Document your hike with interactive leaflets and R

December 7, 2015

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Maarten Hermans is a sociologist and researcher at KU Leuven in Belgium and an avid hiker. He uses an Android app to track his location and elevation on his hikes, which means he can download his hike data in GPS Exchange Format. With this data and a few R packages, he was then able to create interactive topological maps including his route and photos along the way.


Maarten used R's rgdal package to convert the GPS data into a list of waypoints, which he then plotted on an interactive topological map using the leaflet package from RStudio. Adding photos to the route was a little trickier: Maarten had to write an R function to extract the GPS coordinates of each photo from the EXIF metadata, before adding photo markers to the map using the addMarkers function from the leaflet package. Click the screenshot above to try the interactive version of the map, which is included in Maarten's tutorial (with R code) on how to create interactive maps from hiking data.

Maarten Hermans: Visualising your hiking trails and photos with My Tracks, R and Leaflet

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