Garmin TourGuides | Making CSV Files into TourGuides – And Their Many Different Uses

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Making CSV Files into TourGuides – And Their Many Different Uses

TourGuides don’t have to be just .GPX files as stated in the help files for PoiLoader. They also can be made using .CSV files. The only difference there is between the two types of TourGuides is that the ones made from .CSV files can’t and won’t have .JPG pictures associated with them while the .GPX ones can have JPG pictures. If you don’t need pictures to be associated with your TourGuides then it may be simpler to use .CSV files.

Making these CSV files as TourGuides also gives you access the the MP3 Recording, allowing you to start and stop it any time you want. The controls are located at Where To >> Extra >> Custom POIs >> POIname >> WAYPOINTname. It is the little grey box with a green arrow in it. Tapping on this icon will allow you to start and stop the MP3 recording. Also there will be a ICON (Same icon as when MP3 music is playing)on the Map screen when the recording is playing. When tapped,it will allow you to go to the WAYPOINTname screen where the controls are. Thus letting you start the recording over if you want because you may have missed something.

Also the MORE button at the WAYPOINTname screen works fine if you have a lot of text to describe the POI, it allows you to scroll through many pages. The text limit is 2599 characters which includes spaces.

I will give you a few reasons for making TourGuides and two of which are not really going to be used as a TourGuides, but as Directional POIs and Non-Directional POIs.

Used as an actual TourGuide you might want to create one for a very interesting place with a few or lot of scattered sites within walking distance. There you might want to walk around and as you enter an area (selected by you - PROXIMITY) it will trigger a voice message describing what’s there. Here you might set the proximity to 50 to 100 feet, depending on whether there are walking paths or just walking any where like a park. The demographics will determine the distance. These will trigger an alert for all directions approaching the waypoint. N, S, E, W, NE, NW etc...

Another used as an actual TourGuide would be an area which has roads connecting all the interesting places such as the monuments in Washington DC where you could use the TourGuide POIs to route you to the Monument you wanted and as you arrive in the area trigger a voice message describing what is there. Here you might set the proximity to about 1/4- mile so you know the site is coming up very soon.

The next use is the Directional POI TourGuide where it is not really being used as a TourGuide. The ones I use it for the most is for a 1-mile voice alert as I approach a Rest Areas along the Interstates. These are directional POIs. They only trigger an alert on my side of the divided highway. I will not receive an alert for the Rest Areas on the opposite side of the road. With this Rest Areas use, I place the waypoint on the road itself 1-mile from the entrance to the rest area and set the proximity to 50 –52 feet. This Directional POIs will only work effectively with divided roadways, one that shows up on the NUVI map as two separate roads. Such as I-65 N or I-65 S, US-31w N or US-31w S, etc….

The next use is for the Non-Directional TourGuide POI. Being I love to ride Amtrak and VIA around, across, up and down, and almost every where in the USA and Canada I use this method to alert me as I approach the 1-mile mark from the train stations. I place the waypoint track-side at the station location and set the proximity to 1-mile. Because this is a radial alert and the tracks don’t always run close the road this make sure it fires all the time at approximately 1-mile. I say approximately 1-mile because the tracks are not always straight as you approach the station.

I sometimes use Google Earth to look at the station and get the coordinates for the actual location. I started recording my trips using a IQUE3600 and set the waypoints of the stations when I pulled into the station. These waypoints are my database for my Amtrak/Via TourGuide.

I use the TourGuide method so there is not a problem with the proximity alert. With TourGuide if you set the proximity for 1-mile that’s what you get, or very close too it. When not using TourGuide and you set the proximity to 1-mile, the alert distance is determined also by speed “Prompt Distance = 36 seconds * Speed” Now the actual alert is really set for time. “36 Seconds” from the alert to the waypoint. No matter what the distance is. And is restricted to the road your on.

Now comes the FUN and EASY part:

You can take any custom CSV poi file you have and change the coordinates (if necessary) and change the name to include the word TourGuide. And make the accompanying MP3 file the same identical name. You can add a icon to the POIs also, by naming the BMP file exactly the same as the TourGuide POI.

The word TourGuide has to be spelled exactly like this “ TourGuide “ (with caps included) as I learned the hard way after several failures in making TourGuides.

Such as:
TourGuide Ky Rest Areas.csv
TourGuide Ky Rest Areas.mp3
TourGuide Ky Rest Areas.bmp

Place your TourGuide POI files into a directory by themselves. (I will explain why later)

Then you use PoiLoader to install the TourGuide to your NUVI Use the MANUAL mode and set the proximity to the appropriate distance. With rest areas I use 50 ft.

I would suggest that you build and load these TourGuides one at a time. Once you have one loaded, go to the NUVI drive, and under Garmin >> POI change the name of the file called poi.gpi. Change the name to something like “TourGuide Ky Rest Areas.gpi”.
Thus you might end up with several .GPI files on you NUVI
Such as:
TourGuide Ky Rest Areas.gpi
TourGuide Washington Dc.gpi

In doing the loading of one TourGuide at a time you won’t have to re-enter the TourGuide in the MANUAL mode every time you want to add new POIs. They will stay in your NUVI until you manually delete them from the NUVI drive. After you have all the TourGuides loaded you might be able to change back to EXPRESS mode to load all the other POIs you have where proximity is not and issue.

I hope this makes sense to you. It does to me, but then I’ve been working with this for a while.

All it takes is a little playing around with it to get it to work the way you want. You can't really hurt anything trying this out, if it doesn't work the first time try again. You will catch on and be a whiz in no time.

As a caveat I will say this will only work for those who have NUVIs that will accept TourGuides.

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