How to bring GPS data into Google Earth and Google Maps

So you have collected your sample site locations with a Garmin GPS 60 and now you want to see them Google Earth or Google Maps?

Load the GPS data into Google Earth

  1. Connect the GPS to the PC and switch it on.
  2. Start Google Earh
  3. In Google Earth go to Tools > GPS
  4. Make sure Garmin is selected, and the import options Waypoins and Tracks are ticked.Click Import.
  5. After a few seconds you see your Waypoints and Tracks in Google Earth.
  6. Switch the GPS device off and disconnect it from the PC.
  7. In Google Earth the data is saved into the folder ‘Temporary Places’. To export it right-click the folder containing the GPS data and select Save Place As…. and save the data as a file. This file is saved in the KMZ format.

View the data in Google Maps

Follow the instructions for Google Earth above. Export the data from Google Earth and save output file in your P:\public_html\ folder. This is a special folder that can be accessed from the internet.  (See here for details about this facility.)

  1. Open a web browser and go to http://maps.google.com
  2. In the Google Maps search bar, enter the URL of your file exactly like this: http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/student/<Your First Name>.<Your Last Name>/<Name of your GPS data file>.kmz.
    For example, this will be:
    http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/student/John.Doe/MyGPSdata.kml.
  3. On the right of the Google Maps search bar, click the Search manifying glass. You see the data being displayed in Google Maps. Since the GPS data file is located in your P:\public_html\ folder, it can be viewed by anyone on the internet.

NB: Google Maps does not display KML files that are larger than 1 MB. Also, if your data contains hundreds of points, it is likely that Google Maps will display only part of it.

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5 thoughts on “How to bring GPS data into Google Earth and Google Maps

  1. Hello. Useful post! I recommend to have a look at gpx2kml.com too , a free conversion tool that doesn’t require installation. It has a simple interface, it’s ease to use and it can also make kml into gpx formats too. Maybe it’s useful!

    1. I have not used gpx2kml.com, but I like its simplicity. Wondering what does the actual conversion in the background? GPSbabel? Custom code?

  2. Hi Karl! I agree, I found this platform simple as well. I don’t know what does the conversion in the background, but it works and it’s useful.

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