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Peent

Google Earth and GPS interaction

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Peent

I'll start this up and will preface that I don't expect that I know everything on the subject and I more than welcome any comments or discussion.  It can be broad based discussion on anything google earth or gps related.  A few things before I start.

As newer and better gps units and smart phones become the norm, I expect this kind of thing to become out dated soon.

Everyone really should carry a gps or a phone while hunting.  I am way guilty of not doing it because I think I know where I am or just because I don't want to lug it around.  Last season I took my old dog into what I wanted to be a short little hunt, I ended up missing the spot I was shooting for and got way tangled up in some real tough cover for my old dog to navigate, and that is when I decided to be more proactive in strapping on my gps.  I use it for work too, so the problem became switching it back and forth from my timber cruising vest to my hunting vest.  So I got another one.  

Google earth  on a PC is real handy tool for hunting grouse.  I use it to keep track of hunting spots that I find and to look for new ones.  I have been using aerial photos since the mid 80s and I find them fascinating for some strange reason.  If you don't know much about google earth you should play around with it.  Oh and don't call it satellite imagery.  They are not from a satellite per say, at least the level we use.  They are taken from an airplane, pieced together and rectified or geo-referenced with public land survey points.  I guess you could call that plane a satellite if you are being picky.  

One of the most useful things to do is to look at google earth (GE from here on out) immediately after getting back home or to the cabin.  The fresher the cover you just hunted is in your mind, the better information it will tell you.  And it will improve your next visit to that cover.  

An important feature in GE is the ability to switch between different years of imagery.  Here in northern MN we go back to the early 90s and every 3 to 5 years there is a new set of photos to chose from.  This allows you to see when timber is harvested and you can age the cover this way.  

Another feature is the placemark.  This is what I use to mark my spots.  You can change the look of them, the size, and name them any old code or nickname you want.  You can save them in a file or a couple files if you want, or have them all exposed right on the screen at all times.  A couple other tools are the polygon and the path.  If you see an old logging spur or trail on and old photo, say a 20 year old photo it often wont show up on the ground as easy as you think.  By dropping a path down on the old photo using the path button, transfer it to your gps.  Often these old paths will allow you quick access into a great honey hole that you would otherwise have to beat the brush around to get to.  Makes you a more efficient hunter.  I use the polygon feature for work, identifying timber types.  I don't see much of  a use yet in hunting but there probably is.  

Other handy features I use: You can also use the measurement tool to see how far a certain cut or swamp edge is off the trail.  There is an email button that you can use to send a hunt spot or trail to your hunting buddies.  Quick and easy.  You can print the thing out if you want too.  

Well that was a quick run down of GE for you.  Next post by me will be a few ways to get GE to interact with your gps.

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Marc

One of the most useful things to do is to look at google earth (GE from here on out) immediately after getting back home or to the cabin.  The fresher the cover you just hunted is in your mind, the better information it will tell you.  And it will improve your next visit to that cover.

Good info.  As one who is also fascinated by aerial photos - I just wanted to add that your tip I quoted is equally important for scouting new cover with GE.  If you know what your productive covers look like on the photos it is easier to find new covers.

I have often been surprised looking at aerial photos that there are better covers within a few hundred meters (or yards) of brush busting from where I was just hunting. (And usually they are not accessible by road!)

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Sten

A useful app for your Android phone is Google My Tracks. This lets you keep track of where you walked on a particular day and upload it to google maps. Then you can view your track on the satellite image or road map on your computer. There are probably similar things for iphones.

Another useful app that I use is Cabelas Recon Hunt. You can get a full set of topo maps for North America for about $5. It saves the maps you've recently viewed on the phone, so you can use them even without cell phone reception. You can also save way points and use their website to view trips or created way points and send them to the phone.

You can view google earth images on your phone as well using google maps. One useful thing to do I do is use the satellite images to help me distinguish different types of terrain, and plan an easier walking route during my hunt.

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Brad Eden
If this takes off I will pin it to top of Gear & Gadgets Forum at some point.

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Peent

Here we will go over saving a placemark, converting from a .kml file to a .gpx file and placing it on your Garmin gps.  You don't have to know what these mean right now, just recognize them.  

You will need:

Computer (pc) with Google Earth

Garmin GPS

MapSourse software

Internet connection (if using online converter)

Connection cable USB

Go ahead and attach your gps to your computer using the usb cable.  I am going to assume you already have mapsourse software loaded.  You don't have to know how to use it, just know how to open it.  Turn on the gps.  This next step is optional, but I do it to stop my gps from trying to hook up to satellites. As soon as you turn it on it will go to a page that says Acquiring Satellites. Hit the menu button and tell it to Use With GPS OFF.  This just stops the annoying beeping as it hooks up and drops constantly because you are inside.

To convert the files I use a web site called GPS Visualizer.  Find it and add it to your favorites.  There is another converter that you can download called GPSBabel.  You can use this one if you want, but I find GPS Visualizer to be easy.

1.  Open Google Earth.

2. Navigate to your home (or any point of interest)

3.  Look on menu bar above the map and click on the yellow pin marker.  A box will open and give you options on naming the point, changing the size of the pin and the font, and also a large area for you to take notes, like a hunt journal.  Go ahead and do this, move the pin to exactly where you want it, name it, then hit enter.  If you mess up, right click it, delete and and try again.  

4.  Open a beer  

5.  You will see it show up on the left side of the images, under the Places tab.  Go to the point, right click and and save it.  I save mine to my desktop at first and I recommend you do the same.  Regardless of where you save it, remember where you put it.

6,  Open GPS Visualizer web page.  Look where it says "Convert to GPX" and click that. A new screen opens with more options.  It will say "Upload your files here" and gives you a browse button.  Click the browse button and navigate to your desk top or where you saved the point. Double click the file and hit "Convert".  A new page opens, near the top you will see where it says "click to download, then a bunch of numbers followed by a .gpx.  That is the file, you can left click it but I right click it so I can tell it where to download to, my desktop.  I always name it the same as before, but I put a gpx after the name so I know what it is.  

Now, open up Map Source.

7.  Go to File, click open.  Go to your desktop and find the gpx named file.  Double click it and it shows up on the left of the map.  Highlight it with a click. Go to the top menu again and click transfer, then Send to device.  

If everything went according to plan, you will now see the point on your gps unit.  

There is a much quicker and dirtier method to doing this and I will go over this next, but I like this way because it keeps everything handy and in a file I can edit and use.  

Good luck.

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Peent
A useful app for your Android phone is Google My Tracks. This lets you keep track of where you walked on a particular day and upload it to google maps. Then you can view your track on the satellite image or road map on your computer. There are probably similar things for iphones.

Another useful app that I use is Cabelas Recon Hunt. You can get a full set of topo maps for North America for about $5. It saves the maps you've recently viewed on the phone, so you can use them even without cell phone reception. You can also save way points and use their website to view trips or created way points and send them to the phone.

You can view google earth images on your phone as well using google maps. One useful thing to do I do is use the satellite images to help me distinguish different types of terrain, and plan an easier walking route during my hunt.

Yes, this is why I say that this technology is changing fast and smart phones will make things much easier.  With smart phones, I can see how gps units can become obsolete.

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ccavacini
Helpful.  Thanks.

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Sten

Yes, this is why I say that this technology is changing fast and smart phones will make things much easier.  With smart phones, I can see how gps units can become obsolete.

But phones have major drawbacks. Coverage areas, water resistance and battery life are large ones.

It is nice when your GPS, camera and phone are all one lightweight device.

Here's another good tip for those using phones other than iphones. You can get extra batteries on ebay for very cheap. I always carry an extra battery in the field incase mine runs out.

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Jazz4Brazo

Brad...please pin this one for reference as I suspect it will have a lot of very useful info (already has a great start) that none of us will want to go searching for every time we need it!

Tks

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Cooter Brown

There seems to be another way to skin this cat.

I use a Mac and BaseCamp.  When I create a placemark in Google Earth, I right click to save and it gives a choice of formats--I choose KMZ and save to a folder on my desktop.  Of course I name it as well.

Then I click on "Import" in BaseCamp, go to the folder and click on the file I want.

The waypoint is then in "My Collection" and I think shows up under "Recently Imported".

Then of course I can send the waypoint to the GPS (in my case Astro).

This seems to work fine and I'm not converting anything.

What I have not been able to do is highlight multiple files/waypoints and import them into BaseCamp all at once.

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Lucky Dog
There seems to be another way to skin this cat.

I use a Mac and BaseCamp.  When I create a placemark in Google Earth, I right click to save and it gives a choice of formats--I choose KMZ and save to a folder on my desktop.  Of course I name it as well.

Then I click on "Import" in BaseCamp, go to the folder and click on the file I want.

The waypoint is then in "My Collection" and I think shows up under "Recently Imported".

Then of course I can send the waypoint to the GPS (in my case Astro).

This seems to work fine and I'm not converting anything.

What I have not been able to do is highlight multiple files/waypoints and import them into BaseCamp all at once.

That is what I do as well.

Cooter, I just tried and was able to import two KMZ files at once. I just highlighted both of them and told it to go.

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Az Draht

Pent,

What GPS model are you using?  

Owners of the astro 220 and other garmin like the 60 series will need to use your method.  For owners of the newer 320, Alpha, and Montana, series 62, etc can use the .kmz method like Cooter and Lucky Dog.

Thank you for doing the tutorials.  If you could state what GPS you use, some confusion can be avoided.

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Bonasa
Great topic!  Thank you.  I would also petition his highness to have this pinned as a reference.   :<img src=:'>

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Cooter Brown

Pent,

What GPS model are you using?  

Owners of the astro 220 and other garmin like the 60 series will need to use your method.  For owners of the newer 320, Alpha, and Montana, series 62, etc can use the .kmz method like Cooter and Lucky Dog.

Thank you for doing the tutorials.  If you could state what GPS you use, some confusion can be avoided.

AZ, I've got a 220 and the method I described (importing the KMZ file without converting) works for me.

Lucky Dog, I'll try importing multiple files again may have had fumble fingers when I tried.

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Almost Heaven GSP's

There seems to be another way to skin this cat.

I use a Mac and BaseCamp.  When I create a placemark in Google Earth, I right click to save and it gives a choice of formats--I choose KMZ and save to a folder on my desktop.  Of course I name it as well.

Then I click on "Import" in BaseCamp, go to the folder and click on the file I want.

The waypoint is then in "My Collection" and I think shows up under "Recently Imported".

Then of course I can send the waypoint to the GPS (in my case Astro).

This seems to work fine and I'm not converting anything.

What I have not been able to do is highlight multiple files/waypoints and import them into BaseCamp all at once.

I'm going to follow this closely, as I'm just learning to use the Astro.

I was able to do exactly as Cooter explains and I dunno if it could be because all of my Waypoints/Flushes were saved as one file on my old Magellan when I transferred them all to GE, but in my case; taking all of those waypoints that were saved as one file on GE, saving it to my desktop and then importing from my desktop into "My Collection" on Basecamp; ALL of them transferred to BC in one batch.

Which is VERY cool by the way, as I've been going on memory this past season and not being able to give the casual reference glance at the GPS to see my "flush waypoints" and note, "Yea, I've had flushes from that strip before."

Now that said, How do I get all of those "flush waypoints" from BC onto my Astro?

As an Edit, THANK YOU Peent for taking the initiative to start this and to all others that are contributing the helpful tips and hints!

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