Hang Glider Flight Path

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Hang Glider Flight Path mcshea98 6/29/05 6:08 PM

I took a straight template for a path (in kml not kmz) below:

 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<kml xmlns="http://earth.google.com/kml/2.0">
<name>Flight Path</name>

I replaced the coordinates from your "placemark branch" into the file. Saved it and then opened it in GE. Once inside GE I can change <LookAt> and all the colors.

The real trick that I used was to get the data from the kmz placemarks to a place where I can cut and paste without very much work. Here is what I did.

Download the KMZ
Open in GE
Save as KML to my desktop.
Open a blank MS Excel spreadsheet. (I used 2003)
Go to Data> XML> Import (let it create the schema)
You should see all the points in Column P (This is not always the same column)
Highlight the cells.
Copy and paste into the Generic kml file (above)

I have attached your Flight Path (Converted) This took me less than two minutes to complete. It has taken me about ten minutes to type this up.

Let me know if you need anything else.

(moved from original discussion by seer)
Re: It works for me triphazard 6/29/05 7:04 PM
Thanks, Mcshea98, the path resulting from your manipulations does look nice. It looks just like I'd like it to.

But, I don't want to have to go through all the manipulations you went through, every time I have a track log to import into GE. And I'm a computer professional. I'd hate to ask normal joes to do all that work. Besides, from the Points and Path branches created by the curr. ver. of GE, I'd expect GE is able to do it in one fell swoop, once this altitude bug gets squashed.

Did you do your work on the original gpx file I posted here, or on the kmz file that had been imported in the earlier beta? I expect you used the kmz file. I'll play with your solution a bit.

Re: It works for me mcshea98 6/29/05 7:20 PM

I agree that this should be fixed in GE, but I thought I would post how to do it manually, as this might provide insight for them.

I did the work on your KMZ. It can be done on the GPX file, but it takes a couple extra steps. I will list the general steps.

After importing the XML data,

Highlight the Lat, Lon, and Ele columns
Copy and paste into a new excel file
Swap Lat and Lon columns
Save as csv file
Open csv in notepad
Copy and Paste into Standard path format

Re: It works for me skivvie 6/29/05 11:50 PM
Cool... thanks for all the info guys. I'm away from my PC and only have my laptop (Mac) with me until Monday (I'm actually in Utah hoping to gather some more flight paths =]) so I'll try it as soon as I get home. Thanks!

Re: It works for me Franco 7/7/05 9:51 PM
Does this only wotk on GE Plus or Pro? I tried your instructions going thrugh a CSV file but them I stopped at the Standard Path creation. How can I do that?. I am using GE only. I want to have line representation of a flight track from Garmin GPS. I was able to download the flight but I only got placemarks at the altitude points instead of a continuous line as in your example.
Re: It works for me mcshea98 7/7/05 10:03 PM

Yes, you can do this with GE only, I actually created the KML on a computer that didn't even have GE or Keyhole on it. I strictly used notepad and excel. (Plus the GPS data from triphazard). When you get to the part in the directions (from previous post) about a standard path, do the following:

Open notepad. Copy the following:
<kml xmlns="http://earth.google.com/kml/2.0">
<name>Flight Path</name>


Paste your coordinates (from the CSV that you are editing in notepad) between the <coordinates> tags above.
Save the file as a .kml.
Open the .kml file in GE

I hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.
Re: It works for me Franco 7/7/05 10:32 PM
Man, you are quick! and great!. I just did what you told me and it worked great!!!!

You made my day. I have been playing with this for a while up until today.

Thanks very much!
Franco (Paraglider Pilot)
* download procedure from this post * triphazard 7/9/05 9:10 PM
I've found a way to do the conversion McShea98 details, with less work. I've learned that there is a conversion tool, gpsbabel.exe, that is included with Google Earth. I got a newer version and by using it, I can do the conversion in fewer steps. In short, they are:
1. get your tracklog into .gpx (or .igc or other format that gpsbable knows)
2. have gpsbable convert it directly into the .csv file McShea98 describes.
3. import that .csv into the sample .kml
4. open the resulting .kml in Google Earth.

You'll end up with a Path placemark, with extruded vert. lines linking each trackpoint to the ground (you can easily turn that off in the sample .kml).

I've attached a zip file with all the components and documentation to get this working.

I had to hunt around and experiment a bit with the style sheet that is required by the xcsv conversion. Anyone more intimate with this can improve on this.

Ernie Camacho
Re: Hang Glider Flight Path triphazard 7/9/05 9:29 PM
Just a comment on why this manual conversion is even necessary:
Ideally, GE would simply import a GPS tracklog file (converted to .gpx with G7to win or directly from the GPS) and create a Path placemark, all in one move. But, at present (general release beta), GE has some problems. I've found that trying the above strips the altitude info. And you only get individual points instead of a path.

I've also found that when I try to fly a path (tour), the camera goes along the ground instead of at the path's altitude.

I expect that the GE team wil get these bugs squashed, then you won't have to deal with gpsbabel or excel any more.

Re: Hang Glider Flight Path ivanavitch 7/19/05 7:18 AM
Nice file.

The actual flight would have been a real blast.

John Scott
A real blast triphazard 7/20/05 8:06 PM
Yes, John, flying the Lost River Range in Idaho is a real treat! Here's a couple photos:
Photo 1 : near the start of the tracklog, as I leave Sunset Ridge on the way to Invisible Mt.
Photo 2 : Over Dickey Peak, looking back along the track. Mt. Borah, the highest point in Idaho, is the snowy peak on the left.

For more photos of this route from King Mt., go here.

As you've noticed, having the ability to bring the tracklog of such a splendid flight into Google Earth lets me fly that route over and over. Great winter entertainment.

Re: A real blast ivanavitch 7/22/05 6:08 AM
Thanks for sharing the snaps mate. My jealousy factor has gone through the roof. I have attached a link to the old drop zone (skydiving) where I invested my youth. Weekends, dollars and braincells spent in the pursuit of that rush which (I feel) can only be gained unpowered, hangin' in the breeze, with nothing but thousands of feet of air between your face and mother earth.

To the left of the placemark is the packing sheds, up and to the right is the pea gravel pit and to the right is the dam where I celebrated my 100th jump. Stark naked, middle of winter, tossed in by my mates.

Your snaps bring back some of the memories....


John Scott
Re: Hang Glider Flight Path Bertil 7/27/05 2:02 PM
VERY nice file!

I flew along with you and almost expected to see the pick-up gang waiting at your landing!

I am not very computer savvy and look forward to when you can just download your GPS directly into GE without fuss. Still, it does not look too complicated so I´ll try one of my old tracklogs eventually.

Re: It works for me squale 7/27/05 3:34 PM
very interesting post, I just started using GE and find it amazing. I am a private pilot and what I want to do is sorta similar to the above. I want to take my Garmin eTrex Legend that I have with me on my flights, download the tracklog into GE when I get home, and have it plot out my course and altitude just like your file does above. this way I can fly through my course at home and see the terrain in more detail and also see what mistakes, etc. I might of made in my navigating.

the problem I see is this however, is there a way to FLY through your course line in GE at the same exact altitude and eye level view as your actual real flight? Like I look at your above course for hanggliding and I see the altitude changes a lot, just like in a plane, but is there a way to have it fly through this line adjusting the altitude view level to match that of your tracklog? this would be nice too so you can see the real altitude listed in the status bar for each second of your flight...

I understand that you have to do this weird conversion stuff as you described above right now to get around a bug in GE, but once this bug is fixed this will be a very useful tool.

I wonder if you can even plot a course that you HAVEN'T flown yet, and then have it virtually fly you through the course at an altitude and eye view level that you specify. This would make it very helpful to become familar with the terrain and finding checkpoints BEFORE you take the flight.

Re: It works for me squale 7/27/05 3:47 PM
I also noticed, that there is no way to fly over a line that you make... like I use the measure tool, I draw a path line from one airport straight to another, and I want to fly through the line at a certain altitude and angle to see waht the landscape will look like, I find now way of doing this... when I hit the play button for the tour with my two airports listed, it just zooms into one airport, then zooms out and goes zooming into the next airport... doesn't navigate along my line which I wish it would do..
Re: It works for me squale 7/28/05 8:53 AM
anybody still watching this topic?
Re: It works for me mcshea98 7/28/05 11:15 AM

The Good:
You can tour a path, but the path you want to tour should be the first item checked in your Places folder. This should move along the path at a set speed independent of the number of points you have.
The Bad:
The tour is at a constant height (can be configured in Tools> Options) and angle of view. I try and set the altitude equal to the cruising altitude. If I want to see take off or landing, I try and break my path up into segments. This way, I don't have to go through the whole thing if I just want to review the landing.
The Ugly:
I don't know when this feature might be added. I would also like to have this feature. However, I would prefer that it be something that is in the KML file itself. That way the tour will be the same for everyone independent of their local settings.
Re: It works for me squale 7/28/05 11:56 AM
when I add to placemarks and they are the ONLY two things check in my Places list, then I hit the play button, it zooms into the first place, then zooms out and zooms back into the second place...

it DOES NOT fly a straight line between the two points like a plane would.. how do you do this?

I even tried doing the Tools... Measure.. then clicked on the Path tab and then set the start and end of my path at the two locations, this drew a straight yellow line between the two placemarks but that still doesn't make it FLY along the path when I hit play...

I'm confused...
Re: It works for me mcshea98 7/28/05 12:16 PM

To create paths inside Google Earth, you must have the plus version ($20 US per year). If you don't want to get the Plus version, then you can create your own path using a txt editor. To do this, re-read this entire thread. If you still have questions, let me know.
In the meantime, try loading my attachment and press the play tour button.
Re: It works for me squale 7/28/05 12:32 PM
your flight path doesn't work for me, it just keeps jumping into the first part of the path over and over again... the screen goes wild...

I have your flight path listed as the first thing in the "My Places" group and it's the only thing checked, then I hit play.. and it does the above..
Re: It works for me mcshea98 7/28/05 12:43 PM
What version of Google Earth are you running? (Help> About Google Earth). Try switching rendering mode (Direct X to Open GL or vice versa.). This is under Tools> Options
Path dynamics Re: It works for me smcq 7/28/05 1:21 PM
The hang glider path goes round and round in a spiral as it climbs a thermal for altitude, and it can seem like you are seeing the same thing over and over again. In a sense, you are, because the camera does not climb with the path, but rather, follows the projection of the path on the ground. Thus, you are flying in slightly offset circles during the entire spiral portion of the path. After awhile, the path straightens out as the glider rides the mountain wave. But at no time does the camera view itself climb with the path.

It isn't immediately apparent, but the only way you can increase the altitude of the camera when following a path is to adjust the viewing range under Tools/Options/Control/Advanced. This has to be done prior to any given tour of a path.

I've played with the tour/path feature awhile, and its design seems constrained for tracking a route on the ground. The height of a path, including the variability of the height, seems irrelevant. The camera will rise and fall with the terrain, that's all that I can detect.

Even a max range of 5000 seems to keep the camera too low. I would like to see a max range that allowed an actual orbit . Even better, it would be great to be able to fly along a path rather than just track its projection on the ground, and to look around while following the path.

Also, a pause button would be nice. As it stands now, stop and replay are the only options.

Just another user, not an authority.
Re: Path dynamics Re: It works for me squale 7/28/05 2:26 PM
this is exactly what I am looking for, the same things, so the camera view follows the altitude of the path and you see the same thing as you would see as if you were REALLY flying it...

wouldn't it be great if they could take all the data of google earth and implement it into microsoft flight simulator 2004? this would be awesome!!!! I think you can import gps tracklogs into MSFS2004 now and then replay your flight showing takeoff landing, everything all at the real altitude viewing levels... now only if you could use the Google Earth data..
Re: Path dynamics Re: It works for me Bertil 7/28/05 3:12 PM
I am using GForce mode to manually fly along the path using the mouse as a joystick. It works fine - just takes a little practice to learn not to over correct. You just hit Ctrl+G , to go back to normal hit Ctrl+T. If you lose control hit the space bar.

Info here:


Navigating with GE -> Using a mouse -> Use GForce

Have fun!

Re: It works for me triphazard 7/29/05 6:57 PM
Hello, Squale.

I know that this bbs is a little flaky about where it positions your "reply" post in the thread hierarchy, but finding this msg from you, the most recent of this thread, stuck in the middle of the hierarchy, is a bit strange.

I'm the guy who flew and recorded the "hang glider flight path" and started this part of the original thread. Mcshea98 is the guy who provided a work-around to get the flight path to display properly in GE. I've since posted a procedure that you can use to put Mcshea98's work-around to use with a minimum of work.

This thread was originally started in another forum of this bbs. The first part of the original thread is here.

I agree with you that it would be great to have GE "fly" the tracklog. As you can tell from this thread, if it ever happens, it'll be a while (but I'm sure it'll happen, this product is a steamroller).

If you really want to fly your tracklogs, there is a program, SeeYou, that will do the job nicely. It is used a lot by pilots of unpowered aircraft. I think that it costs in the neighborhood of $150, but if you fly, it'll be worth it. So, get SeeYou for now, and keep your suggestions for adding this feature to GE coming.

Ernie Camacho
p.s. to the BBS admins: is there a way to have posts that contain attachments flagged as such?
Re: Hang Glider Flight Path. Thanks jmg 7/31/05 9:26 AM
Thanks to you and mcshea98...
I try also to put my paragliding tracks from my GPS Garmin 76S to GE+ without any succes from a few days and I was very happy to find finally your conversation.

So, it is finally a bug in GE+ ! When I think that I bought it only to do that !
I hope they will try to solve the problem.

I have used the way suggested by mcshea98 and it works (see this small track attached) , but it is a little bit complicated for me: I have so many tracks I would like to see with GE !
Re: Hang Glider Flight Path jmg 7/31/05 9:30 AM
I forgot to inform you in my previous msg that the last versions of mapsource (6.5 or more) allow now to save the files directly in .GPX