I've told quite a few people that one of the best purchases I've made in terms of kayak fishing gear was a Lowrance map/fishfinder unit and satellite imagery map card. Having the map on and at arms length all day long lets me make way better decisions on the water, as I figure out the pattern for the fish and look for areas that look similar to where I'm having success. It's also very handy to see old tracks laid over your current track, so you can confirm that you are indeed in that one spot that was so awesome that one time with similar conditions. That being said, the Lowrance interface leaves a lot to be desired, and I'd much rather store the tracks along with the rest of my notes and mapping, in my Google Earth files. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly a straightforward process, so I thought I would make a short post outlining how I do it. Please keep in mind that I am doing this on a Mac. I don't think the process is very different on a Windows machine, but perhaps someone can confirm that.
Things you will need:
- A Lowrance GPS-enabled mapping unit
- A MicroSD memory card. This can be the LA 1/Standard mapping card that you have your maps on
- Card reader for the computer
- Google Earth
- GPS Babel - get the download here
I'll run through the steps, but in essence, we will be saving the tracks to the card while the card is still in the Lowrance, then putting the card in the card reader, selecting the file with GPS Babel, and translating it into the language that Google Earth can understand.