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Thread: DNR Garmin & Google Earth How-To

  1. #1
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Lightbulb DNR Garmin & Google Earth How-To

    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.

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mis/gis/tools/arcview/extensions/DNRGarmin/DNRGarmin.html

    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.
    http://freegeographytools.com/2007/exporting-gps-data-to-gis-i-garmin-gps-units

    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.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Thanks man. This is going to be really useful. I really like how I'll be able to go right from the GIS unit to ArcMAP. +1

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    I know mine is set to NAD 83. I think it's the same (for all intents and purposes) as WGS 84.

    My surveyor bud said to use NAD 83.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    That's correct. NAD 83 and WGS 84 are the same, or are within a few feet of each other. NAD 27 can be several hundred yards off, depending on latitude.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Google Earth supports going directly from gps.
    You can also open saved files in Garmin and other brand GPSr.

    http://earth.google.com/support/bin/...73&topic=22374
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    Google Earth supports going directly from gps.
    You can also open files saved in Garmin format and other brand GPSr.

    http://earth.google.com/support/bin/...73&topic=22374
    Had that worded poorly. Fixed it a bit.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

  7. #7
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    I haven't used it with anything but a Garmin, but that is good information. Does Google Earth create a shapefile that you can save for later use or are you stuck with the GPS as an external drive, with any data that you delete from the device being gone for good?
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    I haven't used it with anything but a Garmin, but that is good information. Does Google Earth create a shapefile that you can save for later use or are you stuck with the GPS as an external drive, with any data that you delete from the device being gone for good?
    You can save it as a kmz/kml file. It doesn't delete the file from your GPSr.
    Of course you can save the GPS data as a gpx or a garmin file.
    I've opened track and waypoint files that I had saved to the hard drive. Works good.
    You can also save the Google Earth as a jpg and load onto your Garmin GPSr. At least with a 62S Garmin GPSr.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Awesome Info!! Thanks a lot. I will be trying this with my Oregon 550t. I have a ton of places on it I want to see on googles maps.
    Hate America??....then get the Hell Out!!!

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    Default Nice! Garmin software from DNR

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    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.
    Great post and info; I'd like to read about others than have done this. I'm not going to, because it doesn't seem to do anything that my present "basecamp" software does that came with my Garmin Legend, but I bet lots of people don't have that, yet still have Garmin's.

    Great info and great post. (+1)

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