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  1. #1
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    Anyone use Google Earth w/ Garmin?

    This is along the lines of which app is more accurate Strava, Endomondo, name your flavor of the week GPS app, etc, etc. I recently picked up a Garmin Edge 500....mainly for fitness tracking purposes since I don't need the maps. I'll export tracks directly from the Garmin device to Endo & Strava and can't believe how different all three websites are with the data reporting (Garmin connect being the third). Heart rate and cadence are fine but speed, descents & elevation climbed are vastly different among all three. I figured Garmin connect would be the most accurate but their website is way off because the start and end points are identical but the elevation is way off from starting and ending points (I do like their website for tracking fitness stats though).

    Enter google earth...I've compared the same recorded tracks using both Strava and Garmin where I overplayed both on google earth and it's no contest. The Edge is pretty accurate along the trail line whereas Strava has you going through buildings, brick walls, streams, you name it. The track also shows up much smoother w/ Garmin - Strava is pretty jagged on the map. The best part is the "elevation profile" in Google Earth where you right click the track, hit elevation profile and a graph pops up underneath the map w/ performance stats, similar to Strava but much more detailed and accurate. Best part is the starting and ending elevation points that were off in some of the websites are identical in Google earth which validates how accurate it is. I'm curious if anyone else is using this and how/if you can compile the historical data in one running tally like the mainstream websites. For all the GPS geeks it's definitely worth checking out

  2. #2
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    You are behind the gps geek curve, my friend.

    Google Earth is ignoring the elevation recorded by the GPS. It also does not have the most detailed reports.

    Take a look at Topfusion. It is not free but free is rarely the best.

  3. #3
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    LOL, you're right about being behind the curve being a rookie to the world of GPS tracking. Some amazing stuff out there. Thanks for the tip on topfusion, that looks to have what I'm after. I did a quick search on software and there are tons and tons of software apps to choose from. Where to begin??!!

    I'm not sure what you mean by google earth ignores elevation b/c it does show up in the app/map just like Strava where you can highlight certain segments of your ride and it'll tell you current elevation, speed, HR, cadence, temp all in graph form if you want. Then it shows total distance, time, avg slope, avg negative slope, and elevation gain loss. As I mentioned, this appears to be much more accurate b/c on my last ride the elevation gained equaled the elevation descended which makes sense b/c I started and ended at the same point. I can't say the same thing for the Stravas & endomondos of the world. I'd post an image but I don't think I'm up to enough posts yet.

    Don't get me wrong, I love these websites but they all offer different traits that I want...Strava has the segments, endomondo allows you to aggregate data over different time periods and compare vs. yourself. It would be nice to have one stop shopping instead of uploading files all over the place. One last one is training peaks but that caters more towards the fitness geeks.

  4. #4
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    What he's saying about elevation data is that your GPS itself logs elevation data from the satellites. Just like it locates you on the map it also locates you in space vertically. But unless you have a good lock on lots of sats it's not always very accurate. So what Strava is doing is reporting your vertical profiles and stats based on the GPS data. Google earth is taking your recorded track (lon, lat coordinates), throwing out the elevation data, and overlaying it on a topographical map and showing you that elevation profile based on that map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodi2259 View Post
    What he's saying about elevation data is that your GPS itself logs elevation data from the satellites. Just like it locates you on the map it also locates you in space vertically. But unless you have a good lock on lots of sats it's not always very accurate. So what Strava is doing is reporting your vertical profiles and stats based on the GPS data.
    I'm not saying anything about the data his GPS recorded.

    Google earth is taking your recorded track (lon, lat coordinates), throwing out the elevation data, and overlaying it on a topographical map and showing you that elevation profile based on that map.
    what I'm saying is that Google Earth ignores the elevation recorded by the GPS because it has an elevation dataset programmed into it that it uses instead (it is called a DEM, or digital elevation model - how do you think GE knows how to display 3d?). Topofusion has much better reports for elevation, and compares what your GPS recorded with multiple elevation datasets.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I'm not saying anything about the data his GPS recorded.



    what I'm saying is that Google Earth ignores the elevation recorded by the GPS because it has an elevation dataset programmed into it that it uses instead (it is called a DEM, or digital elevation model - how do you think GE knows how to display 3d?). Topofusion has much better reports for elevation, and compares what your GPS recorded with multiple elevation datasets.
    Sorry to put words in your mouth. I was trying to point out to the OP that his GPS was in fact recording elevation data in case he wasn't aware of it and that GPS data often isn't that perfect which probably explains why his climbing and descending elevation didn't match in a loop ride when only GPS data was considered. When putting it in google maps that data is thrown out so things make more sense but they still might not be accurate. I haven't used Topofusion to know if that is a lot more accurate but in general I take all GPS tracks and their associated elevation profiles with a grain of salt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodi2259 View Post
    Sorry to put words in your mouth. I was trying to point out to the OP that his GPS was in fact recording elevation data in case he wasn't aware of it and that GPS data often isn't that perfect which probably explains why his climbing and descending elevation didn't match in a loop ride when only GPS data was considered. When putting it in google maps that data is thrown out so things make more sense but they still might not be accurate. I haven't used Topofusion to know if that is a lot more accurate but in general I take all GPS tracks and their associated elevation profiles with a grain of salt.
    when it comes to elevation, "accuracy" is a very nebulous term. elevation depends on what you consider to be 0 elevation. the earth does not have a regular shape and sea level varies. I wouldn't say TF is "more accurate" but I think it's better because it provides elevation reports from several sources: the GPS device itself, regular DEM, and a few other elevation data sources. They can vary wildly, which gives a little perspective on how difficult it is to measure elevation.

    you are very correct that GPS data is not perfect.

  8. #8
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    Check out Rubitrack for housing all your GPS data, unbelievable. Mapping is a little suspect but all the other fitness stuff is exactly what I'm looking for. Only $39, although in this day and age if it ain't free then forget it

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