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I was recently asked how I produce the “race tracks” maps from the APRS tracker. The short answer is Google Earth. The longer answer has a few more steps.

The map is a 3D rendering from Google Earth. It requires an KML file. For airborne APRS, these can be found over on Joe’s website. First find the aircraft, then select “all tracks” and then choose the “Google Earth Tour” for the track you want to map. Once you have downloaded the tour.kml file, start up Google Earth and drag-n-drop the kml file onto the window. This will import all of the place markers for the flight. Pan, Zoom, and Tilt until you have the view you like.

The results thus far will be cluttered so here is one way to clean up the view. Find the track in the “My Places” list or “Temporary Places” list on the left panel in Google Earth. Right-click on the track and select “properties”. Select the “Style, Color” tab and click the “Share Style” button. This will let you change all place markers at once. The tab will now display options for Line color, Area color, Labels, and Icons. Set the opacity for Labels and Icons to 0%. (Silly me, there is an easier way … ) Uncheck the mark next to the track label. The track will disappear but this is all right. Now, expand the track’s list of place markers and scroll to the last one titled “End of Track”. Check the box to display just this one entry. The track is now visible.  Optionally set the line width to 2.0 and choose colors for the lines and area under the line.

You should end up with something similar to the picture.

BTW – this track was a quick warm-up flight to three airports with a landing at each airport.