Many of you already know how to use DNR Garmin, but for those of you who are not in the loop, here is a little tutorial. This is a continuation of the GPS thread from earlier. Go ahead and bookmark... once the snow melts and you start scouting, this will become valuable information.
First, download DNR Garmin. This software is produced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It is free and it does not contain viruses and will not harm your computer. You must be running a PC. To date, DNR Garmin doesn’t run with a Mac. You must also be using a Garmin GPS of any model.
Download and install the software, then connect your Garmin GPS to your computer. The DNR Garmin software should recognize the GPS, and from there you can choose menus for Point, Line, and Polygon data downloads. If you take a few points while you are out in the field and want them displayed as waypoints later, download them as points. Similarly, if you want to view your route along a river or ridge or whatever, download your data as a line.
IMPORTANT: When you download your points and lines with DNR Garmin, be sure to choose the output format that includes the .kml file extension. This is the only filetype that Google Earth will recognize.
Here is a link to a website that basically says the same thing.
One important note for those of you who are unfamiliar with datums and projections.
Google Earth displays its maps in WGS84 datum. Luckily for us, most GPS units collect data in WGS84 out of the box, which means you would have to change a setting to collect data in another datum. However, if your GPS is set to NAD27, there might be some screwy results when you bring your points into Google Earth.
DNR Garmin will give you the option to save your shapefiles, and you should do so. Be sure you put them in a folder that you can find later.
Now open Google Earth. Click File... Open... then navigate to the folder where you saved your .kml files. Choose the files you want to display in Google Earth and click Add or OK. You should see your waypoints and tracks against a nice backdrop of 30m satellite imagery.