Every Ride and Route on Ride with GPS has an export tab in the right side panel. You’ll see different export options like TCX Course, TCX History, GPX Track, CSV, and KML. What do these all mean?
There are two versions of TCX files: TCX Course and TCX History.
TCX Course files contain all the navigation to use with your Garmin Edge series devices. This is the most common file format that we recommend to get turn-by-turn navigation.
Want advanced turn notifications?
Premium and Basic subscribers can set a notification distance in meters for an upcoming turn when exporting a TCX Course file.
There are three reasons you would want a TCX file over a GPX:
- You have a GPS unit that does not have mapping capabilities (Edge 305/500) but want turn warnings, or you have a GPS unit that has mapping capabilities (Edge 705/800) but you did not purchase the microSD card that contains the mapping/routing information which provides the nice GPS style turn guidance.
- TCX files contain the cuesheet generated when mapping a route using our planner.
- When you come close to the cuesheet entry, your Edge will beep and an arrow icon will appear on the map. An abbreviated 10 character description of the cue will also appear. Garmin’s are limited to 10 characters, so we attempt to strip out irrelevant text from the cue, leaving just the street name if possible.
- Often, the beep you get with the very simplistic turn by turn directions of a TCX occurs as you are in the middle of the intersection, meaning it doesn’t happen in advance of the turn. That’s fine for most people, since it’s just a reference – most of the time you have an idea of where you are going and just need an auditory beep to make sure you don’t accidentally pass a turn.
- Your GPS unit has fancy maps installed, but you have custom cue entries like water and food stops. Using the TCX will still allow your GPS unit to have the fancy turn guidance you get when you have a quality map installed on the GPS, however you will also get the simple beep/icon style navigation of the TCX. This allows you to get alerts when you approach your custom cues, while still using the fancy navigation capabilities of your GPS unit.
- You are interested in the training capabilities of the TCX, meaning, you want to export a route with a set speed, and you want to get alerts when you go above or below that speed. At this moment, we do not have the capability to export a *route* with these average speeds, however if you export a TCX of an existing activity that you have done, you can race against the speed you went when originally riding on that activity.
TCX History files contain the entire track of the recorded ride including sensor information like heart rate, cadence, and power if applicable. Export as a TCX History if you wish to transfer a ride to another service or application for analysis.
There are two kinds of GPX files: GPX Track and GPX Route.
GPX Track This file type contains the thousands of points used to draw the map. Your GPS will follow this track and is the next most common format we recommend for units that cannot use a TCX Course file.
GPX Route only contains the cuesheet entries, and relies on the GPS device to calculate a route between each of the cuesheet entries.
Since the maps inside the GPS unit are different than the Google maps used to plan the route, often times the route chosen by the GPS unit will be slightly different than the one planned using our site. Unless you know what you are doing, GPX Routes are not as useful and should be avoided.
Two reasons to choose GPX file:
- You have a GPS unit that doesn’t read TCX files. The eTrex, Oregon, Montana, and GPSmap series do not read TCX.
- You don’t care about riding a certain speed, and you don’t need the basic turn guidance offered by the TCX. If you have Garmin maps or OSM maps installed on a microSD card in your map-capable GPS unit, your GPS will provide native turn guidance and there is no need for the basic navigation offered by the TCX format.
Other File Types:
FIT: Used by newer fitness units (Edge 500/800/810/1000, newer Forerunner watches). This file contains the ride data and is pulled off the unit to be uploaded to a site like the Ride with GPS Upload page. It is not used as an export format for navigation.
KML: Not used as an export format for navigation on GPS devices, but a useful export for viewing a route or activity in Google Earth.
CSV: Comma Separated Values, useful for importing into a spreadsheet program. This export option only includes the cues for printing and none of the navigation for GPS devices or the mobile app.
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