I have a large KML file (I also have it in GPX format but I've been using the KML so far) with LOTS of walking paths in it, criss-crossing most of France (mostly the GR routes but with a couple of others). I have imported it and been able to view it happily in both Google Maps and Google Earth.

When I ask Google for directions between 2 points on these paths, it ignores them and uses paths/roads etc that it knows about. What I'd like it to do essentially is replace the built-in roads with my KML paths, and find me the a route along those instead.

Is there any mapping software capable of this?

MacOS would be the preferred target, but I'm happy with any OS as I'm on a Mac with windows on bootcamp and a few Linux VMs. Free solutions would be great; as for paid solutions I'd rather not set any boundaries, as though I wouldn't actually pay beyond a small fee to do this (I can do it by hand if I need to after all), I'd be interested to know that such software existed!


1 Answer 1


This sounds like a case for using GRASS GIS with QGIS as a front end with possibly a plugin or two. (Note that you can probably get more help over at https://gis.stackexchange.com/).


GRASS GIS, commonly referred to as GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System), is a free and open source Geographic Information System (GIS) software suite used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics and maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization.


QGIS is a professional GIS application that is built on top of and proud to be itself Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).


  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform including Mac
  • Can use data from multiple sources such as Open Streetmaps
  • Can import from multiple file types including GPX
  • You can factor in information on altitude changes, (much more significant when cycling than driving).

You should be able to use the travelling salesman algorithm with selected layers. An example of such usage can be seen at https://openrouteservice.org

  • 1
    I'm accepting now because I've convinced myself this is totally doable, just gotta learn a bit about GIS software before I get it to actually work!
    – JohnCH
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 15:43
  • @JohnCH - Please post how you get on - I am sure it will be of interest to more than just me. Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 16:47

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