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Author Topic:   Exporting Waypoints from GOOGLE EARTH
jimh posted 06-02-2014 02:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The amazing application GOOGLE EARTH provides a method for creating geo-position data. GOOGLE EARTH calls their stored locations "places." GOOGLE EARTH places can be organized into folders. The individual places or a folder of places can be exported to a file from GOOGLE EARTH. GOOGLE EARTH only exports in their own file formats, either .KML or .KMZ. Note that .KMZ is just a compressed version of .KML. There is not a particular advantage to using .KMZ that I can see if the data set is small.

Geo-position or "place" data in .KML can be translated to other formats by many convertors. An on-line convertor at

offers to perform conversion to .GPX format from .KML at no cost. You can download and save the converted data from the on-line convertor. The simplest way to do this is to right-click on the hyperlink "Download your new file [here]," and choose the option to download and save the file. (This may vary somewhat with your particular browser.)

The downloaded file may have a filename in the form fileName.gpx.xml. You can rename the file to just .gpx.

The data from GOGGLE EARTH is now in .GPX format. You can import this data into many chart plotters using their native import function, as most modern chart plotter devices understand .GPX, a sort of lingua franca of position data.

The .GPX files generated by the on-line service KML2GPX.COM have been tried with a couple of chart plotters and found to work. The chart plotters tested so far are:

--PolarView NS from Polar Navy;

--HDS-8 from Lowrance.

It has been seen that some chart plotters are not particularly robust at parsing .GPX files, so it could occur that a perfectly good .GPX file may not be able to be imported to some devices.

jimh posted 06-02-2014 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another method for translation of "places" from GOOGLE EARTH contained in a .KML file to a .GPX file is by use of the wonderful application GPSBabel. In GPSBabel set the input file type to be "Google Earth (Keyhole) Markup Language," and set the output file type to be GPX XML.

This method was also tested and found to generate .GPX files. The GPX file worked fine with PolarView NS. The file did not work with the Lowrance HDS-8. The HDS-8 import failed with the error message:

"Import failed--File version 1.0 not supported."

This error is being investigated.

jimh posted 06-02-2014 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A resolution was found for the problem of the import failure for .GPX files generated by GPS Babel to Lowrance HDS-8. See

for details.

jimh posted 06-02-2014 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If help is needed in importing files to an HDS, see the procedure in this earlier article:

Exchanging Navigation Data Among Different Chart Plotters

DVollrath posted 06-02-2014 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for DVollrath  Send Email to DVollrath     
I agree that Google Earth is a pretty amazing bit of technology. My daughter and I climbed a local peak (Mt Adams) last September, and I was wearing a small wrist mounted GPS. After completing the climb, I imported the track waypoints into Google Earth, and saw the "3D" representation of our route. Very interesting to see on a mountain. It's not as clear that the same "wow factor" would exist for a water journey.


wally910 posted 06-02-2014 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for wally910  Send Email to wally910     
I could see it being useful in offshore fishing to plot out a fishing or diving trip. Some of the guys I dive with have thousands of spots and we might hit twenty to thirty on any given day. Seeing them all in relation to one another could be very helpful.
jimh posted 06-02-2014 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Just to be clear, the application GOOGLE EARTH has a built in function for importing geo-position data in .GPX format into GOOGLE EARTH. No extra work necessary. It is in the export of data from GOOGLE EARTH to a format like .GPX that a little helper is needed.

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