Friday, February 09, 2007

Using GPS with Google Earth

Google Earth is another software application that matches up well with a GPS device such as the Garmin Forerunner 205/305. By uploading your GPX files (or converting from your Motionbased or Everytrail account by hitting the Google Earth button), you can import your GPS data and tilt the map to create a 3d track. Below is the Pacifica 50k, Woodside 50k, and Quad Dipsea.

I love how the distance and altitude are matched up to show the full scope of the adventure. It's nice that it's always sunny on Google Earth too. I had previously posted about two other GPS upload sites that cause data addiction, Everytrail and Motionbased, so I thought I would share one more!


[Note - I edited the above text to remove my incorrect information about needing Google Plus]


  1. Thats a great feature. Have you plotted any other routes? I'd love to see quite how horrendous the Big Sur is.
    A database of routes like that would be really useful for folk planning future events don't you think?

  2. I added the other two routes that I have above. I like your idea of a database of routes. I know it is possible to upload information into Google Earth for others to see - perhaps we could create a folder just for trail runners!

    Thanks, SD

  3. Cool views. I haven't upgraded to Google Earth Plus but in the summary view of an event in MotionBased is a Google Earth link under the map. When you click that you download a file that can be opened in Google Earth to view your route as an overlay.

  4. Scott,
    You don't need Google Earth plus to do this. On EveryTrail you can easily download each trip into Google Earth (the free version), by clicking the Google Earth button just above the map. And if you included photos in your trip, these will also appear in Google Earth.

    And if you appropriately tag you trip as trail running, your trip will be easy to find by other trail runners.

    Hope this helps!

    Joost - Trail running routes are here

  5. Same holds true for MotionBsaed... no need to purchase Google Earth Plus. You can simply open a free account at MotionBased and get one-click export to Google Earth for all of your runs.

    Plus, you can explore the MotionBased TrailNetwork and find other trail runs. MotionBased gets about 60 trail runs posted to the site everyday from around the world. It has a well established database.

    Click on TrailNetwork, then click on the "Quick Filters" link and type "Trail Running". This will refresh the listings for the last day. You can enter other filters look for runs in a particular area.

  6. That's good to know! Here I thought Google Earth Plus was needed for GPS, but I must have misread the overview. Now I have no idea why one needs to upgrade. ;-)


  7. Nice to see Quad Dipsea :)

    Thanks, Scott!

  8. Wow that is very cool. And I just recently bought a Suunto. This means I might have to get a Garmin...

    I'd like to see a map like this of my Twin Peaks course and some of the other routes our group runs.

  9. Scott,

    What's up? I wondered if I could run a few questions by you? (We actually have mutual "friends." My wife's best friend is Jen Drew so that's how I came across your blog.

    Hey, I finished my first marathon in October (Chicago). Not super fast. 4:14. I'm running the LA coming up. I will have to see how I do there. But I've been running a lot in the hills/trails/mountains by our house in Pasadena/Rose Bowl. I've become really addicted and would like to try a run longer than a marathon. Is that crazy? Should I have more marathons under my belt? Any ultraruns I could do in the next 4-8 months that would be good for a beginner?


  10. Rhett, good to meet you.

    First, 4:14 is a FABULOUS time for a first marathon! Congratulations. And you've signed up for another one! Clearly the addiction has set in.

    The training for a marathon and 50k are very similar (just a bit more emphasis on hydrating and food, and slowing down a bit). If you felt good after Chicago and you feel like you could go farther at LA, then you're probably ready for the 50k distance. If you trail run a lot, then you're probably ready for the terrain.

    I haven't raced too many ultras in SoCal, so I will refer you to fun-and-fast ultra goddess Jessica for some recommendations. If you don't mind the hills, you may want to look at Bulldog 50k, and the Pacific Coast Trail Runs race in Malibu in November. It's serious hill country up there, so practice fast-walking some steep stuff first. Both attract many first time ultra runners. You may also want to think about doing a 1/2 marathon trail run as part of your training, just to get used to racing trails (and the joys of passing on single track).

    I hope that helps. Best of luck in the LA Marathon!

    Thx, SD

  11. Scott,

    Thanks for the info. I'm definitely thinking about a 50K. My speed may not be the greatest, but I feel like when I slow down I can go a long ways. I will keep you updated.


  12. Scott, I made all the reservations for SS50 the other day. I don't know if you're driving (most likely) and if your family joins you, but if you're interested in splitting costs or know of someone who is, shoot me an email (it's on my profile page).

  13. I've been meaning to try this out.

    Here are two views of the PC Trail Runs Angel Island 25k from last month:

    I'll probably add a few more from some of our other runs here in Tilden in the east bay.


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