Location Tracking for Photographers with GPS Logger and Trekarta

Location Tracking for Photographers with GPS Logger and Trekarta

When it comes to Android apps for photographers, we are spoiled for choice. From depth-of-field and golden hour calculators to sun position and remote control apps – there are plenty of clever tools to choose from. But there is one particular app combination that can prove to be indispensable for any photographer on the move: a GPS logger and a GPX viewer. There are two main reasons for that.

  1. Tracking your movements and saving them in the GPX format can come in handy for geotagging photos.

  2. The ability to attach comments to the current location allows you to use the GPS logging app to note places you either photographed or you plan to photograph later. You can then use a GPX viewer app to see and manage bookmarked locations.

There are several apps that offer GPS logging and viewing, but you can’t go wrong with GPS Logger for Android and Trekarta. Both apps are released under an open source license, and they are available free of charge on Google Play and F-Droid.

How you set up GPS Logger for Android is a matter of personal preference. One way to go is to configure the app to automatically start tracking on boot and upload tracks to the desired destination (e.g., a NAS or a file sharing service).

Once GPS Logger for Android is running, adding a comment to the current location is as easy as pulling down the notification drawer and tapping Comment. The app saves the tracks as GPX files in the Android/data/com.mendhak.gpslogger/files directory on your Android device. To view a GPX file in Trekarta, use a file manager to navigate to the directory, and use Android’s sharing functionality to send the desired GPX file to Trekarta.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://pixls.us/blog/2019/06/location-tracking-for-photographers-with-gps-logger-and-trekarta/

Do these apps work without data?

GPS Logger does, and it sounds like the other app does too (offline maps). They need GPS, of course.

My experience with Trekarta is that it actually uses more battery than the more featureful and awesom OsmAnd:

In the above screenshot, you see the battery stats from the Android battery settings dialog, which clearly show how Trekarta uses much more battery than OsmAnd. Now it’s possible that OsmAnd is delegating that to “Android system” in which case it would use slightly more battery (4%) but I think it would be unfair to assume all of that battery usage goes to OsmAnd.

OsmAnd also supports taking pictures straight from the app which, naturally, adds the necessary GPS data… I rarely tag my pictures with location metadata, mostly for privacy reasons, but I sometimes use that feature to do edits to OpenStreetMap…

I hope that helps!


I use OsmAnd (actually its paid version, OsmAnd+) and find it awesome too, but I think it’s not open source.
I’ve tried loading a test gpx track in Trekarta but from my phone I couldn’t find a way to share the gpx file to Trekarta. It simply doesn’t show up in the app list.
On the other hand, OsmAnd offers the possibility to record gpx tracks and display them, all in the same app.

What about Geopaparazzi [1] ?

It is open source and quite snappy on my Smartphone.

[1] https://geopaparazzi.github.io/geopaparazzi/

OSMAnd is open source, you can get it from F-Droid. It had some non free assets. I’ve been using it a long time and really like it.

My gf and I were out in the desert and dropped cell phone connection, so no navigation, but osmand to the rescue! Offline maps are great.

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I’ve used OsmAnd extensively too, either as a driving GPS guide in my area, or as an offline map when I visited some places (Paris, New York, Venice…) on which I had put my own points of interest.