One of the main benefits of owning a recreational GPS is taking it out in the field and then loading your track into Google Earth (GE) to see where you have been. GPS files can be emailed to your friends who can view your track in GE and share your activities.
Before going out in the field make sure your GPS is set up correctly. Your Datum should be set to WGS84 (which is the Datum GE uses) and position format set to ddd.dddd (which is Lat/Long expressed as decimal degrees.) It is also recommended that you delete previous tracks and way points to avoid confusion. If you are walking, your track collection rate can be slower than required for a car or boat trip. If the collection rate is too high you might run out of memory, if it is too low then your track might not be accurate. (Instructions for these steps should be in your manual.)
With your GPS prepared, go out in the field and record your tracks and way points. Remember in steep areas or if surrounded by dense tree cover, your signal will be weakened which could affect your positional accuracy.
Once back home you will need to connect the GPS to your computer. This will require a specialized cable. You will also need software to communicate between the GPS and the computer.
To create a Google Earth ready file, you need to save the data as a kml file (or kmz which is a compressed version of kml). If your software does not have a kml option, save it to gpx format. Gpx can be imported into DNR Garmin, then saved as kml. If you have a Garmin GPS try the free program DNR Garmin created by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. DNR Garmin can save data to kml format. Follow your program's instructions to download your track or way point data.
Open Google Earth and double click your kml file. GE will automatically zoom into the part of the world where your track was captured. If it does not zoom into your track it is most likely that you have some additional or corrupt coordinates in your kml file. Go back to the step where you downloaded the data into DNR Garmin (or your own software) and carefully examine the list of points. Look for Latitude or Longitude values that significantly change from the rest of the track points and delete these.