Home Tips Creating Overland Routes in Google Earth

Creating Overland Routes in Google Earth


Google Earth is one of the best free tools for Overlanders. This is a practical guide for creating paths and routes in Google Earth to share or import into your personal navigation hardware.

To get started, download Google Earth below!

Google Earth

Google Earth is a free 3d map application with incredible detail. as a tool for exploration, there is nothing else like it.

“View satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, galaxies far in space, and the deepest depths of the ocean.”

You can get started by downloading the application here for Desktop or Mobile. This is an image link:


Pan Left & Right
Zoom In & Out

For navigating in Google Earth we highly recommend getting a “Wheel Mouse” if you do not already own one. This makes it easy to navigate, while adding points on the map, using arrow keys to pan and the wheel to zoom in and out. We have found any other configuration to be quite frustrating! Download and install Google Earth on your computer. Hardware acceleration (a good video card) makes navigation smooth and effortless.



Overland Bound is the fastest-growing overland community in the world. There are probably members close to you! If you are looking for adventure, join a community that will support you! We understand the call!

  1. Install Google Earth
  2. In left navigation pane, create a folder with the name of the location.
  3. Go to that location by using the search box in the upper left of Google Earth
  4. With the folder selected in the left pane, at the top of the screen, click the “path tool”. This will create a path in your folder.
  5. In the path dialogue, name the path and do NOT close the dialogue box. In the 3D screen navigate the map using the arrows to pan (or W, A, S, D) and the mouse wheel to zoom in and out as needed.
  6. Use the left mouse button to add points and the right button to remove points.
  7. Complete your path.
  8. Save the path by selecting the “OK” button on the path dialogue.
  9. You can add markers and icons to the path like, “Beginning” for example, by using the “pin” tool that looks like a thumb-tack.
  10. Once done, right-click the path in the left pane and choose “Save Location As” to save a “KML” file. KML files can be saved to gpx format. Save the file to your desktop. This file can be shared with other people who have Google Earth.
  11. To convert your file to GPX format, usable by most navigation hardware, go to this website and complete the conversion: KML to GPX It is free and easy!

That is it! If you have an y questions, please let me know in ght comments and I will answer for you!



Backwoods country bumpkin. Overland enthusiast and lover of the great outdoors.


  1. Michael submitted an Article on the main site!

    Creating Overland Routes in Google Earth

    Google Earth is one of the best free tools for…

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.

    Thanks for the video, I use this method all the time, however I learned a couple of things watching you do it.

    Did you know you can get Google Earth Pro for free? With it you get the following features not in the standard version.

    Movie Maker Integration

    Geographic Information System (GIS) data import tools

    High-resolution printing capability

    US parcel, demographic and traffic data layers

    Automatic generation of "superoverlays" for very large image files

    Automatic region generation of large point and vector datasets

    Area measurement

    Here is a link and instructions to download the Pro version.


  2. Well damnit, I’ve been a lurker for months now and this article seals it. I’m just going to have to join.
    Besides. I scraped the “Trail Rated” badge off my Jeep on a log and I need something to replace it!
    thanks for the instructions on file conversion and route(not root) finding.

  3. Thankyou…I never knew this ! Downloaded :smiley:

    Awesome video Michael…Thankyou for that great info !

    Pro allows you to calculate distance using the the 3D characteristcs od the software as opposed to just a staright line, which is not that big of feal unless there is a lot of elevation change or you are travelling a freat distance. But it is pretty neat!

  4. what an wicked video,

    I've been using google earth for years in my day job for link planning and design work, however it never occured to me that i could export a gpx file for my satnav / gps

    So i use it to get an idea of the area like mentioned,

    Thanks @Michael really good for those who may not use it as often as others :sunglasses:

  5. This is the first OB video I stumbled across a month or two back.  Checking out other OB videos is what introduced me to this community.  So thanks are due on two fronts:  1) for posting a very useful how-to, and 2) for providing the bridge that brought me here.

  6. I saw the video and it's really well explained, but the windows app always felt clunky and old (I think the UI is the same as in 2008 or 2010), luckily there is now a web version which works almost the same but with a nicer UI (and no software install needed if your browser is supported).

    I wanted to add a trick I use for those times when I forgot to start the route tracker (or the phone can't handle tracking too) …

    If you have location history on Google Maps turned on on your smartphone (Android for sure, not 100% sure on iOs), you can export a day to KML.

    The steps are simple:

    1. Go to https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?authuser=0&pb
    2. Choose a day
    3. Click on the gear icon
    4. Export to KML
    5. Enjoy