I have a Garmin etrex 20 and I want to convert my waypoints into a shapefile for QGIS.

The waypoints need their name and background information with them in the shapefile.

  • 2
    You should be able to add the gpx file into QGIS via Layer > Add Layer > Add Vector Layer > select File and browse the dataset for your file.
    – Joseph
    Jan 20, 2015 at 14:07
  • what is exactly the etrex 20 file format?
    – julien
    Jan 20, 2015 at 14:31
  • Garmin etrex range is in gpx format.
    – Mapperz
    Jan 20, 2015 at 14:33

6 Answers 6


You can add them to QGIS Add Vector Layer. then right click on the layer and select Save As with a Format of ESRI shapefile.


First you need to extract the information of your gps to gpx format. Usually I do it by using Easy GPS the free version of ExpertGPS. Once you have the gpx file you can load it in to Qgis using GPS tools (vector/gps/gpstools).Qgis will open the gpx file and will separate waypoints tracks and routes. Then

a)rightclick on the waypoints and choose save as.

b)select shp as the format

c)You can use EPSG4326 coordinate system or change it to your needs

d)Click ok

That will do it

ps these two videos explain what you want to do.



Bear in mind that they are in spanish and I made it with an etrex GPS, easy gps and Qgis 1.7. Nevertheless the process remains the same.

  • The Etrex 20 native format is GPX so all you need to do to get hold of the files is to plug the GPX into a computer on a USB cable. Jan 21, 2015 at 10:00
  • You are right, nevertheless the gpx folder in my unit shows several gpx files, which can be confusing, the advantage of using EasyGPS is that shows all the information living on your gps unit at once. You can even select and delete things that you do not want in your final gpx file. Jan 21, 2015 at 14:24

Use GDAL or (QGIS as suggested by Joseph) for the GPX to SHP conversion.

Otherwise, there are commercial solutions such as expertGPS.


My favorite has always been DNRGarmin from the Minnesota DNR. It is designed to work with ArcGIS but will work as a stand alone tool as well. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mis/gis/tools/arcview/extensions/DNRGarmin/DNRGarmin.html


QGIS plugin: GPS Tools. (I don't remember now if you have to install this or if it's already loaded)

QGIS menu: Vector | GPS | GPS Tools

The GPS Tools window appears. On the 'Load GPX file' browse to the GPX file. Select the 'Waypoints' check box (you are telling QGIS what to extract from the file - one GPX file can contain all of these things, but they would need to become different layers in QGIS as for some you want lines and for others points).

You should now have a layer open with the waypoints. Make sure you can see the layers panel (if not: View | Panels | Layers). Right click on the layer and choose "Save as", and select the ESRI Shapefile option (with whatever CRS you want).

I can never remember what the main differences are between using the GPS Tools plugin to import the data and just adding it as a vector layer - but this is a reliable way to work, and gives me the confidence that from any GPX file I know what I've extracted (waypoints, or points from a track).


Try MyGeoData Converter - allows to convert not only GPX and another GPS formats to various GIS formats - including ESRI ShapeFile of course...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.