Converting GPS Data Between GPX and KML

Part of the GPS Mapping Tutorials series.

GPX (GPS Exchange format) and KML (Keyhole Markup Language) are both file types used to store GPS data. While many applications can use either file formats, Google products (Google Earth, Google My Maps) tend to prefer KML, so it’s often helpful to be able to convert between them.

(Note that both .kml and .kmz file extensions represent KML files; the latter is just a zipped version to reduce file size.)

This tutorial will teach you how to convert between GPX and KML (in both directions) using GPS Visualizer.

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Extracting GPX Files From a Garmin Automotive GPS

Part of the GPS Mapping Tutorials series.

This tutorial will teach you how to record route data on a Garmin automotive GPS and extract it into a GPX file (which can then be used by mapping software).

I wrote this tutorial using a Garmin DriveSmart 50 LMT. However, I’ve had success using the same steps with other variations of the Garmin nüvi and DriveSmart series.

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My Airport History: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AVP)

flighthistorian.com/airports/AVP

I flew into AVP for a work trip to Binghamton, New York, where flights directly into Binghamton were expensive enough to make the drive from northeastern Pennsylvania worthwhile.

The most unusual part of the airport was that (at least in 2011 when I visited) the taxiway didn’t extend all the way to the end of the runway – which meant we got to taxi down part of the runway itself, then make a U-turn to take off.

Aerial image of AVP runway 22 turnaround, showing taxi and takeoff path
Our taxi route along the red arrows, before our takeoff along the yellow arrow.

I remember that the airport gift shop had quite a lot of The Office merchandise, which made sense as that’s probably Scranton’s biggest pop culture claim to fame. I was excited to go to Scranton for a different reason, though: to drive down the hill known for the banana truck incident in the Harry Chapin song 30,000 Pounds of Bananas.

Photo of no trucks sign on the side of the road leading to the hill from the song.
Trucks are now prohibited from that route. My rental car’s brakes handled the hill just fine!

Travel Heatmap

Heatmap of the world, showing Paul’s time spent in various locations

For my 2010s Decade in Travel post, I manually created a heatmap showing the parts of the United States and world where I’d spent the most time traveling. Since I’ve been playing around with QGIS recently, I went ahead and used it to create a proper heatmap of my travels.

The hotter (more yellow) each area of the map is, the more nights I’ve spent there. The map clearly shows that the majority of my travel is within the United States, with a lot of travel to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas in particular. Other especially hot areas are Seattle and Orlando, both of which have had many work and personal trips.

Although the map data only goes through March 2020, it is up to date as of this post – due to COVID-19, I haven’t traveled since March.