18 Apr 2007, 05:35

GPS and Google Earth

One of the reasons I wanted to be sure to get a GPS that supported a data connection was that once you can get the data about where you’ve been off of the GPS there’s all kinds of cool stuff you can do with it. Of course, Garmin doesn’t go out of their way to provide any software for getting to the good stuff but fortunately there are several other options. EasyGPS has worked well for me so far. It handles transferring waypoints and track logs to and from the device easily, saves using the widely recognized .gpx format and it’s free. The gpx format is just XML and it’s a pretty straightforward schema so there are already lots of other tools/apps that recognize it and it’s also pretty easy to transform for other uses. The first thing that I’ve found to do with it is to convert it to kml, the file format supported by Google Earth. There’s a handy online app for converting .gpx to .kml or you could just do it with some XSL. Google Earth can also import the data directly from some GPS devices, but that’s only supported in the paid version. I used the web app to get the path from our geocaching trip into Google Earth, which is shown in the picture. Here’s the kmz file if you want to be able to view it in Google Earth yourself. That’s just one of the things you can do with the GPS logs, I’ve got a couple other things that I’m hoping to try out as well for another time.


Comment by Tobin on 2007-04-19 16:37:44 +0000

Very cool. How often does the GPS take a datapoint of your location?

Comment by Will on 2007-04-20 07:48:17 +0000

For some reason, you can’t exactly set the interval on the device, you can only set it to “normal”, “more often”, and “less often”. I had it set on “more often” and looking at the data it seems that the points range from about 10-50 seconds apart.

Comment by Matt on 2007-04-24 07:21:06 +0000

Just a warning. Keep in mind, as with any GPS unit, you risk the danger of lasers targeting and firing on you.