Thursday, August 28, 2008

GPS to Google Earth.

Quick post today, I'm about to take some leave but will be back next week.

I have to admit that I was never really keen on all the fuss about converting GPS trails to Google Earth files, it just seemed a bit of a fuss. However, on Monday I gave a talk at the Royal Geographical Society London on just this subject so I spent a while last week mucking around working out how to do it. I was impressed with how easy it is to process the data plug in your GPS, turn on GPS Utility , do a bit of setting up, press download and the data is on your PC. Save as KML and you have your data in Google Earth. What really impressed me and the participants of my session was that you can see the trail you walked and using the time control animate your progress. See the file:

GPS track of me getting some sandwiches at work

The GPS automatically records my position every 2 seconds which is the data making up the time tagged part of the data.

Playing around with this made me realise that Google's documentation on the time controller isn't up to the job, and since Googling 'timeline tutorial google earth' lists this website as the top link I think I'd better put something down in writing soon.


Leszek Pawlowicz said...

Google Earth can open GPX files directly; just change the filetype in the Open File directory. I find GPS Trackmaker a better choice for getting GPS data into GPX or KML format:

But there are lots of other options as well.

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop said...

The other option is to pay USD20 for Google Earth Plus which imports directly via USB from Garmin units.

Google are looking at a educational site license for this version.

Rich Treves said...

Jamie, I'd noted that from the meeting on Friday when (I think?) you mentioned it so yes, sounds like a better option to think of. Thanks for the reminder.