How can I use the mother of all gps conversion tools, gpsbabel, to create shapefiles? It reads and writes almost everything. Shapefile is conspicuous by it's absence.

A bit of research turns up that shapefile is intentionally not listed as a supported filetype because "Shapefiles are not well defined. They're more free-form than most of the formats we support and often require additional arguments or modification to the source." -- Robert Lipe, gpsbabel author

However the same thread goes on to say shapefile is "in the '-^3' output and marked 'hidden' for this very reason - it's not practical to treat it as 'just another format' "

Suppose I'm willing to take my chances, how does one get at the hidden formats?
(xcsv is mentioned as well).

  • I know this doesn't address your question but exporting in kml and batch converting with arcpy could be a workaround. Oct 16, 2015 at 18:14
  • What format is the input?
    – Mapperz
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:14
  • @Mapperz oziexplorer waypoints at the moment, but really it could be any format not immediately understandable to gdal/ogr or arcgis/arcpy. Oct 16, 2015 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


Happy discovery, the favoured conversion tool has a gpsbabel driver, so conversion from a predefined format like OziExplorer or Magellan is as easy as (-f param is optional for shapefile, included for clarity):

ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" output_folder "auriol ozi track file 008.plt"

...with other formats using a colon separated syntax (e.g. read straight from garmin device):

ogr2ogr output_folder -al GPSBabel:garmin:usb:

For curiosity's sake I'd still like to know how to get the hidden gpsbabel drivers directly though.

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