15 February 2011

Stuck in GIS file format hell?

Geographers use a wide variety of devices which record information in many different ways. For example, my GPS Unit records track data and waypoints in the GPX file format. Google Earth can import GPX files, but saves data as a KML file.

File conversions can leave you cross-eyed!

This creates a problem in my geoloation workflow: if I create a route in google Earth, I cannot save it onto my GPS handheld for later use because the KML file format is not compatible. Luckily, a variety of free file convertors are available for converting to and from all sorts of GIS file formats.

I have been using GPS Babel to convert KML files to GPX files. Its free, and has an easy to use web interface! You can also download the original command line version for use in the field without an internet connection, but, its more complicated UI has a steep learning curve.

GPX files are pretty cool! When opened in a text editor, it will open as a list of dates, times, and lat/long data. Basically, a text trail of bread crumbs to reconstruct your track. I have tried editing these files by hand (to remove part of the track, for example) and have had very limited success.

GPX file as viewed in text editor. Not Particularly useful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.