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Real-Time GPS Tracking With Google Earth – Paid Options

As a wrap-up to the “Google Earth Plus features for free” series, I’ll briefly comment on the three paid (albeit cheap) options for doing real-time GPS tracking with the free version of Google Earth.

Franson GPSGate Google Earth plug-in

I mentioned GPSGate in an earlier post – it converts a Garmin USB connection to an NMEA equivalent, and also splits a single NMEA connection into multiple serial connections, so that more than one program can receive data from your GPS at the same time. If you buy the Express edition of GPSGate (only two connections) for $9.95, or the Standard edition (unlimited connections) for $29.95, you can also download and install a free plug-in that lets you do real-time GPS tracking with Google Earth. Haven’t tried it, so can’t really comment on it, but from the screenshots and description it looks pretty good.


EarthTracker will run for a few minutes, then timeout; you then have to re-start it. Registration for $10 stops the timeouts. The feature set looks pretty decent: supports NMEA and Garmin USB, fleet tracking then Supports Garmin USB connection, fleet tracking, comes with a data converter. But I was unable to get it to work correctly; with an NMEA connection, Google Earth opens and displays a position marker briefly before shutting down spontaneously; I suspect that one of the Google Earth API revisions broke it. And the Garmin USB connection didn’t work at all. But give it a shot – it might work for you. Comes with a PDF manual.


GETrax has a 30-day free trial period, then requires $9.95 registration. Comes with a wide-variety of features, including APRS support, sending data to Google Maps, file conversion, etc., and worked fine on my system. Comes with a decent help file as well. Don’t know that I’d choose it over EarthBridge, but at least worth checking out in 30-day demo mode. DestinSharks has a review of this program, along with reviews of GooPs, EarthBridge, and Google Earth Plus.

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4 Responses to “Real-Time GPS Tracking With Google Earth – Paid Options”

  1. 1 Cesar da Cruz

    Dear Sirs,

    I would like to have the paid version of google earth. But it must show me a very clear pictures of Angola, because I need to track cars circulating inside of Angola. Can you offer me a good solution?

    Thanks and regards,

    Cesar da Cruz

  2. 2 Leszek Pawlowicz

    The paid version of Google Earth has the same imagery as the free version, it only downloads it faster and prints it with higher resolution. So if the current resolution for Angola is unsatisfactory, the paid version will show no improvement. And the imagery is not real-time, but can be months or even years old, with updates occurring months/years apart, making it impractical to track cars.

  3. 3 Wagner Agost

    I need a version of Google Earth that could provide me with more imagery than the free version can, I need to see an area that is not visible in the regular one, besides that the images would have to be updated quite often, so then I could observ the development of a farm in that area.
    Do you know of any program like Google Earth or one of its versions that could fit to my needs?

  4. 4 Leszek Pawlowicz

    No – all versions of Google Earth have the same imagery. You would need to purchase such imagery directly from a company like Digital Globe.

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