This is, in a nutshell, how I am creating my POI files. If there is an easier way that you guys see, let me know. This may be useful to those that haven't done one yet. I figured this out on my own, so trust me, if I can do it anyone can. A basic knowledge of MS Excel is needed. I am not a technical writer so I apologize if this confuses
1. Go a "store locator" page on a website. Do a search. The broader the better. Publix's site allows you to do an entire state. Some give only 5 at a time (not much fun for a long list of locations.
2. Highlight and copy the stores locations, addresses, and phone numbers.
3. I open a blank excel file. This is important, RIGHT CLICK, AND USE PASTE SPECIAL. This opens a box, and select the "Text" option. This removes all formatting and hyperlinks in the selection.
This gives you a list of each location with the addresses below the store which is no good.
At this point I try to delete any unnecessary info in broad strokes. I use “Find and replace tool” if you want to delete “United States” from all locations. I hit CTRL+F, click REPLACE, type UNITED STATES, and leave the REPLACE blank. This replaces every “United States” with noting, thus deleting it. I am sure that there are other tricks, and I hope that this thread will start everyone sharing their own way of doing it.
The key is not to go into each location and delete, one by one, any unneeded info. The goal is to get all locations with the same info in the same number of lines. Name, address, zip code, etc.
All I really want is the address, city, state, zip. This list will go into a geocoding tool. It doesn't need to know the name of the store.
4. Using this formula I can filter each line. Highlight column A and Insert the following formula:
The result of the formula in the first line of your worksheet results with a "TRUE". Copy and paste this formula throughout the list of locations and every 4th line is "TRUE"
All you do if you want change what interval you want to be true is change the 4 in the above formula to whatever interval you need.
5.If each location entry has the same number of lines per entry, then using this you can filter each address, each city, and each state and zip code. Once filtered, highlight the info, select visible cells only and paste in a new worksheet.
Place the address selection in column A of the new worksheet.
Then Place the city, state, and zip in column B of the new worksheet. If you want to keep the name of the store or any other info, just keep it in Column A.
6. Once you have you list with addresses (one location per line) Go to a geocoding site; I use GPSVisualizer.com. Find the process multiple addresses tool and copy and paste the address, city, state, and zip code into the geocoding tool and watch it spit out the coordinates.
The rest of the process is noted through out the POI Factory webpage. I really wanted to start a thread of how I use a web store locator and excel to create my POI's. In three weeks, I have created 6 so far, with over 100 downloads, yet I am not an active user On average, I can do one in an hour or less. Sometimes I do it a little at a time. If you are an excel junkie, it is fun.
I followed your instruction to create my first POI file. Thanks it worked great!!! To make life easier I wrote an Excel macro to put everything on a single line in a new sheet call "Address List"
first line = name
second = street
third = city, state, zip
fouth thru n = comments
each address block is sperated by a blank row
here is the macro:
orginalSheet = ActiveSheet.Name
lastcell = Cells.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).row
ActiveSheet.Name = "Address List"
i = 0
row = 1
Do While row < lastcell
Name = Cells(row, 1)
street = Cells(row + 1, 1)
city = Cells(row + 2, 1)
Comments = ""
n = row + 3
Do While Len(Cells(n, 1)) > 0
Comments = Comments & Cells(n, 1)
n = n + 1
row = n + 1
i = i + 1 ' i = "row" in the address list sheet
Cells(i, 1) = Name
Cells(i, 2) = street & ", " & city
Cells(i, 3) = Comments
WOW! On the the preview it removed all the indentation!!! Sorry
Hey thanks for looking. I knew that my process could be improved. I am a novice excel user and I struggle with macros. Can I cut and past your post, or does visual basic need the indentations?
Sorry that all the indentations got removed. Is there anyway to post an attachment?
I wanted to track this topic and review when I have more time. Posting was the only way I knew to do it. Looks like some great info.
On the Publix store list, is it possible to use the store #, rather than the name of the shopping center?
Are the coordinates necessary when compiling a POI?
You can alter the file any way you want. Just open the file and put the store # in place of the name.
Yes, you HAVE to have coordinates. Otherwise, your GPSr won't know where the location is.
I can't figure out how to post html. Here are some screen shots of the techniques I laid out in my original post. I hope that these are useful
When using GPS Visualizer, I got more accurate coordinates using Google then Yahoo. For an example a Walgreens (that has a US Bank ATM) Google was right on the money and Yahoo was in the middle of a housing track about 4 miles away!
Nice use of the Excel MOD function. I never would have thought of that.
Great information - thanks, I am now much less hesitant to give making these files a try. Hopefully I can give it a shot soon.
One question - once created, how do you go about adding a BMP for the POI?
Bitmaps have to be the size 22 x 22 to be seen on your GPS model. Couple of ways, one you can create your own or what I feel is the easiest, is go to google home page and select images and do a search for that particular image you desire and then re-size to the above format and name it the same name as the POI you want it to be associated it with.
Bitmaps have to be the size 22 x 22 to be seen on your GPS model.
Just to point out, the bmp's don't have to be 22x22 on all models.
fjr15288 your zumo 550 probably operates the same as my c550. I know for certain the c550 can display bmp's of different sizes, I've tried 18x18 up to 24x24 and even an 18x15 they all work on the c550.
22x22 is a good size for most images.
As for other models I cannot confirm if the size has to be a certain dimension. I do remember one thread here that reported that the bmp had to be square. Again, the c550 will display bmp's that are not perfectly square.
As far as using them, follow the advice given above.
I can confirm that the Zumo will display icons of various sizes. They definitely do NOT need to be square. My Krispy Kreme Icon is 26x11.
But mostly I like them to be 18x18 or smaller.
Although the transparecy ability of the new POI Loader has made it possible for me to have larger ones without them obscuring so much of the screen.
I have to second the request for the store number to be INCLUDED with the store info.
Also have a question about the file type. Are they .gpx files?
Afriend has a MIO and would like to download the Publix file.
Thanks for the great tips. My new GPS came today and I can't wait to play with my own POI's.
This comment has been moved here.
this is nicely explained how to do it. I will try to do it and come back if required any info.
I only recently got my first GPS (Garmin Nuvi 350) and have been busily creating POIs, but the deeper I get the more puzzled I become.
I have been using GPS Visualizer to geocode multiple addresses, using the street addresses provided by business web sites; Costco stores with gas stations for example. When I run the same list through Yahoo and Google I always get different results. That is understandable but what is not understandable is the magnitude of the differences. They are often more than a mile.
What is even more puzzling is that if I use Yahoo and/or Google to encode single addresses I get still another set of coordinates for the same stores.
If I use the mapping feature to create and examine a map with satellite imagery I can see the stores, but are the coordinates obtained that way any more accurate?
How is one to create reliable POI locations that will not send me into someone's private driveway when I am looking for a Costco gas station?
I've run across the same thing, using my own address then checking the results. I have found...and this is by no means exclusive...only my own experience and trials. The geocode of an address is not as reliable as a point on a map.
Try this, geocode your home address, from whatever source you like such as GPS visualizer or another address geocoder or even typing your address into google earth. Get the lat and lon and create a poi with that info, or one from each source you use.
Then find your house/driveway and pinpoint it using a map, such as google earth. Take those coords and make a poi. Which method gets you closest to your house?
I have found I can use GPS Visualizer to encode an address and map it. If the location has a good-quality imagery overlay I zoom in on it to refine the location. The maps will display a faint crosshair at the center. (You may have to click in the lower left corner to get it to show.) I can the drag the map to get a parking lot entrance, for example, under the crosshairs and copy the coordinates from the data block in the corner. It is too time-consuming for big jobs but it seems to produce highly accurate results.
You are well on your way.
I end up using google earth, I'll use the address to get close, and some are at times right on. I use the push pin for the location and a box pops up. I can copy the coords from this box, or even type my line of info in the coord box, then copy and paste the entire line into notepad or excel or whatever program I'm using.
I have also found that zooming in as you stated will also be a bit more accurate.
Now, for a lot of entries...it is time consuming. Personally, I prefer accuracy as much a possible. Sometimes it isn't totally possible...for example I'm working on a file that contains mines/caves. They all have a mailing address, but that isn't necessarily the physical address. In those instances it takes a bit of sleuthing and a lot of time to even get close to the place.
Have no fear, if someone else uses the file and they find an error, they will kindly let you know. You can also ask for assistance from someone in the area of the point in question, see if they could do a drive by and mark the location then pass you the coords. We're all in the same boat here.
I put my old address and then my current address in the Google Maps, then Yahoo, then Rand McNally. All three were wrong by about half a block.
The mapping database doesn't (usually) know exactly where specific addresses are. Rather in knows the range of addresses in a given street segment and tries to approximate where the specific addresses are.
I usualy keep my contact list addresses in Mcft street and trips, I start all with # so I can find them easily.
I can always open the .est file and use "POI format converter" to convert to the GPS I need.
I use MIO C310X.
Thanks ALOT dude. I have been trying to create my own POI files with multiple listing for months, but didn't have the time to invest in doing the research. I will be using your approach going forward.
I like to go to BJs, Greenhouses, Wineries (that serve food also), and a few other things, and am compiling my lists of addresses to setup the POI files right now. I had looked at the FAQ and found GEO Visualizer and the GEO batch type program but was not sure which to use what was the best way to do it
This discussion is a great help but also leaves me wondering. It appears that going to the location and recording the exact coordinates is the only really correct way to do this.
Is that a fact?
Is that a fact?
If you know what the places look like from above, you can cull accurate coordinates.
I have been using GPS Visualizer to refine locations by reference to satellite imagery. It is time-consuming but (hopefully) accurate. The unknown (to me) factor is how accurate the mapping of coordinates to imagery is.
It is essential that good sat imagery be available of course and that you have some idea what a location should look like.
My method is to do the first approximation with a street address then map it in Visualizer. I zoom in on the location in Hybrid view. If I can visually recognize what I am looking for I pan the map to place it at the center of the image. There is a crosshair reticle there that can be turned on by clicking on the data block in the lower left corner. I then copy the coordinates from the data block and paste them into my .csv file.
I used a set of Excel utilities located at ASAPutilities.com. It is an Excel Add - on. The two commands I found made this project easy was the "remove blank lines" and "Advance Transpose." The Transpose will take every X line and put it in a column. You specify the repeat by designating number of columns. Obviously each set of listings must mirror each other as to the data ie. First line of each listing should be the same info and 2nd etc.
I used a set of Excel utilities located at ASAPutilities.com. It is an Excel Add - on. .
Thanks for the link. Just went to their website and downloaded ASAP utilities. Will be very useful for some of the files I work on.
As I read these forums and learn how to creat POI files (and just how much time it takes to create them)I keep thinking how much time I could save if my Garmin 2720 would allow me to take saved locations(from GPS searches) and convert them to POI files...does anyone know how to do this?
... if my Garmin 2720 would allow me to take saved locations(from GPS searches) and convert them to POI files...
The 2720 can't do it directly - but it's easy enough to do using external software.
The unit keeps a copy of any saved Favourites in \Garmin\gpx\Current.gpx.
Since POI Loader can read .gpx files as easily as .csv files, it is just a matter of copying this file and using it as input.
Thank you very much for your input. I have a question for you, Where exactly are these GPX files located..on my computer or in the Garmin unit?, I can't seem to find them...
They are on your GPS unit in the garmin folder. Hook the unit up to your computer and navigate to that folder, and you should see them.
I used easygps and google earth (free version). I just google the company in google earth, choose the city and it gives you a listing off all the locations with addresses and phone numbers. I just click on each location get the coordinates and elevation and input into easygps. I also add the address and phone numbers, you have to kind off play arround with it to get it to fit, since only so many lines of text can appear. Save it to your POIs and load it onto the gps. And so far all the once i have done are dead on accurate.
I use Google Earth to create my POI locations and then save and then open in POIedit. Do you enter the POI's address and phone while in google earth?
If so, what field do you type them in, and how many lines can you type that will appear on the GPS?
No i enter them into easygps, but i get the info from google earth. Google earth give you the coordinates, address, phone numbers. With easy gps you have a name bar, then a space for additional info. It gives you several lines but after try and error i finally figured out that everythig appears on the nuvi if you can squeeze the additional info on 2 lines. So sometimes if the address is too long i enter the phone # without the area code. So far it works really good.
...I just google the company in google earth, choose the city and it gives you a listing off all the locations with addresses and phone numbers...
I've seen many times that GE lists same location mutiple times...but at totally different parts of the city. I've also seen them list locations that are not even listed at that company's own site.
with Winchell's donut houses ( mmmmm, donuts )
I never thought getting the lat/long would be easier than editing the Excel file to get the POIs to work on my nuvi 650.
When I get a bigger file of POIs ( I've only got 13 locations so far ), I'll submit it to the group.
i always compare what GE gives me to what is listed on the comp website, and if it's different i just plug that address into google earth and get the coordinates for it.
Thanks for this guide; it looks like it will help encourage me to start making my own POIs.
On a related point, is there any way to make the custom POIs show up in the Find Locations section? I was trying to get to a movie theater that for some reason didn't make it onto Garmin's list. I finally did some workarounds to get there, but I'd like to get it onto the Entertainment>Movie Theater list. Is there a way to do this, or edit the built-ins to include additional sites? Or am I just stuck with a very small Custom POI for this theater?
Nope. The Custom POIs and the built in POIs are kept in completely different locations on the unit. There's no way currently to search both at the same time. You will have to search each one separately.
That's what I figured, but thanks for the confirmation.
I use an add on for Excel that does this process simply and quick.
1. Paste locations into new Excel worksheet.
2. select all locations.
3. Open ASAPUtilities>Format>Advavance Transpose
4. Enter the size of your repeat.
5. Select Okay
The macro puts the first line of each set in column one; the second line in column two etc.
Select columns to merge. Then Asaputilities > Columns/Rows > merge columns
Enter the separator where indicated ie a comma then a space.
The columns are merged with separator after where last character of each column was
Copy the addresses into a geo coder I use Visualizer.
Before pasting the results I undo the merge and merge again with Line breaks as the seperator.
Then paste results of Geo Coding. Simple and quick process after doing it a few times
Can't wait to give it a try.
First I find some sort of list to use. Then, I use PHP with a regular expression to filter out all the addresses/names/phone numbers or whatever other info I need. I wrote a simple function that geocodes the address using the Yahoo maps API and from there it just substitutes variables into the .GPX file. Works great for large lists.
I use Google Maps, save the locations I am want to MyMaps on Google Maps. Then use "link to this page" to copy/paste the link into www.takitwithme.com. I let takitwithme create a gpx file which I then load using POILoader.
Works nicely, but I have a problem. Any POI I create this way shows up this way (2nd line repeats twice)
Starbucks Market Street
1390 Market Street 107 San Fran - (This is in a BIG font and seems to contain the whole address but gets terminated)
1390 Market Street 107
San Francisco CA
I looked at the gpx in EasyGPS and noticed that the same information was contained in the Comment column and the Description. Clearning out one of them resulted in the other becoming blank too.
The result in Google Maps looks clean and contains no repetition.
Not sure how to solve this.
Is there any way to combine a custom icon with the POI file or must these two files always be sepeerate?
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