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Garmin Track In Google Earth?

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Garmin GPSmap 76S

MapSource v6.3

Google Earth (GE) free version.

Windows XP desktop

frugal Geocacher ;-) no I dont want to pay for GE+


Has anyone opened a Garmin track in the free version of Google Earth? How did you do it? Please walk me through the process. I have a track saved on my GPSr, and I have downloaded it to my computer. It appears as a .gbd file in the target folder.


I tried opening the .gbd file in free GE, but no go. Also I tried saving as a .mps file, but free GE wouldnt open it


Someone suggested that I save the Garmin track as a .gpx filetype so that I can open it in Google Earth. I dont see this format as an option in my version 6.3 MapSource. How do I save in this format? Is it selected when I download from the GPSr to my desktop computer?


Is there a free program that can convert my .gbd or .mps files as .gpx. How does .gpx format enable opening in free GE?



Im wondering, what data is really in the file that I want to save? Am I saving the track, made up of waypoint? Or am I actually saving the 'map' per se also.

Edited by GeoPup&ShelpieGirl
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Free MapSource Update (Beta)


Free Google Earth


Im on the learning curve, but the MapSource update (beta) has the feature of allowing me to save as .gpx. That was not possible with my old version.


At least one Free-Version Google Earth user has said that "GE free" can read .gpx, even using the free version. If this is true, a user could import GPSr tracks into Google Earth for free. if you havent used Google Earth - try it, it will blow your GeoCaching mind!


Im updating now, and adding my name and phone number in my GPS intro screen while updating my firmware for my Garmin GPSmap 76s, also free:


GPSwarn: put your name on your GPS intro warning screen (free, works with certain models only):


Free GPSwarn - Add your name to GPS screen


Garmin Firmware Updates (free)


Run GPSwarn when you are ready to update your firmware. Worked the first time for me. Warning: make sure you save all your waypoints, tracks, routes, etc. to MapSource as everything is erased during the process.


...more to come

Edited by GeoPup&ShelpieGirl
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One simple way to get your Garmin tracks on Google Earth:


Get the program "G7toWin" (Freeware), configure it to com port and GPS type, hookup your Garmin to your computer, set the Garmin's interface to "Garmin", and load your tracks to the program. In a spreadsheet, it will list your saved tracks and your active track with segments numbered. Highlight and delete the saved tracks and segments of the active track you do not want to use. With what is left, save it as a .gpx file (choose File>Save as from the top menu.)


Open the .gpx in Google Earth and the track will show as a blue trail.

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You are correct. That is what I just used, and it worked. MapSource is all that you need. I used the new Beta. Excellent! The tracks are blue as EScout said. and all the waypoints are there appearing as balls with their name or numbered as entered. Very cool. Highly recommended.


PS: Remember: Mapsource "Save As" .gpx filetype, then Google Earth (free version) "Open" the file. I was zoomed into the area already in Google earth and my GPS tracks and wppoint magically appeared!!!

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You are correct. That is what I just used, and it worked. MapSource is all that you need. I used the new Beta. Excellent! The tracks are blue as EScout said.  and all the waypoints are there appearing as balls with their name or numbered as entered. Very cool. Highly recommended.


Once you export your .gpx file, open your Track and/or Waypoints in GE you change their appearance if you want.


In GE, Click on the "little triangle pointer thingy" to expand the file, Right Click on your Track file, then Edit/Click the Advanced Box/and under Style, you can change Color, Width, and Opacity.


For your Waypoints in GE, Right Click on your Waypoints file (or, Click on the "little triangle pointer thingy" to expand the file to Edit one at a time), then Click on the Icon at the upper right, where you can pick from a menu for other Icons. You can also Browse to grab your own Icon image file. You can also change Color, Width and Opacity.


Cool stuff!

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I didnt know that!!! How do I access my Waypoints *list* in GE?

After you export your GPS waypoint data from MapSource to a .gpx file, open it in GE. Under the heading Places, you should see My Places/Temporary Places/then GPS device with a check mark and an Icon, and the little triangle thingy. Expand the triangle and you will see 3 folders; Waypoints, Tracks, and Routes. If your .gpx file contained all 3 types you would be able to see them all, and each would have a triangle to expand further.


For now we'll stick with Waypoints. Here you can Right Click on the Waypoints folder and edit them as noted earlier. If you expand this folder you will see each waypoint individually. If you downloaded them from GC.com it will list the hyperlink to the cache listing. If you click on the GC name in blue, it will open a box with the link to the cache page. You can then click on that link and it will open it in your browser. Pretty cool!


If you created your own waypoints you will still be able to edit their appearance and change icons. Then of course you can zoom to any, or do a flying tour thru them all.


A really cool function is to select one of your Tracks that you exported to a .gpx file and hit the F10 key. That will take you on a flying tour over your track with the aerial photo background. It's wild.


Good luck and have fun!

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I have a track that goes over jeep trails and then down the lake on a jet boat.


F10 - I can hardly wait. I will hold onto my virtual hat! ;-)

You're welcome ShelpieGirl. After hearing of your jeep trail ride then a jet boat ride, here's one more modification you can make to enhance the flying tour.


When in GE look at the top left for Tools/Options/then the Control tab. Click the Advanced box mid-way down on the left. Below this look for Driving Directions Tour Options. The Camera Tilt Angle box will let you change the apparent angle you will be flying over the terrain. Try at setting of 60 Degrees. The Camera Range box will let you set a height above the terrain. Try setting the the Range to say 300 meters (984 feet) for a good ground skimming height! Click OK, and you are ready for a way cool flying tour!


I'm pretty sure this will keep you flying this height above the terrain even if the track goes over a hill, or down over a lake. Haven't tried all the possibilities myself, yet.

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WOW! I think I lost my virtual hat on that ride! I experimented and like 80º , 600 meters, and faster speed ;-) ymmv...


Again, Im amazed! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Next: I want to make a track manually to "fly" up a river valley, then over the land. How do I create a track? I would prefer to do this in a way that I could actually fly the track in real life (although a bit higher ;-) What are my options: create in MapSource, so I can load to my GPS vs. create in GE just for the viewing? I think I would settle for GE for now - my MapSource is the street version and does not show terrain.


Im investigating the documentation, but if you want to spoonfeed me, it sounds good to me. I want to set manual waypoints, then connect then into a track, then "fly" it.


Thanks again!!!

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A very easy way to do it:




It is free and has an icon that opens GE ... no need to mess with file extensions... just download from your gps and click the GE Icon.






Thanks for the info! now I'm happy :(

I tried to get my tracks and wpt's visible on GE by exporting file from Trackmaker to GPX via gpsbabel. Result was that waypoints translated fine but latitude of tracks zeroed for some reason so all my tracks were on equator when uploaded to GE.

Installed new version of Trackmaker and voilá -as easy as can be.


Edited by Erwast
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Im sure that there are many ways to skin this virtual cat, but if anyone already has MapSource MetroGuide, the free update makes it simple to see Waypoints and Tracks in Google Earth. Saving your info as a .gpx filetype takes 2 secs. Piece of cake. Then all you do is Open and select the file.


G Force fly-overs are also very cool in GE - just select G Force as your control type by typing <cntrl> + G. Remember to take your Dramamine if you get motion sickness ;-)


...still looking to see if Free GE allows you to create a route and fly it? I can create waypoints (In GE just go to top menu Add>Placemark). But I cant figure out how to select waypoints then make the selected ones into a track, then F10 to fly the tour.

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Next: I want to make a track manually to "fly" up a river valley, then over the land. How do I create a track?

Happy to be able to help ShelpieGirl. To create your own "track" to fly, it works well to create a Route in MapSource and save it as a .gpx file. It's that easy. When you open the file in GE, just keep expanding your "GPS device" folder till you see "Path". Then select Path and hit F10. I found if you set the altitude too low it won't climb the mountains quick enough and you crash into the hillside! Have fun, and hold on!


You can also drop waypoints along a path in MapSource and GE will fly from the 1st thru the last one, but the route gives a better trip I feel.

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