Lost (ha, no pun intended)...easiest way to add 10-25 destinations each day


I am an incurably clueless noob. I have searched these forums over and over and still can't figure out how to do what I want.

My husband is a realtor. Several times a week he will have to show folks around to various homes in the area. In any given week he will have to input 10-50 new destinations in the Garmin unit. Rather than do this manually, I would like to find a simple way for him to download data in CSV format from the MRIS and then upload to the unit.

I have figured out how to download address data from MRIS. However, it provides street address only. So then I have to go to a website to Geocode, then I have to go back into the CSV and re-arrange columns to fit the Garmin POI loader format. Then I have to use the POI loader itself, which requires you to go through the same monotonous steps over and over because you can't change the defaults [like asking it to ignore certain files and changing the naming convention]. After 5+ hours of effort I have finally amassed enough knowledge to accomplish this once, with one data set. No way my husband is going to through all those steps each day.

Isn't there an easier way? I started my research today hoping that there was some way to save a bunch of "My Place" entries via CSV download to custom Google Maps, then pulling up the entries via Smartphone Link. But I can't figure out a way to do that either? Not only that, when we did manually enter a few "My Place" points and tried to lay out a trip route, it labeled them by coordinates instead of by the names we gave them. The coordinates all look very similar so it's impossible to keep track of what's what as we move the stops around to optimize the route.

Back to the batch custom POI upload process, I also looked at the Extra POI Editor program but I can't even figure out how to get it to batch geocode the addresses. It just keeps on saying that the first two columns don't show long/lat data. Well, yeah, that's the point, I want the program to fill in that info.

I apologize if the answer is hiding out there in the forums somewhere and I just haven't been able to find it via forum search. Could someone please share with me the easiest way to batch process street-address-based CSV data into the Garmin device? We have a 3590LMT. If this is impossible, then we should have just gotten a much cheaper unit.

Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.


First task is to make a good csv. You need the street address twice, in field 1 and field 2. The first column will be the POI name, the second the address, then the third is city, the fourth is either state or "state zip". Excel would easily do the first column duplication. Open EPE, Options M-column CSV fields. Set them up to be Name, address, city, state zip. Now import your csv file. EPE will complain that there's no valid coordinates. Select Apply to whole file, Ignore. Now Tools, Batch Geocoding... (or F5). If you get any that couldn't be geocoded, save to a text file and you can fix them or delete them from within EPE.

Now Save As a .gpx file. NOT a csv file, to an empty folder to which you'll point POI Loader.

Start POI Loader, point to a folder where this gpx file is the ONLY gpx/csv. Set POI name to "MLS", which makes a gpi file with only that data. It will not overwrite other POI.gpi that contains your usual POIs.

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Easy? perhaps less tedious

Dave817's process is definitely workable but makes some assumptions we can't as of yet.

First, EPE is shot for Extra_POI_Editor, a program written by one of the members here. It's a fairly sophisticated program that has a good user interface. It will do most of the work for you, but does take configuration before starting. EPE only runs on a PC and does work with Windows 7 and earlier versions back to XP. I haven't seen any reports about it not running on Windows 8.

To use EPE, you will need to go through the learning curve, which could be daunting if it wasn't for the large number of users here that have already documented the majority of the steps.

Start with downloading the program. VersatileGuy as a simple FAQ for that: http://www.poi-factory.com/node/38068

Just in case you have some problems getting the program installed and operating, here are two FAQS on solving some of the more common issues.

Once you have the program installed, then it needs some configuration so it knows how to handle the data you want to use. Here's a pointer to my FAQ on setting the program parameters. http://www.poi-factory.com/node/33782

We can assume you have access to a spreadsheet program and you are comfortable manipulating the data you extract from MRIS. Break down the data into the different basic groups needed. Use EPE to handle breaking down the street addresses internally. Your GPS unit needs only coordinates to find a destination, but it also needs a location name for indexing. The raw data from MRIS can provide almost everything except the coordinates, but EPE can get them for you if it knows where to look by having a street address, city, and state. It uses Google's geocoder just the same as if you typed the address into their maps and said "Show me the driving route to ..." Now, it's not going to find every address, but it will tell you which ones it can't find and let you use its internal tools to locate the address on a map using drag and drop for the pointer.

Once EPE has the data in its program you can then dump it into either a GPX or CSV format file. The GPX format provides you with more control over how the data is displayed on the GPS screen which can be very handy as you can control some of what is shown. With EPE you can set up description and comment fields that show the listing agent and the property's listing price. which is more difficult using the CSV format.

You'll still need to run POI Loader. it's the only way to load the locations into the unit.

To make a long story shorter, it's dependent on the setup of EPE and your expertise in using the 3 programs needed, a spreadsheet program, EPE and POI Loader.

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Maybe an easier way?

Perhaps an easier solution is to use Notepad and Google Earth. Using Notepad, type in something like the following and save it as a .txt file (you won't have the lon/lat yet):

-81.281667,41.7418,"Brennan's Fish House","102 River St
Grand River OH 44045

In Google Earth type in the address and let it show you your destination. Click on the yellow push-pin near the top of the GE window and your lat/lon will be displayed, correct to six decimal places. Copy and paste to the entry you're working on and you'll have everything you need. If GE isn't quite right, click and hold the point of the yellow push-pin and drag it to wherever your destination is. I usually point to the driveway of my destination.

Your file will be an easily maintainable .txt file which is unusable to your GPS, so you can make it a .csv file by renaming the suffix from .txt to .csv or by copying the .txt file to a .csv file. I prefer the copy method which I do from a DOS window:

copy "Restaurants & Bars.txt" "Restaurants & Bars.csv"

You can use the .csv file as is, or by using the aforementioned EPE, convert it to a .gpx file. If you need the .gpx option, merely open the .csv file in EPE and save it as a .gpx file.

If all of that sounds complicated, it really isn't. I can add a new destination in probably less then three minutes from start to finish.


Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

EPE and Windows 8

Box Car wrote:

First, EPE is shot for Extra_POI_Editor, a program written by one of the members here. It's a fairly sophisticated program that has a good user interface. It will do most of the work for you, but does take configuration before starting. EPE only runs on a PC and does work with Windows 7 and earlier versions back to XP. I haven't seen any reports about it not running on Windows 8.

I have been using EPE on a desktop upgraded to Windows 8 since it was released with no problems.

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Thank you so very much for your guidance!

Box Car, Dave817,

Thank you so much for walking me through those processes step by step! Between your very clear instructions re: the EPE configuration and the CSV file setup/geocode/save processes, I was able to upload the POIs in no time! I will run my husband through a dry run later tonight to see what he thinks.

Plunder, thanks also for your input. I'd rather not have to type in addresses manually because at that point I might as well input and save the addresses directly into the unit.

If anyone has any ideas on an alternative process using Google Custom Maps, I'd love to hear it. At one point I was able to map using Fusion Tables but I couldn't figure out how to save those points into a Custom Map/My Places.

Thanks again!