Creating a Map using GPS device, OS Maps, GPS Visualizer, Google Maps Engine

I’ve had a couple of comments from family members that reading my blog posts, where I’ve been using  Ordnance Survey maps to display the track of the walk, has not been very friendly when read on a phone. The post doesn’t scroll very well when the map takes up the whole screen width.

So from my last post – the Rhossili to Port-Eynon walk on the Wales Coast Path – and on into the foreseeable future, I’ve decided to revert to using embedded Google Maps on these Posts. [NB I’ve also edited all the posts from the last one I used Everytrail to produce maps in June 2014 so that the Map now appears at the bottom of the text – which should make it easier to read when scrolling on a mobile device.] For my own benefit, but maybe for anyone else interested in doing the same sort of thing, I’m recording the Workflow that I’m now using to produce the maps and to then incorporate them in a self-hosted WordPress blog. [Some of the links to the actual maps and Google Drive might not work for anyone other than me, however.]

Here goes …

1. Connect the Garmin (I have a Garmin 450T GPS device) to a computer
2. Download the Current Track, having first noted the walk statistics from the Trip Computer
3. I’m going to save on my Google Drive in a folder – Walks & GPS Tracks > GPX
4. Upload the GPX file to the WordPress blog (in my case “Just thoughts …”) into the Media folder so that the OSMAP plugin can be used to create a Page for the OSMap , if needed/wanted, or to embed into a Post [As mentioned above, I’ve now decided not to embed into a blog post.]
5. Start the really excellent GPS Visualizer in your browser (I’m using Chrome)
6. Select the Google Earth input form page
7. Complete form parameters, eg output format (must be .kml, not .kmz), metric or US (miles), I’ve decided to choose magenta for track colour
8. Start Google Maps Engine Lite (or in  a different browser tab
9. Set Base Map to Satellite, Import the kml file (created in GPSVisualizer) as a Layer and select colours of track (f not previously set in GPS Visualizer), then Save adding a name to the track and (optionally) a description
10. Finally,  change the access rights to Public from the Share Button, and select Embed this map (from pull-down Menu). The embedded map should look something like this …

… and the code, after you’ve pasted it into your blog post, should look something like this …

<iframe src=”” width=”640″ height=”480″></iframe>

… or, if using the OSMAP plugin …


How did he do it? How did HE do it? HOW did he do it? We all want to know

The facts are these. I bought a Garmin nuvi 255w GPS device to accompany #duettovan on its travels. [Note to self, next camera must have in-built GPS.] Since then, when time has allowed (and not much of that just recently – that’s another story) I’ve been looking at how the device stores its GPS tracks and how I can surface them on the blog. First attempts were with the Garmin GoogleMaps connector, and I still haven’t given-up on that, but lets say, it hasn’t been that straightforward. In fact … I’ve yet to see a map produced that way, but I will persevere. Since then I’ve been poodling around and it wasn’t until I found this excellent resource page at topografix that I began to make progress.

From the list of resources, I came across GPSVisualizer which validated the GPS files I had been trying to upload, having previously downloaded them to the #MBP. [You can read them direct from the device too, but that doesn’t appear to me to be the best way of using the tool.] This is a really cool site, and for anyone interested in digital mapping it’s worth a long hard time looking at what can be done. To save the map you’ve created, or display it on your blog/website requires some further coding to be done and to get an api key from Google Maps. I could of course do that, but that’s a retirement task :-).

Having created a map, for now the best way forward for me is to make use of another Web2.0 application called EveryTrail which allows you to load and save the GPS track, to upload photos to go along with the track, to then embed the map and statistics inside a blogpost and re-play the track. The only thing I haven’t got to work yet is the EveryTrail GPS Connector for Garmin, which is a Windows app (which I’m of trying to use from the Parallels desktop on the #MBP). I’m sure I’ll get that working one day – maybe it’s the virtualisation that’s mucking things up at the moment. [UPDATE – Have now got he upload direct from the Garmin working – using the current.gpx track into GPSVisualizer and saving direct into EveryTrail – having previously logged into EveryTrail as grandecheese.]

Finally from the EveryTrail site you are able to replay the trip on Google Earth by pressing the Download KML link. Great fun! Anyway here’s the prototype for the first trip recorded this way …


Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging

… for a better map (unconstrained by the frame of the blog) more you’ll have to try this link.