All my thanks go to Pat for showing me how to get the data off of my Garmin ForeTrex 201 and insert it into Google Earth. It produced beautiful products like this and this of both the Deschutes day hike in Oregon and the Cathedral Lake backpacking trip in Yosemite. I’m going to use this on all my future trips.

For those of you who want to try this at home, this may be useful. I installed GPSBabel on my Linux box today and was able to quickly grab data off of my Garmin ForeTrex 201 using the following:

gpsbabel -t -w -i garmin -f /dev/ttyUSB0 -o gpx -F out.gpx

(For windows users that have USB cables try :usb instead of /dev/ttyUSB0. If you have a serial cable, try COMx where x=the COM port you’ve connected your GPS device to.)

Then I installed Google Earth (used Automatix for Ubuntu), but unfortunately it’s an older version than what is available for Windows so the GPX functionality hasn’t yet been introduced. Fortunately, however, there is an alternative. Google Earth also accepts a KML (KeyHole Markup Language) format which is easily created with GPS Babel. Just type the following.

gpsbabel -i gpx -f in.gpx -o kml -F out.kml

Once you do this, drag the KML file into Google Earth and blam-o, you’ve got a map. I was perplexed at first because my data wasn’t showing up, but remembered later that Pat mentioned a time-slider bar. Sure enough, at the top of the screen is the time slider and all I needed to do was slide that baby over to the right. All the data, was right there. Enjoy.

8/2/2007 – UPDATE: I’ve added some altitude charts to the gallery here and here. Also, my brother Dave has put together a YouTube video of our Deschutes trip using pictures and video from both of our cameras.


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