Creating GPS Routes from Google Maps

I’m in the process of trying to plan the Transcontinental Race. Google Maps is of course my first port of call—I particularly like the feature which allows you to ‘drive’ along a selected route. Unfortunately, with the new version you can no longer export a selected route to your Garmin GPS device. However, I’ve worked out a way of doing so …

The first step is to get the route in Google Maps. I prefer to use the ‘Walking’ route over the driving route in the (probably vain) hope it takes less busy roads. I then manually adjust the route until it’s sensible.

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You then click on the ‘link’ button in the left toolbar and are given the window below:

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Right click on the top line and select Copy.

You need to download the program ‘TyretoTravel’ from www.tyretotravel.com.

Once the program is started, select File|Import from Web Site. In the window that opens put the cursor, remove the ‘http://’, and go CTRL V to paste in the copied information from Google Maps.

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Click the Import button (bottom right), and select ‘Route tracks’. Select OK.

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Your route will be imported as a series of Waypoints.

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You can save the file as a .GPX or send it to your Garmin using the Garmin|Copy to Garmin menu option.

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The .GPX file needs to be in the folder ‘NewFiles’ on the Garmin Edge 800 so I manually put it there. I also put on the SD card in the same location as a backup.

The GPX file is only the x-y co-ordinates, but what about elevations? Fortunately, there is a fix for that as well. You go to: http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/elevation and upload your GPX file. You then select Convert & add elevation. This creates a new GPX file with the elevation data estimated from terrain models.

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This is the estimated profile. Considering that the the elevation of Mt. Lovcen in Montengro is something over 1500 metres we aren’t too far off. Got a few hills to cross on the way … good thing I have time to do some route planning!

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7 responses to “Creating GPS Routes from Google Maps

  1. There are also a couple of web services to do this – gmaptogpx http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/ which looks to not have been updated for a while but works for many (see the comments) and http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/.

  2. Hi Chris,
    Great info as always. Off topic but just sitting down to read The Cordillera V5. Well done pulling it together:-) I see you have an SP hub wheel build done through Wheelworks. Very nice. Got mine together and on the Ventana a couple of weeks ago. I’d be interested to see what you are connecting to it. K-Lite setup for me. All the best for your next big adventure..

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks! Glad you got the Cordillera. It was an effort but some great stories …

      I’ve also ordered a K-Lite 1000 lm light for running with the hub. Also got myself a ‘Super-i-Cable’ which connects the hub to the GPS. This has a cache battery which gets around the annoying issue of the GPS giving the loss of power message at low speeds. Giving it some good testing before the Brevet.

      • Hi Chris,

        A wealth of information and a great read in the Cordillera. I will be dipping back into it frequently over the next few months ..

        I got the 1000lm k-lite. Great throw and wide beam. Suprising given its diminutive size. I have his charging system too. Early tests are great but I’ve not done an overnighter or longer yet. Nimh batteries rather than lith ion. Perhaps a little heavier but not sure…

  3. This has been very welcome after other options no longer work to create GPX files from Google Maps. Works like a charm. Thank you very much for sharing.

  4. William Timmers

    I attempted to download the ‘TyretoTravel’ and bought about $20 worth of that from the web site, it was removed by Anti-Virus software. So that made me wonder is it worth buying this? The reason why I needed that software just to create GPX file from Google Earth or Google Maps so I can upload the GPX to other application. Now this is NOT WORKING.

    • I’m sorry to hear that they’ve gone down that route. Didn’t have that issue with earlier versions. Would be good to know if there are other options.

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