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activatr (pronounced like the word “activator”) is a library for parsing GPX files into a standard format, and then manipulating and visualizing those files.


You can install the released version of activatr from CRAN with:


And the development version from GitHub with:

# install.packages("devtools")


Basic parsing of a GPX file is simple: we use the parse_gpx function and pass it the name of the GPX file.


# Get the running_example.gpx file included with this package.
filename <- system.file(
  package = "activatr")

df <- parse_gpx(filename)

In its default configuration, parse_gpx will create a row for every GPS point in the file, and pull out the latitude (lat), longitude (lon), elevation (ele, in meters), and time (time) into the tibble:

lat lon ele time
37.80405 -122.4267 17.0 2018-11-03 14:24:45
37.80406 -122.4267 16.8 2018-11-03 14:24:46
37.80408 -122.4266 17.0 2018-11-03 14:24:48
37.80409 -122.4266 17.0 2018-11-03 14:24:49
37.80409 -122.4265 17.2 2018-11-03 14:24:50

We can also get a summary of the activity:

Distance Date Time AvgPace MaxPace ElevGain ElevLoss AvgElev Title
9.407317 2018-11-03 14:24:45 4622s (~1.28 hours) 491.319700444844s (~8.19 minutes) 186.462178755299s (~3.11 minutes) 188.364 253.4996 -24.29198 Sunrise 15K PR (sub-8:00)

Once we have the data, it’s useful to visualize it. While basic visualizations work as expected with a data frame:

qplot(lon, lat, data=df)

It’s more helpful to overlay this information on a correctly-sized map. To aid in that, get_map_from_df gives us a ggmap object (from the ggmap package), which we can use to visualize our track.

Let’s see that on its own to start:

ggmap::ggmap(get_ggmap_from_df(df)) + theme_void()

The axes show that we now have a ggmap at the right size to visualize the run. So putting it all together, we can make a nice basic graphic of the run:

ggmap::ggmap(get_ggmap_from_df(df)) +
  theme_void() +
  geom_path(aes(x = lon, y = lat), size = 1, data = df, color = "red")