GPS Coordinates with Google Earth and Streets and Trips

August 28, 2011 by Chris Guld · 21 Comments  
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This article is going to explore the different notation used for entering Latitude and Longitude coordinates to find places in Streets and Trips. Sometimes you may need to convert the coordinates you have to the format that Streets and Trips understands. This article will show you how to make the conversions using Google Earth.

Question: My Garmin says
N 36 degrees 37.458′
W 92 degrees 08.017′

The Garmin will get me right here to the entrance of this ranch. But when I try to put it in Streets & Trips 2011, I keep getting an error each time. I am trying to locate Cloud 9, Caulfield, MO. Cloud 9 Ranch is a membership park in the Ozarks and we are planning some events involving Geocaching. We want to be able to provide people with the correct coordinates for whatever device they are using.

Decimal or Degrees

Microsoft Streets and Trips recognizes two types of GPS Lat/Long notation: 1) Decimal or 2) Degrees/Minutes/Seconds.

  1. Decimal: 36.624300° -92.133617°
  2. Degrees/Minutes/Seconds: 36°37′27.48″N 92° 8′1.02″W

To enter the coordinates into Streets and Trips, you click on the Tools menu, Find, and click the Lat/Long tab. You can enter the coordinates in either of the formats above, but Decimal is the simplest. You don’t need the degree symbol – in fact, if you do include the degree symbol, you’ll get an error. Just use numbers, decimal points and the minus sign to show a West longitude. No symbols, no spaces.


Degrees and Decimal Minutes

The problem with the coordinates from your Garmin is that they are neither Decimal, nor Degrees/Minutes/Seconds (DMS.) They are a kind of hybrid, starting out with degrees (36) , but expressing minutes in a decimal (37.458), thus eliminating seconds. If you try to put that into Streets and Trips, you’ll get an error. Even if you strip out the characters that it doesn’t like.


Conversion of Lat/Long Notation with Google Earth

So you need to convert the coordinates given from your Garmin to the Decimal coordinates that Streets and Trips will understand. There are several ways to do this.

  1. You can probably find a setting on your Garmin to use the Decimal format
  2. There are websites that do conversions. But I couldn’t find one that included the Degrees and Decimal minutes format.
  3. You can use Google Earth!

Google Earth is very flexible in the format of GPS Coordinates.

GoogleEarth CloudRanch
Enter the Degrees and Decimal minutes and Google Earth flies straight to Cloud 9 Ranch

To do the conversion in Google Earth, you need to do two things:

  1. Create a placemark at the location
  2. Change the display options to the desired Lat-Long format

Creating the Placemark is done with the Add menu, then click Placemark (or you can use the Placemark button in the toolbar.) When you create a Placemark, you see a dialog box open up where you can give the Placemark a name and you see the exact coordinates for the place. You can drag the Placemark around and you will see the Lat Long numbers change; or you can edit the Lat Long numbers and you’ll see the Placemark move.


When you have the Placemark done, be sure to click OK to save it. Now, you want to go into Google Earth Options and change it to Decimal Degrees. Yours may already be set that way, in which case you would have seen the decimal notation in the Placemark dialog box already. To look at the options, and change them if needed, click on Tools, Options and make sure you’re on the first tab – 3D View. Notice that Google Earth has 4 choices!


Choose Decimal Degrees (or whichever one you need) and then click OK.

Now, if you right-click on the Placemark and choose Properties (or Get Info on Mac) it will open the dialog box back up and you’ll see the Latitude and Longitude in the new format.


You can repeat this process for as many different formats as you want!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger. You can subscribe to our free enewsletter, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Geeks on Tour Members should watch the following video lessons:

  1. sttr02.Places in Streets and Trips *free to public
  2. gear05.Google Earth Latitudes and Longitudes
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21 Responses to “GPS Coordinates with Google Earth and Streets and Trips”

  1. William Weed on August 28th, 2011 3:25 pm

    This was a great help for us gps travelers. Thanks for putting the information together and sharing with us all.

  2. John Woosley on August 29th, 2011 5:31 am

    There is a lot easier way to do this, in my opinion.

    You just divide the decimal format minutes by 60 and add the result back to the degrees. For example, with 36 degrees, 37.458 you divide 37.458 by 60, that gives you .6243 and add that back to the degrees, 36.6243.

  3. butterbean carpenter on August 29th, 2011 11:38 am

    Howdy Chris,

    Thank you, for a LOT OF GOOD INFO..

  4. Glen Jones on November 27th, 2011 8:47 pm

    While this is not about GPS but it is about google earth, I am a Hunter in the area I was hunting this fall google earth showed a road from a community to the area where we planned on camping.
    Problem the road did not exist, how it could show up google earth baffles me.
    we also have a problem here in Oregon with GPS leading users to a road that is not open in the winter but GPS shows it open and it has caused the death of one person, on another area GPS has people turning into a private driveway so be careful how you use these items of convience.

  5. TIm on November 29th, 2011 4:26 pm

    The easy way to find the GPS coordinates of a place or a location on a map in several geocoding formats, with the Google Maps,

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