Google’s recent GE 4 Beta release (on December 16) included a new feature for GE Plus/Pro/EC users. If you have a compatible GPS (current Garmin units work well) you can show your position in the new GE by simply turning on a new option under the “Tools->GPS->Real-time” option. For my Garmin, I used the “Garmin PVT” option with the GPS (a Garmin 60Csx) hooked up through USB to my Intel MacBook. This works on both the Windows XP and Mac OSX version of GE Pro in my tests. If you turn on the “Automatically follow path” option, GE will zoom to your current position and will automatically zoom to a level showing the path of the points most recently imported from your GPS (you can specify how many points – up to 100). I wish there was a way to set the altitude and tilt for your view while following, but the view works pretty well now. Here is a sample of a GPS track I saved after stopping at an exit off the highway. You can of course upload your entire track from your GPS and use a tool like GPSVisualizer.com to do fancier track visualizations.
If you are using this in your car (or other forms of transportation) you probably will not have Internet access. So, it is important to first load your GE cache up with imagery/data for the area you will be traveling before you leave your Internet connection behind. For example, I set up driving directions for the trip I planned and played the tour of my drive before I left the house. You need to make sure the playback of the tour is slow enough to allow each area of imagery to load into cache (check the GE options for “Touring->Tour Speed“).
By the way, if you are using the free version of GE, there is a free application available called GooPs which let’s you do real-time GPS tracking. It has been posted and updated by GEC member ‘davidhite’. I haven’t tested it myself yet, but I plan to since I see he recently supports an air-based feature (i.e. tracks with altitude). So, I will try this on a flight sometime soon.
For many other articles on GPS and Google Earth read the GPS category.