Garmin TourGuides | TourGuides made easy

LSchwabe's picture

Most of the information here is scattered in many threads across this forum, so this is an attempt to consolidate some tidbits, and to provide some practical example on how to create TourGuides for nuvi models.


TourGuide functionality can be used for more than tourist type TourGuides, since it allows to associate a sound file (wav, or mp3 some units) and/or an icon (bmp) and/or an image (jpg) with a particular Waypoint entry, rather than with the whole POI file.

TourGuide functionality does not require all 3 types of files (icon, image, and sound). For example, it can be used to only specify icons per entry, or images per entry, just sound files, or any combination of the above.

To use TourGuide sound files in nuvi units that do not include an mp3 player, sound files must be wav format, 16 bit, mono, and you must use POI Loader 2.5.2, and you need to install a sox utility for POI Loader to verify the wav files (do a search on sox for further details)

TourGuides is NOT a routing feature, for that you need Routes functionality, so if your TourGuide is a touristic type of TourGuide, then you might want to also create a route to go with it. Not covered here.

In units that include an mp3 player, TourGuide sound may be stopped and replayed, wav files play whole from start to finish.

Sound files must contain the case sensitive "TourGuide" text as part of the sound file name.

The actual POI file must be in gpx format, not csv, and does not require "TourGuide" to be part of the file name, but see below how to create TourGuides in csv-like text files and then easily convert to gpx format.

Sound activation requires a proximity to be specified.


1. I use POI Converter from dr5274 POI Factory member for this, the utility is a free Java Script (.js) that does conversions between csv, gpx and kml file types, and has some features to facilitate TourGuide creation.

Available at:

2. Check "POI Loader" properties, the "Start in" should be blank, this is important to make sure it finds the "Data" folder when loading POIs.

3. Create a POI file in a text file, similar in format to the csv POI files, but this file uses two additional values to indicate proximity, and TourGuide folder name for the entry. This file does not require "TourGuide" as part of the filename.

Text file sample entries:

-79.123456,43.654321,Name of waypoint one,Description of wp1,750,Waypoint1
-79.234567,43.543216,Name of waypoint two,"Description of waypoint2
using multiple lines of text
followed by a 5th parameter to indicate proximity
followed by a 6th paramenter to indicate a folder name containing associated
TourGuide files for this entry",500,Waypoint2

In this example, the POI Converter utility will take the 5th parameter and place it in the gpx file proximity tags, and with the 6th parameter it will
create a gpx (link href="Data/folder") tag, this links the POI entry to the TourGuide associated files (icon/sound/image) contained in that folder.

Note that the description on the second entry, spans across multiple lines, for extended text, just don't use " within the text.

4. Create a "Data" folder under your main POI folder, this folder must contain the folders specified in the 6th parameter of the text file.

5. Place your media files (icon/image/sound) in the "Data/Waypoint" folders.

6. Convert the enhanced csv-like text file to gpx format by dragging and dropping the .txt file into the POI Converter.js java script. This will create the gpx file with the same name as the txt file, but with a .gpx extension.

7. Run POI Loader, and you are good to go.

Good luck!

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