Explosion of GPS mapping tools and web sites

The rapid increase in the number of mapping mashups and tools like Google Earth have obviously spawned greater interest in keeping track of our lives. GPS sales are up. And more people are geo-referencing their photos to maps every day. Since Google Earth Blog was started I’ve written about many different mapping tools, and web sites for displaying GPS tracks, photos, and other information. And, I normally just write about the ones which also have Google Earth support – so there are even more available than you see here. Here are a few recent examples of mapping tools which have come out:

  • mtbguru GPS mountain bike trail in Google Earthmtbguru.com – This free web site allows you to upload your GPS tracks and photos and will automatically georeference your photos to the tracks. They also have good output to Google Earth. See this example of a mountain biking adventure with photos (here is the mtbguru web map version). I’ve written a number of times about, and used, RoboGEO- a commercial product which has this same kind of capability. RoboGEO is a more robust and full-featured product, but for basic needs mtbguru will probably work just fine.
  • wikiloc and EveryTrailOgleEarth recently featured wikiloc- which recently won the Google Maps Mashup content, and EveryTrail – yet another web-based GPS mapping tool which allows you to show photos as well.

The interesting thing is that some of the web mapping tools are devoted to niche subjects. For example, some are devoted to just paragliding, mountain biking, flying, sailing, or hiking. Other tools take a more generic approach and allow you to finesse and customize all kinds of data for different visualizations (e.g. Magnalox). Here are a few examples of the mapping with GPS tools I’ve written about (in alphabetical order):

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Comments

  1. Active Trails is a good site with a compilation of hiking trails. It can be found at http://activetrails.com.

  2. I just have to plug my own mapping tool: http://www.DiscoverMachine.com
    I created it just for fun. It can import GPX files and has a pretty clean interface.

  3. I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t too much of a good thing, at least where trails are concerned. There seem to be more trailsharing sites than there are trails. Trailregistry.com is an older site with a much clunkier (no KML) interface, but it has plenty of content. Trails keep trickling in – but only trickling. I suspect this is because the trails you’d really want to share often have poor GPS reception. Some sites like crankfire seem to succeed because they’re focused on one activity and already represented a solid community. Others *might* eventually dominate through really great interfaces. But I suspect that we’re going to see a weeding-out process over time. Honestly, I’m more excited about redtrails.com.

  4. Good list. Thanks for posting it.
    It’s no wonder so many interest has been generated considering the heavy price erosion in the market and how many people have now a GPS (I have several myself).

  5. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are great sites out there like http://www.navitraveler.com that have awesome GPS capabilities and let you find about anything you could want to find.

  6. Well GPS has certainly taken a quick tour in development! I started using a GPS in an old wooden yacht I sailed along the coast of Sweden. This is some 20 years ago now, and I still remember is sometimes showing me being in the Med and sometimes in a place where I could actually be!
    At this time it was ofcourse all down to numbers and no mapping was avaliable (well not in my budget!). Today it is really diffrent, GPS is today integrated in such a different way, I use it in my car to find the marina where Im going racing, it ofcourse shows me where to stop for fule and where to get food on the way there, once there, I take it out of the car and put it in to the yacht im gonna sail. Now it shows me all the info I need including tides and water movment. Connnected to a simple little laptop it will actually help calculate the winnning track to sail and win a race.
    This is really far away from the old classic wooden yacht my father used to race, I still sail “classic” but you can be sure I do it in a very modern way!
    Thx for reading!

  7. Hey, thanks for mtbguru. Great stuff.
    GPS is in and here to stay.

  8. I have 8-10 LandAirSea tracking Key and 3100 units. These work well, but I would really like to be able to give my contractors a unit that does everything that these LandAirSea units do (take a reading every second, ability to create maps, playback their track on PC, and create reports with total time driven, stops, and mileage.
    I would like a unit that has a screen, like the Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan units.
    For our application (driving from house to house delivering to mailboxes), it is particularly helpful to be able to see where you are on a map, and also show where you have driven.
    I have tried using the Garmin Nuvi 750, which does show where we have driven, has a screen….it also does keep a track of somekind. I have had trouble downloading it (I think the software with Mapsource is still pretty buggy) plus have been unable to get any meaningful reporting out of Mapsource. Also can’t playback. Further, there is no control on the Nuvi 750 as to when it begins tracking and ends tracking…it simply takes a reading every second it is on, up to 10,000 points, and then begins deleting and replacing at beginning again.
    The Nuvi 200 has a hack that allows you to use it for tracking (http://www.marcforrest.com/2007/11/15/garmin-nuvi-200-track-hack/). I have begun to try this unit for this purpose, but again, even with the data, not sure what software can produce the maps and playback that I really need. I like that you can start and stop the unit’s tracking (unlike the Nuvi 750).
    Any ideas?
    Your help is needed, as I need to purchase 6-10 units immediately.
    Thanks!

  9. Yes, amazing technology…and a good point one person makes…the fact that many trails may not be marked because they don’t get a good GPS signal. Still, GPS is here to stay. Trucking companies are using Google Earth and mapping. Check out http://www.jett-track.com and http://www.jett-track.com/blog for more info.

  10. I have enjoyed reading.Nice blog.

  11. i absoluteluy agree with you…GPS devices have devloped at a very rapid pace and become more common…people have started using GPS watches having all the standard features of an GPS device..

  12. i absoluteluy agree with you…GPS devices have devloped at a very rapid pace and become more common…people have started using GPS watches having all the standard features of an GPS device..

  13. Since many cell phones come with built-in GPS, we can expect that GPS devices soar.
    Very good news for GPS related companies and the industry as a whole.

  14. looking for a hand held gps for about 200.00
    any suggestions?

  15. Everyone in my family is an avid hiker. We normally meet up every weekend (we’re fortunate to live nearby one another) and go on hikes. We swear by our Garmin nuvi 2360LT for driving directions, but have been looking for some online resources for quite some time to get a sense of the trails and paths we’re going to hike before leaving the house (as well as a way to easily upload photos and tracks of our hikes for those who miss the trips) – so thanks for this list. With our Garmin nuvi 2360LT guiding us to the start of the trails and the your list so we can upload and share our hikes, it’s like a match made in heaven!

  16. I have 8-10 LandAirSea tracking Key and 3100 units. These work well, but I would really like to be able to give my contractors a unit that does everything that these LandAirSea units do (take a reading every second, ability

  17. Thanks for the information! I take it out of the car and put it in to the yacht im gonna sail. Now it shows me all the info I need including tides and water movment. Connnected to a simple little laptop it will actually help calculate the winnning track to sail and win a race.

  18. What remarkable post! I take it out of the car and put it in to the yacht im gonna sail. Now it shows me all the info I need including tides and water movment. Connnected to a simple little laptop it will actually help calculate the winnning track to sail and win a race.

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