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Garmin CSV file format

 

Garmin CSV files store location data for custom points of interest (POIs). The format has several variations, but all files use the same basic structure, with 3 or 4 columns of data separated by commas.

CSV files can be created with Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac.

Simple 3 Column CSV Files

The simplest files have one row of data for each location, with 3 values in each row: longitude, latitude, name

Here's an example with 2 locations:

-123.12345,34.98765,"Amy's House"
-123.12332,34.98622,"Gary's Garage"

Things to notice in this example:

  • use decimal degrees for coordinates (not degrees, minutes, seconds)
  • always start each location on a new line
  • beginners often accidentally switch the coordinate order (longitude must be first)

Simple 4 Column CSV Files

This variation adds an optional fourth column for a description. Values in each row are arranged as follows: longitude, latitude, name, comment

Here's an example with data for 5 locations:

-110.12345,44.98765,"ACME Shoe Store","Phone: 555-829-8293"
-110.12332,44.98622,"Ace Lock Smith","24 hour service"
-110.12131,44.91422,"Public Restroom",""
-110.11932,44.95662,"Golden Kites","123 Main Street"
-110.11310,44.94222,"Public Restroom",""

Things to notice in this example:

  • lines 3 & 5 have the same name (duplicate names are allowed)
  • empty quotes ("") are included for clarity when there's no description (this is a good practice)

Adding Alert Speeds

You can specify an alert speed for any location in your POI file by appending data to the name field. An @ symbol is used to separate speed data from the name.

Here are some examples:
-81.12345,45.98765,"Police Station@35"
-81.12332,45.98622,"Middle School@20"
-81.12131,45.91422,"Pay Phone"

Things to notice in this example:

  • line 3 doesn't have a seed alert (speed alerts are optional and don't need to be included on every line)
  • if all locations have the same speed alert, you should specify the speed in the file name instead of each location (not shown in this example)

Adding Multi-Line Comments

You can format comments so they're shown with more than one line on your GPS. This is especially useful for addresses.

The trick is to make sure the comment is enclosed in quotation marks. Then, simply insert a carriage return (enter key) where you want the lines to break. This makes the file harder to read because data for some locations are no longer together on a single line.

Here's an example that includes some multi-line comments:

-78.12345,40.98765,"ACME Shoe Store","123 Main Street
Anytown, PA 10555
Phone: 555-829-8293"
-78.12332,40.98622,"Ace Lock Smith","555-938-2872
24 hour service"
-78.12131,40.91422,"Public Restroom",""
-78.11932,40.95662,"Golden Kites","123 Main Street
Your City, AL 39920"
-78.11310,40.94222,"Public Restroom",""

Things to notice in this example:

  • each location record must start on a new line
  • multi line comments must be enclosed in quotation marks

Beginners should try a few simple files before tackling multi-line comments.

Other Resources

  • You can find additional details in the POI Loader help file.
  • Sam Penrod at gpsinformation.net also has a pretty good write-up. Here's a link.

For more help, you can post a question in POI Factory's help forum.

Frequently Asked Questions

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