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Capture a GPS Track

There are several ways to capture a GPS track. We recommend capturing tracks on GPS devices. High-end GPS devices tend to record tracks more faithfully and have better battery lives than most mobile phones. However, if you prefer a less technical and simpler method, there are several applications offerred on both Android and IPhone devices which will allow you to capture a track using your mobile device.

Capturing a track on a supported GPS device

We recommend capturing a track on a high-end GPS device such as a Garmin or Magellan unit.

  • Make sure your Garmin or Magellan device is set to capture tracks.
  • Use the "Most Often" / "Highest Fidelity" / "Most Points" setting for your GPS device to give the most accurate tracks.
  • Most devices allow track export when connected via USB. Export your track and save it as a .GPX or NMEA file.

Capturing a track on an Android phone

When capturing a track on any Android phone, make sure that your device is fully charged before tracking to ensure that your phone can complete the trace. Make sure that GPS is enabled, and do not record a track based on your cell phone tower position. We suggest that you use the MyTracks application to capture your track.

Capturing a track using My Tracks

  1. Download the My Tracks app from the Android Market.
  2. When you are ready to begin your track, select Menu -> Record track.
  3. At the end of your track select Menu-> Stop recording.
  4. When the menu appears, enter a name for your track. Click Done.
  5. Click the arrow button in the lower righthand corner of your screen, and select "Share with friends". Select "A GPX file" (do NOT select KML.)
  6. Send the GPX file to yourself and import the file into Google Earth.

Capturing a track on an iPhone

There are several programs which allow you to capture a GPS track on an iPhone. One example is MotionX-GPS. MotionX GPS will also allow you to set up an email address where you can send your tracks.

Once you have captured your GPS track, you can import your track into Google Earth. Learn how to import your track. Once imported, you can customize your track and create an animated tour. For more information, check out the Viewing GPS tracks article.