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For a Google Earth file of Upper Mystic Lake in Winchester, MA (USA) with some buoys marked, click 2011 Upper Mystic Lake Buoys. If your browser does not open the file, save it on your desktop and open it in Google Earth.

Drawing Swim Courses
Using Google Earth

Google Earth is a great tool to use for drawing and measuring swim courses. Just find your favorite swimming hole in the Google Earth window and use the Ruler tool to measure a swim path of the appropriate length, as follows:

In the Google Earth window, click the Ruler tool:

In the Ruler box (illustrated to the left), select the Path tab and then choose the unit of measure for the course length (Meters, Yards, or Miles usually, but maybe Smoots for the MIT folks).

Then click the mouse pointer to mark each turn on your course. You can drag the path points later to change the course length.

Note: Landmarks tend to stay put, but buoys tend to move or get moved, and often they are not visible from Google Earth. I've marked some buoy locations in the lake to the left using a GPS, and then imported the buoy locations as "Placemarks" in Google Earth. For instructions on marking locations of buoys (and other things) via GPS, see the documentation for your GPS unit.

If you swim along the shore rather than crossing open water from point to point or buoy to buoy, just hold down the mouse button and draw a course parallel to the shore, as illustrated below.

Yes this is the Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau went "to front only the essential facts of life." We go there for pretty much the same reason (open water swimming). For more info about swimming at Walden Pond, see Open Water Swimming at Walden Pond in Concord.

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