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P = gpxread(filename) reads point data from the GPS Exchange Format (GPX) file, filename, and returns an n-by-1 geopoint vector, P, where n is the number of waypoints, or points that define a route or track.

gpxread searches the file first for waypoints, then routes, and then tracks, and it returns the first type of data it finds. The Metadata field of P identifies the feature type ('waypoint', 'track', or 'route') and any additional metadata associated with waypoint, route, or track. If the file contains multiple tracks or routes, P contains the points that define the first track or route in the file. If gpxread cannot find any features in the file, it returns an empty geopoint vector.

P = gpxread(URL) reads the GPX data from a URL. The URL must include the protocol type (for example, http://).


S = gpxread(___,'Index',V) returns data from the GPX file in a geoshape vector, rather than a geopoint vector, only if the file contains track or route data and you specify the value of 'Index' as a vector, V. Use this syntax when you want to work with the data as a line, rather than as a collection of points.


___ = gpxread(___,Name,Value) reads data from a GPX file with additional options, specified by one or more Name,Value pair arguments, that control various characteristics of the import. Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name must appear inside single quotes ('') and is case insensitive. You can specify several name-value pair arguments in any order.


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Read and display waypoints from the boston_placenames.gpx file and overlay the points onto the boston.tif image.

First, import the waypoints and GeoTIFF file.

p = gpxread("boston_placenames.gpx");
[A,R] = readgeoraster("boston.tif");

Get the projection structure of the GeoTIFF image. Convert the length unit of the X and Y limits to meters for use with the projection structure.

proj = geotiffinfo("boston.tif");
mstruct = geotiff2mstruct(proj);
R.XWorldLimits = R.XWorldLimits * proj.UOMLengthInMeters;
R.YWorldLimits = R.YWorldLimits * proj.UOMLengthInMeters;

Display the map.


Display the names and positions of each point.

for k=1:length(p)
   textm(p(k).Latitude, p(k).Longitude, p(k).Name, ...
      Color="k",BackgroundColor=[0.9 0.9 0],...

Read and display a route from Boston Logan International Airport to MathWorks in Natick, MA.

Read the route information from the GPX file.

route = gpxread('sample_route.gpx');

Compute latlim and lonlim with a 0.05 buffer.

[latlim, lonlim] = geoquadline(route.Latitude, route.Longitude);
[latlim, lonlim] = bufgeoquad(latlim, lonlim, .05, .05);

Display the route.

fig = figure;
pos = fig.Position;
fig.Position = [300 300 1.25*pos(3) 1.25*pos(4)];
ax = usamap(latlim, lonlim);
setm(ax, 'MLabelParallel', 43.5)
geoshow(route.Latitude, route.Longitude)

Extract the elements of route that include descriptions of turns, mark and color code each turn on the map, and construct a legend that displays the descriptions. Reverse the order, so that the legend displays the first turn at the top and the last at the bottom.

turns = route(~cellfun(@isempty, route.Description));
turns = turns(end:-1:1);
n = length(turns);
colors = cool(n);
for k=1:n
   geoshow(turns(k).Latitude, turns(k).Longitude, ...

Read track log from a GPX file and display overlaid on a web map.

Read the track logs from a GPX file. gpxread returns the data in a geoshape object.

tracks = gpxread('sample_tracks','Index', 1:2);

Display the track logs on a web map with a different color for each track log.

colors = {'cyan', 'red'};
wmline(tracks, 'Color', colors)

Zoom the web map to view the first track near the MathWorks campus in Natick.

[latlim, lonlim] = geoquadline(tracks(1).Latitude,tracks(1).Longitude);

Read waypoints and track log from the sample_mixed.gpx file.

wpt = gpxread('sample_mixed');
trk = gpxread('sample_mixed','FeatureType','track');

Display the waypoints and the track log on a web map.

wmline(trk,'OverlayName','Track Logs');

Add web markers to mark the positions of each way point.


This example shows how to display elevation and time area maps and calculate distance using track logs.

Read the track log from the sample_mixed.gpx file.

trk = gpxread('sample_mixed.gpx','FeatureType','track');

Simplify the format of the time value strings by removing the fractional seconds and time zone offset. Convert the strings to a datetime array.

timeStr = strrep(trk.Time,'.000Z','');
t = datetime(timeStr);

Display an area plot of the time and elevation values.

xlabel('time (hours:minutes:seconds)')
ylabel('elevation (meters)')
title('Elevation Area Plot');

Calculate and display ground track distance. Convert distance in meters to distance in U.S. survey miles.

e = wgs84Ellipsoid;
lat = trk.Latitude;
lon = trk.Longitude;
d = distance(lat(1:end-1), lon(1:end-1), lat(2:end), lon(2:end), e);
d = d * unitsratio('sm', 'meter');

Display the cumulative ground track distance and elapsed time.

elapsedTime = t - t(1);
ylabel('cumulative ground track distance (statute mile)')
xlabel('elapsed time  (hours:minutes:seconds)')
title({'Cumulative Ground Track Distance in Miles',  ...
   ['Total Distance in Miles: ' num2str(sum(d))]});

Input Arguments

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Name of GPX file to open, specified as a string scalar or character vector. If the file is not in the current folder or in a folder on the MATLAB® path, you must specify the folder path. If the file name includes the extension '.gpx' (either uppercase or lowercase), you can omit the extension from filename.

Example: 'boston_placenames'

Data Types: char | string

Internet location containing GPX data, specified as a URL. The URL must include protocol type (for example, https://).

Data Types: char | string

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: 'FeatureType','track'

Type of feature to read from file, specified as one of the following: 'track', 'route', 'waypoint', or 'auto'. If gpxread cannot find the specified feature in the file, it returns an empty geopoint vector.

Example: 'FeatureType','waypoint'

Data Types: char | string

Index of waypoint, track, or route data in file, specified as a scalar or vector of positive integers.

  • If the value is a scalar, gpxread returns the specified waypoint, route, or track as a geopoint vector. If the scalar value is greater than the total number of elements found in the file, gpxread returns an empty geopoint vector.

  • If the value is a vector, and the file contains waypoints, gpxread returns those waypoints specified by the vector. If the file contains routes or tracks (and does not contain waypoints), gpxread returns the specified routes or track logs in a geoshape vector. gpxread sets the Geometry field of the geoshape vector to 'line'.

Example: 'Index', [1:2] would read up to two routes or tracks, if the file contained routes or tracks, in a geoshape vector.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Output Arguments

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Waypoint, track, or route data, returned as an n-by-1 geopoint vector, where n is the number of points.

For a track log or route with multiple segments, gpxread concatenates the coordinates of the segments with NaN separators. NaN denotes numeric elements not found in the file. The empty character vector ('') is used to denote text elements not found in the file.

Track or route data, returned as an n-by-1 geopoint vector

More About

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A point of interest, or named feature on a map.


An ordered list of waypoints that describe a path.


An ordered list of waypoints representing a series of turn points leading to a destination.


  • Excluding extensions, GPX version 1.1 is fully supported. If any other version is detected, a warning is issued. However, in most cases, version 1.0 GPX files can be read successfully unless they contain certain metadata tags. For more information, see the GPX 1.1 Schema Documentation.

Version History

Introduced in R2012a