Creating the Palisades Creek Lost Google Map (GPS/Digital Camera)

The following describes how I created the map above (from my Oct 2009 Palisade Creek "Lost" hike) - See my Palisade Creek Lost blogpost from Nov 1, 2009.

To create the Google Map post from Nov 1, 2009, I used a basic Garmin 76S and a plain digital camera - Cannon with 5 Mp that does not have GPS capability.

One can create a map like this without any special software other than the Free GPS Babel software to do GPS to other format conversions (one of which is KML) and a free Google (gmail) account.


1. Download the GPSBabel software.

2. Obtain a free Gmail account if you don't already have one.

3. If you want to view your Google KML file in Google Earth, then you will need to download this program. If you want to see you KML file in Google Maps, then you just need to save the KML files.

Create the Map

1. Collect GPS Data

Go collect some GPS locations, routes, tracks. At some point this post will be outdated, but for those of us who don't own the latest and greatest toys, this will be helpful to those who want to create free and easy maps for some basic location GPS data and digital photos.

2. Download/Convert GPS Data using GPS Babel to KML Format

Download the GPS Babel software (if needed). Note where the GPSBabelGUI.exe file is located so you can start the program. The GPSBabelGUI.exe is the GPSBabel program that has a grapical user interface (GUI), which makes it simpler to download/upload/change GPS formats.

Download your data using the GPS babel software and save it out to a KML format. Save the KML file somewhere on your computer.

3. Download your photos to you computer

Once you download your pictures go to the Photos link and create a new photo album and upload the pictures you downloaded to this album. This creates a "Web Album" on your Google account.

4. Add the pictures to a Google Map.

Add a caption if you choose

5. Create a KML file of your photo map

Go back to the Photo Album of your photos, and then click on "View in Google Earth" to generate a KML file.

Instead of "Open in Google Earth," choose "Save." Note the long number. You will need to remember where you save this file, since you will "Import" it into your custom map you will create later (see the next steps).

6. Create a Google Map of your GPS data

Click on the "more" drop down list in you Gmail account andselect Maps from the list to bring up a window to create your own Google Maps.

Click "My Maps" to create a custom Google Map. This map will contain both the GPS data and your photos.

Click "Create a new map" to create a custom map. Give it a name and a description if you choose, and then choose "Import" to import your KML files.

You will need to import your KML files of both your GPS data (exported from GPS Babel) and your photos (that you created in the above steps) into this new map.

7. Import the KML file of your GPS data and photos to your custom map.

You should now have a custom map of your GPS data and photos.

From here you can edit the captions and add text about the locations or photos.

Happy Map Making!



Urban Garden

Spring is trying to get here and I am trying to get my garden going as well. For the last few years of creating and planting raised beds, my what should be "green thumb" is rather brown or gray. I thought I might start out this year with actually testing my soil. My son made this his science project, which actually got him to a District science fair. Turns out my soil is basically depleted of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, but ok with Potassium. pH is neutral.

So a few weeks ago (early March), I added the following:

Chicken Manure - 1 bag over all three boxes
Steer Manure - 1 bag per garden box
My own Compost - a number of shovel fulls of compost

Mixed all of this in.

About 3 weeks ago, I planted my gardens:

Box 1

(all seeds

Pasilla peppers
Cherry Tomatoes - planted in a circle
Big Boy Tomatoes - planted in a circle

Box 2

Lettuce Mix
Garlic - from a head of garlic
Onion bulbs



Box 3

Beans - planted in circles
Brussel Sprouts
Green Onions

Lately, the temperature has been in the high50's low 60's. Two weeks ago it was 70 in the day, 50 at night. I think it has been a little too cold for the little seeds to germinate.

In addition to planting my garden and keeping my options for planting going, I also started inside:

Starter Box 1

Tomatoes (cherry and big boy)
Pasilla Peppers

Starter Box 2

Tomatoes (cherry and big boy)

The beans are currently in a wet paper towel and germinating

The tomatoes have germinated after 1 week. The peppers have not germinated.
I have not used any light source on them other than the light that comes through my back sliding door and kitchen table.

I have also started pepper seeds in a wet paper towel, but no germination after 1 week.

Currently, lettuce, carrots, and brussel sprouts have sprouted in the garden. Garlic tops have appeared from my planted garlic cloves. All the rest has not germinated.

I do think my soil still has too much clay. I probably should have added 2-3 bags of good topsoil and a little more steer manure. I did not add any lime, or phosphorus or other phosphorus additive. I am attempting for pure organic and trying to develop my soil. I do have plenty of earth worms moving around, so I know the soil has some good stuff in it.

Okra, Peas, Cilantro

Today, I just planted okra, peas, and cilantro in an attempt to germinate other plants indoors while it is still cold.


On the side of my yard, I do have black berry bushes with buds and one of my two blue berry bushes have buds and the other is doing ok.

Fruit Trees

I bought fig and cherry tree and have yet to install them in raised boxes in my front yard. The cherry is questionable. The leaves that were on there when I bought is are dying, but I do see some new green buds appearing. The fig is doing well. The lemon and lime have sprouted new leaves and the lemon has new buds about to open. The mandarin still has a green stem, but I am awaiting an new signs of recuperation. The pear tree has no buds on it and I am not sure the pear is going to sprout any buds.