Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tracking Snowshoe Tracks

On New Year's Eve, several friends joined me for an unusual celebration of the year's end. After dark, we strapped on snowshoes and made our way up the side of a mountain near Donner Summit in California. Using mountain bike lights and the abundant moonlight, we found our way to a splendid view of Donner Lake and the surrounding Sierra.

Of course, being a GPS geek, I tracked our trek with my new Christmas gift: a Garmin 60CSx device. I wanted to view our route in Google Earth. The resulting track ended up being much more informative than I anticipated. As we climbed, we tried to find the famous train tunnel that cuts into this mountain side. Alas, due to visibility and some navigation confusion, we never ended up finding the tunnel.

Upon our return home, I downloaded the track into Google Earth. I immediately saw the train tunnel and using the measuring tool, I determined that we were only ~350' from the tunnel! It was hidden just behind an incline that kept it out of sight.

As an outdoor enthusiast, I absolutely love how Google Earth can help me scope out terrain that I explore on bike, foot or snowshoe.


admin1 said...


This is great! I just learned about google earth. I have this walking project


and I was wondering if I could plan and then trace my actual path on google earth. It seems that this will be possible.

Any comments about how to do this?


John said...

You can sketch the trip using the Path feature. If you track the route with a GPS device, you can upload the tracks to Google Earth Plus or Pro.

GearthBlog.com said...

John, I just noticed the link to the location you provided for Google Maps isn't working properly. It takes you to the middle of the US instead of California.

I had to type in the GPS coords from the GE screenshot you provided to find your location. You should write a story taking your GPS track and putting it into GPS visualizer and show the resulting GE file with colorized-by-altitude track.