GPX, CSV, and TCX Data Formats

GPX, CSV, and TCX Data Formats

In my previous post about Topofusion, I mentioned that the software was a perfect fit for the GPX files that my Android phone created with MyTracks.  The GPX files are a GPS eXchange Format files that contain information about tracks that have been traveled or routes that have been planned.

Knowing the difference between tracks and routes is key.  Here is a quick description about each.  Tracks are paths that have been recorded while traveling.  Routes are plots made with software to plan a path that will be traveled.  Now back to the GPX files.

They contain the details, such as time, altitude, latitude, longitude.  Routes will not contain time information and may or may not have altitude data.  Regardless, both tracks and routes will have the latitude and longitude data.

As I had mentioned earlier in the last post, Topofusion also plotted heart rate, watts, cadence, and temperature.  None of these data types are defined in the GPX.  This is were the CSV file type comes into play.  CSV files are comma separated value files.  Typically there is a header line with the defined data types followed by lines of data values.  Each of the data types are separated from one another with a comma.  Here is the wisdom behind the name CSV.

Since the GPX file doesn’t define these values, Topofusion references the CSV file and merges the data together.  One of the file formats available from Topofusion for this merged data file is the TCX file format.

The TCX file is the Training Center XML format defined by Garmin for their Garmin’s Training Center product offering.  Topofusion has provided support for this format to reach a larger target audience.  Having the additional data tags merged with the GPS data will be instrumental in data analysis from the sensor helmet.

I’ll be testing the data imports once the helmet becomes operational and reviewing how well they represent findings.  It might prove beneficial if custom data plot sources can be defined.



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