Hiking Trails on Google Earth

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I read today that Google is partnering with Trimble Outdoors to add hiking trails to their popular Google Earth software program. Here is the link to Google’s official blog announcement.

This seems like it will be a really great tool once it is fully implemented. The key will be getting as many hiking trails as possible into the database. Right now Trimble’s database seems quite sparsely populated. For example, zooming in on the states of Oregon and Washington shows The Pacific Crest Trail, but no others. What will make this tool really useful is to eventually get small local hiking trails into Google Earth so that when visiting a new area, all the local trails will be viewable.

My first question would be how they plan to get additional trails into the database. Maybe the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Park Service, The Sierra Club and other such organizations will eventually be able to provide gps data to integrate into Google Earth. Trimble’s website says that for now, the hiking data is “contributed by editors of the Backpacker, Bicycling and Mountain Bike magazines, as well as trips shared by Trimble Outdoors users”. The idea of user submitted gps information for trail routes is a sure way to increase the inventory of trails in Google Earth. I would think, however, that there would need to be some sort of verification process before new trails submitted by the general public are published to Google Earth.

If you already use Google Earth, to see this new feature just make sure your Layers sidebar is visible, then open the Featured Content menu and tick the Trimble Outdoors Trips radio button. Zoom in on the area you are interested in and look for a line with little green hikers on it.

Overall, this is a very exciting development for us technology loving hikers, campers and geocachers.

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Will Sig
1 Kade

I’ve used Trimble outdoors and it’s pretty nice. There is another site called Backcountry Secrets that I prefer though. The link to the site is http://www.backcountrysecrets.com

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2 Will

Thanks Kade! It looks like a great site, just not too many entries yet. The state of Oregon only has two. Hopefully it will catch on.

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3 Hiking Arizona

I have also used the site and it really helps see the hikes from a different perspective. You can plan out your hikes and no where you are going ahead of time. Plus you can see elevation and other useful information.

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4 Chris H

I’ve been doing the great north walk in Australia and found that on the website at http://www.thegreatnorthwalk.com they use Google Earth to indicate lots and lots of information about the walk, where to stay, where to visit etc. Good resource. Well done.

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5 Casey John

That will be cool. I already use google maps to get everywhere so this only seems natural.

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6 Ken

I don’t see the “Featured Content” menu in my Layers sidebar. Where is it located? I’m using Google Earth ver. 7.0.1.8244.

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7 Will

I don’s see it any longer either. Trimble has been doing more on their own lately… http://www.mastersketchup.com/google-has-sold-sketchup-to-trimble/
http://support.google.com/sketchup/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=165499
You can search for trips now too:
http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/Search/FindTrips.aspx

I don’t use Google Earth too much these days. I have specific maps that I load on my GPSr that show hiking trails.

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