This is the Custom POI Page 1

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]


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CUSTOM POINTS OF INTEREST (POI)


This area is presented separated from the other Tricks, Tips, etc... as many nüvi users don't import outside Custom POIs or prepare their own. Custom POIs are different from the ~6 million that may come with your nüvi and are already installed. They are in addition to and are highly useful in making your GPS a more capable and interesting tool.

If you have experience with Custom POIs already, this area
may not be for you as I suspect you most probably are a more advanced user than is expected here. However, you may, as the articles begin to appear, pick up a couple of hints or discover alternate techniques which may be useful. Also, you might want to contribute an article or two in order to help the 'new' people.

I will not, at least for a while, be discussing Garmin MapSource, as many new nüvi owners do not receive it with their units nor do they order the program. I will be discussing, and providing the links to other Freeware or Shareware programs that may be useful.

Also, this area is not designed as an 'end all' information source. There are already some very excellent sources that I will refer you to, in a later article, if you desire to seek detailed information. What I am doing here, hopefully, is helping to create interest in Custom POIs for your Garmin nüvi
s, presenting some basics uses in an easy to understand and maybe fun technique, guiding you through some simple workshops at home so that you can 'kick your GPS up a notch.'

Some of the nüvi owners (EX: 200 series) will be able to use Custom POIs but will
not be able* (SEE INSERT) to have special sound files associated with their Custom POIs but they will have already built in tones for alerts.

*ATTENTION NUVI 200 SERIES OWNERS

NOTE (July 08) 200 series owners can now use .wav files instead of .mp3 files (which their units can't play). See my
'
DON'T MAKE A .WAV
- Now nüvi Series 200 Can Have Music, Sound & Voice Alerts
'


I will be starting off rather easy, making it useful and fun along the way. There will be some steps that you have already done. If so, good. You are already ahead of the game. In the first article, I will invite you to do some 'set-up' activities which will carry you through all other Custom POI incorporation.

For many of the actions that I am suggesting, there are other ways of doing them. I am suggesting these easy techniques at first -- "...so easy, even a Caveman can do it." Later, I can introduce you to more involved or even Ready Made programs that will do them for you.

 





GETTING READY FOR CUSTOM POIs
- Initial steps

This first part is done with your computer. Your nüvi GPS is not involved. In the beginning, I will provide you with the necessary artwork and sounds, however, you can easily change this later to other artwork and sounds to express your individual personality and likes. I will show you how in future articles and even provide you, at that time, with links to freeware, shareware and even on-line applications that will help you.

What you are going to do now is set up a unique folder on your computer where Custom POIs ( type - .csv and .gpx) will be housed and where sounds (type - .mp3
{.wav}) and POI icons (.bmp files) --- will reside. Then you will place a free Garmin program - POI Loader on your hard drive.

ESTABLISH A SPECIAL FOLDER ON YOUR HARD DRIVE

On my computer I have established:

C:\Garmin Nuvi 650\POIcollection

as the special folder. You may name it anything you want just so you can easily recognize it and get to it. I place it in my Garmin Nuvi 650 folder as I have other Garmin folders for other instruments and I don't want to mix things up.

WARNING: For NOW, the only files allowed in that folder will be of the type:

  • .csv
  • .gpx
  • .mp3 [or .wav]
  • .bmp

...NO OTHERS...*

*ATTENTION NUVI 200 SERIES OWNERS [and other non .mp3 playing units]

NOTE (July 08) non .mp3 playing unit owners can now use .wav files instead of .mp3 files (which their units can't play). See my
'
DON'T MAKE A .WAV
- Now nüvi Series 200 Can Have Music, Sound & Voice Alerts
'

It is in this folder that you will be placing all the POIs and associated icons and sounds you make or collect before uploading them to your GPS.

You can use Windows Explorer to establish your folder if you use a PC. Mac people, I can't help you as I went from Apple to PC way back in the late 20th century but most probably the procedures are the same or similar. If you use a Apple or an Apple Lisa, I can't help you at all.

PUT POI LOADER ON YOUR HARD DRIVE

You can obtain the program, POI Loader directly from Garmin by going here:

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

POI Loader allows you to move the necessary files from your computer's Hard Drive to your compatible nüvi GPS.

> Read about it at the above URL. You will find the download link in the second paragraph. There will be an option for a Windows or Mac version in a later screen. You will also be able to read download instructions and system requirements before the actual download.

Once downloaded and installed (where on your computer -- is your choice), I would put a 'shortcut link to the program' on the desktop
AND also in the folder that 'sort of' matches my:

C:\Garmin 650

DO NOT put the program or a shortcut to it in your similar folder to my:

C:\Garmin Nuvi 650\POIcollection

that's where only those SPECIAL files reside ...

...but you knew that already.

OK -- you are now set up, ready to progress.

Now that was easy,wasn't it?

0803??

110407 Comments about also using a .wav file for sound for non .mp3 playing units added.




OH, GIVE ME A HOME
- Fun Use of a Proximity Alert

NOTE: To First Timer -- although the following article has you send a file to the SD card of your nüvi, your nüvi may not have an SD or HCSD card or you may choose not to use the card. In fact, most beginners and even intermediates don't use their SD card for Custom POI storage. The procedure here is to acquaint you with the use of the card if you so desire. You may, instead of using the card, direct POI Loader to your nüvi instrument, and not your SD card -- it will work just as well.

In the article that follows this one,
CUSTOM POIs - TO SD CARD OR GARMIN'S MEMORY - You Have a Choice, I discuss this choice in more detail. Still, reading and following the procedure here, whether you send the created file to your SD card or to your GPSr will be of benefit to you and the project will get you started understanding Custom POIs in a most benificial way. You can consider this the benchmark for writing a simple Custom POI file and sending it to your GPSr.

Here is your initial project. It is easy to do and will also provide you with some entertainment each time you approach your home with your GPS activated (if you have .mp3 capability.)

You will be establishing a
Proximity Alert at your home. When you get ~1319 ft. (402 meters) from your home, parts of your screen will turn red, a special 'home' icon will appear on screen, an alert announcement will also appear and you will be serenaded with a 20 second tune that will bring a smile to your face.

[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.]

You are going to:

  • Write your own .csv file (don't worry, it's a short one-liner)
  • Obtain an image .bmp from me
  • Obtain a short .mp3 [or .wav] file from me [if you are using a .wav file then you must have the file 'sox.exe' in the same folder where you have 'PoiLoader.exe' housed. That should be in a different folder than the 'special folder' that I mention here. I have written about this in many of the following articles in this section of the website. For example, See my 'DON'T MAKE A .WAV - Now nüvi Series 200 Can Have Music, Sound & Voice Alerts' ]
  • Place the above in that 'special folder' I mentioned in the previous article
  • Use POI Loader and your Garmin USB cable to transfer the files to your GPS
  • Place your GPS in Custom POI ready mode
  • Enjoy


Note: what follows may seem long to you as I am including some detail. However, by the time you repeat it two or three times it will only take about one minute to do.

- WRITE A .CSV FILE

Open your text editor (Notepad, NoteTab, BBBEdit, etc.) and write a one line entry that looks something like this:

-77.03656, 38.89788, My Home,

[Please notice that I am using only 5 digits after the decimal points.

[I am omitting an optional 4th element (field) -- a Comment area -- for the purpose of these early experiments. For now, let's just use 3 elements: longitude, latitude, name. However, a comma is still placed after the third element as if a forth element was to follow.]

[Please note that for Garmin purposes with .csv and .gpx files, longitude is listed first, then latitude. For locations in the US the longitude is represented with either a minus sign or a 'W' for West. When writing files yourself, you will use the minus sign. Also note that if you obtain coordinates from other sources they may list latitude first, so it will be up to you to make the switch for your Garmin.]

You will change the longitude and latitude coordinates above to reflect those of your house [actually, the parking spot in front of your house on the street would be better.] (If you don't know what they are I will show you how to obtain them at the bottom of this article.) The My Home is the on screen proximity alert notice that will appear as you near your house. You can change it to anything you want (keep it short) such as Mia Casa Bella.



Now save this file to that 'special folder' (remember mine was named 'POIcollection') using
THIS FILE NAME:

My_Home_Redlight.csv

(In this case), the word 'Redlight'
MUST appear, there can be no spaces (but you can use the underlined space (as I did above), and the file type has to be '.csv'. The word Redlight is recognized by the POI Loader program as a code word which will set the proximity alert. There are other code words (keywords) that I will discuss in a later article (or you can find out about them through your own research via the links I provide.)

WARNING: Your text editor will probably want to save the file as a '.txt' file -- DON'T LET IT. Your text editor will most probably have an option of 'Save as Type' -- 'All Files' which will allow your editor program to save the file with the '.csv' suffix that you want. If your text editor won't let you do this -- use another text editor that will. Remember to save your file in that 'special folder' that you will be using.


- YOUR .MP3 OR .WAV FILE

Although you can use any .mp3
[or .wav] sound file of tones, music, voice, ring tones, etc., I am providing you with the one you will use for this exercise. You can change it later. In another article*, I will even show you how to record and use your own voice for your alerts.

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

[You can even omit this file. If you do, instead of the music and special tones, your Garmin will 'Bong Bong' as you approach your alert target. But for this exercise, go ahead and use the .mp3 file.]

To get it: Right click this link

My_Home_Redlight.mp3
or
[if you are not using a .mp3 equipped unit]
My_Home_Redlight.wav

Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the file in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN 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.

Notes: Sorry Mac owners, I don't know what your protocol is for saving files, but you 15% have probably run into this before and have figured it out à la savvy Justin Long from the Mac/PC commercials.

Notice that the prefix of the file name
EXACTLY matches the prefix of the .csv file. This is necessary for all unique groupings such as this one.

- YOUR POI ICON

Although this step of adding an icon is not necessary, I want to give you the experience as you will use it later on. Also, in the future, you can design your own icons or use many that have already been written and are available for download. If you don't use an icon, your GPS will insert a small (
VERY SMALL) 'generic' icon for your custom POI. I think that you will have more appreciation in having your own chosen icons -- so give it a try.

Here I am making it easy for all you have to do is download the icon I have prepared for you and plop it into your POIcollection folder. The rule for this action will be that the icon must be of .bmp file type and the prefix of the file name must be the same as the prefix of your .csv file that you have prepared.

To get it: Right click this link

My_Home_Redlight.bmp

Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the file in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.bmp'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this.

You now have three files in your POIcollection folder

My_Home_Redlight.csv
My_Home_Redlight.mp3
[or .wav]
My_Home_Redlight.bmp

Again notice that the prefixes are
EXACTLY THE SAME -- including the upper case characters.

It is now time to send those files to your Garmin nüvi.

USING YOUR POI LOADER

Using your Garmin provided USB cable, plug one end into your computer and the other into your Garmin. Wait until your nüvi becomes activated in receipt mode -- you will probably see, as I can with mine, a graphic of a GPS connected by cable to a PC.

Now activate your POI Loader program which you have previously installed on your computer -- perhaps by using a shortcut that you have wisely planted in a convenient (folder, desktop, start menu, quick launch toolbar) place.

Follow the on screen directions:
Next
Select 'Garmin Device' > Next

Wait until program finds the device. If it isn't selecting the SD card you have installed in your Garmin use the pull down menu to select it. Mine reads 'Removable Disk (K:\)'.

[For now we will be loading the information on to your SD card, which is IN your Garmin, rather than directly into the Garmin (which is also possible)] > Next Select 'Install new custom POI's into your device' > Next [We do not have to erase previously installed POI's as this new installation will over-write the old. (Please remember that each time you use POI Loader it will completely eliminate it's previous load to your nüvi, replacing it with the new load. It does not append.)]

1) Check to see if the path is set to where your POI collection is. If not 'Browse' until you can select the proper folder. 2) Select proper units for distance and speed. I'm using 'Feet and MPH'. 3) [This time] Select Express > Next [I will discuss Manual in a later* article]
You will receive a 'Congratulations' message > Finish


[* See: POI LOADER IN MANUAL MODE - Setting Speed or Distance]


POI Loader now disappears and there is something written on your SD card.

Now unplug the USB cable from both your computer and your GPS device and wait until it activates -- there will be a slight delay.

A screen telling you that it found new data appears.
Select OK


A new screen asking if you want to copy the data to your nüvi appears. [For now]
select Yes.


A new screen showing the rapid installation appears (it is fast so look quick if you want to see it); then your GPS starts in normal mode.

Also do this one time -- Make sure that your Proximity Points Alert is turned on. On my nüvi 650, from the main menu I select 'Wrench' > Proximity Points > Alerts (select Change) and make sure that 'Custom POIs' is checked. I also, at the bottom of the same screen, select 'Audio' > choose 'Continuous - All Alerts' > OK (2) > Back (2).

Also, make sure that your Attention Tone is turned on: 'Wrench' > 'Navigation' > if Attention Tone reads 'Off' then change it by touching 'Off' and selecting 'On' in the next screen. Then OK > Back (2). If you have been using your device it will probably be set to 'On' already.

Depending upon your model, your nüvi may not be exactly like this but what you are doing is allowing Custom POIs to work and allowing Alerts to work.


You are done.

Now, as I promised, when your GPS is on (even though you haven't programmed in a destination) and you get near your home, a proximity alert will happen, part of the screen will turn red with the message 'Alert: My Home' will appear and you will hear a brief serenade as you arrive at your place.

[NOTE: Depending upon your model, your nüvi 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.]


BTW, your nüvi will briefly interrupt your alerts if it has some important driving information to present; after which your alert continues.

Additional Note: If you just are using the .csv file and not the associated .bmp and .mp3 files, your nüvi will still give you the red screen alert and use generic 'bongs' and not present you with the special icon display or the special sounds. The latter two are just a little window dressing that is permitted that I wanted you to see in case you decide to use those choices in the future.

This particular type of alert is widely used, as you probably have correctly assumed from the file name, for identifying where Red Light Cameras have been installed to alert you as you approach. Now both you and I know that you are
not planning to violate the traffic laws by going through a Red Light when you are not supposed to -- so I guess it is to warn you of the area just in case someone in front of you sees the cameras at the last second and slams on their breaks. At least YOU will be alerted.

There are collections of Red Light Cameras .csv and .gpx files (I haven't discussed the .gpx files as yet, but I will in a later article) that you can download and load to your Garmin nüvi. Some require a subscription or at least a fee for the download -- many are FREE.

Proximity alerts, such as we have just done, are also useful for letting you know when you get near a location, perhaps a park, monument, truck stop, airport, attractions, golf course, nightclubs, lodgings, etc. Available grouped lists, ready to download are available for such as: Starbucks, National Parks, Microbreweries, Popeyes, Dominos, Staples, etc.; you get the idea. You can make your own groups but I find it is quite easy to download what is available and then use POI Loader to transfer them to your device. However, when something you want is not available, you can easily make your own alerts.


How To Find The Longitude and Latitude
of Your Home.

There are many ways of doing this.

1) Your nüvi GPS may have it already. If you are at home and have used your nüvi GPS then turned it off before you entered your house, the longitude and latitude at the point you turned it off, is in your GPS right now. See my article:
'
WHERE AM I? BY THE NUMBERS - Coordinates of Your PRESENT Position'. [It does not work the same for all series and I don't know the techniques for the 700 and 800 series -- but they may be the same or similar.]

Turn your GPS ON [with antenna down (series 300 and 600) -- meaning satellite acquisition is off], touch the upper left corner of your screen (it may be bare or with some models have the satellite bars). If another screen pops up it will reflect your current latitude and longitude. Please notice that the order presented is the reverse of what you will enter in the .csv file you are writing. For the nüvi 200 series, taping the on screen vehicle will bring up your current coordinates. See suggested article.

2) If you have Google Earth on your computer then use it and just go to your house or even enter your address. When the map shows your home then move the cursor to your front door (parking spot is better) and read the necessary coordinates from the bottom left of the map screen. [See my article 'ARE YOU COORDINATED? - Obtaining and Using Coordinates in Your GPS'.]

Please note that the order of the coordinates, in each case, are reversed from how you will be using them. You have collected latitude/longitude but you will reverse them to be longitude/latitude in the '.cvs' files you will be writing.

3) You can use Google Maps at http://maps.google.com or Yahoo maps at http://maps.yahoo.com/ to find the necessary coordinates. For directions see my article 'ARE YOU COORDINATED? - Obtaining and Using Coordinates in Your GPS'. Notice again that the coordinates are in reverse order of what you want for your .csv file.

(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

 
 
0803??

110407 Comments about also using a .wav file for sound for non .mp3 playing units added.



CUSTOM POIs - TO SD CARD OR GARMIN'S MEMORY
- You Have a Choice

In the above article I had you use POI Loader to send the necessary information from your POIcollection folder to your nüvi's SD card. I did mention that there was another way of doing this -- sending the information directly to your Garmin device. In fact, you probably noticed that fact yourself when you were going through the POI Loader screens.

On the device setting screen you have a menu box where, instead of selecting the Removable Disk (that's your SD card), you could have directly chosen your nüvi --
which is the most common way. The procedure is similar to the following.


This action would send your Custom POIs directly to your unit,
bypassing the SD card, and overwriting any Custom POIs that were on board before.

Confession: That is the way I do it.

So, why use the SD card in the first place? Your Garmin can read the POIs off the SD card
without loading them into the unit itself. In the above exercise I had you load the POIs (actually a newly formed file created by POI Loader, named 'poi.gpi') which contains all your Custom POIs, to the SD card -- as practice. Then when you unplugged your USB cable and your Garmin activated, your Garmin asked you if you wanted to load the file to your unit. I had you select, Yes, but you didn't have to. You could have left them right on the SD card and they would still have worked from there --- Provided your Garmin poi.gpi file was empty (Size 0KB). [In a later* article I will tell you about having one poi.gpi file in your device and having a different poi.gpi file on your SD/SDHC card -- and using them both.]

[*See: LOADING YOUR CUSTOM POIs - Facts You Know, Probably Know & Might Know ]

For information: How do you make your Garmin poi.gpi file empty?

You use your POI Loader and select the option that does just that.

[Please don't go just deleting a file with your computer's file management system from your Garmin device. Let the POI Loader do it for you.]


Why keep your POIs on your SD card and not in your Garmin?

As your unit fills up with other things -- maps, jpgs, voices, vehicles, mp3s, audibles, screen shots, etc., having POI Loader send the file to your SD card might be a necessity. Perhaps this need might be more necessary for lower series nüvis which may have less on-board memory. But I would venture to say, that for most people, sending your Custom POIs to your Garmin directly via your POI Loader program which creates the poi.gpi file will be the quickest way to go. But, you can rest assured that if you need to, at a later time, your custom POIs can rest on your SD card without going to your Garmin's insides, and you will know how to get them there.



FAST CARS AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
- Souped-up Speed Alerts

The second major category for Custom POIs is the Speed Alert. A Speed alert can be set so that your nüvi device will warn you when you near an area that is speed controlled. Of course it can't quite do this by itself, although in the future it probably will be able to, so you have to establish a where and how fast alert (a Speed Alert) -- which is done by a special Custom POI.

The simplest Speed Alert will announce a warning via a 'ping ping' sound, a portion of the your display screen turning red and providing you with a text alert as you approach an area that you have established that you want to be warned about possible excessive speed such as a school zone, construction zone, or a known radar or speed camera site.

The Custom POI process allows you to get a little fancy giving you the ability to place special icons at the 'speed' area, such as an indication of the speed allowed or another type of signage, and special tones, music or voices which might add depth to the alert.

In general, there are collections of Speed POIs that exist on the Internet which you may download. Some are free and some are by subscription. I will discuss them in more detail in a later article. These will probably be what you will be using on your Garmin.

But here we are going to practice and have a little fun. You are going to write your own Speed Alerts for some school areas near your home. Actual speed signs telling you the restricted speed will appear on your Garmin as you approach the area and a special .mp3 song will start playing if you exceed the speed limit.

Are You Ready?

First you need to find the coordinates of a couple of schools in your area that you would normally pass. Actually, the coordinates should
not be of the school building itself (which is often set back in the property) but on the road that you are traveling (where the traffic signs announce the speed zone.)

I find that the best way of doing this is to use:


You need to have a program that furnishes longitude and latitude of a particular point. I use the above two, but if you know of others (other than MapSource) that provide map and satellite views, can be searched, and will indicated coordinates feel free to use them -- you might even send me their links so that I can include them in this article.

Google Earth

This is pretty straight forward. locate an address and where ever you move your cursor your latitude and longitude are indicated at the bottom left of the map screen.


Google Maps

is a little more involved but is still easy. It involves:

  • Searching for your home address
  • Change the search term to 'school' and search maps-- schools near your home will be indicated.
  • Select a school that you will pass (left side of screen)
  • Place the open hand cursor (not the finger pointing cursor) on the traveled road near the marker and right click and select 'Directions from Here'.
  • Highlight the coordinates that appear (only the coordinates) and paste them into a text file for temporary storage.
  • Do this at least two more times so that you collect the coordinates of three different nearby schools.

Please note that with Google Maps, the order of the coordinates, in each case, are reversed from how you will be using them in your .csv file. You have collected latitude/longitude but you will reverse them to be longitude/latitude in the '.csv' files you will be writing.


Preparing The .CSV Files

We are going to pretend that the speed zone for two of the schools, the first two, is 35mph (or 55kph for metric users) and that the last school's speed limit is 25mph (40kph) [This is just to learn the technique and use the provided icons. You can make proper adjustments later.]

You will prepare
two .csv files by writing them with a text editor such as Notepad.

The first, which will contain two lines of information similar to what I have presented below, will be saved to your POIcollection folder (discussed in previous article) as:

Schools_Speed_35.csv
(if mph) or
Schools_Speed_55.csv
(if you are working in metric)

[BTW, the files have the word 'Speed' in their names for a reason, just like in the previous article there was a reason for the word 'Redlight'. Also, the number is there to set the alert speed. [Even though you will discover that the word 'speed' is not required in the file name; the number alone will suffice (provided it is less than 125 mph or 200 kph) I am using it, in this training, for identification.]

I will cover all the different words (code words or kewords) and different ways to use the numbers in a future article -- or you can search them out in the interim -- but at this point in our projects I am working without most of the other 'special' words.]


The body of the file will look something like this. You, of course will use your pertinent coordinates.
Remember the order, longitude then latitude.

[Please also notice that I am using only 5 digits after the decimal points.]

-112.22877, 33.61746, School A,
-112.22868, 33.62462, School B,

You can name each school (differently) if you want,
but for now, don't use any numbers in the name, and keep the name relatively short.

Confusion Point: 'name' here is not to be confused with 'file name' which would be your .csv file. The name, in the example above and below, is the text after the longitudes and latitudes. Example: School A

You second .csv file will be named

Schools_Speed_25.csv
(if mph) or
Schools_Speed_40.csv
(if you are working in metric)

and will contain information similar to this:

-112.21150, 33.60323, School C,

As you can see, the numbers in the .csv
file name relate to the allowed speed in the particular speed zone.


[NOTE: Don't use the longitude and latitude numbers that I have written above, but substitute them with the longitude and latitude numbers of actual schools near your home. Reason: You will want to check out the speed alerts and having them near your home would be much easier than for you driving to Phoenix, Arizona to test out the ones I have provided. Let's all help the environment by saving some gas.]

This file will also be saved to your POIcollection folder.

You could actually stop here and use your POI Loader program and you will have your speed alerts with a
generic sound and a generic dot (icon) but I want to help you add a musical alert and some speed signs that will show up on your Garmin screen just so you know that you can do it and have some fun with it at the same time.

MUSIC ALERT

I have prepared a short music alert for use with this experiment. You are to download the appropriate
two. Remember the these names have to exactly match the beginning part of your .csv file names but with the .mp3 suffix.

Right click on two of these links in the following table to match your .csv files. Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the two correct files in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.mp3'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this.

MPH

Schools_Speed_25.mp3
Schools_Speed_35.mp3

KPH

Schools_Speed_40.mp3
Schools_Speed_55.mp3


NOW FOR THE LARGER SPEED ICONS

Some quick icon rules (if you make your own -- but I've made some for you so you don't have to bother for now.)

  • Must be of the Windows .bmp file type
  • Prefix of file name MUST match the .csv or .gpx file name
  • Size should be no bigger than 24 x 24 pixels
  • Best to use 256 RGB color palette with standard web safe colors
  • The color 'magenta' (RGB R:255, G:0, B:255 [#ff00ff ] is treated as a transparent color)


Many times, when you download available POI files there may be .bmp icons for those file available (like here). It there are, I would suggest you obtain and use them.

So you won't have to spend time graphing your own, I'm going to give you
two to use with the two practice files you are writing. Use either those from the mph group or the kph group, as appropriate.

Right click on two of these links in the following table to match your .csv and .mp3 files. Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the two correct files in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.bmp'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this.

MPH

Schools_Speed_25.bmp
Schools_Speed_35.bmp

KPH

Schools_Speed_40.bmp
Schools_Speed_55.bmp

CONCLUSION

So, all together, you have placed 6 files in your POIcollection folder. 2 type .csv, 2 type .mp3, and 2 type .bmp.

Now all you have to do, as you did in the previous article, is to:

  • Connect your nüvi to your computer with the USB cable
  • Start your POI Loader and follow the screen directions and load it on to your SD card (yes, I know you can go directly to your Garmin but there is a reason I am doing it this way for the moment.)
  • Make sure, when your nüvi starts that the information gets stored in your device

When you test this out, please do it at a time when school is not in session and you are legally allowed to travel at a speed higher than the restricted 'when school is in session' slower rate. This will give you the opportunity to see how your Garmin responds. When school is in session, you will be following the restricted speed limits and, of course, the alarm will NOT go off -- correct?


Please note that
there are other techniques for doing this. I have proposed this one to give you experience with the word 'speed' in the file name, numbers in file name, associated musical mp3 alert, an appearing larger icon on your nüvi's screen, changing icons depending upon which alert area you are approaching, finding coordinates via an on-line program (or Google Earth which I highly recommend), using your SD card, etc.


If you did this a second time, knowing your coordinates, writing your two .csv files, down loading the .mp3s and .bmps, using your POI Loader program, the process would only take you a couple of minutes.




MY POIs
- Custom POI Favorites

Let's turn our attention now to another type of Custom POI. At first without the bells and whistles of Alerts -- but you know that later I am going to add some enhancements.

The general purpose of this 'plain' POI is to
add a Favorite, not to your normal nüvi Favorite area but to your Custom POI area. There is a great advantage of doing this for it gives you the opportunity to group POIs in a fashion that your Garmin doesn't ordinarily allow.

For example you could group all Beauty Salons, Home Depots, swimming pools, El Pollo Loco shops, Baskin-Robbins, libraries, etc. not only for your neighborhood, but also city, state and country -- if you want. There are some ready made downloads that do just that and in the future that is where you are going to get your lists.

But, for this experiment, you are going to tackle just a few to see how they work.

Again you are going to write a short '.csv' file and save it as '
MyPOIs.csv' in your POIcollection folder.

There will be three elements (fields) to each line entry and they, as before, are separated by commas (delimiters).

[I am omitting an optional 4th element (field) -- a Comment area -- for the purpose of these early experiments. For now, let's just use 3 elements: longitude, latitude, name. However, a comma is still placed after the third element as if a forth element was to follow.]

Since we are only going to do a couple we won't have need to group them so one file will be enough.

Using Google maps, Google Earth, Mapquest your Garmin or whatever you choose, find the longitude and latitude of 4 points near your home -- store, park, intersection, bridge, railroad crossing etc. Then open you text editor and write 4 lines similar to what is below
(don't copy this as it is not near your house and you will have no way to test it):

-93.59749, 41.59464, Beauty Salon,
-93.59954, 41.57765, Hawthorne Park,
-93.60577, 41.57881, 6th Street Bridge,
-93.61641, 41.58964, WalMart,

[Please notice that I am using only 5 digits after the decimal points.]

Remember the correct order, longitude then latitude.

The only
caveats I'm going to impose are:

  • Each location must be on an actual road -- not a parking lot or in a field
  • For testing purposes, select locations that are at least 1/2 mile apart or if not, then on different roads


Save the file as '
MyPOIs.csv' in your POIcollection folder. (You are going to change the name slightly a little later)

Now using your POI Loader and the techniques in the above article, load your collection, including this file, into your Garmin (directly or via SD card.)
(Please remember that each time you use POI Loader it will completely eliminate it's previous load to your nüvi or SD card, replacing it with the new load. It does not append.)

You have just made these POIs Favorites but in your Custom POI folder on your Garmin. You can locate these points faster than using your normal Favorites.

From Main Menu > tap Where to? > Extras (or My Locations) > Custom POIs > select 'MyPOIs' from the list > select POI you want > Go! and your map is being drawn.

You could have a similar .csv file named Starbucks_My_State.csv which could contain the locations of all the Starbucks in your state. You wouldn't have to even search and then write it out yourself -- for people have already done that for you. I'll show you where to get these files later.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

Putting an Icon to Use

OK -- we need to tweak some things now. Let's put a generic (large) icon to work for us. I'll give you the icon, but you can always change it with another or design your own. Remember for your own icons:

  • Must be of the Windows .bmp file type
  • Prefix of file name MUST match the .csv or .gpx file name
  • Size should be no bigger than 24 x 24 pixels
  • Best to use 256 RGB color palette with standard web safe colors
  • The color 'magenta' (RGB R:255, G:0, B:255 [#ff00ff ] is treated as a transparent color)


Here's the icon

To get it: Right click this link

MYPOIs.bmp

Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the file in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.bmp'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this.

Now, if your Garmin creates a route to one of the above destinations by using using a Custom POI selection, the large (generic) icon will appear at your destination. No big deal. You already have a checkered flag there. So that is not really how we are going to be using it. However, keep that .bmp file in your POIcollection folder.
And have patience, grasshopper.

Adding a Sound File

I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet but let's just say that we are going to also be using a sound file. I'll give you this one too.

To get it: Right click this link

MYPOIs.mp3

Select (in Windows) 'Save Target as' and save the file in folder 'POIcollection' (or what you have chosen). AGAIN BE SURE that the file is saved with the proper file type '.mp3'. You may have to adjust your 'Save as Type' to 'All Files' to do this.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

You are almost ready. What we are going to do is not worry about using these four locations as destinations but we are going to create this occurrence.

Each time you start to approach one of these points this is what will happen.

  • As you approach the location the large icon will appear on the road. You don't have to be zoomed in to see the icon (like you do with the small normal Garmin icons)
  • A red alert with the name of the location will appear on your Garmin screen
  • A distinctive sound will play. This will be my special low volume sound and is purposely made softer than the normal and louder Alert sound your Garmin would make if you didn't have this mp3 file loaded and keyed to the POI file name
  • When you pass the location, everything goes back to normal

What do we need to do to make all this happen?

Easy, just change each file name by adding the word 'specs' to the prefixes of the file names. So your files will now look like:

MYPOIs_specs.csv
MYPOIs_specs.bmp
MYPOIs_specs.mp3


[Note: we could have used the word 'redlight' like we did before, or even certain others which are codes (keywords) for types of alerts such as -- "GATSO," "mobile", "SPECS", "safety", "redlight", "speed", or "camera" . I will discuss this more in a later article. We are using 'specs' here just for a variety.]

You have your three new files in your POIcollection folder. Now, just as you did in the previous articles, use your POI Loader to send them, and the rest of your collection, to your nüvi.

Now take a drive down the streets where these Custom POIs are located and see the special icon appear, the red alert appear, and hear the soft reminder sound play.

 

 

 

 





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