Kayak trip planning map

Looking for an on-line map to plan a kayak trip similar to how Google maps is used to plan a car trip. The map would let you mark your put-in point, take-out point and calculate distance by water. It should also be able to calculate return to put-in site by road. It would be great if Google maps had a boat transportation option.

Anyone know if such a map is available?



Garmin GPS

– Last Updated: Nov-12-15 8:55 AM EST –

is one answer.

The other, which I use regularly for day trips, is Google Earth. You can measure distance by water with Google Earth as well as with Google Maps.


The text below was something I posted on another forum…I’ll paste it here rather than retype it. The context references other topics, but you’ll get the idea.

Everything you’ve described is do-able depending on how much pre-plan work you want to do.

One note…Caltopo is now a subscription service, for a modest fee. I think it’s well worth it. It’s owned by a guy that started out offering a mapping utility for California SAR folks…and got MUCH larger…and he was going broke with the cost of supporting the service. Caltopo is the most flexible, powerful, least costly utility I’ve come across.

The pasted text is below:

Garmin also offers it’s free software, “BaseCamp”, that you can use for pre-trip and post trip mapping. Basecamp automatically (with a click to send or receive) talks to the Garmin units to transfer your pre-trip plan or receive your post-trip tracks for further workup. Basecamp is also loaded with the same…fairly useless maps as the GPS devices come with. However, if you can find other ways to create map files formatted as *.kmz files, then the Garmin unit will see it fine. Any software that creates a *.gpx file for waypoints(markers, tracks, routes) can also be loaded into the Garmin units (again…I only have recent experience with the Etrex 20). The combo of the right *.kmz file & *.gpx file in your GPS can make you golden…as long as you carry a map & compass as a backup(and know how to use both). From what I’ve figured out(?), the sum of the images contained with active *.kmz files in the “Custom Maps” folder in the GPS (…etrex…) cannot be over 100. This can be a little annoying when you have a number of stock custom maps that you use & would like to store in the GPS…but there’s a workaround that’s fairly easy and you can store as many custom maps in your GPS as your storage capacity allows (which in the etrex 20 is the internal storage + a 16GB chip…though some use 32GB if the unit will read it). Custom maps are small…as limited by the 100 images-each limitation. If you ever run out of storage I can’t image you’d have time to work between planning & taking trips.

I’ve mentioned I use the Caltopo website to do pre-post trip mapping(it creates both gpx & kmz files). There are other options. Caltopo is free, at the moment, but I hear that will be changing as the guy offering it is spending all his free time and about $8K a year to keep it running…not sustainable for a working person like you & me. There will be a fee in the future, but it’s minor. A total mapping system (what I use at least) is the Etrex, BaseCamp, & Caltopo…it works very well and at zero cost, beyond the gps unit itself.

I just got back from a kayaking/hiking trip where I used the Etrex, BaseCamp, Caltopo custom maps combo with waypoints and maps sourced from the USFS…everything was dead-on…the accuracy surprised me. Incidentally, the stock maps in the GPS unit were off by a surprising amount, relative to the USFS waypoints & maps…and me standing on, or paddling to, preplanned waypoints.

one more
One more option is Google “My Maps”. Google it, it’ll come up. If you’d like to see examples of how it’s used in kayaking…check the paddle reports here:


Every mapping utility you use has pluses and minuses. Google My Maps is perhaps slicker in some respects, but I like Caltopo better as it’s more flexible.

Also…this would be a good read:


I use gmap and set it to manual. Probably not the most accurate but you can save the link and share it. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/m/

This might help out


Or go straight to a marine GPS

– Last Updated: Nov-12-15 10:30 AM EST –

(If you are talking about oceans or major bodies of water like the Great Lakes)

Garmin has them as well as Magellan. You load a marine chart that also includes buoys and lighthouses, essentially the marine equivalent of a lot of land info. Hand held marine GPS units have been around for quite a while, but if you are relatively new to kayaking you may not have had cause to notice them.

You can combine a GPS with the launch site map made available on this website. Many of the launch sites provided include coordinates.

If you have a Garmin GPS
try gpsfiledepot.com for a wealth of free maps. Garmin’s BaseCamp also has a push button control to display a downloaded track and waypoints in Google Earth. I use this all the time to display routes over satellite images.

more Garmin
Garmin 76/78 links with a laptop carrying Homeport and Basecamp. So take both leaving laptop hidden in vehicle.

There is a problem with the 78 not or does accept TopoUSA land maps and Garmin Blue Charts concurrently.

Often useful using both on the water.

I have a 2007 TopoUSA. On the Rio, GPS locations were not at the mapped points.

Garminspeak is often difficult. Like Balmer…

Blue Charts went inexpensive from cell phone competition. The Charts are essential if you’re going electronic. Following depth charting gives a significant advantages in eddy paddling against the current, maximizing time for speed in max flow, avoiding ahead rips and negative flows.

On Haro Strait, using max flow 50 feet off the shelf yields 2-4 mph during tidal flows.

Also showing eg eddy points off Keller’s Bluff and the highly variable underwater mount north of Lime Kiln.

I miss the tide timer. Responsible parties should be Balmerized.

paper, compass map tools and free NOAA CHARTS are available.

Check out "Map Source"
Take a look at our google web site.

It has the info.

the web site is:


Jack L

super piece of work there…

max !

please reorient us on

Click on the arrows next to the file below you want to open

what arrows where how ?