Don’t lose your Garmin Waypoints or Tracks with BaseCamp

What would you do if you accidentally deleted all the waypoints on your Garmin by tapping the wrong button? Or maybe you are starting to get confused by all the waypoints cluttering your GPS but you don’t want to delete some of those cool places. The same goes for your track files.

BaseCamp is a great solution for these problems. And because it’s free you can download it and play around with it with no commitment at all. You don’t even have to create another username and password for a myGarmin account, unless of course that’s what you want. BaseCamp can do a lot of really cool things but I want to cover some of the basics here to get you started.


Open this image in a new window so you can see it larger and refer to it through the rest of this post.

Back up waypoints from your GPS:

All you have to do is connect your Garmin to your computer with the USB cord. As soon as your computer recognizes the GPS it will show up in the top left corner of the window. Next go to the File drop down menu and select “create a new list.” Once you’ve done this its just a matter of selecting the waypoints and tracks on your GPS then dragging and dropping them into your new list just like you’d move a file from a thumb drive to your computer. This entire process works in reverse too, so when you want those waypoints back on your GPS just drag them from the list over to the Garmin and drop them.

Create and edit waypoints on your computer:

This may not seem like a cool feature, but stop and think for a second how much of a pain it is to type in coordinates on your GPS. It doesn’t matter if it’s lat/long, UTM, or MGRS it is a hassle. You can use BaseCamp to plug in those coordinate, name the point, fill out all the extra information you want, change the symbol, make some notes, whatever, then just drag it over to your GPS. To edit waypoints, just double click on one in the left hand menu and to create a new one use the flag symbol in the “creation tools” options at the top of the window.

Edit your track files:

This feature also may not seem all that necessary but what if you hiked half of a trail one day, and the other half another day but only wanted one track file to represent the entire trail. Or, what if you got yourself a little bit lost between point the car and the lake and while you want to keep the route you finally found, you also want to get rid of the part of the track where you were hopelessly off course. These are two excellent reasons why you may want to edit your tracks. You can double click on a track to edit all it’s details just like a waypoint. If you select two or more tracks and right click on them, you can also join them together.

Organize your files:

Once you start to get a lot of waypoints and tracks from a lot of different places you’ll want to organize them. With BaseCamp you can create lists and folders to your hearts content to help you organize all of your GPS data. As it stands right now I have 1,670 waypoints backed up on my computer along with 794 tracks and 1 route. Even with all that, I can very quickly find the what I’m looking for.

Again, BaseCamp can do a lot of other cool things, and maybe I’ll get to some of them another time, but for now, if you’re looking for a way to manage your GPS data and the price and complexity of other software has scared you off, give this one a try. I feel like I should add that I’m not on the Garmin payroll or anything. I’m sure there are other good options out there for all the major GPS brands, but I can only talk about what I know.

Did this help? Did it create more questions? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

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User Comments

  1. Kate |

    When I open Basecamp it shows my Garmin foretrex 401 but there is no data (as if i dont have any waypoints) when I look on the garmin the waypoints are still there.

    Working on a mac.

    Help 🙂

  2. Ashley Vincent |

    I am using Basecamp to map out flight plans for survey work. We have many many waypoints to work with (400+) and I need to confirm that the routes I’ve created include the total number of waypoints I’ve imported. Do you know of a way I can do this?

    • I’m sorry for the delay in my reply. If you have made the route in BaseCamp you should be able to double click on it and see all of the waypoints. It will certainly be very tedious to check and make sure all 400+ are in there but I don’t know of another way within BaseCamp to check. Although if you click on the info button you can get information on the number of stops and the number of directions. These should let you know if you have close to the right number of waypoints. The Route feature is one that I don’t use very often and I have never tried it with either an airplane or so many points so I may not be the best place for this question but I hope this helps a little.

  3. Ignas |

    I have lost all my data after yesterday update. Both from bootcamp and device, while it was connected. I can’t say how frustrated I am. All tracks prepared for tommorow trip gone.
    This is unacceptable for high end device like montana680.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your data loss. I know how I would feel if I lost everything.

  4. Patrick Diver |

    I got a notification about updating my Basemap software so yeah why not?

    Well it appears that ALL my data that I had collected over the past three years was wiped out.

    • Oh that’s terrible! I’m sorry to hear about it. I’ve done many updates and haven’t experienced any data loss. Do you know what version you were updating too? One thing I’ve done in the past as a backup is to select all of the data and export it in one big .gpx file.

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