RoadRUNNER Digital Rider

Getting Google Maps and Garmin to Play Nicely

Jul 01, 2013 View Comments by

Getting Google Maps and Garmin to Play NicelyI love Google Maps; it’s a great way to plan a trip with friends. I also love my old Garmin GPS Map 60CSX, an old handheld unit that’s helped me navigate to some of the most beautiful places on earth. But while I love them both, they don’t love each other. There’s no button on Google Maps that says, “Send this map to my Garmin.” Likewise, there’s no button on Garmin’s RoadTrip desktop app that says, “grab that epic map from Google for me, will you please?”

This has been a problem for several years now, and updates from Google and Garmin haven’t resolved the issue. Google Maps actually has a way to send a single waypoint to your Garmin, but that’s not much help for touring motorcyclists, is it?

For years I’ve been using GPS Visualizer to bridge the divide between Google Maps and Garmin RoadTrip. From Google Maps I export a KML file, which I then convert to a GPX using GPS Visualizer. Garmin RoadTrip can then import the GPX file and Bob’s yer uncle.

Or not quite. The conversion process isn’t perfect, as Google Maps Routes come across as Garmin Tracks. So if you want turn-by-turn directions you need to create a Route using the Track as a template. Still, POIs come across fine, and the Tracks provide accurate Mileage measurements.

I’m sure that there are other ways to skin this cat—what are yours?



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About the author

You know that little boy who stares at you, mouth agape, as you ride by? That was me, thirty-plus years ago. I merged two of my passions, motorcycles and photography, when I became a contributor to RoadRUNNER.