Google Maps is an excellent resource to plan for your next cycling adventure.
It is very convenient and amazing, and I truly recommend using it for the creation of interesting routes.
The way you can use Google Maps to plan for a cycling adventure is as follows:
- You just need to navigate to maps.google.com and draw a route there. Probably you are already used to the interface of Google Maps, but just as a reminder: you can select the start point, and each intermediate point you want to visit along the route, or leave Google to determine automatically the route to take from beginning to end.I normally prefer the manual mode, and draw directly the route over the map, controlling exactly what points along the route I want to visit, and putting special attention to the gain in height (as it is an important information just for knowing the feasibility of a cycling route). In this first step you simply drawn the route in Google Maps.It is very important that you drawn it properly, and that you ensure that what you are drawing in the map is a route that will worth the visit afterwards.
- Once you have the route drawn in Google Maps, you need to copy the generated URL, as you will need it for the format conversion. The URL will be certainly a long one, with information about longitude and latitude, as well as other parameters used by google. Just copy it entirely from Google Mapst to the clipboard.
- Once the URL is copied, you will need to convert it to a format that is well understood by your GPS device. My preferred device is an Iphone with the Wikiloc app loaded, or a Garmic Edge 310. Both devices understand .gpx format well, so .gpx will be for me the target format to convert to.
At this stage, what I want to achieve is to convert the Google Maps route to a .gpx file so that I can upload it to my GPS device. However, all I have is the URL copied from Google Maps, so how do I accomplish this? Well, I need a third party software for doing it. I use an online resource very helpful for all GPS related tasks. It is called GPS Visualizer, and the URL can be visited here: http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/convert_input
Once you are on the WEB of gpsvisualizer all you need to do is just paste the URL resource obtained from Google Maps on the field that says… “Or provide the URL of a file on the Web:”, ensuring that you have selected the radio button that says GPX as the Output format.Take a look to the following image for clarification:
Once ready, click on the Convert button. After only few seconds, it will magically provide you with a .gpx file that will be downloaded automatically. That is the file that contains your route.
The final step now is just to upload that GPX file to your GPS device. I do it via the web of Wikiloc.com, but it is very simple no matter what method do you prefer.
And that is how I plan my cycling routes. Cool, right?