This is the Custom POI Page-2

Garmin GPS

Tricks, Tips, Work Arounds, Hints, Secrets and Ideas

for the Garmin nüvi (nuvi) GPS (and others)

Lots Of Things You Didn't Know

[many ideas may also apply to various nüvi 200, 300, 500, 600, 700,
800, 2X5, 7X5, 8X5, 1200, 1300, 1400, 2200, 2300, 2400, 3700 series units,
the nüvi 1690, nüLink! 1695 & nüvi 5000
,
and possibly
other Garmin road GPSs.
A nüvi 650 was originally used for initial testing.
As of 12/12/08 a nüvi 755T is also being used for testing.
As of 01/27/11 a nüvi 3790LMT will be used for major testing
A smaller separate section for 7X5/8X5 devices has been established.
Other articles may be updated, where necessary, to include 7X5/8X5 instructions.]

-- a continuing helpful instructional and comment Blog --
[there are currently 34 pages containing well over 100 help articles in this project]

Presented by: Gary Hayman
[since October, 2007]


[This site has been constructed so that it can be more easly viewed with various resoloution settings, including older computers and computers where the user need a lower resolution (Ex: 800x600) in order to increase the size of the fonts (for easier viewing of tired eyes) -- as well as for better use by smart phones, netbooks and tablets.]


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CUSTOM POI RESOURCES
- Where To Go To Get Information

WEB SITES - ARTICLES - DOWNLOADABLE PROGRAMS
WEB PROGRAMS - FORUMS


Before I go any further in this Custom POI series, I must direct you to other sources of information that will aid you. Unless you are just starting out with your nüvi unit, you may have, on your own, found some or all of these important wealth of knowledge pages. I do invite you to check them out and see if there is something there that will aid you. Some are basic, some are more technical and scientific than what I present here, but each is worth visiting for you to make an informed judgment.



WEB SITES

Garmin

Of course, visiting the Garmin WEB site is a must for Custom POI information. You have already (I hope) obtained your necessary 'POILoader' from:

http://www8.garmin.com/products/poiloader/

You should visit this page from time to time to check to see if a new version of POILoader is available.
Windows v2.5.4; Mac v2.0.1.

[March 2011 - current version of POI Loader is 2.6.1]

Also, there are many links on the page that are worthwhile investigating, giving you a variety of useful information.

Examples: What is POI Loader, POI Sources, Help Files such as: Creating Custom POI Files; Understanding Speed and Proximity Alert Information; Creating Custom POIs in Map Source; Creating CSV Files; Creating Tour Guide Files.

Don't forget the link to
Custom POI Sources Page, found buried in the text, which has a bunch of interesting links -- it's easy to miss.


POI Factory

One of the most interesting and well run sites is the POI Factory. Not only can you download (mostly for free) over a million Custom POI but POI icons (POI Icon Library) and alert sounds (Alert Sound Library) as well. It has a superb arrangement and is easy to navigate. You can join for free. They also maintain an excellent Forum (discussion) area where you can seek help. I feel that the level of information presented here is more accurate and useful that some that appears on other Forums (but more about Forums later.) Of great use are their 'nodes' (pages of information) sometimes you find the links in the forums; other times through the use of the excellent included Search Engine.

http://www.poi-factory.com/



POI Friends

Big collection of downloadable Custom POIs

http://www.poifriend.com/

[SORRY -- this site was closed on June 30, 2011]


ARTICLES

Phil Hornby Writings

Phil (located in Stockport, UK) runs the GeePeeEX.com WEB site: http://geepeeex.googlepages.com/ (more about this later) but often writes highly interesting and useful informationavailable in the POI Factory Forums.

A must read would be Hornsby’s guide to setting alerts with POI Loader




http://www.poi-factory.com/node/6764


Garmin's POI Loader

Previously mentioned important article

http://www8.garmin.com/products/poiloader/

Currently v2.5.4

[March 2011 - current version of POI Loader is 2.6.1]

Garmin's Creating Custom POIs

An important page for early review for better understanding as to how POI Loader works, Speed and Proxmity information, creating .csv, .gpx, and Tour Guide files.

http://www8.garmin.com/products/poiloader/creating_custom_poi_files.jsp


Sam Penrod

Sam presents some excellent reading about loading and maintaining Custom POI files, POI icons, Tour Guides, preparing POI files, etc.

http://www.gpsinformation.org/penrod/poiloader/poiloader.html


FAQ: Garmin POI Loader - from POI Factory

http://www.poi-factory.com/faq/garmin-poi-loader


How do I set alerts with POI Loader? - from POI Factory

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/1278


Dave Brillhart's Custom POI Alerts & Tour Guides

Great detailed article that is an excellent learning tool.

http://brillharts.com/GarminAlerts/


Dale DePriest’s "A GPS User Manual: Working with Garmin Receivers"

"This is the table of contents and links for an operation manual for Garmin handheld receivers. This online version (1999-2002) is an unpolished version of my book."

> While not specifically written for the nüvi series there is much information in this very extensive writing which is an early WEB version of his commercial publication. You might want to investigate this to broaden your understanding of the
handheld GPS instrument.

http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/wgarmin.htm


NOTE: Now that the book is out this page may dissappear.


CharlieG's guide to Custom POI’s with MapSource and POI Loader - from the POI Factory

Another discussion of .gpx files, POI Loader, .bpm icons, and alerts. I personally find that an examination of most available writings, even though some of the topics are familiar, always reveal a ‘different take’ or a new approach in some areas that make their reading valuable to me.

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/8536


GPX- The GPX Exchange Format

Very extensive WEB pages discussing GPX and providing more resources than here, WEB site links to information. Also, for techies, the Schema of GPX (highly complicated for most.) Reminder: not all subjects and links are pertinent to your nüvi device. Most are for hand-held, PDAs and phones. You will have to pick and choose. Higher series nüvis with tracking can profit more here.

GPX Explained

http://www.topografix.com/gpx.asp

GPX For Users

http://www.topografix.com/gpx_for_users.asp



DOWNLOADABLE PROGRAMS

Garmin POI Loader (free)

Previously discussed above.

http://www8.garmin.com/support/collection.jsp?product=999-99999-12

Garmin POI Loader HELP FILE (free)

If you already have Garmin POI Loader, you already have its valuable HELP FILE (but might not know it). You will find it in the same directory where POI Loader rests. On my computer the file is at: C:\Program Files\Garmin\POILoader.chm. Chances are that yours is in the same place. Just double click on it when you find it using Windows Explorer or whatever directory tool you use. It is a valuable resource and will help you better understand Custom POIs.


POIEdit (shareware)

"PoiEdit is a shareware program that manages all of your POI (places of interest) files from your desktop PC and saves/loads them to/from your mobile device. PoiEdit also enables you to download a vast range of Poi files from the most used POI sites..."

http://www.poiedit.com/


GPXtoPOI (free)

"This program converts from GPX format to CSV format or vice versa. You can create waypoints in MapSource and then convert them to POI (CSV) files for download or sharing with others.

You can also convert POI (CSV) files that others have created, and then edit them in MapSource. Now that the Garmin POI loader supports GPX files, GPXtoPOI's most important role is CSV to GPX conversion."

http://www.masterclass.com/gpxtopoi/gpxtopoidownload.html


CBROM's Garmin GPX Converter (free)

"This application loads in .csv files and converts them to .gpx files adding alert distances to each POI. "

http://www.cbrom.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/3.html?submenu=2


GeePeeEx Editor (trial free)

"GeePeeEx Editor is specifically designed to produce and edit GPX files destined for Garmin's® Automotive Satnav (GPSr) systems. It is envisaged that such files will be used as input to Garmin's® POI Loader and then turned into Custom POI's (Points of Interest)."

http://phil.hornby.me.uk/GeePeeEx/


EasyGPS (free)

"EasyGPS is the fast and easy way to transfer waypoints, routes, and tracks between your computer and your Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance GPS.

EasyGPS lists all of your waypoints on the left side of the screen, and shows a plot of your GPS data on the right. Use EasyGPS to back up and organize your GPS data, print maps, or load new waypoints onto your GPS for your next hike or geocaching adventure."

http://www.easygps.com/


GPSBabel (free)

"GPSBabel converts waypoints, tracks, and routes between popular GPS receivers and mapping programs. It also has powerful manipulation tools for such data."

http://www.gpsbabel.org/index.html


Google Earth (free)

An excellent program which you can use to instantly obtain latitude and longitude of any global point. By zooming in you can easily identify a house, road, intersection, etc. Highly useful in creating your own Custom POIs.

http://earth.google.com/

Sound Recording Programs

Recording your own voice for Custom POI alerts. Your Windows or Mac computer is already equipped with a program that will allow you to record your voice and save it as an audio file that could be used directly, or perhaps after processing with a sound editor to an .mp3 file. Windows gives us ‘Sound Recorder’ as it’s basic program. Mac gives users ‘Simple Sound Recorder.’

> There are a multitude of pay, free, shareware other sound recording software available for download or store purchase. Just google ‘sound recorder windows’ or ‘sound recorder mac’ for your research start.


WEB PROGRAMS

ITouchMap

Excellent program for using map or address to find latitude and longitude of a place in decimal and degrees. Has a built in converter. You can also find a map point by entering known latitude and longitude numbers -- very handy for seeing where Custom POIs of others are on a map or satellite photo.

http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html



Google Maps

One can use road maps and satellite maps to identify a point. You can use address, search for business or well known point, and even obtain latitude and longitude numbers for your use.

[See my article which includes a detailed discussion of obtaining coordinates from Google Maps -
ARE YOU COORDINATED? - Obtaining and Using Coordinates in Your GPS on page 2.]

http://maps.google.com/

(July 08) Google is now offereing a better technique to find coordinates. See article here:

NEW GOOGLE MAPS WAY OF GETTING LAT/LON COORDINATES
-
Developer Tools or Mapplets of Great Aid


Yahoo Maps

One can use road maps and satellite maps to identify a point. You can use address, search for business or well known point, and even obtain latitude and longitude numbers for your use.

[See my article which includes a detailed discussion of obtaining coordinates from Yahoo Maps -
ARE YOU COORDINATED? - Obtaining and Using Coordinates in Your GPS on page 2.]

http://maps.yahoo.com/


AT&T Labs’ Text To Speech

"This program allows you create audible speech from computer readable text using various voices of choice. It produces a usable .wav file."

http://www.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php

For directions for modifying the voice see:

http://www.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/faq.php#WebMarkup

If desired, the .wav file can be converted to a .mp3 file using a variety of free programs. I use
Audacity (Windows/Mac/Linux)(Free) which can be obtained at:

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Audacity is full of special sound editing features that I use for tweaking sounds for my Custom POIs; such as precise clipping of the sound wave; volume, speed, pitch, temp adjustments, fade in/out, attaching silence before and after the wave.


FORUMS

Forums (Newsgroups, Bulletin Boards) can be an excellent way for seeking information and help as well as helping others. They are normally readily available and free. They may be monitored or un-monitored. On some, especially the long running USENET (but also others) you might find objectionable spam, flame wars, trolling, pie fights, heated discussions, insults, miss-information, etc. You may find people who 'seem to live on a particular board' answering questions too quickly, without thinking their answers through, and dispensing incorrect information (hopefully not on purpose.) Some use forums as their 'social networks.' So the general warning is -- you must be on-guard.

HOWEVER - I have found that on the various GPS Forums there is little of the negatives I mentioned above and that most are very very helpful. If an incorrect response is offered, someone will make a correction or may present an alternate technique. Although none of the following are 'monitored before posting' boards, most have an excellent history of making corrections and not permitting inappropriate postings. I have learned much from these Forums and I highly recommend you use them, and others you may find, to your benefit. [Your suggestions for additions to my listing are encouraged.]


POI Factory

One of the better Forum (discussion) groups. Intelligent information, monitored, vast, void of negative forum aspects.

http://www.poi-factory.com/ (discussion tab)

suggest areas:

  • Garmin Talk
  • Creating POI Files
  • POI Projects


GpsPasSion WEB site

Custom POI Collections (Forum)
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=170

Questions and Answers (Forum)
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=169



Yahoo.com

Groups (Forums) suggest:

  • Garmin_Nuvi_750_760_780_GPS
  • nuvi250
  • Garmin_nuvi_Exchange
  • garminnuvi660

(membership (free) and you may be required to 'Join' certain groups)

http://groups.yahoo.com/



USENET

Access obtained from your ISP
Can also be obtained from
http://www.google.com/
(select More > Groups)
Suggest:

  • alt.satellite.gps.garmin
  • alt.satellite.gps


Any contributions to this listing are welcomed. Just send your inputs to
Gary Hayman. I am mostly interested in nüvi related items.








DON'T MAKE A .WAV
- Now nüvi Series 200 Can Have Music, Sound & Voice Alerts

ALERT: REVISION October 2009

This early article has been revised several times as changes with POI Loader and new versions of 'sox.exe' have been establilshed. Some of the new versions of 'sox.exe' will NOT work as we would want, so we are currently recommending the use of the older version 14.0.1.

It was Malcolm FNU who advised me of a back-door URL at SourceForge where you can pick up the older necessary 14.0.1 version.

Just download the zip file and un-zip placing the 'sox.exe' file in the SAME folder where your 'poiloader.exe' is located. [Probably C:\Garmin]

Also thanks to Gary A. of Tampa, FL who supplied me with an alternate site to obtain a working version of 'sox.exe' but I am not using it here, although it works, because there is no version number identified with it and I want you to be sure of the correct version.

If you have already put the 'non-working' version on your computer, let the recommended older version, 14.0.1, replace it and you can have voice or sound alerts instead of bongs or pings.

ATTENTION MAC OWNERS: Don Allen writes, "For what it's worth, I'm successfully loading WAV files onto my Nuvi 200 using POI loader version 2.0.2.1 Beta WITHOUT having SOX.EXE present at all. This on a Mac running OSX 10.5.5. Sweet. I'm creating my .WAV files at that AT&T Labs website that creates voices. Maybe they're already in the proper format and need nothing done to them to work on the nüvi?"

(January 2009) Jed Clear writes, "...Seems like the officially released POILoader for Mac (ver. 2.0.1) doesn't support WAV files. You need to use the 2.0.2.1 Beta version. I don't think sox.exe is needed (or would work anyhow) on the Mac, but I only tested with a WAV file in the correct mono encoding. You do have a note about using 2.0.2.1, but no link to it. A link to v2.0.2.0 Beta version can be found here: http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/32218&vid=458890.
Tested [by Jed Clear] with MacOSX 10.5.6 Intel and a nuvi 265WT.

In the above articles I wrote about how all the nüvi series -- except the 200 series -- could take advantage of their .mp3 capability to permit special sounds of voice, sound effects, or even music to alert them in place of the generic audio alerts of 'BONG BONG' (Proximity) or 'PING PING' (Speed) sounds that their devices offer.

While the nuvi series doesn't have .mp3 capability
it does have .wav capability -- and 200 series users -- you can take advantage of that.

What I am about to tell you is what I've gleaned from writings on various Forums; primarily the POI Factory in their Garmin Talk, topic 'Nuvi 200 and mp3'.

[You can read them yourself at:
http://www.poi-factory.com/node/13429?page=1
and
http://www.poi-factory.com/node/13041]


There are many writers and entries, and sometimes I was confused, but when I sorted it all out and tried some experimenting, I finally got it to work. I want to thank contributors for their writings and particularly: Phil Hornsby, bandaid, and ttran-austin (who gave me the necessary key that solved my stumbling block.)

For series 200 users, instead of using an .mp3 file, you can use a .wav file provided certain conditions are met.

NOTE: other series users with .mp3 capability most probably would want to still use .mp3 files as .mp3 files are much smaller than .wav files.


ACTION 1: -- Use the Correct Version of POI Loader

Windows users must make sure that they are using POI Loader
v. 2.5.4 (the latest) to send Custom POIs to their nüvis. Some earlier versions of POI Loader may not permit this technique to work.

POI Loader v.2.5.4 is obtained as a download from Garmin at:

[March 2011 - current version of POI Loader is 2.6.1]

http://www8.garmin.com/products/poiloader/

[a Mac user reported "I'm using POI Loader Version 2.0.2.1 Beta on a Mac running 10.4.11." -- and that it worked. I don't have any reports on version 2.0.1. Let me know if you find out that it too works.]


ACTION 2: -- Getting 'sox.exe'


If you attempt to send a .wav file via POI Loader, it will look for a file named 'sox.exe'
IN THE SAME FOLDER AS YOUR CURRENT 'poiloader.exe'. You most likely don't have 'sox.exe' installed on your computer, currently.

HOW TO GET 'SOX.EXE'

There are several places on the Internet to obtain 'sox.exe'. Some include the version number, others do not. Many have found that the older version 14.0.1 works well, where some of the newer versions do not. So, it is recommend here to obtain version 14.0.1. [Be careful not to confuse it with version 14.1.0 --- which does not work.]


I have found the best place to obtain the Windows version of the file is from a files repository page at SourceForge.com.

You can download a compressed file from http://sourceforge.net/projects/sox/files/sox-win/. There, it is referred to as 'SoX - Sound eXchange'.



When you reach that page you will find a listing of the versions. Select
14.0.1, then, from the drop down box, the sox-14.0.1.zip file.


Save the file to your computer. I use my C:\Garmin folder. It will create a file: 'sox-14.0.1.zip'. Double click the zip file and extract the 'sox.exe' file (I'm using WinZip). There are 11 files, but you only need to extract the one 'sox.exe' file.

When asked where to place it YOU SHOULD PLACE IT IN THE VERY SAME FOLDER WHERE YOU KEEP YOUR 'poiloader.exe'.

Double click and extract the file to the that folder where it will create a new folder named, 'sox-14.0.1'.

Inside that new folder is the file 'sox.exe'.
You have to remove the 'sox.exe' file from that folder and place it one level up to accompany 'poiloader.exe' file. After doing that you can delete the just established, but now empty, 'sox-14.0.1' folder.


This is a must, for to enable 'sox.exe' to work allowing you to use .wav files for sound alerts, both
'poiloader.exe' AND 'sox.exe' HAVE TO RESIDE IN THE SAME FOLDER.


Since I keep my 'poiloader.exe' in my C:\Garmin folder, I am already there and I cause 'sox.exe' to be be housed there too.

[There are alternative ways of storing and extracting from the zip file -- but your main goal is to place the 'sox.exe' file in the same folder where your 'poiloader.exe' is located. If you have extracted it to perhaps some temporary folder or you desktop, now is the time to copy and paste it into the very folder where you POILoader.exe is housed.]


ACTION 3: -- Getting or Making Your .wav File

A .wav (sound) file will substitute for the .mp3 file that I was talking about in previous articles.

You can make one with your own voice using Sound Recorder [Windows] which is on your machine.

Start > Programs > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recorder

IMPORTANT NOTE: After recording, I am told that you need to save the .wav file in a certain format: PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono. Easy to do with Sound Recorder -- you adjust the format as you are saving the file.

DECEMBER 2009 -ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RE: THE .WAV FILE FREQUENCY SEE ARTICLE:
CAN YOU .WAV WITH LESS FREQUENCY? - PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono Is Only One Setting


If you have a ready made .wav that you have collected you can use Sound Recorder to change the format to the proper PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono. Just open it with 'Sound Recorder' and re-save with the proper format. There are probably other programs that can do the same thing.

You can obtain 'sound effects' .wav files on the Internet. Try Goggling 'sound effects', 'sound clips', etc., as a start.

You can easily convert .mp3 files to .wav files. I like to use my sound editor of choice which is
Audacity, available free from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/.

Just make sure that after editing the sound, which may be in stereo, you export it as a .wav file [set your Preference first to: 'WAV (Microsoft) 16 bit PCM.] Now import it into 'Sound Recorder' and re-save as a
PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono into your 'POICollection' folder for later transfer to your nüvi.

TIP: When preparing your .mp3 (or .wav file) place a one to two seconds of silence before the sound starts. Since the nüvi may take a moment to load the sound when needed, there is a tendency to sometimes clip the early part of the alert sound before it starts playing. A brief silence inserted at the beginning of the sound will counter that. You can use the previously mentioned free sound editor program Audacity to help you.


CONCLUSION

For you nüvi 200 series owners, in the future, when you read about .mp3 files used as alerts in Custom POIs, you will be able to
substitute .wav files for .mp3 files, PROVIDED you followed the above presented actions.

As an example (nüvi 200 series owners), if you were saving a .csv file to your POIcollection folder and you also wanted an icon AND a special alert sound you would save three files who's file names might look like this:

MYPOIs_specs.csv
MYPOIs_specs.bmp
MYPOIs_specs.wav

WARNING: you can't just take an .mp3 file and change the suffix to .wav. You must convert the .mp3 file to a .wav file first as discussed in the above article.



LOADING YOUR CUSTOM POIs
- Facts You Know, Probably Know & Might Know

People who read these Custom POI pages have usually had experience with sending Custom POIs to their nüvis. They are familiar with using POI Loader to send constructed or gathered POIs to their devices.

Here are a couple of interesting facts --

Facts You Know

  • (1) Custom POI files of .csv and .gpx type can be sent to your nüvi's memory using POI Loader. A file named poi.gpi is placed in the Garmin nuvi/Garmin/Poi folder on your nüvi.

  • (2) Custom POI files of .csv and .gpx type can be sent to your installed SD or SDHC card (Removable Disk) using POI Loader. A file named poi.gpi is placed on the card at Removable Disk/Garmin/Poi.

If this is done, when you disconnect your USB connection a screen announcing that 'New Data' is found, will appear, and, if you don't press 'Cancel', will ask you if you want to send the information to the nüvi. You don't have to, but, if you do, the information will be sent to the nüvi's internal memory, OVERWRITING the poi.gpi file that was there. If you don't, NO BIG DEAL, your nüvi device will just read your Custom POIs from the removable card. [more on this below]


Fact You Probably Know

  • (3) If the poi.gpi file on the nüvi AND the SD/SDHC card match exactly, the screen telling you that it found new data on the SD card DOES NOT APPEAR. It ONLY appears if there is DIFFERENT poi.gpi data in your nüvi and on your SD card.


Facts You Might Know

  • (4) So what happens if you have a DIFFERENT poi.gpi file in your nüvi, that contains information, than is on your SD/SDHC card? First, the screen will appear alerting you that there is different information on the card than is already in the unit, asking you if you want to send this new information to the unit. LET'S SAY YOU SAY 'NO.'


    Well now, your nüvi device is kind enough to
    JOIN the two files, reading from both the internal memory and the card. It doesn't alter the poi.gpi file that is in the internal memory at all. One benefit is that your nüvi can only hold only so many Custom POIs but it can respond to an almost unlimited number of files on the SD/SDHC card.

NOTE (réaffirmer): Whenever there is a 'poi.gpi' file on your SD card containing information that is DIFFERENT from the poi.gpi file in your nüvi; when you boot your nüvi the Garmin 'New Data' screen will appear. If you press 'OK' (not Cancel) you will be given the option to copy the data to your nüvi.

If you don't want to replace the file that is currently in the memory of your nüvi (you want two different poi.gpi files -- one on your card and one in the nüvi) simply press 'Cancel'; or if you accidentally pressed 'OK' and were taking to the next screen -- just press 'No' there.


How You Might Use This Information

For me, I always send my Custom POIs to my nüvi's internal memory. In the beginning of my Custom POI series, I had you first send it to the SD card, then to the nüvi -- but only for practice and learning about the workings of the device. I later said that I send my Custom POIs to the nüvi's internal memory, as a mater of normal operation.

But let's say that you are driving across country and will be passing through Kansas. Kansas is quite flat with lots of straight roads and may create a situation where your right foot may become leaden. Not wanting to gather speeding tickets, you discover, on the Internet, a nice .csv or .gpx file that includes all the Kansas 'speed trap' locations with alert settings. You are only going to be traveling through Kansas one time wearing your nifty ruby red shoes so you really don't need the Kansas alerts in your regular Custom POI list.

Solution: just put the Kansas Custom POIs on your SD/SDHC card via POI Loader and, when asked, don't load them into the nüvi. Your nüvi will still show them in your 'Extras (or My Locations) - Custom POI' area.

Later, when your trip is over, you can delete the Kansas file from your SD/SDHC card through simple computer 'file management' and not have disturbed your normal Custom POIs at all.

[If you want to eliminate the poi.gpi that is in your Garmin's memory, please use POI Loader to either erase it or replace it. I do not recommend using computer file management for this, although advanced users may know how to do it safely.]

In a later article I will discuss another use for using two files -- one in your device and a different one on your card. Hint: it has to do with saving steps in manual POI loading.


(HEAR: 30 sec snippet "Dragnet Theme")



THE .CSV FOURTH ELEMENT
- Expanding The Information In The .CSV File


In earlier articles I had you work with 3 element areas when constructing a .csv file for your Custom POIs. I mentioned that there was a 4th element.

" [I am omitting an optional 4th element -- a Comment area -- for the purpose of these early experiments. For now, let's just use 3: longitude, latitude, name] "


Now it's time to look at the 4th element (field) -- The Comment Element.

Although the Comment Element is not a requirement, some like to include additional information about the Custom POI such as:

Address
City, State
Phone Number
and Further Comments (such as:
This restaurant serves great Osso Buco or green painted building or must remove shoes when entering so check your socks for holes.)

The information you establish will be included on the 'Go' screen which appears after you have selected your POI by going to:

'Where to?' > Extras (or My Locations) > Custom POI > and selecting your POI.

If you just start typing the information into the 4th element (after putting the comma at the ending of the 3rd element) the information will just word-wrap on the screen in the space of the allotted area.

(Remember, in the Garmin, each element is 'comma delimited' meaning you use the comma as an indicator that the next element immediately follows.)

Let's look at an example of a candidate POI

We are attempting to make a POI for a little known small establishment named Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota. I speculate that it is off the beaten path and there are probably no signs posted anywhere directing you to this place of business, so getting there, by using your GPS, is almost mandatory so you won't have to exclaim
"Where the heck is Wall Drugs?"

[Official Wall Drug Store WEB site: http://www.walldrug.com/]


For this experiment we will say that the file name of the .csv file is:
Wall Drug.csv and is made up of a one line entry. Type the information as it appears below (remember commas only allowed as delimiters between elements. If you add a 4th comma, POI Loader will immediately truncate any text that follows):

-102.24177, 43.00343, Wall Drug Store, 510 Main Street Wall SD (605) 279-2175 FREE ice water 5 cent coffee buffalo burgers 6:30am-10pm North of Badlands National Park on I 90 and if I would like to keep on adding information I could continue to do so just as long as I don't use a comma.

Remember the correct order, longitude then latitude.

[There are no line-feeds or returns in the above -- just continuous typing. Your software program makes the word-wrap -- not you.]

Your resultant 'Go Screen' would look like this:


You will notice that the screen (on my nüvi 650) tries to word wrap at approximately 26+ or - characters (depending upon the width of the individual characters on each line) showing the remaining text till it runs out of space.

You will also notice that at the bottom of the screen is a '
More' button. Pressing it will give you the ENTIRE text as seen below.


That's all there is to it. When you make your .csv file like the ones in the other articles, and you want to add additional information that may be of use to you in a display, then simply use the 4th element and type away.

[Added October 17, 2008]
Now there is another technique, almost the same as the above, but it allows you to have a LITTLE better looking display on your nüvi. It involves surrounding the 4th element with quotes, using line feeds (line breaks [per Garmin]) which will allow you to put items on succeeding lines, and, of course, saving the file as a .csv file.

One way you could do this is to use a Word Processing Program that:

  • Can save a file as a .csv file
  • Can enter and show line feeds (line breaks) characters

(I can use Microsoft Works 8.5 or Open Office 2.4 but there are others, however, not all can do the above.)


For example, with my Works I construct the text to read:

I have turned on my 'Show non-printing characters' (so that I can see the line feeds) and I use a 'Shift+Enter' to create the line feeds. Also notice the quotes around the 4th element -- it is a requirement. The dots between words is my WP program's way of showing spaces when you have 'show non-printing characters' turned on. You can see the separation of the lines and the run-on final line in the demo text ending with a quote and an Enter.

After I finish preparing the text I save the file as a .csv file (an option with my Word Processing Program.)

A key point to remember is that you CAN'T use normal Returns to separate lines; you must use Line Feeds.

Reader Cecil Brower of California writes that he uses Microsoft Excel to create the text and saves it as a .csv file. He mentions that he has to use Alt+Enter to create the line feeds when typing in the 4th Field. When using Excel and saving the file as an .csv file one DOESN'T USE QUOTES IN THE 4TH FIELD as Excel will take care of that automatically during the file save.

Perhaps, if you are using a different SpreadSheet program to create your text, this, or something similar, may apply to you. Excel allows Cecil to save the file as a .csv file.


If you would like to try, you can read Garmin's directions in your POI Loader's 'Help File' which is probably already on your computer. You will usually find it in the same directory where POI Loader rests. On my computer the file is at:
C:\Garmin\POILoader.chm but your's may be in a different location. Take a look at 'Creating .CSV Files' in the help file.

[Added August 29, 2010]

Dave Cuddy from Canada writes that some of the information in the above article does not appear to apply to his nüvi 265W [
a newer device] and that it also might apply to other newer devices. Also he suspects that the differences might also be related to his using a Mac OS (Operating System) rather than a Windows OS.

He continues commenting on '
actions of the 4th field' (the comment field) as described in the main article.

The article sez, "The information you establish will be included on the 'Go!' screen which appears after you have selected your POI..."

He found that his nüvi 265W does not display any of the 4th field comments info on the 'Go!' screen. All that appears on his 'Go!' screen is the 3rd field (the description element). Of course, when he taps the 'More' button at the bottom of the screen, the 4th field comments appear on the new screen.

The main article suggests, "When you make your .csv file like the ones in the other articles, and you want to add additional information that may be of use to you in a display, then simply use the 4th element and type away."

Dave sez:

"I've found that the 4th field MUST be surrounded by quotation marks, regardless of whether there are any line breaks in the comment text. The Mac version of the POI Loader (2.1.0, as I write this) produces an error if it encounters a 4th field that is not quoted. The error message states that a formatting error was found, and it conveniently indicates the line number that was at fault. It may be that the Mac version of POI Loader is more stringent in this regard than the PC version (which I've not tried).

My biggest challenge has been formatting the comments information that appear on the 'More' screen. For the longest time, my comment text would be displayed on the 265W screen as one run-on line, with no formatting. Of course, the nüvi would word wrap at the edge of the screen. I used an advanced Mac text editing program (TextWrangler, an excellent choice for mucking with POI files) and experimented with different types of line break characters, including unix-style LF (an ASCII line-feed), Windows-style CR (an ASCII carriage return), and Mac-style CR-LF (one of each). In every case, the nüvi 265W simply ignored my desired line breaks and ran all the text together.

The solution (which I discovered thanks to Google) is to use an HTML 'break' tag. The HTML command for a line break is <br>. One formats the comment text by placing <br> (the characters 'br' surrounded by angle brackets) anywhere a line break is desired. Thus, one would create a data element in the .csv file as follows:

-0.0000, 0.0000, Description Text, "comment line1<br>comment line2<br>comment line3"

The following form will also work (and is a little easier to view/edit on the computer):

-0.0000, 0.0000, Description Text, "comment line1<br>
comment line2<br>
comment line3"


Finally, I found through trial and error that the Description text field can also be formatted using the break tag. The specified line break(s) will appear when the description is displayed on the 'Go!' screen (and in the pop-ups on the Map screen). Note that in this scenario, the description field
MUST be surrounded by quotes:

-0.0000, 0.0000, "Description Text<br> Second line of description text","comment line1<br> comment line2<br> comment line3"

My next challenge is to figure out how to program a TextWrangler macro to automatically reformat POI files downloaded from the Internet to insert the break tags into the comment fields.

Thanks again for all the great tricks and tips.

Cheers, Dave"


If you are experiencing some format difficulties with your description text or comment text when using your .csv files, you might want to use some of Dave's suggestions.



 

RUN SILENT -- RUN NO-PEEP
- Silent and Semi-Silent Alerts

Reader DM wrote me recently about his desire to have his nüvi loaded with some Custom POI alerts that would just flash the 'red' screen andnot make an annoying default repetitive 'Bong' or 'Peep.' His idea was to include a silent .wav file (he has a 200 series - if you have an .mp3 capable unit you would probably opt for an .mp3 file; nüvi series 200 and 300 can use the .wav format) along with his .csv file; but he was having trouble; for no matter what he did the default alert sound played.

[NOTE: Depending upon your model, your nuvi may have a different color alert screen. nüvi 750 owners have reported that their alert for proximity is a grey drop down notice and their alert for speed is a red drop down notice, rather than the red border that my 650 shows.]

First let's tackle his sound playing -- even though it was unwanted. It sounded
(pun) to me that there was a high probability that both his device AND his SD card had DIFFERENT 'poi.gpi' files loaded. When that is the case, and you don't send the poi.gpi file to the nüvi (when asked by the unit -- totally replacing what was there before) the nüvi uses information from BOTH of the poi.gpi files and joins them. See my article: 'LOADING YOUR CUSTOM POIs - Facts You Know, Probably Know & Might Know'.

NOTE: sometimes you want this and sometimes you don't. I'll present a later article showing some tricks for when you don't want the two files to be the same.


In this case, he was really getting two alerts, one the new silent one -- from the SD card and a former default alert for the same spot that was already in the nüvi.

When he removed the sounding one he had what he thought he wanted.

A lesson here is that when you are using
two different poi.gpi files, one on your SD card and one in your nüvi, make sure that there are no pointers, that might have different sounds, which interfere with each other.

Let's Move On ................

Although possible, having a silent alert,
may not be the way to go. DM later, after testing, agreed.

A better technique might be either of my:

(1) '
soft.sound.mp3'/'soft.sound.wav' -- will present a low volume sound as you approach your alert spot letting you know that the screen has turned red. It is not annoying as are the default bongs and pings of the nüvi. You can even adjust the sound to an even lower volume using 'Sound Recorder' or a similar program. The sound WILL probably repeat (depending upon your speed) once or twice before you reach your destination -- but it is very soft. When alerted, you can look at the 'red' screen to see what you are approaching.

(2) '
soft.sound.w.silence.mp3'/'soft.sound.w.silence.wav' -- has a thirty second tail of silence. It will sound once, softly, and probably not sound again. So, when your nüvi screen turns red you will have a short soft sound, alerting you, and not hear the sound again (for that alert -- unless you are driving very slowly.) When alerted, you can look at the 'red' screen to see what you are approaching.

The sound I am using here is the same soft sound that I used in my article: '
MY POIs - Custom POI Favorites'

If you would like to download the sound and silent files mentioned in this article choose either one of the .mp3 or .wav versions below. Remember a .wav file, of the same contents, is much, much larger in size than a .mp3 file.

You will need to change the prefix file names to match your .csv or .gpx file with which you are working. Also you might have to use your POI Loader in manual mode to create a distance alert or speed alert setting if using a .csv file or use other options such as including the word 'Redlight' or 'specs' as part of .csv file name (for a ~1319 ft. proximity {on-road} alert warning.)

HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE SOUNDS

Right click on a link in the following table.

Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the file in the folder where you keep your .csv and .gpx files.

BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.mp3' or '.wav'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this. Re-check to see that you don't have any double suffixes to your saved files. Change the prefix to match the .csv or .gpx file that you are associating it with.

Now, the next time you use POI Loader and include the group you will have softened the alert with your new 'manipulated' sound.

[If you intend to use .wav files in your nüvi you should first read 'DON'T MAKE A .WAV - Now nüvi Series 200 Can Have Music, Sound & Voice Alerts' to learn the techniques and about a necessary supporting program named 'sox.exe'.]

.mp3 files

.wav files
adjusted to PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono
for nüvis that don't have
.mp3 capability

soft.sound.mp3 soft.sound.wav
soft.sound.w.silence.mp3 soft.sound.w.silence.wav
silence.mp3 silence.wav
TO LISTEN: Left click a link
TO SAVE: Right click a link and then select 'Save Target As'
and direct it to your Custom POI Folder

I personally prefer the 'soft.sound.w.silence' approach.

You can easily create your own sounds and play around with the silent 'tails' using Sound Recorder or other programs.

Remember, people using .wav files, they need to be: PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono.

DECEMBER 2009 -ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RE: THE .WAV FILE FREQUENCY SEE ARTICLE:
CAN YOU .WAV WITH LESS FREQUENCY? - PCM 44.100kHz 16 Bit, Mono Is Only One Setting

Thank you DM for giving me the idea for this article.



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