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What is required to use a GPS Map?

There are two ways to use a GPS Map:

  1. View using mapping software such as Google Earth (free) or TOPO!.
  2. OPTIONAL: Load into your handheld GPS unit to take with you on the river.

Google Earth

The following is required to view a GPS Map using Google Earth or some other mapping software:

1. Personal Computer - Although GPS Maps are compatible with both Mac and PC computers, make sure you get mapping software that is compatible with your computer. Google Earth runs on both Mac and PC platforms.
2. Mapping Software - Many different mapping programs are available. Included in your GPS Map is a KML file that can be viewed using Google Earth (free). Also included is a GPX file. GPX is a universal GPS file format that is compatible with most mapping software apps.

Handheld GPS Unit

The following is required to load a GPS Map into your handheld GPS:

1. Personal Computer - Most computer software used to transfer GPS coordinates from a computer into a handheld GPS require a windows compatible PC. Some applications, like GPS Babel (free) , run on both Mac and PC operating systems.
2. Handheld GPS - Many different handheld GPS units are available on the market today. See our list of major GPS manufacturers..
3. Interface Cable - Available from your handheld GPS's manufacturer, most interface cables are either USB or serial.
4. Software Application - Almost all the GPS manufacturers offer software for transferring GPS coordinates, routes and tracks to and from a handheld GPS. Some is free and some is not. We recommend GPS Babel, a free application that runs on both Mac and PC.
5. GPS Coordinate File - When you purchase a river GPS Map you receive both a GPX file and a KML file. The GPX file is for uploading into a handheld GPS or viewing with map software. The KML file is for viewing with Google Earth specifically.
  NOTE: See you GPS manufacturer's instructions for a list of specific requirements.



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