I'm trying to upload a vector layer to my Garmin GPS unit. I've saved it as GPX (WGS 84); opened the GPS Tools dialogue in QGIS 1.8; selected the "Upload to GPS" tab; and clicked on the "Data layer" dropdown arrow. However, the box just turns blue; nothing appears for me to navigate through. Nor can I enter anything into the box. It just turns blue, but will not take any input.

Any idea how I select the layer to upload?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Sounds like there are no eligible layers in your project. Could you post a screenshot?
    – underdark
    Mar 2, 2013 at 9:33
  • Here's the screenshot, Underdark, except that the blue disappears whenever I remove my mouse pointer from the Data Layer box. It shows up as blue lines along the top & bottom of the box. dropbox.com/s/fa7kh3ahkwub6px/…
    – TVZ
    Mar 3, 2013 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


You could try using DNRGPS http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mis/gis/DNRGPS/DNRGPS.html

It's one of the best GPS programs I use on a daily basis.

File>Load From>File> And navigate to your GPX. It should show up in the tracks/waypoints. Depending on your GPS (as Andre said) some Garmins limit to 1000 points, 20 tracks, 500 vertices per track.

Connect your GPS and select the GPS Tab>Upload All.

  • Thanks Rob! That's working for me. However, I (without knowing anything about it) was expecting that my whole shapefile (in this case a group of trails in a forest) would stay together as one item that I could then make visible/not visible all at once on my gps. Instead, each feature (each trail) is listed separately. Do you know a way to do what I was hoping for? THANKS AGAIN FOR THE HELP!
    – TVZ
    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:25
  • Maybe a way to compile them into a "map" that can be added to the view?
    – TVZ
    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:28
  • Glad I could help! with regards to keeping them all as one track, they have to be connected to be one track, and then less than 500 vertices per track. If you added them to your basemap somehow (that the GPS reads from the SD card) you may be able to turn them on and off like a layer, as I've seen options for that in the newer Garmins, but I'm not completely sure. Also, you could try to MERGE all your trails into 1 using your GIS and see if it fits on the GPS, but it will probably truncate.
    – Rob
    Mar 8, 2013 at 19:53

To create a GPX layer, use Rightclick on the layer -> Save As..., choose filename and EPSG:4326 WGS84 as CRS. In the Layer field, enter GPX_USE_EXTENSIONS=YES and FORCE_GPX_TRACK=YES, check skip attribute creation, and do not check Add saved file to map.

Instead, you have you add the GPX layer to the table of content with the GPS Tools. Load GPX tab. There must be a layer named xyz,tracks xyz, route or xyz,waypoints somewhere.

These can be uploaded with the GPS Tools.

  • 1
    Thnx Andre. I have my gpx file in my table of contents, however I get the result described above. When I create the gpx file, I get dropbox.com/s/bxo2en3pk3d0xe2/Save%20as%20screen.jpg?m. After clicking ok, I got the message: Export to vector file failed. Error: creation of field ID failed (OGR error: Field of name 'ID' is not supported in GPX schema. Use GPX_USE_EXTENSIONS creation option to allow use of the <extensions> element.) I then entered Use GPX_USE_EXTENSIONS into the “Data source” box, but got the same result. Does that tell you anything?
    – TVZ
    Mar 5, 2013 at 14:57
  • Andre, do you mean that I'm really supposed to name the file "xyz,tracks" in order for it to work? (Sorry, I'm kind of a beginner here.)
    – TVZ
    Mar 5, 2013 at 15:16
  • No, that won't work. I extended my answer. Please accept the answer if you are successful.
    – AndreJ
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:06
  • Andre, when I create my gpx file, I get the message, “Export to vector file failed. Error: Feature write errors: Feature creation error (OGR error: Multiline with more than one line is not supported for 'rte' element. ) Only 95 of 96 features written.” However, a gpx file does appear which I can add to my table of contents. However, when I try to upload it to my GPS unit, nothing seems to happen and it does not appear on the GPS unit. Any further ideas? Thanks.
    – TVZ
    Mar 6, 2013 at 1:21
  • In the "Save vector layer as" box, should Encoding be "System"?
    – TVZ
    Mar 6, 2013 at 1:58

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