Saving GPS Data Using Google Earth or Garmin Base Camp

GPS data of club events is a valuable resource to club members. It captures the basic information such as where the event started and finished, marks significant features as you visit them eg huts, campsites, water and toilet location. This is particularly useful when others want to repeat an event that you have been the leader of or a participant in.

In this article I will try to layout a series of steps to follow to capture saved gps data using Google Earth. It is assumed that you know how to use the clubs GPS and have used it to save waypoint and track data.


If not then you can go to this article which explains the basics of using the clubs GPS


There is a cable supplied with the clubs Garmin Etrex GPS that you will need to have available to perform this task - one end connects to the gps and the other to a usb port on your computer.


Turn the gps on - note if you plug the cable in to the gps a message appears "Saving all routes tracks and waypoints and trip log information in GPX format 100% complete" - this is ok it means you will now be able to access the data on the GPS in more than one way


gps mounted as drive F


Option 1 - using Google Earth application and Option 2 - using Garmin Base Camp


Option 1 Google Earth


On your computer start the Google Earth program - if you dont have it installed its available for free from


Connect the gps device to the computer usb port


Go to Google Earth and from the Tools menu choose GPS



The Google Earth - GPS Import dialog box will appear - make sure the check boxes are ticked as shown below and then click on the Import button

 When the import has finished you will get a screen similar to the one below advising of the number of waypoints and tracks imported.



The imported data now appears in Temporary Places in the sidebar - look for the folder called Garmin GPS Device



Now click on the plus symbol for each folder inside the Garmin GPS Device folder in Temporary Places and the details of the waypoints and tracks will appear.


Right mouse click on the Temporary Places folder name as shown below and select Save Place As



Choose a descriptive filename to save the Google Earth data and select kmz in the Save as Type dialog box as below



Congratulations - you have now successfully saved all the gps data using Google Earth. Note that this file is quite small and can be emailed successfully to others - and can be attached to an event report such as event reports before aug 2016 and event reports after aug 2016 which then gets uploaded to the club website for posterity!


You can close Google Earth down now and choose to discard the imported data - this helps to keep Google Earth uncluttered.



Turn the gps off and disconnect the cable to the computer


To view the saved information go to the File menu and choose Open


Browse for and select the file you recently saved. The saved data will appear in Temporary Places again.


Finally you can view the elevation profile and other statistics by exploring the properties of the saved tracks.


Locate the Tracks section in Temporary Places and right mouse click a track you wish to explore and choose Show Elevation Profile



You can run the mouse along the path in GE and see the spot and summary statistics of the event updated in the elevation profile below



Option 2 Using Garmin Base Camp

This is another free application that can be downloaded here

You will need this application to upload gps data to the club gps

Use of Base Camp will be the subject of a future article on this website