I'm using a Garmin Edge 705 bike GPS/computer unit, which produces .gpx files. I can use the standard software it comes with to plot on Google Maps etc, but I'd like to be able to output just a vector polyline for use in Adobe Illustrator.

Any ideas? I'm guessing .svg is going to be the best format, and I could use Inkscape or similar if that makes it any easier.

Sorry, other projects are taking up my time but I will try the suggestions out as soon as I can.


6 Answers 6


Use QGIS - http://www.qgis.org/ First import the GPX file, then from print composer export SVG.

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GPS Babel is the tool you want. It can convert between a huge number of formats!

  • 2
    I'm already using it to convert between formats, but unless I've missed it in the interface and docs, it doesn't do SVG or similar.
    – e100
    Jan 24, 2011 at 18:21

This website is meant to be able to generate svg from a .gpx file. http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/

I have never used it though.

  • Its SVG exports are really unusable. Instead of creating a path that reflects the route, it creates a billion of small lines that are orthogonal to the route and will, when you zoom out, make it look like the route is one line.
    – cdauth
    Apr 24, 2016 at 10:41

Load your GPS points into Adobe Illustrator

http://www.avenza.com/mapublisher/features [MAP GPS] (at cost of purchase)


Like Nathan has already mentioned, GPS Visualizer has an option to export to SVG. This is the easiest option, but the exported SVG files are unsuitable to work with in any way, as instead of creating one path per track, it creates a billion of small lines that are orthogonal to the track, and only when you zoom out it looks like a line.

An option that creates much better results is to use gpx2svg.

If you are uncomfortable with the command line, here is a step-by-step guide how to do it with QGis, to save you some time:

  1. Click LayerAdd LayerAdd Vector Layer (Ctrl+Shift+V)
  2. For Dataset, select your GPX file, and click Open
  3. Select the line that says tracks and click OK. You should now see the track on the map.
  4. Click on ProjectNew Print Composer (Ctrl+P)
  5. Leave the title empty and click OK
  6. Click on LayoutAdd Map
  7. Draw a rectangle onto the page. This rectangle should now contain your track.
  8. Click on ComposerExport as SVG

The gpx2svg tool (written in Python) does this: https://nasauber.de/opensource/gpx2svg/

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