Do You Use Your GPS To Find POIs When You Are Not In Your Vehicle?


For the most part, I have used POIs on my vehicle GPS while driving. Now that I have some GPS phones (Pharos GPS Phone 600/Garmin Nuvifone G60/T-Mobile Garminfone) I begun to start thinking about GPS files while on foot. Since I live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Minnesota Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, I have thought about some attractions near me. For example, the Minnesota State Fair just completed its 12 days run this past Labor Day. I was thinking that it may have been handy to have the Garminfone along to create some POIs. For example, I could save my Parking Location for the car and then while on foot I could save the bandshell, horse barn, merchandise, etc. We also visited Valley Fair Amusement Park recently, and it might have been handy to save as POIs the various rides, etc. Since my Garminfone will also work indoors, I will go to the Mall Of America again soon and possibly save the locations of some of my favorite stores. I suppose with a multi-level facility like that it may add a new dimension to creating POI files, however. I might add a certain set of coordinates for the Radio Shack at the Mall of America, but the store directly below it may have the same coordinates. I suppose the easy fix is to simply tag the store name with the location "E338B"
Radio Shack, Mall Of America,
338 E Broadway Spc E338B, Bloomington, MN 55425

Anyway, I am curious if anybody else here uses their GPS out of the vehicle very often and, if so, how does it work for you? Obviously a couple of my biggest concerns when I have done this in the past is satellite signal acquisition and battery life. With my Garmin Nuvifone G60 it will navigate me to the Mall Of America, but soon after I enter I would lose signal. One of the other big issues, of course, is battery life. I do think that the current Garminfone does shut down satellite reception if you are not actually navigating a route while not on external 12 volt power, or at least mine is configured that way at the moment. I really haven't done enough indoor navigating with the Garminfone to know if the satellite signals are completely lost, if it seamlessly continues on Garmin maps with cell phone positioning or if I would have to switch to Google Maps. Anyway, lets here from others on this.

I was also thinking that the times we have been in Florida visiting the various Disney and Universal Parks, a Garminfone that has some POIs for certain attractions might be handy. I was geocaching recently and that sometimes makes me think of other GPS uses.

Another trip in the past that made me wish I had the ability for navigation on foot was when my family and I drove to Chicago. Obviously, I used the GPS to get there and get to the train station. From there we took the train from a suburban location into Chicago. Once getting out on foot from Union Station it would have been nice to know how far it was to say Sears Tower, John Hancock Observatory, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, etc. My wife, who usually will not drive if I am in the vehicle, is often in the habit of asking me "how long/how far is it to...?" I found her doing that while on foot. And since I have lived rural or very suburban most of my life, I don't know much about inner city bus systems. We would find ourslef looking at a sign that the various bus lines picked up at a given stop, but that really didn't mean much to us since I didn't have a map for the local bus system!

Even when we have been on foot in Las Vegas strip, it can be misleading because you might see a building that is "just down the strip", but when you check you find out "just down the strip" is 5 miles. I don't mind walking, but my wife and sons can become impatient fairly soon sometimes.

For other activities, canoeing, bicycling, ATVing, and horseback riding come to mind, it can also be handy to have a GPS. I haven't brought a GPS canoeing yet, but I might take the Garmin Nuvi 500, because it is water resistant. Again, I have been on the Saint Croix River and had one of the other family member inquire how long/how far to Osceola Landing, etc.

With ATVing it has been quite handy. I have brought it along on previous trip. Some of the key things for me using GPS while ATVing have been:

-put the GPS/GPS phone in a sealed plastic bag to keep dust out

-use sparingly to conserve the battery

-create a Favorite for things you might need in the future

I have found there is a huge difference in how ATV trails are marked in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area. Some have mile markers, which can be handy. Sometimes there are signs giving mileage to the nearest city, but other times there aren't. What I have done is mark gas stations that are very close to the trail. I have been on trails when you are running low on fuel and it helps immensely to know where the closest fuel stop it. I know that there are some snowmobile sledmaps that can be downloaded, I will have to look a bit closer at those to see how helpful they might be for ATVing.

The other type of POIs that I wish existed, but don't and would be difficult to create, is where cell phone coverage begins and ends for certain carriers, particularly when ATVing. Every so often I will hear of mishaps on ATV trails. If somebody is sent for help, it might be nice to know if the nearest Verizon coverage is only 5 miles south on the trail vs. 20 miles north on the trail. I also found on one of my last longer ATV trips, that can be off by quite a ways some times. The bar/restaurant that I had dinner at was located right on the Soo Line Trail, but the indicated that it was about 1.5 miles away from the trail!

Even horseback riding, there are times the the trails you know so well in the daytime, will suddenly look a little bit different when nightfall comes and trees are down on trails and you have to detour. Some of the horse trails near me are marked with location numbers, so maybe I can save them on a GPS and create a POI file.

Food for Thought

I never really considered using the GPS when on the hoof, however you made some interesting points. I'll have to do some experimenting.

Bob: My toys: Nüvi 1390T, Droid X2, Nook Color (rooted), Motorola Xoom, Kindle 2, a Yo-Yo and a Slinky. Gotta have toys.

i do

i do

Without a doubt

I always build a file before we go to a new city and include local restaurants, museums, parks, rail or subway stations, whatever we're going to possibly need for rental car, public transportation or on foot.

I predict this will become a huge thread with plenty of different uses.

Drivesmart 66, Nuvi 2595LMT (Died), Nuvi 1490T (Died), Nuvi 260 (Died), GPSMAP 195


For the most part it is the easiest place to look.

Most definately!

I do use my 1690 often to do this, especially when I am away on business and want to walk from the hotel. If there is no satellite signal it will still pull them from the database. Also the 1690 has the nuLink service with uses the ATT Edge network to connect. The Google local search feature is also very useful.

JRoz -- DriveSmart 55 & Traffic


otherwise I mostly use Google outside of a vehicle...

non-native nutmegger

On Foot

A couple of my buddies that are into metal detecting and meteorite hunting use their GPS to mark locations when they make a find. As well as finding their way back to their vehicles. When they get home, they transfer their coordinates to various mapping programs and retain a nice record of finds and their locations.

Out of Vehicle

I never really thought of doing this. I will give it a try.


Finding POI's

Not at all, we have to drive to them.


Is a Geocache considered a POI? It interests me till I find it and then I move on to the next.

GPS to find POI

I use mine often to look up places out of the vehicle.


My Nuvi 760

stays in the car all the time unless I'm loading new POI's or upgrading the maps or software. However, I still have an older Garman iQue that I refuse to get rid of and I keep it on my desk plugged into the sync cradle and use it all the time for looking up POI's and other interesting places. If I see something in the paper or on the news for instance, I will look up the address to see exactly where the location is that they may be reporting on. Sometimes it's a fire or a bad accident for instance.

If I'm planning a short trip and need to get someplace at a certain time, I'll use the iQue to calculate the route and then I know what time I need to leave without having to go to the car to use the Nuvi.

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. - Yogi Berra

Haven't yet

I haven't had any reason so far to use a gps out of the car to find POIs, but if I did I would use my 76CSx rather then the Nuvi. The 76 will run 18-20 hours on two AA batteries.

Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

Great to find places around and how far they are

When away from home, I use it regularly to find places before I get in my car. It allows me to estimate how far things are and help make choices (of restaurant or movie theaters or place to see). In addition, it let's me know when I have to leave to get there on time (I have to make the POI a destination for this but it's as easy as pressing the GO button."

Sometimes I do that even when I'm home.

Oh yeah, one more.

I didn't mention this above, and haven't seen anyone else mention it.

Some units have the ability to mark the location of your vehicle when you remove it from its cradle. My units don't. When I get out in a strange place and expect to walk a long distance before returning, I mark the location of the car by tapping on the screen and naming that as "Car". Makes navigating back to the car much easier.

Drivesmart 66, Nuvi 2595LMT (Died), Nuvi 1490T (Died), Nuvi 260 (Died), GPSMAP 195

Side benefit of my nuvi 500

I use it for hiking and biking as well. I have been hiking all over Harriman State park (New York) looking for abandoned iron mines and scenic vistas. I have coordinated them with my trail map and from what I find online, place them in a POI file (or 3 or 4), then go get 'em. Beats sitting at home losing at online poker all weekend.... Besides, I need the exercise. 7 miles last Saturday wink

FYI: Anyone interested in what I've done, I'll post them up here. Let me know.

Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

Topo Map?

Camerabob, do you have a topo map in the GPSr or do you use paper quadrangle maps?



My GPS is usually hidden in my glove box most of the time. Unless I am adding PIO's or need it to find someplace I haven't been before.

I have a topo

Got it from a link on the Garmin site. I also have the NY/NJ trail conference maps as well. "Be Prepared" (I was a boy scout)

Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

Smart Phone

I just use my cell phone to find things while on foot. There's an application called Poynt that has very current information on each point of interest with more information than just location and phone number.
I also use Google maps for various mapping needs.

wow, you mean they make gps units for cars now!

I used hand held gps units for years for boating, walking and motorcycles before I purchased an in-car unit. I don't recall in-car units even existing when I started. I still use a Garmin GPSmap 76csx for hiking. It's loaded with topo maps, poi's and trail maps. I take it when I go walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood as I am directionally challenged. It's amusing when people say the phone will totally replace the gps. Mine floats, can be immersed in salt water and bounced off rocks, is viewable under varying conditions and runs a little under 20 hours on a set of AA batteries. As much as I like my phone, I'm wouldn't trust it on the trail or on the water. Many of the units have a MOB (man over board) function which allows you to park the car, press the MOB button then put the gps in your pocket. It will remember the car's location and maintain an up to date route back to it. I also have topos and hiking trails loaded on my Nuvi and sometimes slip it into my pocket for a short hike or a walking shopping trip in an unfamiliar area. It's good to use a gps that allows you to specify that you are in a car or on foot so it can plan a route most suitable. My Nuvi 265T supports this. If you explore this site for poi's and gpsfiledepot for custom maps you can use the gps for a lot more than finding an address while driving.

Pedistrian Mode

I was in downtown Chicago yesterday and took my Nuvi 1450 along as I walked, in pedestrian mode. I was born and raised in Chicago so know the loop and north Michigan Ave area fairly well, but it found coffee shops and bookstores just fine. Was very pleased with using it out of the vehicle. Looking forward to using it in Dublin the same way in a few months.

never really considered it.

never really considered it.


Phone numbers

I use it for POI's on foot, in the car or on a bike. It is also good to find a phone number for a POI if you want to call first and save the gas.


Robert Woodcock


If "not in your vehicle" include a rental car, then absolutely! grin

Otherwise, I have used my 760 for a walking trip in downtown Albuquerque. My 750 has a dead battery, so it's limited to a vehicle use. sad sad sad

My girlfriend has a magellan, which is more suited for an out-of-vehicle use. We'll put it to a good use when we go hiking next spring. wink

nüvi 750 & 760


Yes, I do all the time, and usually they all have phone numbers available, so like at a busy resturant, just call ahead.....

Always on the Road Knowing where I've Been


I sure do!

Expect nothing!, appreciate benignity!

I sure do.

I sure do.

GPS Kept In Home

I normally have my GPS (Nuvi 780) in the house and keep it on most of the day for weather reports and traffic. Before I go anywhere I program it before I leave the house. When in the car I can always tweak it to wherever we want to go.

No matter where you are "Life is Worth Living".

GPS Kept In Home

I normally have my GPS (Nuvi 780) in the house and keep it on most of the day for weather reports and traffic. Before I go anywhere I program it before I leave the house. When in the car I can always tweak it to wherever we want to go.

No matter where you are "Life is Worth Living".

On Foot...

Matter-of-fact, just used it a few days ago on foot to find a close place to eat. Worked like a charm!

Nuvi 765T, Nuvi 2350LMT

Had mine with me on the Las

Had mine with me on the Las Vegas Strip.While walking if I seen a spot we may want to come back to at night such as the Waterfall shows or a band playing.Would save the location and put time in with the name .Made it easier to find the right Casino to park at to cut down on walking so much.

Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. MapFactor Navigator - Offline Maps & GPS.


I have while walking in NYC.



When I'm travel.

using poi outside the car

i think i might start doing this.

I don't have much of a

I don't have much of a choice except to try this. My car's rear axle rusted out and I don't have a replacement yet.

It served well for fifteen years so....

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

Mule trip

Yep. I used my hand-held on our mule trip to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The mules don't need one though. I also take mine on canoe trips.

1490LMT 1450LMT 295w

Used to

I used to use my GO930 on foot when traveling in Europe, but the battery does not hold a charge very long anymore. Now, I usually have Blackberry with me when I travel, so I use Google Maps for foot and traffic, and my GO930 in the car.

Shooter N32 39 W97 25 VIA 1535TM, Lexus built-in, TomTom Go

Super in Spain, Fabulous in France, Great in Greece!

rocknicehunter wrote:

Some units have the ability to mark the location of your vehicle when you remove it from its cradle....

This is SOOOO handy when you are in some strange city, especially where the street signs are, shall we say... unreliable or unreadable or nonexistent. My 770 has saved my tookas more than once on my travels in Europe!


I use my Nuvi 765T to get close to geocaches and then switch to my 60CSX or Oregon 550 to get to the cache. The biggest reason I dont use the Nuvi to get to the actual cache is the lack of a compass and the short battery life.

Before I had the handheld units I did use the Nuvi while walking to locate a couple of POI's in a giant outdoor flea market in Texas. Worked ok.

(formerly known as condump) RV 770 LMT-S, Nuvi2797LMT, Nuvi765T