My Garmin is logging my every move.

A while ago while researching a new toy, my Garmin Nuvi 200, I found a neat way to get my model, and several others, to log the route you followed. It’s a slight hassle but works fairly nicely, see instructions below. but the other day I was searching through my Garmin and happened upon a file by the name of “Current.gpx” with a second file “1.gpx” in an archive folder. Both were gpx files so I quickly imported them into Google Maps to take a look.

Now after I’d had a look, I went and looked for the same files on my Dad’s GPS, a Garmin nuvi 350, and found the same files. His files just contained a marker with each of his favourites which then popped up all over Google Earth, mine however contained a very detailed history of every journey I had ever made while my Garmin was on. On one side I thought this was pretty cool, on the other hand I wondered how many people out there are selling there GPSs with thousands of kilometres of driving history sitting on them. It’s quite fun to actually look at the routes. In Google Earth you can select each “route” or section of time while your Garmin was online, so each journey say. Then you can generate a cool altitude, speed vs time graph, and follow it around your route.

After thinking about it a bit and checking out my archive file, it seems that it only activated this “feature” after I used the hacked method to get it to log my single route, so I don’t think it’s anything for people to worry about, perhaps just to keep in mind.

To activate the custom tracking method, you must have locked signal and be looking at the map. Click “Menu”, then “Tools”, then “Where am I?”. Click once on the writing under “Nearest Address” then twice on the text under “My Location” then once again on the text under “Nearest Address”. This should bring up another menu with the options “Start Playback” and “Start Recording”. Click start recording. Two things you will notice. The screenshot button automatically turns itself on (you can turn it off in the menu if you want) and there is a large stop button at the top of the screen. Click that when you want to stop recording your moves. You may notice that there is a timer, it doesn’t tick every second, so if you’re unsure whether it’s working or not, you just have to wait a bit till it ticks over, often jumping several seconds at a time.

To get your data you need to plug your GPS into a PC and go on to the Garmin nuvi drive. Open the Garmin folder and then the Logs folder. Here you will find dated folders with all your logs. The gps.bin file is the one that contains your data.

To convert this into something a bit more usable you are going to need to download a program called Nutrak. This program will generate a GPX file for you which can be opened with Google Earth and various other programs.

Note: I believe by recording your moves once, it activates the automatic recording of every journey you ever take, ever.
Note2: I managed to find the post where I originally discovered this, he also gives nice pictured instructions, you can check it out here. Fairly old hack.

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