Displaying GPS Data on Google Maps

On our last hiking trip one of the participants used an iPhone and MotionX-Sport GPS software to capture the GPS track information, take pictures, associate the pictures with points on the track and upload the data so it could be displayed on Google Maps. Here’s what he posted:

Abe’s Staircase Track

That got me wondering if I would be able to do something similar with my GPS. I have a Garmin eTrex Legend H. Garmin’s low-end mapping GPS. I had save the track information of the drive from Staircase Campground in the Olympic National Park to our house in Shelton. All the information I found online said I should use MapSource, software that ships with many Garmin GPS…but not mine. I eventually found BaseCamp, a free download from Garmin that allows me to upload and download GPS information to and from my GPS. I installed it and it works pretty well. I simply selected a “Receive from GPS” link and selected the track option to download. In a few seconds it had downloaded and displayed the track information.

When I attempted to display the information in google maps, google maps didn’t understand it. Google Maps understands the KML format but not the Garmin GPX format. However, I was able to display the information directly in Google Earth. From there I was able to save the information as a KML file. The Google Maps help said I would just need to enter the URL for the KML file and it would display. I uploaded the KML file to my mobile.me website and entered the URL in the Google Maps search box. Voila, the map displayed.

The next trick was to make a link out of the map I had. That was just a matter of selecting the “link” menu option in Google Maps. It generates a URL and HTLM code (in case you want to embed the map into a website). I copied the URL and pasted it as a link to my Facebook Link Status. Below is the URL to my map.

My Trip Track

After poking around with both BaseCamp and Google Earth I was able to determine that I could create an pretty complicated map overlay but it will take some time to figure that out. The only other thing I will want to do in the near future is attach pictures to the track.