Beginners Education 8A – Testing POI Alerts – Express mode


Beginners Education 8A Testing POI Alerts Express Mode

OK, you say you want audible alerts when you approach your favorite “whatever” (restaurant, bank, Walmart). You may or may not, after you do this exercise, but you do want to know how to create audible alerts.

What we are going to do is to build a test POI file that will demonstrate what happens when you approach a POI location with alerts on. Not only that, we are going to build a POI file that has unique audible alerts for each of the points of interest within this new POI file. And, we are going to load this file in “Express” mode of POI Loader.

In order to do this, we need a .gpx file. We are going to use Extra POI Editor which was written by Turbocc, one of our members. One reason for using this tool in this exercise is because it is so valuable that everyone should know about it.

Step 1: Get a copy of EPE
What follows will be a link to EPE - but I would like you to use a special technique to go to the link – a technique that will keep this Exercise active and will also let you access Turbocc’s program.

When you click on the link below, hold down the CNTL key as you left click. This will open a new window in your browser under a new “Tab”. You can then come back to this Exercise by clicking on its tab in the browser.

1.1Access the program at:

1.2Scroll down about 2/3rds of the way on Turbocc’s webpage and download the latest “exe” file into a some new folder on your computer. Also, download the latest help file “zip”.
1.3Run the "exe" file
1.4Then, navigate to Start > All Programs > TurboCCC Tools > Extra POI Editor > Extra POI Editor.exe.

NOTE: If you want to be able to run EPE from your desktop from now on, then do a right-click on Extra_POI_Editor.exe; from the dialog that appears, move the cursor to the “Send To” line which will open another dialog; move the cursor over to “Desktop” and left-click. This will pot a shortcut to EPE on your desktop. You can not do a WINDOWS-D key combination to get to the desktop where you will left double-click the EPE shortcut icon to start the program.

What you will see will be four panels within EPE that are currently empty. Before proceeding,

Step 2: Set preferences.
2.1 Click on Preferences. We will be working in feet, so
2.2 Under units, change the Editor setting to Imperial/US.
2.3 Finally, click Close.

Step 3: Create a POI location near you.

3.1 At the bottom left of the upper left panel is the button “Add New POI” – click it.
3.2 Now, you have a dialog box called POI Edit.

Step 4: Find your home
4.1 In the address box at the middle left, enter your home’s address.
4.2 Enter your city
4.3 Enter your State
4.4 Enter the Post Code (aka zip code).
4.5 To see your address on the map, click the big “Geocoding” button (slightly right of center in the dialog box). Behold – a Google map appears with your house under the red pointer.
4.6 Check it out. Change from “Map” to “Satellite” and press the “+” button on the upper left side of the map section to zoom in on your house.
4.7 You may find that the pointer is not exactly where you might expect it (mine was in my back yard). Even thus, it is pretty amazing that technology gets as close as it does.
4.8 Switch back to “Map” view and zoom back out using the “-“ button, because what we are now going to do is to create a POI that is within easy-driving distance from your house. What we want to do is to get out of the residential area and onto a main road that is fairly straight for perhaps a couple of miles – a “golden mile”, so to speak. The main reason for doing this is just to give us some space to test out various proximity distances. Later, you are going to drive to this road and listen to your alerts.
4.9 Drag the pointer that is currently over your house to some spot on this “golden mile”. You “drag” the pointer by positioning your cursor on the pointer, pressing and holding the left mouse button, and moving to some new location onto which you can drop the pointer by releasing the left mouse button. It is important that you locate the pointer within 98 feet of the road on which you will travel. Any further off the road and the alert will not sound.

If the “golden mile” nearest your house is some distance away, you will want to have EPE zoom out (by clicking the “-“ in the map panel) until that major road comes into view. Once you find the major road, position the pointer on the road and release the left mouse button.

To learn a little bit about EPE, zoom in some (by clicking the “+”) and adjust the pointer (you may have to drag the map with the left mouse button to find the pointer after you zoomed it). The pointer ought to be – for the time being for the reason mentioned above – literally right on the road. So, drag it there
4.10 Now, go to the top of the map section and press the “Grab” button. What then happens is that EPE will capture the coordinates underneath the pointer. BUT NOTE: EPE has not adjusted the address (which is your house) so you need clear out your home’s street address (And - unless you really moved the pointer a fair distance, it will be OK to leave the city, state and zip alone).
4.11 Type “Test Point One” in the Name field just below the coordinates.
4.12 Go to the bottom of EPE and click the “OK” button. EPE will create this location and you will be taken back to EPE’s four panel dialog which will now have one POI – Test Point One.
4,13 So that you can save this POI file somewhere, open Windows Explorer (I like to hold down my “Windows” key while also pressing the “E” key). Somewhere on your main hard drive, create a new folder called “My Test POIs”. You may already have a “MyPOIs” folder, if you have read the FAQs on this site. But, what we want to do is make sure that we separate test POIs from real POIs. (While you are in Explorer, go ahead and create another folder which you will name “My Test Wavs”. We will use this folder in step 5 below.)
4.14 Back in EPE, up in the menu bar, click on File > Save As. Navigate to your “My Test POIs” folder.
4.15 The “Save as type” is already “Garmin GPX (*.gpx)” which is what we want. For the “File name”, use “Test Point One”. (Note: type the letters “One” not the number “1”)
4.16 click “Save” to save the file.
4.17 You are now back at EPE’s four panels.

Step 5: Make some audio alert files
5.1 Open a NEWbrowser window
5.2 Enter
5.3 This AT&T web site will let you create a .wav file of words you enter is the Step 2 block. So erase what is in the block and enter something like “you are approaching Test Point one”
5.4 When you click on the “Speak” button, your words will play in Windows Media Player.
5.5 Assuming that you like the audio, then in the menu for Windows Media Player, click on File; then on Save As… and navigate to your “My Test Wavs” folder. Save the file as “Test Point One.wav” (without the quotes)
5.6 Leave Windows Media Player open and return to the AT&T web page.
5.7 Create several more audio alerts by repeating steps 5.3 to 5.5. You could use words like “Coming up on Test Point Two”, “Watch for Test Point Three”; “Test Point Four is nearby”; etc.

Step 6: Put proximity distances and audio links in GPX
6.1 Switch back to the EPE
6.2 Double click on your Test Point One to open up the POI Edit dialog.
6.3 In the lower right section, enter a distance in the Proximity field – perhaps 500.
6.4 To put something in the Link field immediately below Proximity, click the Browse button. Then navigate to your “My Test Wavs” folder and click on the .wav file for this test point to select it. Then click Ok. EPE will fill in the location of the .wav file. NOTE: EPE is going to put this location in the .gpx file and the ,gpx file will let POI Loader know where the proper .wav file is located.
6.5 At the bottom of the EPE POI Edit dialog, click on OK.

Step 7: Create several more Test Points
7.1 Right-click on Test Point One.
7.2 Select the option to “Copy POI Info to Clipboard”
7.3 In the top left pane, left-click the “add new POI” button
7.4 In the POI Edit dialog that opens, right-click in the Description field and select Paste.
7.5 Copy and paste the longitude numbers from Description into the Lon field. Don’t forget to copy the minus sign in longitude. Copy and paste the latitude numbers from Description into the Lat field. 7.6 Now, click in the Lon field and EPE should create the map.
7.7 Delete what you pasted into Description.
7.8 At this point, you have a duplicate of your Test Point One. So, what you want to do is drag the pointer to a new location and click the Grab button to adjust the coordinates. Remember to keep your pointed on the main road.
7.9 Name this new POI Test Point Two.
7.10 Set a Proximity distance for Test Point Two
7.11 Browse for the link to the audio file and let EPE put it into the Link field
7.12 Click OK
7.13 Repeat Step 7 until you have 5 or so test points.
7.14 Save your file.

Step 8: Make sure you have SOX.EXE
It is suggested that you go ahead and get the proper version of sox.exe even if your GPS will play mp3 files. It won’t hurt.
8.1 Download sox.exe from
8.2 Unzip sox.exe and place sox.exe into the C:\Program Files\Garmin\POI Loader folder. This is the folder in which you will also find POI Loader.exe

Step 9: Load Test Point One to GPS
9.1 Attach your GPS to your computer with a USB cable. When it is ready, you should see - on the GPS screen - a picture of the GPS attached to a computer. Also, your computer will probably have asked you what to do the new drive(s) it found.

9.2 Start POILoader. If you do not have POILoader, go get it at (remember to CNTL-left click)
When you click “run”, it should install itself in “Program Files\Garmin\POI Loader. Go to Start, Programs and find POILoader and run it.

9.3 Click the Next button and make sure the Garmin Device radio button is checked.
9.4 Click next.
9.5 Let POI Loader find your device, and click Next.
9.6 On the next screen, click the radio button “Install new custom POIs on your device” and then click Next.
9.7 On the next screen, navigate to your “My Test POIs” folder and click on it. POILoader will fill in the name “My Test POIs”.
9.8 We want to run POILoader in “Express” mode.
9.9 Click Next.
9.10 When you click Next, POILoader should load the POI file and notify you that “Congratulations! You have successfully loaded x custom POIs on your device”.

Step 10: Safely remove the GPS
Safely remove your GPS from your computer using the icon that is usually in your system tray.

Step 11: Check out your file
11.1 On the GPS, make sure that you have Proximity Point Alerts turned on. This will vary by GPS unit, but it is usually something like Tools > Settings > Proximity Points > [on/off]. You should be able to find this in your manual. If you have not gotten a manual, then look at:

11.2 make sure your volume is not “muted” or so low that it would be hard for you to hear. Check your manual for how to do this. For many units, there is a “Volume” icon on your main screen.

Go for a ride on the road with your Test Points. You should hear a different alert for each test point you approach.

Related links

Change History

  • jgermann - Nov 7, 2012
    11/7/2012 Better method of downloading EPE

  • jgermann - Sep 17, 2012
    9/17/2012 title change