GPS Logging

Tags Maps

Flights aren’t the only things I like to map. I also often record GPS data while driving, bicycling, or walking, and create maps of the routes.


From July 2010 to December 2011, I recorded a log of everywhere I drove, and imported it into Google Earth.

Google Earth map of driving tracks

I performed the logging with a Garmin nüvi 1390T automotive GPS. However, I’ve been able to extract the log from other Garmin nüvi models as well.

The GPS log gives a good overview of everywhere I drove in the country for that year and a half — when I traveled and rented a car, I brought along my GPS to record those routes as well. For example, the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in Texas:

Google Earth map of driving tracks

Even at closer zoom levels, the detail is decent:

Google Earth map of driving tracks

Learn how to create Google Earth route maps with a Garmin GPS in my Garmin/Google Earth GPS Logging tutorial.

Walking and Biking

If I want to create a map while I’m not driving, I use my iPhone to record the location data.

As an example, there are a lot of old rail lines in my area that have been converted to bicycle trails. I took a log of my bike riding over one summer and created the following map:

OpenStreetMap of bicycling tracks

In this case, I used uMap with OpenStreetMap data. However, it would have been trivial to use the bicycling data in Google Earth instead.

Learn how to create route maps with an iOS device in my iOS GPS Logging tutorial.

Ingress Mapping

I occasionally play a geocaching game called Ingress, which encourages walking around between different waypoints on a map. Sometimes these waypoints are arranged into “missions” which require visiting waypoints in a certain order, and reward a digital “badge” with a picture related to the mission.

Sometimes, there are groups of missions with badge pictures that form a larger mosaic. I particularly like completing these (I enjoy walking and exploring), and I’ve started recording location data while I play to make maps.

Map of Tulsa Skyline Ingress Missions

See more of my Ingress mosaic maps.