Bicycle Travel > GPS & Digital Data Discussion

Elevations on ACA GPX Data maps


Totally new today using GPS stuff.  Purchased data files of the Sierra Cascades Route, downloaded to Basecamp and then exported to Garmin device.  I have to learn about waypoints etc. but what I noticed is no talk of elevations on the go.  Where do I look, or is there no topo info?

John Nelson:
I’m not sure exactly what your question is. The GPX files from the ACA have elevation in all of the breadcrumbs. You can load the ACA file into something like RideWithGps, and it will use the elevation data in the GPX file to produce a profile and compute gain. If you want, you can tell RideWithGps to replace the ACA elevation data with data from its own database, which will cause the results to be a bit different. Then you can load either GPX file (the original ACA file or the RideWithGps file with the replacement elevation data) into your Garmin and let it compute the profile and gain. You have lots of options.

Or did I misunderstand your question?

Thanks for your help.  I suppose I was being lazy and hoping my map would have an elevation scale at the bottom so I could see what was coming up like RideWithGps.  I'll try plugging the data in there and see what comes up.  Thanks again.

Basecamp is powerful and confusing. I have never used any of the purchased ACA gps data files so I am going to make some assumptions about those.

First, select the imported gpx file in Basecamp which will be in the left hand column of the screen with your map showing on the greater portion of the screen. Right click with your mouse and select show graph. This should bring an elevation vs. distance graph up as a separate window. If you do not get such a graph my guess is that neither the gpx file or the map you are using in Basecamp contains elevation data.

The default map which comes with Basecamp is called Global Map. This map is almost worthless and only consists of major highways, cities and no elevation data. I think Garmin includes it so that you will not be viewing a blank screen when you start Basecamp. You will need to install a map which contains routing and elevation data. The Garmin City Navigator maps which they will sell you contains this information but probably most people will use some variety of OpenStreetMap.

The map which I prefer to use on my Garmin can be downloaded from here:

There is a web page at that site with instructions for installing maps as well. You will need two free Garmin programs to work with maps. Mapmanager will let you install downloaded maps into Basecamp. MapInstall will let you install the map on your Garmin device. There are YouTube tutorials on how to do this if you search there.

There are other sources which provide an OpenStreetMap extraction also.

Once you have installed a better map on Basecamp and your Garmin you should see an elevation profile when you right click and choose Show Graph.

An excellent YouTube series on how to use Basecamp to create routes can be found here:

This is oriented to motorcycle touring, but it's all the same.

Pat Lamb:
OP, can you tell us which Garmin device you're using?  The newer generation comes with maps already installed.


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