Garmin Custom POIs | A simple way to load Red Light, Speed Cameras, and Rest Areas into your Garmin GPS


Download and install Garmin POI Loader (Free Download) on your computer.

In this FAQ, the entire list of POI (Point of Interest) files to be loaded into the GPS is called Custom POIs as an example. Any other name that is meaningful to you can be used as long as the same name is used throughout the process.

Before downloading the POI files, make a folder called Custom POIs on the computer. Inside make a subfolder for each file, named Red Light Cameras, Speed Cameras, and Rest Areas. There is a limit of 32 such folders inside the top folder, Custom POIs. An additional level of subfolders below that is not supported. Inside each subfolder there is a limit of 32 POI files.

Each subfolder will become a category inside the GPS menu, Where to?/Extras/Custom POIs. Newer units have different menus but all units have categories. Download the files from POI Factory and save each one in its own folder.

The Combined Rest Areas file is recommended, not individual states. It is more up-to-date and hardly takes up any room in the GPS. To get started, you don't need icons or custom audio alerts. Just loading the POI files into the GPS will provide a chime and on-screen alert when you approach a POI. You can also see all the nearest locations any time you access the GPS Custom POIs menu, even from a distance away.

Connect the GPS to a USB port on the computer and run POI Loader. It will find the GPS and recognize it. When prompted by POI Loader for a name for the POI files, enter Custom POIs. When loading POIs in the future always use the same name to avoid making multiple copies of the same POIs.

In POI Loader, browse to the Custom POIs folder, not the subfolders inside. You cannot see the files in the browse window. POI Loader will find and load all the subfolders and files. All POI files previously loaded under the same name will be deleted.

You have a choice of running POI Loader in express or manual. In express, all proximity alerts default to 1320 feet (a quarter mile) and that is too long a distance for red light cameras and too short for rest areas. Running POI Loader in manual allows you to specify the alert distance for each file. You get successive screens, one for each file you are loading.

For red light cameras and rest areas, choose "alert whenever you get close to a point" and specify the distance you want for that file only. Specify 600 feet for red light cameras in urban areas with low speed limits and the short distance will clearly show which intersection has a camera. Out in the country with high speed limits, choose a longer distance such as 1000 feet. For rest areas use 11440 feet (two miles) to have plenty of time to decide whether to stop and to change lanes.

For speed cameras choose a speed alert and the default speed is zero.
Do not enter a number because the speed for each speed camera is inside the file and overrides the default zero on being loaded into the GPS.

After you get experience it is easy to run POI Loader again to change the distances.

Once you make sure everything works this way, you can make improvements by loading an audio alert, special icon, or other POI files.


Change History

  • Box Car - Mar 24, 2015
    Added 32/subfolder 32/file limit when loading POIs.

  • e_piph_a_ny - Mar 23, 2015
    Proved an additional level of subfolders is not supported.

  • geoprell - Mar 23, 2015
    Added section on naming the Custom POIs file in POI Loader

  • dobs108 - Feb 27, 2015
    Add comment about POI Loader deleting POIs under the same name previously loaded.

  • trianj - Jun 16, 2014
    Add comment about POI Loader deleting POIs previously loaded.

  • dobs108 - Jun 16, 2014
    Updated POI Loader link.