This is the Custom POI Page-9

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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-- This is the start of the Custom POI Page --9--


General: Pg 1, Pg 2, Pg 3, Pg 4, Pg 5, Pg 6, Pg 7, Pg 8, Pg 9, Pg 10,
Pg 11
, Pg 12, Pg 13, Pg 14, Pg 15, Pg 16, Pg 17, Pg 18

Custom POI: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6,
Page 7, Page 8, Page 9

7/8X5 Page 1, 7/8X5 Page 2, 7/8X5 Page 3

Info Page
      TOC/Menu      The Newbie Page

- A Short Scrutiny With Advice

NOTE (July 2011): There have been later releases of sox.exe since v 14.0.1, which is discussed here.

If you would like to learn how to obtain the newer version, including 3 extra .dll files that
will be needed, read the help article HERE

When the 'TourGuide' capability was first introduced by Garmin they advertised, "
...let('s) you use your compatible Garmin device* as a personal electronic tour guide. When you pass a TourGuide POI, an MP3 file automatically begins to play. This can be perfect for bus tours, historical sites or real estate sales."

It was for mp3 playing units of the nüvi and zumo type.

When you approached a special POI, from any angle, and
NOT necessary being on a road, your unit would start playing a programmed talk about that POI -- it could even be a rather lengthy presentation.

The original files had to be of the .gpx file type and were prepared and furnished by third party developers; but soon GPSr users figured out how to prepare their own. [
I call this the 'Type A' style of TourGuide.]

Later, users figured out how to also use the TourGuide capability for constructing 360 degree, radial proximity alerts for any Custom POI. [
I call this the 'Type B' style of TourGuide.] Then non-mp3 unit owners discovered that they too could use their units for this purpose using .wav file instead of .mp3 files by using a small program named 'sox.exe' in conjunction with their POI Loader program.

With Garmin now releasing new units without .mp3 capability, The Type A style of TourGuide has faded drastically and those who now use the TourGuide capability are using the Type B style to their advantage.
It is the Type B style that I am discussing here.

No longer does one
HAVE TO use a .gpx file for their TourGuide Proximity Alert, they can, and often do, use a .csv file.

But when some new users write their own, they seem to make some errors. This is to alert the 'Newbie' to areas where they should pay particular attention. I have written many previous articles on how to write and use the TourGuide capability of your GPSr. Please read them for details and usage hints.

TourGuide Guidance For Your [Type B]

When Preparing Your File

For processing, use the latest version of POI Loader (
v. 2.6.1 as of this writing).

Make sure you have the file 'sox.exe' (for non-.mp3 capable units) in the
SAME FOLDER as 'poiLoader.exe' [Version 14.0.1 of 'sox.exe' is a generally agreed upon good version as of this writing.]

The word 'TourGuide' (the keyword) must be included in the .csv or .gpx filename that you are using. Notice the
upper case 'T' and the upper case 'G' in the word. All other characters are lower case.

Do not use any other keyword in the filename (such as RedLight, Speed, GATSO, camera, safety, mobile, & SPECS.)

Do not use any numbers in the filename from 1 to 124 (for feet/MPH system) or 1 to 199 (for meters/KPH system). Higher whole numbers are allowed.

When writing your line items in a .csv file the structure is -- longitude (
comma) latitude (comma) location name (comma) other text

-106.89770, 34.09095, I-25 NM, Hidden Treasure buried here

Notice that in the above line, there are
three commas. They act as field delimiters. You must have at least three fields (the longitude, the latitiude, and the POI name), the fourth (text field) can be omitted -- but you STILL should put a comma after the third field (this is currently a preference but in the future may be mandatory -- so use it now.)[In the third and fourth fields, if they are enclosed by double quote marks, commas can be inserted in the text, however, this is where most mistakes are made especially for those who are preparing larger (more line items) POI files and errors can make POI Loader 'burp' and may be difficult to find to correct. My very simple advice is to only use 3 commas TOTAL per line when preparing your files.] And, don't put an @ and a number, such as '@35', in the third field -- that's a speed alert command which you don't want.

Your TourGuide announcement will only sound
ONCE when you reach the radial proximity zone, so ...

  • Don't make your TourGuide .wav (or .mp3) file with a diminished volume as you may not be able to hear it when in your vehicle.

  • Don't make your TourGuide .wav (or .mp3) file too short, for again, you may not hear it. In addition, some units tend to swallow up the beginning of .wav or .mp3 announcements (it has happened to me with earlier units that I owned.) The fix, that many, including myself, have used in the past, was to place a 'silent lead' in front of the announcement. This can be done with such programs as Sound Recorder or Audacity. If your device swallows up a portion of your announcement, then this will help as it will be swallowing up the silent portion of the message before your announcement really begins.

When processing the file with POI Loader set the distance alert (or preset with a .gpx file) of
no more than 200,000 feet (for feet/MPH system) or 65,000 meters (for meters/KPH system)

Testing Your TourGuide Custom POIs

Many like to test a TourGuide Custom POI(s) to see if it (they) work. In order to test while
NOT on the road you must first place your unit in GPS Simulation mode. [Probably under Tools > Settings > System > GPS Simulator or something similar for your device.]

Also, you must make sure that your
Alert Sound is turned on. It doesn't make any difference if the Audio for the Alert Sound is set to Single Tone or Continuous as TourGuide only uses the .wav (.mp3) file and only plays it ONCE when entering the zone.

You should move your vehicle to a spot
OUTSIDE of the alert zone -- half mile to a mile may be a good choice. One does this while in the Browse or Touch and Drag maps of your unit. You then touch the screen (zooming in is helpful to exactly identify the spot) and either Set Loc via the button at the bottom or press your Edit (upper left of the screen) and then Set Location (depends upon your model.) If the alert sounds at this point, you are INSIDE the zone -- but at least you know the alert is working -- pick a more distant spot and try again.

Now for a simulated moving test. Make a route that will take you inside the zone area. It can be to the location itself. Press your 'Go'. When asked if you want to 'Simulate driving this route', select 'Yes'.

Now watch your vehicle start to move. In a short time, if you haven't moved your vehicle to a spot too far from the edge of the zone parameter, the TourGuide alert will sound --
ONCE, so watch and listen.

TourGuide usage is quite handy for points that are not situated on the road on which you are currently traveling.

They can also serve as a fun 'Chatty-Cathy' companion, especially if you programmed ubiquitous establishments such as Subway, McDonalds, Quiznos, Wendy's, Wal*Mart and Tiffany, keeping you company as you drive in solitude.

A Trick For You

Suppose you have a bunch of Custom POIs, such as State or National Park group, for which you don't really want an alert, but you still would like to have them displayed on your Map Screen -- at least in a 38 mile radius from where you are currently at.

Just rename the .csv file to something like:

Include an appropriate icon for the Parks and name the icon:

Include a .wav (or .mp3 file if appropriate) of two seconds of silence or some soft sound and name the file:
NationalParksTourGuide.wav (or NationalParksTourGuide.mp3) as appropriate.

Process the three files with POI Loader in
Manual mode setting the distance to '200000' [feet]. [You can decrease that number to a lesser amount of feet -- as long as the number is between 125 and 200000][Metric - 200 and 65000]

Now, whenever you get within ~38 miles of a National Park listing that is part of your Custom POI list, it's icon will appear on the screen if you are zoomed out far enough to include the 38 miles. You can use the silent sound, but since the alert will only sound
once a soft or a regular sound would be acceptable.

If your unit also displays a balloon ID on your screen, you will be notified visually of the Park.

Extra Hint: I would use the .gpi method as indicated in the above article. That way you don't have to keep on processing a listing through the POI Loader with other Custom POIs each time you make changes to others. It is also to easily remove the .gpi file.

Partial list of previous articles of interest which discuss TourGuide.

THE 'PROXEMICS' OF THE TourGuide - Hakuna Matata! The Circle Of ... Alert

THE POI'S THE THING - Seeing Custom POIs At Various Zooms -- Yes You Can!

ALERT! GEOCACHE POINT NEAR - On And Off-Road Geocache Point Alerts With Map Icons For nüvis


'TourGuide' [TYPE B] STILL WORKS WITH 3700 AND OTHER NEW NÜVIS - Radius Alert Still Functioning

SALINA, ZOOM OUT FAR AND STILL SEE A CUSTOM POI - You May Be Able To Zoom Out More (or Less) Than You Think

110708 Trick added


- You May Want To [or NOT] Upgrade 'sox.exe' To A Later Version

If you have read this far in this Custom POI section you know that in order to have special voice/sound alerts accompanying your Custom POIs you need to use special .wav (or .mp3 files in some cases) to accompany your .csv or .gpx files, PLUS, in the case of a .wav file, have a special file named '
sox.exe' work in conjunction with your POI Loader file.

The standard, for several years, has been 'sox.exe' version 14.0.1 which was obtained from SourceForge []. It was a stand alone program that was placed in the same folder where your 'working' 'PoiLoader.exe' was located. The 2007 program worked, and still does for many of the Custom POIs in lieu of the fact that later versions of 'sox.exe' were issued. Some of these later editions did not 'seem' to work for many users who then retreated back to their former version v 14.0.1.

As POI Loader advanced from version 2.5.4 to 2.6.1 (
as of this writing) some began to experience problems with processing their Custom POIs. Writers felt that this was due to more stringent rules in the current version and some sloppiness by some who had prepared their Custom POIs. Some sages suggested, and rightly so, that probably the latest versions of POI Loader and 'sox.exe' were now best.






The remainder of this article has been removed. It discussed and provided directions of using the newer version of sox.exe (v 14.3.2) instead of the older WORKING version (v 14.0.1). Unfortunately, the technique worked for only a few and others could not get it to operated properly -- all the time -- and that is unacceptable.

Many opined various reasons such as 32 and 64 bit operating system differences, the operating system itself [ XP, Vista, Win 7 (no reports from Mac owners)], Windows Preference Settings, etc. Investigation by a number of people is continuing.

I felt that this would create too much of a problem for my spread of readers and am
currently recommending the use of the older version of sox.exe (v 14.0.1) in conjunction with POI Loader v 2.6.1 for those who desire special sound alerts in .wav format, both speed and distance, with their Extras/Custom POIs.


110730 [part of article removed]

- A System Used By Many


A gentleman was having trouble managing his Custom POIs. It seems that he was trying to eliminate a certain group OF POIs by reprocessing his entire collection via POI Loader-- a slightly involved process as he had a mixture of a variety of POIs with various distances and speed alerts -- with the 'offending' POI group removed, and yet, when he finished, the tenacious POIs were
STILL in his GPS.

Well, to make a long arduous story short, it turned out that he had originally stored his POIs on the SD card in his unit, and when he used POI Loader to place his 'updated' POIs directly into his GPS unit, the card's file and the unit's file were merged and he still retained the old POIs that he was trying to eliminate. There is more to it, but this will give you the general idea for the purpose of this article.


The Most Common Technique

The most common technique for registering your personally made Custom POIs [
or, more commonly, POIs that you can collect from Internet sources such as (and others)] into you nüvi, which is probably used by the majority of users, especially new users, is to collect your common group POIs in a .csv file (or a more advanced .gpx file), along with (when appropriate) related .bmp icon graphics and .wav (sometimes .mp3 files for certain older units).

These files are placed in a folder on your computer along with
OTHER similar Custom POI file groups then ALL are processed with the POI Loader program and are sent to your GPS (or GPS's SD card) in one fell swoop. There are tricks involved including formulating file names with certain keywords, using the @ symbol, declaring speed and distance alerts, using numbers in file names, etc. But in the end, your unit will contain Custom POIs [Extras] to which you can use for navigation, research, and possibly give you alerts -- if you so desire.

I have a multitude of articles in this HELP blog, in the Custom POI section, that discuss the necessary procedures and the use of a special sound application "sox.exe", and, of course, you should check Garmin's instructions first. SEE

Garmin POI Loader:

Creating Custom POI Files:

plus a number of Garmin associated pages reached by links from the above pages.


Once you have mastered the "common technique" you may be pleased to find that there are other techniques that you can use that might be more to your liking. These might include the use of a .GPX Editor, innovative sub-folder arrangements, or even
NOT SENDING the compiled POI collection(s) to your unit. [What he say?]


It's this last technique of which I would like to remind you. I have written about it before in several articles. For example see:


on POI Page 6

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

on POI Page 2

I use this technique exclusively. I did not invent it but learned about it from others (namely, Matthew Miller), while reading various GPS discussions, just as you are reading this one. Since that time, I
DON'T send POI Loader compilations (the .gpi files) to my nüvi via POI Loader but send them to INDIVIDUAL FOLDERS ON MY COMPUTER. A COPY of the resultant 'variousfilenames.gpi' file is then placed, with copies of other 'variousfilenames.gpi' files, into a special folder on my computer. It is these .GPI files that, using a File Manager (think Windows Explorer, Mac Finder) I send en masse to my POI folder* in my nüvi; or sometimes, as the situation demands, individually.

[* depending upon your unit, sometimes the folder is situated at Garmin/POI (a sub-folder level) and sometimes at just POI (a top level folder).]


-- I don't have to constantly re-process
ALL my POI files with POI Loader every time I want to add, delete, or revise a single group of Custom POIs.

-- Operations are simply done with my File Manager with my GPS connected to my Computer.

-- I can quickly clean out my POI Folder and just work with one group for testing purposes without having any other POI get in the way.

-- I can quickly and easily replace working POI groups, removed when testing, with my File Manager.


The popular technique that I use is only one of several techniques -- each technique is
proper -- if it works. I am just presenting this method in case you were unaware of it or were looking for an alternative


I clean out my Garmin/POI folder on my nüvi. Your unit may have the POI folder at the top level of the directory. You want to make sure that the file 'POI.gpi' is removed, but at the same time you want to have that information on your computer when you experiment with this new technique so that you can restore your previous Custom POIs, but in a slightly different way.

I don't use a SD card with my unit, but if you do, the POI folder there should be cleaned out too.

I don't use POI Loader to send the big compiled groups of POI collections to my nüvi -- I process each single group and have POI Loader send each to a separate folder
on my computer. A resulting 'variousfilename.gpi' file will appear (I can adjust the filename if desired.)

For each group of Custom POIs, whether I write them myself or download them from a website -- I establish a folder on my computer. These are normally '.csv' files, but they could be '.gpx' files too. If '.csv' files, I usually accompany them with a 'bmp' file (for icon) and a '.wav' file (for alert sound). I might have 40 or more such folders. [
I like alert sounds with my Custom POIs. ]

Some simplified sample folders, sub folders, file directories on my computer might look like this.

[For the moment, disregard the filenames in red]

     Garmin 3790
          Maryland Parks
          Cracker Barrel
          Cruise Ports

Let's look at Maryland Parks.

I direct POI Loader to this folder 'C/Garmin 3790/Maryland Parks' and I process only the three files (.csv, .bmp, .wav) in a normal manner setting speed or distance alerts and sending the resultant compiled '.gpi' file
NOT TO THE NÜVI, but TO THIS FOLDER ON MY COMPUTER. You can specify the name of the '.gpi' or, if it turns up with another file name, change the file name. In this case it is named 'marylandparks.gpi' [the red one]. I then immediately COPY and PASTE that file in the 'MY GPI COLLECTION FOR TRANSFER' folder.

I do the same in a similar for
ALL the other of my Custom POI groups.

I then, using my file manager,
COPY all the '.gpi' files in the 'MY GPI COLLECTION FOR TRANSFER' folder and PASTE them in my nüvis 'POI' folder.

Gentlemen (and Ladies) -- Start your nüvis.

You will find all your Custom POI/Extras in your unit.


Suppose you downloaded a Custom POI file, processed it with POI Loader (using the above method) and produced the 'variousfilename.gpi' on your computer. You now can, without disturbing the others Custom POIs, or reprocessing your entire collection again, just quickly add the new .gpi file to your nüvis POI folder, and you are good to go.

Or suppose you find that one of your downloaded Custom POI files contain coordinates that are 'OFF' -- many are, due to mistakes by the originator or that the originator did not identify
ROAD coordinates (your Garmin likes road locations.) For example the coordinates of a building in a large shopping center (far away from a road) might be indicated rather than the more correct (for your Garmin) road coordinates. By using Google Maps, Mapquest, etc. you can determine the proper coordinates and make adjustments in the original '.csv' file, reprocess to create an updated '.gpi' file in the proper folder, send a copy to the POI collection folder and to your nüvi's POI folder replacing the existing '.gpi' file. No monkeying around with lots of 'other' files, only the single group with which you are working.

This system makes my GPS life much easier and I thank the people who guided me to it.


This Help bolg continues ...


General: Pg 1, Pg 2, Pg 3, Pg 4, Pg 5, Pg 6, Pg 7, Pg 8, Pg 9, Pg 10,
Pg 11
, Pg 12, Pg 13, Pg 14, Pg 15, Pg 16, Pg 17, Pg 18

Custom POI: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6,
Page 7, Page 8, Page 9

7/8X5 Page 1, 7/8X5 Page 2, 7/8X5 Page 3

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All written material and organization of material is copyright © 2007-2016 by Gary Hayman, All rights reserved.