How To: Convert Garmin GPS data to feature classes or shapefiles


GPS data from Garmin devices in GPX format can be converted to an ArcGIS feature class or shapefile using the GPX To Features (Conversion) tool.


The instructions provided describe how to convert Garmin GPS data to a feature class or shapefile.

  1. Activate the GPS toolbar by navigating to Customize > Toolbars > GPS.
  2. Click the GPS drop-down arrow > GPS Connection Setup, and connect your Garmin GPS device to ArcMap. Click OK.

    ArcGIS currently only supports serial port connections of GPS equipment. For more information, please refer to the following Esri Support Technical Article, Bug: USB connection does not link a GPS unit to ArcGIS.
    As a workaround, use the DNR Garmin Application from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to convert GPS data to formats compatible with ArcMap. Click here to access the application's download file.

  3. On the GPS toolbar, click Open Connection to connect to GPS via the virtual COM port.
  4. Navigate to ArcToolbox > Conversion Tools > From GPS > GPX To Features.
  5. In the GPX To Features window, click the Input GPX file browse button to select the connected Garmin device.
  6. Verify the path name for the Output Feature class, and click OK.

    This generates a feature class showing the locations and information collected on the GPS device.

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