The idea was to plot ship's position on a chart pinned to Google Earth using .kml files (many hours spent setting these up). This works fine on my laptop. A GPS dongle sends the ship's position to GE and shows the track like a sewing machine stitch. Problem is it drains the 12v battery in no time. Also the laptop falls asleep and stops logging position. The Raspberry Pi and the new Ultimate GPS draw 0.25A, leaving the battery almost as good as newly charged after a 12h run. The monitor can be switched on and off when necessary. Then the bomb shell! Raspberry Pi won't run Google Earth! Where can I go from here? GE is far too good for this job. Just needs a Google Flat Earth with no Street View, etc. Google Maps doesn't cope well with .kml files as far as can make out. See: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/earth/ucVRDVdSIEw

  • Are you talking about small toy ships or are you on a real large ship.. tracking your own movement? The one way to save data to Google is Using the API. You do AJAX/HTTP calls with the data to Google API- Its fast and reliable. If you want to view the plotted data use your Laptop - Login in to the account and view the saved map.
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 12:40
  • 1
    Static maps might be an option. developers.google.com/maps/documentation/staticmaps/#Paths
    – Gerben
    Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 17:21
  • yyou will probably find an answer at gis.stackexchange.com - there are plenty of mapping packages that will work
    – Ian Turton
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 8:47

5 Answers 5


Google Earth is not available for the Linux on ARM. You will need to find an alternative.

What about setting up the RPi to generate the KML files then when you need to view the track use your laptop to pull the files and plot them on Google Earth.


If you can live with Google Maps alternatives instead of Google Earth, then you can even download all map data and use it offline for free (OpenStreetMap). Useful Raspberry Pi project link is here.


looking through a browsable Raspbian package list http://www.raspberryconnect.com/raspbian-packages-list There are few GPS tools that are available on the raspberry pi that may help. some are in the Miscellaneous Packages section.

QLandkarte GT (X11 packages section) looks like it reads Garmin GPS gpx data and plots it on a map and can take live data from some Garmin devices. This system uses the open source maps from Open Street Maps


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_eXchange_Format has a link that converts kml files to gpx

Not sure if this is what you looking for but maybe an alternative option to Google Earth


Use OpenCPN for navigation and tracking on your Pi. http://opencpn.org/ocpn/compiling_source_linux

I wish it could run Google Earth. Would be great to have the satellite images for areas you don't have charts of. Agreed, a simple version of GE would be nice for this.


If you really want to run all that on a Raspberry Pi you might want to try a slightly different approach. I'm running Google Earth on a Pi 4B (8G), but not under the Raspberry Pi operating system. On an 8G system, it will run using Windows 11. It is slow, but otherwise it works well.

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