Introduction: Save a Track From Your Garmin Oregon GPS

This Instructable will show you how to save a track on a Garmin Oregon GPS. This track can then be viewed in Google Earth or used to add trails to OpenStreetMaps. A follow up Instructable will show how to add a track to OpenStreetMaps. I am using a Garmin Oregon 450 for this Instructable.

Step 1: Make Sure the GPS Is Recording Tracks and Set Colour

First we need to check that the GPS is recording tracks, clear any old tracks and check that the colour is easy to see on the GPS map screen. When you are ready to start recording your track follow these steps:

Go to the Setup screen (icon is a wrench)
Then press Tracks
Check that Track Log shows Record, Show On Map
If not press Track Log then Record,Show On Map
Look at the color option and press it to select whatever color you like - I think the "neon pink" shows best on the map display.
Next press the back arrow to go back to the Setup screen
Now we need to clear the old track
press Reset
then press Clear Current Track
Press Yes to confirm - note this will not save the current track just delete it.
Press the back arrow
Press the X to exit back to the main screen

Step 2: Lets Go!

Now that the GPS is ready to record our track lets go. Start that hike, bike, 4x4 trip, snowmobile trip, Geocache hunt....

As you go on your trip you will see the track displayed on the Map screen in the colour you picked in the previous step. When you have reached the point where you want to stop recording your track, or at a point where you want to save your track follow these steps:

From the main screen scroll until you see the Track Manager icon
Press Track Manager.
Press Current Track
Press Save Track
The track by default will save to a file named by the current date/time - press the green Check Mark to save the track.
Note - you can change the track name at this point but you will find it easier to do this later on your PC.
The track will be exported to a GPX file and stored on the internal (permanent) memory of the GPS unit.
If you wish you can clear the track after this - clearing the track will remove it from the map display and start a fresh track from the point you are at. Not clearing it will continue saving your track to the current track. Either way it will still save the track up to this point on the GPS internal memory.
You will now be back at the Track Manager menu and you should see your saved track on the list.
Press X to go back to the main screen.

Step 3: Save to Your PC

Next we need to connect our Garmin to our PC. The Garmin Oregon uses a standard USB Mini B cable.
Gently open the cover on the bottom of the unit and connect the USB cable to the unit and PC.

Under My Computer you will see a new drive letter (two of them if you have a Micro SB card installed)
See the above image.
Double click on the drive letter, double click the Garmin folder, then double click the GPX folder
You will see a list of GPX files and you should recognize the saved track in this folder.

While you can work with the GPX files directly from the Garmin it is best to copy them onto your PC somewhere (I also save mine to "dropbox"). If you happen to reset or clear this data off your GPS you will still have a backup on your PC. So copy the track(s) to a folder on the PC hard drive. Use whatever copy/paste technique you are used to.

Step 4: Open in Google Earth

If you have Google earth installed on your PC you can open the Track file directly into Google Earth to get a birds-eye view of the track.

Start Google Earth
Click File then Open
Click the drop-down list and select Gps *.gpx *.loc *.mps etc
Navigate to where you have saved the Track file and select it
Click Open
Click OK if you get a small GPS Data Import window
Google Earth will zoom in on your track.

Viewing the track in Google Earth is just one thing that can be done with your saved tracks. I also use my tracks to add trails and roads that are not on OpenStreetMaps. A future Instructable will show how to do this.