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Author Topic:   Google Earth, Garmin, Magellan
WT posted 03-14-2010 11:33 AM ET (US)   Profile for WT   Send Email to WT  
Did you know that you can download your handheld Garmin or Magellan track data to Google Earth on your PC? Connect your handheld GPS to your computer via USB. Open Google Earth, go to "Tools," select "GPS," select "Device," then click on "Import".

Pretty cool.


Bella con23 posted 03-14-2010 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
Says "Only available on Google Earth Plus" $$$?
WT posted 03-14-2010 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I have the free version of Google Earth.

All I did was plug my Garmin GPSmap 478 into my computer via USB and did the steps I mentioned.


jimh posted 03-14-2010 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It goes without saying that your chart plotter must record tracks, record them in a particular format, and have a USB port. I don't think this is going to work for me because:

--no Windows based computer;
--no USB port on chart plotter;
--track data probably not in Garmin format.

jimh posted 03-14-2010 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
However, it would be very cool to be able to do this. I am envious.
SJUAE posted 03-14-2010 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

Have a look here you may be able to convert your waypoint file or log file

See also topic=22374

The GPSBabel web site lists the devices officially supported by the Google Earth GPS import feature. You can try other devices, but they might not work correctly. If you're using a device that is not supported, you can try importing GPS data from the device to your computer as a .gpx or .loc file and then opening it in Google Earth (File > Open).

BTW Google Earth is available for MAC's


WT posted 03-14-2010 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I have a mini-USB port on my portable chart plotter and connected it via a mini-USB to USB cable to my PC.

jimh posted 03-14-2010 03:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The first step in this process seems to be to get the track data off the chart plotter or GPS receiver memory storage and into the computer. This could be done using a removable memory card. If the chart plotter or receiver can write the track data file to a memory card, the memory card can be moved to a computer for processing. I will have to look at my chart plotter to see if it has a utility for writing the track file to a memory card.

I suspect this is what happens when Warren connects the receiver or chart plotter to his computer with a USB serial port connection: the computer is able to mount the file system or directory where the track data file is located on the GPS receiver or chart plotter, and it copies the data over to the computer file system.

Steve's suggestion to use a conversion utility to manage the track data into a format that can be used with Google Earth is a good idea. I have heard about the GPS data utility GPSBABEL. I see that the developers make GPSBABEL available as a compiled binary application for three popular operating systems, including MacOS 10.

Perhaps is someone emailed me a track file from their chart plotter I could take GPSBABEL for a test drive and see if I can get a plot of their cruise on Google Earth.

WT posted 03-14-2010 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Jim, my last email with the file"path.kmz" should work if you double click on the icon in the email. It should open Google Earth and show my 183 mile cruise.

If anyone else wants to see my last trip via Google Earth send me your email.


69boo307 posted 03-14-2010 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for 69boo307  Send Email to 69boo307     
I've had success using EarthNC's online charts and their free online trip and route tool with Google Earth. I can save some waypoints or create a route in Google Earth, then use the EarthNC tool to export it in .gpx format, from which it can then be imported into my chartplotter on the boat.
jimh posted 03-14-2010 11:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Warren--I will take your files for a test drive and report the results. Thanks.
SJUAE posted 03-15-2010 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
The more you look into these conversions etc to suit Google Earth you will find several spreadsheets from both OEM's and users to convert the data etc in addition to gpsbable.

It seems most of these waypoint files or saved tracks are a relatively simple delininated text file that just needs re-formating to be acceptable.

Most spreadsheets allow inport and manipulation of such files on a MAC or PC

A few simple recorded macro's should make the task relatively simple for one off and adhoc convesions when swapping to different plotters etc.

As side issue it seems Google Earth is restricted here ( so is Flicker) in UAE but I did manage to view my boat on it's parking bay as the latest scans are August 09


DavidBrent posted 03-16-2010 09:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for DavidBrent  Send Email to DavidBrent     

If your GPS has a serial port, you can use a RS232-USB adapter to import into your computer, whick can be had for ~$15. Here is a link to an adapter:

bluewaterpirate posted 03-17-2010 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
You can trasfer all your waypoints, tracks, routes from Map Source or Homeport. bluewaterpirate%20original/GarminGoogleEarth.jpg?t=1268836933


WT posted 03-17-2010 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Oh my God!.. My GPS track saved on my Garmin and loaded into Google Earth can be played as a "tour" on Google Earth.

In other words I am watching my 183 mile trip from Sacramento to San Francisco on Google Earth as a movie. It looks as if I'm para-sailing behind and above my boat for the entire trip.

This is WAY TOO cool.


WT posted 03-17-2010 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
You have to join Google Earth but here it is. #Post1315514


WT posted 03-18-2010 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Here's an easier one to view but without the GPS tracks. You have to have Google Earth installed on your computer for it to work. Number=1315504#Post1315504

Just click on the attachment with the kmz file.

You can speed up the track by multiple clicking of the fast forward button. You can also pause it and then zoom out to get a better perspective of the location.

Put your mouse cursor in the middle of your monitor and that's about where my boat was traveling.


newt posted 03-18-2010 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
I just followed your path. That is very cool, but I am a little dizzy...
Bella con23 posted 03-18-2010 01:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
Got it figured out, That is very cool!
SJUAE posted 03-18-2010 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Good fun liked the pit stop at marina, had a bit of trouble trying to set camera angle/horizon


WT posted 03-19-2010 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
In Google Earth good to "tools" then "options" "touring" then change the "camera range" to 3,000 meters and increase the "speed" to 800. Hit "apply"

Remember to "restore defaults" after you check out or change your settings.

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