A while back I was travelling quite a bit, and I wanted to figure out where I could find free wifi while on the road. So I went to Google Maps and clicked "Local Search." I entered wifi in the "what" field and a city name in the "where" field and, like magic, I had a map with lots of wifi hot spots. But now what? I had a GPS. There had to be a way to convert these search results to waypoints so my GPS could guide me there. I searched for a converter, and though I found a couple, I couldn't get them to work. After a little sleuthing, I've discovered one that works, and the trick to get it to do so. Thanks to Josh of Communications From Elsewhere for this great tool. Here are step-by-step instructions for you...
- Get the GMapToGPX converter and drag it to your browser's bookmark toolbar. Now Josh says it works in Firefox and Internet Explorer (IE). There's a bookmark toolbar in the Firefox, and it works fine there. I couldn't get it working in IE though. UPDATE: In IE, just right-click on the GMapToGPX button on his site and select "Add to Favorites."
- Go to local.google.com and enter a query. This is where I had problems. It works with local.google.com but not with maps.google.com. I have no idea why. Maybe a more tech-savvy reader can enlighten us. Regardless, you end up in Google Maps.
- Once the local search loads, click the GMapToGPX button on your toolbar. Or if you're using IE, click the GMapToGPX Favorite. This opens an xml/gpx file.
- Copy this file to a text editor and save it with a .gpx extension (e.g., Saratoga wifi.gpx)
- Open this in your favorite GPX compatible mapping software and send it to your GPS. One caveat here. I could not open this in MapSource. I was successful in transferring it to TopoFusion, ExpertGPS and USAPhotoMaps. I was also able to transfer from those, into my GPS, and then into MapSource.
- Now, hit the road!
Hmm, I'll be on the road again next weekend, so what do I want to do? Here's an idea. Just imagine the possibilities...