I'm working on a project to map utility lines on a small university campus. We have paper maps right now, and we're looking to step into the modern era a little bit.

What I currently have set up is Qgis with a good campus basemap, then a line/multilinestring layer with categorized layer styling, based on a "Type" column in the attribute table (Electrical, Fiber, Water, etc).

To take things a step further/more accurate, I'm attempting to use a Garmin etrex 30 handheld hiking GPS to gather tracks saved into a GPX format. I've tested importing these, and I have no problem importing them into QGIS as their own Line/MultiLineString layer. What I would really like though is to import them to my existing layer. This way we could walk campus with the GPS and map a few routes over a few days, import and slowly build our map, as well as easily add to it down the road.

Is it possible to bring GPX tracks into an existing layer, OR is it possible to add them/merge them into an existing multiline layer once they're imported within QGIS?

I'm new to GIS & QGIS - and more than happy to clarify anything!

  • The core of the question is - can an existing line be added to a multiline layer?
    – SteadH
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


Yes You Can, but I'm not sure you'd want to indiscriminately import GPS tracks to a target vector layer.

No, I'd suggest import to a new source layer. Edit it if needed and select the features you want to import, with the source layer highlighted in the layer list.

Copy with ctrl-c (or use the Edit menu), select your target layer and turn on edit-mode for it, paste the lines with ctrl-v.

It shouldn't be harder than that.

You will need to edit any attributes in the target layer, but the geometries should copy just fine.

  • Thank you for both the wonderful advice on the layer addition as well as the process of using copy and paste. That works wonderfully! Thank you!
    – SteadH
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 20:35

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