GPS Coolness: Downloading Suunto and Garmin Forerunner Data into Google EarthS

The exploitation of Google Earth continues, and now Suunto is offering a free application that converts GPS data from its X9i GPS watch into Google Earth files. The downloadable Suunto Track Exporter software lets you place the GPS data you've recorded onto a Google Earth map, showing you exactly where you've gone. Heck, you can even do a 3D flyover of your route.

Sure would be nice to do this with a Garmin Forerunner GPS device. But wait. You can:



There's a free application called Foreconv that lets you take your GPS data you've recorded as you've walked or run with any Garmin Forerunner wrist GPS device, and convert it into data that can be read by Google Earth. It's a free download, and works beautifully. All you do is export your history file using the Garmin Training Center software that's included with each Forerunner device, then you open that file in Foreconv, where it quickly converts all that data into a .kml file that can be read by Google Earth.

Take a look at the screenshot below, and you'll see a year's worth of GPS data from daily walks around the neighborhood, converted into Google Earth using Foreconv. What you're looking at in this graphic are over 325 different trips, each one superimposed onto Google Earth.

GPS Coolness: Downloading Suunto and Garmin Forerunner Data into Google EarthS



Within Google maps, you can also individually select whichever day's data you wish, showing you exactly where you went on that day. Here's a map with only last Sunday's four-mile walk selected:

GPS Coolness: Downloading Suunto and Garmin Forerunner Data into Google EarthS

The Garmin Forerunner 301 (pictured below) is an excellent GPS tracking device you wear on your wrist, and it can also keep track of your heart rate at the same time. I'm also testing the Garmin Forerunner 305, and oddly enough, the 301 works better for me and is actually faster at acquiring satellites than its pokey successor. Best of all, the 301 is still available, and now it's offered at a rock-bottom price of $150 at Amazon, about $200 less than I paid for it early last year and $110 less than the Garmin Forerunner 305.

GPS Coolness: Downloading Suunto and Garmin Forerunner Data into Google EarthS

Tracking your running or hiking routes is fun with the Garmin Forerunner, but placing it on a Google Earth map and then doing a highly detailed 3D flyover? Now that's remarkable.

X9i/Google Earth Product Page [Suunto]