). Lots of cairn is ok.

If we accept those upload, 3 or 4 experimented hikers could upload the same hard track and the path could be added to OSM. Finally a beginner could try it and this would be a very bad experience…

I already saw on OSM web app and OSMAnd android app some climbing paths and regular paths that are displayed exactly the same way !

Also, everybody should know that GPS in high mountains can be very inaccurate :S

Well, all of my hikes are in the countryside, not in the mountains. They all take small road or existing paths between the meadows and in the woods. They are all in the “easy” category.

You can have a look at it there:
Most of the tracks are associated with photos so you can have an idea about how the country is.
On WikiLoc, I have more than 400 followers, a sign that my tracks are very good.