I have tried several GPS apps over the months, but so far all have fallen short of what I want. My needs are:

  1. Takes a location at short intervals, and writes it to a file (KML or similar open format).
  2. Keeps the GPS active between points, rather than turning it off and restarting a fix each time.
  3. Starts tracking a path as soon as it is launched, without needing to press buttons or choose menus.
  4. Continues tracing in the background or with the screen off.

Applications I have tried:

  • GPS Trace: Meets criteria 2, 3, and 4; fails 1. Defunct (no longer on market)
  • GPS Logger: Meets criteria 1, 3, and 4; fails 2.
  • GPS Essentials: Meets criteria 1 and 2, fails 3 and 4.
  • Tasker: Meets criteria 3 and 4, 2 partially, fails 1.

Is there a solution for GPS tracking that meets these criteria? I would be happy to pay for such an app, especially if it included additional features such as the ability to be turned on or off from Tasker. Thank you.

  • 1
    As a developer, I am not inclined to the 3rd need. Starting a GPS while launching an app is not possible due to restriction in API. Hence, my app will fail or will start logging invalid entries on start. Hence from developer's point of view the 3rd use case seems to be not worthy. See a related post: stackoverflow.com/questions/4498075/start-android-gps-service
    – Narayanan
    Aug 9 '12 at 8:47
  • OsmAnd could be worth a check (its in fact a full fledged offline map/navigation app). You need to enable plugins 'background' and 'tracking'
    – ce4
    Aug 9 '12 at 8:51
  • Considering how many apps can do this @Narayanan, I'm not sure I understand your comment. Enabling GPS cannot be done by an app... but that's not the same as starting to trace, when the GPS is already enabled. Aug 10 '12 at 2:05

GPS Logger suits all your needs (2 is an option you can turn on)

  • GPS Logger has been updated to now allow constant logging! And while My Tracks does almost everything right, it did require a separate Tasker plugin. More, it failed to create a new track after being turned off. So, nearly a year later, I'm switching to this. Jun 25 '13 at 19:31

If you are ready to compromise the third requirement, Google's My Tracks, fits your other needs perfectly.

  • Since My Tracks can be turned on and off via Tasker, My Tracks serves every purpose. Thank you very much for the answer... no compromise! Aug 9 '12 at 17:04

Tasker can write location to KLM file: Did you see this gps tracker made in Tasker xml (http://tasker.wikidot.com/tracker) it creates a kml file and stores Acc:%LOCACC Prv:%LOCPRV Spd:%LOCSPD Alt:%LOCALT into that file.

To view a KML file that Tracker creates you can either:

  • view it in the Google Earth Android apo
  • upload it to your desktop and open it with Google Earth.
  • upload it to the web, and put the URL to the KML in the search box of Google Maps. This still only works on a desktop computer, but allows the viewing of a kml or kmz file without installing Google Earth.
  • several other tools exist for publishing kmz files.
  • I did not. I'm still happy with the GPS Logger solution, but this looks like it would also work, and require no external dependencies. Apr 24 '14 at 13:39

Trace my Trail is not only a GPS logger but you can also insert POIs and indication and get alarms when you are following the recorded track.


Third wish indeed seems to be a show-stopper. Sacrificing that, you might want to take a look at Locus Maps, which gives you the additional benefit of being an offline/offroad navigation with many map sources buit-in to download from. Plenty add-ons available, too.

Might ask the developer (e.g. on his forum) to add Tasker support. As he's very responsive, chances are quite good he will like and implement the idea. If so, item #3 would be solved as well.

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