google earth to garmin mapsource

Discussion in 'GPS Use, Tracks & Maps Discussion' started by bill, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. Is anyone creating tracks in Google Earth GE then converting the GE Kml file to a Mapsource compatible gpx/gdb file

    Comes in handy when you see trails/dirtroads on GE but they're not showen on gps maps.

    Did it recently for some trails around Sihanoukville, Cambodia
    The parts of the created tracks I tested by riding them were accurate but I kept running into newly erected fences, such is the rampant realestate speculation here.
  2. Bill,

    I would love to do this for off road trails here in northern
    Thailand. I've just been getting waypoint locations which is slow and tedious.

    Could you be so kind as to post a how to for us neophytes interested in adopting this technique?

    Are the satelite images clear enough over Cambodia? Thailands resolution in places is not clear enough to identify dirt roads.
  3. In GE draw a path, name it and click OK. The new path appears in My Places on the left. Right-click on this, choose Save As..., make sure to change the default extension from .kmz to .kml.

    Download GPSBabel from, install and run the GUI.

    Choose Input Format GE, output format Garmin gdb.
    Enter full path to input and output file, including the file extensions.

    Uncheck Waypoints, check Tracks and click Let's Go.

    In Explorer double-click the new .gdb file and you should have a Track0000 in there. Voila!

    You can also import these tracks into your GPS map's IMG files using GPSMapedit, but that is a lot more complicated and there is very little documentation on this excellent program, that I use almost daily.

    There are some more instructions for this on the forum at
  4. yep, what Beddhist said.

    Once I've converted the kml to gdb file using gpsbabel, I open the file in Garmin Mapsource, edit it as required and send it to my gps.

    GE coverage of Cambodia not so detailed either but there are dirt roads visible on GE that are not on any maps nor my free V10 Cambo gps map from mapcenter.
  5. gents,

    Thanks for the directions. off to peruse GE and find some goodies to explore. Will post the findings under trip reports when ridden.

    Thanks again.
  6. Yes, do the same thing here in NE Thailand but run into the same problem as you Bill, as alot of the satellite images are from 2006, I too find that farms boundaries change, fences are built, and depending on whether its sugar cane or rice time a farms tracks/boundaries can change. Make a second or even third (escape) route should the original route end.

    I put it all into GPSMapEdit, make up a nice map with rivers, lakes, highways, trails etc then send it to the GPS etc

    I spend quite a bit of time (99.999%) off road on farm trails, dirt roads, single track and no track, and I've found that a roadbook (rally style) is far easier than following a route on a gps when you don't have roads to follow. There is a free road book maker that can be found at You can make up your route with it and print it out, much easier and more detailed than following a GPS.


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