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How to Get The GPS Track From Your GPS Into Google Earth

It's not as hard as you think!  It takes about 3 minutes to turn your last flight into stuff similar to the two pics below.  I have a Garmin 496 and am writing the article on the assumption that you have one also.  I'm told that you can get data from a lot of GPS's into Google Earth (GE), but I haven't researched it.

OK, here are the steps....

  1. Make sure you have Google Earth installed on your PC.  The free version works fine.
     

  2. Make sure the City Navigator software (which includes MapSource) is installed on your computer.  This CD comes with the 496, as well as the USB cable to connect your GPS to your computer (I used the USB cable that connects my camera to the PC, as it was a similar cable).
     

  3. Fly your plane with the 'Track' feature enabled on the GPS.
     

  4. Once home start the MapSource software and connect your GPS.
     

  5. Select 'Transfer', then 'Receive from device'.  Make sure the Tracks box is checked.  The data will be pulled over to your PC.  You can deleted any legs using the window on the left that you don't want - click on them and hit delete.

     

  6. Choose 'File', the 'Save as' and save it to your hard disk somewhere making sure to select the .gdb format from the 'Save as type:" drop down box.

     

  7. Exit MapSource software.
     

  8. Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map?form=googleearth
     

  9. Set 'Altitude mode' to what you want (1), select the file on your hard disk that you saved using MapSource (2) and click on 'Create KML file' (3). 

     

  10. You'll get a screen back similar to:

     

  11. Click on the .kmz link to launch Google Earth and load your flight.  Your screen should now look something similar to:

     

  12. Right-click on the data file that was imported (similar to what yellow arrow is pointing to below) and select PROPERTIES to change the way the flight path looks.  Play with the 'transparency' to make it a little see-through like the picture up top.

     

  13. Select 'File', then 'Email', then 'Email Image' to get a picture of what you are looking at.  Tip:  You don't have to actually send it to yourself, just click on the attachment that auto-loads into your email client.

     

  14. You're golden, baby!  Hope you enjoyed the read.

    *** A special thank you goes out to Matt Burch, Alan Adamson and Scott VanArtsdalen for helping me through the process. ***

 

Doug Reeves