Recovering Tracks from Broken App ‘My Tracks’ on Android

I was in Europe recently and recorded a bunch of walking tracks on my Android phone using the very handy application My Tracks from Google. Unfortunately there’s a known problem at the moment where the application won’t start if the phone crashes or loses power while recording – the current theory is that the SQLite database gets corrupted preventing it from loading properly. If you load My Tracks and it just sits there with a black screen and you eventually get the ‘force close’/’wait’/’report’ dialog, you’re probably experiencing this problem.

It is being actively discussed on the My Tracks development mailing list at the moment as several people have been bitten by this and are wondering how to get save their recorded tracks. You can fix the problem simply by deleting all your data, which might work if you don’t care about losing your tracks, but if you’re like me you probably want to hang on to it.

Fortunately a clever cookie by the name of Terry just figured out a workaround to this problem – it involves installing a new application called Locus Free which can (somehow) access your recorded My Tracks tracks, and then export them to KML or GPX.

Based on his instructions I was able to successfully recover all of my recorded tracks, which I’m pretty happy about. Here are the steps I used:

  1. Install Locus Free from Marketplace
  2. Go into Phone Settings->Applications and move Locus Free to SD card (I did this so it was easier to access the exported files; I wasn’t sure how else to get them easily)
  3. Load Locus Free
  4. Close the first dialog that pops up
  5. Click the second icon from the top right (cylinder with a floppy disk) to open Data Manager
  6. Click ‘Export data’ on the Data Manager screen
  7. Select ‘tracks’ from the small popup
  8. Change export type to your preferred option (KML for Google Maps/Earth, for example)
  9. Hit Export
  10. Access your SD card via your normal mechanism (I use ES Explorer) and browse to /Locus/export and you’ll find the files.

Update 2011-08-05: Gunnar from the MyTracks mailing list also points out the following way to retrieve your data:

However I found that an even quicker way to recover my recorded tracks, including the one that I was recording when the phone died,
was simply to install MyTracks v 1.1.4 over the current v 1.1.7. No uninstall, simply download 1.1.4 and save it to SD-card, then install it from there by double-clicking.

I haven’t found any limitations with 1.1.4 compared to 1.1.7 so I happily use 1.1.4 for recording my tracks, including the heart-rate from my Zephyr HxM.

The v1.1.4 version he mentions is available for download here.

4 thoughts on “Recovering Tracks from Broken App ‘My Tracks’ on Android”

  1. Thanks a million; your writeup let me recover a bunch of my tracks! I used the updated method, 1.1.4 download. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks a lot, you really made my day!
    I also used the secon method with installing over the corrupt app/database.

    Thanks again!

  3. Hi,

    Would you happen to know whether i could recover any tracks if my phone has been completly re-installed?

    I forgot to make a backup because i couldnt find the files. And now all my tracks seemk to be gone forever?

    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers, Anna

  4. Unfortunately I think they’re gone, unless you had selected the ‘backup to Google Drive’ option. You could try connecting it to your computer and doing a full search – the files should end in either .kml or .kmz.

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