The first step is, of course, to get Google Maps to make
some driving directions. We’ll use one
of the examples given on the Google Maps home page. Enter “jfk to 350 5th ave,
Now, we need to get the output into a predictable format. To do that, we first need a URL that contains everything we need to recreate our route. Fortunately, Google provides the “Link to this page” option, which gives us just that. Click “Link to this page.” The displayed map won’t change, but the URL in the address bar will contain your query and some additional parameters.
Now we finally have a file to feed to GPSBabel. What can we do with it? One thing we can do is reduce the route Google Maps has computed for us to a smaller number of points and upload it to a handheld GPS unit. While GPSBabel comes with a GUI front end, its real power lies in the command-line interface. For our example, we must use the command-line interface because the GUI does not support filters. Start a command prompt, make sure that GPSBabel is in your path, and cd to the directory where you saved your map file. Connect a supported Magellan or Garmin GPS receiver to com1 (or some other serial or USB port.) Assuming you used com1, type the following, all on one line, and hit enter:
For a Magellan GPS receiver:
gpsbabel –i google –f nyc.htm –x simplify,count=30 –o magellan –F com1:
For a Garmin GPS receiver:
gpsbabel –i google –f nyc.htm –x simplify,count=30 –o garmin –F com1:
That’s it! GPSBabel will read the driving directions produced by Google Maps, pick the 30 most salient points along the route, and upload the new route to your GPS receiver.