Mapping your hike with Google Earth

A recent article at Popular Mechanics discusses some great ways to share your hikes with your friends via Google Earth, and they include some great tips.

To start of course, they recommend that you carry a handheld GPS unit. You can also use various apps on your cell phone, but because the big battery drain of GPS-related apps, be sure you have enough battery power to make it through the hike. When you finish the hike, upload the resulting file to Google Earth, mark it up with other placemarks and photos, then export the file as a KMZ to share with your friends.

You can also use apps such as Everytrail, which makes great use of Google Earth Tours, to share your adventures.


Lastly, be sure to check out some of the great ways you can use the Google Earth ruler. You can use it before your hike to estimate distances, or afterwards to see how far you went.

google earth ruler

What are your favorite tips for using Google Earth to supplement your hiking?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Never rely on anything electronic when doing serious hiking – any mountain rescue team will tell you that rescues of lost hikers have risen sharply now that devices run out of battery or signals fail. Always have a large scale paper map and a compass, know how to use them, and know where you are on the map at all times.

    Also, unless you are hiking in a straight line, the GE ruler always underestimates distance (something to do with fractals), so factor in some contingency. Nevertheless, KMZs are a great way to follow hiking routes on sites such as

Leave a Reply