How to Transfer Garmin eTrex Track Files
By Fred Decker
Garmin's eTrex line is a series of compact, rugged handheld GPS devices intended for hiking, geocaching and other off-road uses. Your eTrex will create track points at specified intervals as you hike or cycle, based either on elapsed time or the distance you've traveled. You can save your tracks and retrace them later, or share them with friends and fellow enthusiasts.
Beginning with the eTrex 30 model in late 2011, newer eTrex devices can share data wirelessly through the short range ANT wireless protocol. It's quick and easy, and can be used to interchange data with any other ANT-compatible Garmin handheld. Scroll or swipe through the menu on each device, and then select the "Share Wirelessly" option. Set one unit to "Receive," and then press "Send" on the other. Pressing "Send" brings up a menu listing Waypoints, Routes, Tracks and Geocaches. Select "Tracks," then scroll through the list and select the points you want to transfer. Press "Send" on the sending unit, and "Receive" again on the receiving unit.
eTrex to PC
When you return from your hike, you can also transfer your track files from the eTrex to your computer. Download and install Garmin's free BaseCamp software from the company's website, if you haven't already. Connect your eTrex to the computer, using its supplied USB cable. The GPS, and its SD card if there's one installed, will show up in the panel at the left of your screen. Click the GPS icon to view its contents, and select the track data you want to transfer. Choose "Edit" and "Send To...," then select a folder for your track data. Click "OK" to transfer the data.
PC to eTrex
If you have track files on your computer that you'd like to transfer to your eTrex or someone else's, the process is much the same. Click on the folder containing your track data, and you'll see its contents appear at the bottom of the pane on the left of your screen. Select the data you want to transfer, then click the "Edit" menu and select "Send To...". The Select Destination box opens, showing your Library and any available devices as possible destinations. Select your device or its SD card, and click "OK" to perform the transfer.
Drag and Drop
BaseCamp also supports drag-and-drop data transfers. To transfer from a folder in your Library, click the folder to open up the list of its contents. Place your mouse cursor over the data you want to transfer, then click it and hold down your mouse button. Move the mouse to the icon for your eTrex and release the button. This technique also works for transferring data from your eTrex to the PC. Click the eTrex icon or its SD card and locate the track you wish to transfer. Click it and drag it to the appropriate folder in your Library.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.