Sunday, February 12, 2006

Google Earth: Displaying GPS traces

For background, see my first post on Google Earth.

I've recently started using a PDA-GPS combination in flight. I'm not using it for navigation at this time (since I never go anywhere), but I have started to refer to it for L/D, wind, glideslope to the field etc. a little bit. Of course it records the flight as a trace file, in IGC format. I know people display their IGC traces in 2D and 3D in SeeYou etc. to go back and study their (and their friends') flights, but so far I don't have that software. I had seen a reference to Google Earth and IGC files a while back on RAS, so I thought someone had probably figured out how to link the two. I was amazed at how easy it really is!

This morning I sync'ed my PDA to my PC, to get my latest IGC files. Then I went searching on the web to see what people might have written about GE and IGC. I quickly found a link to GPS Visualizer which is a free web-based service to convert IGC files to GE-compatible files.

This could not be any easier! Just go to the page called Convert your GPS data for use in Google Earth. There are Browse buttons to let you select one or more .IGC files on your PC. Set just a couple of choices on the form, such as "Altitude mode: Absolute", and click "Create KML file". Then you don't even need to download the .KML file. Visualizer downloads the file and presents you a link. Click on the link, and it starts GE, points it to the .KML file, and takes you right to the area! Extremely cool!


Adam Schneider said...

All of a sudden I'm getting a couple dozen hits a day on GPS Visualizer from this posting... any idea why?

(Not that I'm complaining... just curious as to why one of my biggest non-search-engine referrers is a four-month-old blog entry.)

Roger said...

The subject of SeeYou and Google Earth came up on the rec.aviation.soaring newsgroup, so I replied and pointed people to my blog rather than explain it all over again. I'm glad people followed my links and found your excellent service!