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June 2011
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Using Google Earth and “.gdb” Files

I plan to upload “.gdb” files generated by my Garmin etrex Vista HCx as an aid to people trying to find the places I describe or photograph.

There are probably many ways to make use of these files, but I generally use them in two ways.  To view and edit them in their native software, download Garmin MapSource software, which is available for free.  You will then need maps to view the data against, and I explain how to find free, routable maps of the whole world in my Using A GPS in Kyrgyzstan post.  If you have a compatible Garmin GPS, you can then upload maps, tracks and waypoints to your GPS.

My other usual use of these files is in Google Earth.  Google Earth is a great tool for exploring the world virtually.  It is also a great aid for exploring the physical world.  You can open the .gdb files directly in Google Earth to see the tracks and waypoints displayed against the Google Earth imagery.  You can zoom in and see all kinds of detail in the Google maps, depending on what they have on a particular area.  You can also review an elevation profile, showing not only the elevation gain and loss over the route, but also the speeds at which different segments were traveled, maximum and minimum slopes, and the travel time (watch out for this one – we probably had a picnic sometime along the way – and I sometimes delete detours we made, either on purpose or by accident).

You can also edit the tracks and waypoints in Google Earth, and move the modified versions into your GPS.  You have to save them as “.kml” files, and convert them to “.gpx” but this can be done using freeware. (I recommend GPSBabel.)  You can then open the “.gpx” file in MapSource, or even upload directly to your GPS.

You can also create wholly new routes in Google Earth, tracing the roads marked there and then transfer those routes into your GPS.  I have found that to be time-intensive work, but relatively simple to do and it provides quite accurate routes.


Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » A Bit of Canyonlands in Kyrgyzstan
Time September 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

[…] when you get to the gates, to leave them as you found them. Here’s a .gdb file you can use in Google Earth or your […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » To The South
Time December 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

[…] a .gdb file you can use in Google Earth or your […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » A Great Winter (or Summer) Hike
Time December 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

[…] attached a .gdb file which you can use to find your way. You can use it in Google Earth or your […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Arslanbob
Time December 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

[…] Google Earth or your GPS to find your […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Up Frary Peak on Antelope Island (Utah)
Time March 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

[…] to enlarge)Attached is a .gdb file you can use in Google Earth or your GPS to find your way.  It’s not much of a challenge, though, since the trailhead and […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Stansbury Island
Time March 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

[…] don’t know, but that wasn’t my destination this time.  Attached is a .gdb file you can use in Google Earth or your GPS to find your […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Orto Say
Time April 1, 2012 at 4:23 am

[…] turn right.  From here on out, I don’t know how to give you directions, so see the .gdb file on Google Earth or your GPS.  Of course, any of the jeep trails wandering through these hills might take you to an […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Valley of the Moon
Time August 7, 2012 at 6:54 am

[…] there. However, in case it would be helpful, here is a map and .gdb file for use in your gps (and here and here are two links for using them).(click image to […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Preserving Colonial Churches
Time September 18, 2012 at 12:18 am

[…] This is an easy one.  The La Paz – Tambo Quemado (Arica, Chile) road is one of the most important in the country.  As such, it is well paved and signed.  At Patacamaya, some 40 miles beyond the toll booth on Rt. 1 south to Oruro, take the well-marked right toward Tambo Quemado and Arica, beyond.  About 48 miles down that road, you will see the Huchusuma Chapel on the left.  Kellkata Chapel is another 20 miles down the road.  This .gdb file provides the GPS coordinates and track to all three chapels.  For information on using .gdb files, see Using a GPS in Kyrgyzstan (or anywhere) and Using Google Earth and “.gdb” Files. […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Comanche and the Queen of the Andes
Time April 4, 2013 at 3:02 am

[…] is a .gdb file you can use in your GPS or open in Google Earth to see the route in greater […]

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