I don't have Pathfinder on my computer. I need to pull data off of my Trimble unit (Geoexplorer 6000 series) and save it on an external hard drive or USB key, without using Pathfinder. This way, I can send the storage device to a colleague in another location who has Pathdfinder and can import it properly and convert it to a shapefile for me. Is this possible? I've tried to copy and past raw data from the unit to my computer and have been met with an error.

Sending the GPS unit back and forth to import data from it is quite expensive and I'm trying to avoid this.

  • How is your data stored on the trimble? Did you set the data up as shapefiles, axfs? etc? Usually, I haven't had a hard time retrieving data just by copying from the SD to the C: drive.
    – GISHuman
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


You don't actually need the full Pathfinder Office suite to get your data off the handheld and onto a PC, all you need is the Trimble Data Transfer Utility. It's a free download. The same utility is included in the full Pathfinder Office suite, but Trimble makes the data transfer utility freely available since (as you know) the people using GPS in the field, collecting the data, are often very geographically separated from the people processing and using the data. Ideally, everyone in your organization who uses a Trimble in the field would have the Data Transfer Utility installed.

If you don't have the rights to install software on your computer, Kevin's answer will work too, it's just a more error-prone procedure because you're selecting and copying a lot of files manually.


If you download Pathfinder you can install it without a key and use it just to transfer the data off the device. All the other tools are disabled but you can at least get the data you need.

If that's not an option you can pull the files manually but you'll need Pathfinder eventually to recombine them into SSF files that you can export/use elsewhere.

When you open a new rover file in TerraSync on the GPS make sure you set the save location to the SD Card, NOT Main Memory. If the deed is already done and the data is already on the unit you'll have to connect to the unit and go looking for the files, I haven't had great luck with this approach.

Then, go about collecting your data as you normally would.

When you want to transfer the data off the unit take the SD card out of the unit and connect it to the computer using a card-reader or something like that.

There should be a whole bunch of files in the SD drive, those are the files that TerraSync combines and downloads as an SSF file when you use Pathfinder, so, just grab them and move them onto your computer.

You can then put those files on the USB key, an email, whatever, and send them off to your colleague.

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