How To View Your GPS Results on Google Earth

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    (The following instructions will work using a Garmin E-Trex GPS. Other GPS units will probably be similar, but we haven’t tested it. Please let us know if it works with other units, or in other ways. Thanks.)

    1. If you haven’t already, download the program Base Camp, which should be available on the Garmin website. We found it the easiest to learn and use, so far. Start the process by opening Base Camp.

    2. With a GPS you have taken with you and turned on during a ride (or hike), use the included USB cable to connect with your computer (the plug is located behind a little rubber flap on the top of the back of the GPS, to keep is safe from moisture), and turn it on. The GPS will now use computer power and save your battery, but won’t recharge your batteries, unfortunately.

    3. In the pane on the left-hand side of the screen, you will see two sections. The top is a list of what’s on your computer (My Collection, plus any sub-folders you want to create). Below that in the top pane, once your GPS is plugged in, it will create another listing, first showing your device, then a subfolder called Internal Storage. This will only show up when the GPS is turned on, so if you don’t see it, try that first. The bottom pane is a breakdown of whatever your cursor pointing at or is highlighted in the top frame.

    4. Click onto the Device section, and a list of what is on your GPS will appear. You should have several Active Logs listed. Click on to one of them, and it will show you some dots or lines on the main screen. These are points on your trip and other information gathered that make up your complete trip information. For this purpose you only need to find the one Active Log with most of the points of your trip on it, so just move down the list until you find it. If you double click, it will open the file in a full window, and many lines of information will appear. The one with the most information is the one you want. Close the unwanted windows by clicking on the X in the upper right hand corner.

    5. Once you have found the Active Log that has the most continuous points on it (and usually a few arrows as well), highlight that one. Now, look along the top line of your screen, and you will find “View.” Click onto that and a menu will drop down. Move all the way down to the bottom where it says Google Earth. Another menu will appear. Click on to “Selected Items.”

    6. At this point, Google Earth will open (if you didn’t have it open already), and will zoom to the area of your travels. It usually appears as a hard-to-see black line, but you can fix that easily enough by changing it’s properties when you save it.

    7. To save the journey, point at anywhere on the black line, then click the right button of your mouse or mousepad. This will bring up a menu. At the bottom of the menu, you will see “Properties.” Click on to that, and another window will open. This is the window that controls everything you see about your trail. Rename it, describe it, change the color and width of the line, and many other characteristics.

    8. Once you’ve renamed it, you need to move it to a permanent file, as it will still be in a temporary file on Google Earth. Your new name should appear at the bottom of the list on the left-hand pane of Google Earth, under a directory named “Base Camp.” Just click and drag that upwards in that pane to any folder you want, making it a permanent fixture (until you delete it) in your Google Earth file.

    9. Just for fun, you can also see how far you traveled and what altitudes and climbing you did. Just point at the trail again, right click again, and when the menu pops up, go to “Elevation Profile.” Another box will come up from the bottom of the Google Earth screen and show you the exact altitudes and distance you traveled!

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