I am looking for a GPS unit that I can download/import hundreds of addresses/Lats-Longs into from .xls/.cvs. The most stops a route may have are close to 1300; however our average routes are normally 500-800. I would like to either keep the routes on SD cards and change the routes on the GPS by simply changing SD cards or keep files on my PC and copy them into the unit when needed. I have been told Rand McNally has this feature but after purchasing their 720 unit and speaking with support, it is not functional.
1) Are hundreds of POI's/ VIA's even able to be imported into GPS units?
2) If so, where can I find a unit?
Most current Garmin GPS units can hold 500 - 1000 Waypoints/Favorites as discrete locations on the GPS unit.
Most/all current Garmin GPS units can store an unlimited number of Custom POIs loaded with the POI Loader software.
Some (perhaps half) of the Garmin GPS units can store routes on the GPS units. Typically, between 10 and 100 routes. The routes must be imported to the unit in order to be used. Some can read routes from the SD card if the routes are in a properly formatted GPX file. None that I know of can read a "route" from a CSV file. In fact, I would doubt that a CSV file could actually contain a route. No Garmin GPS unit that I am aware of can read an XLS file.
No Garmin GPS unit that I am aware of can store a route containing 500+ viapoints. The Zumo series (which has very good route storage capabilities) can only store routes with around 225 viapoints.
Depending on what you are truly looking for there are several options. Both Garmin and Tom-Tom make units that will import routes but the critical question is exactly what do you need? There are different options that can be used, I'm personally more familiar with Garmin's options than the others.
The answer to your first question is yes, there are several different models by manufacturers such as Garmin, Tom-Tom, and Rand Mcnally that can do the job. The better units of these lines all support multi-point routing or custom routes. It will be an listed under the features for a particular model. If it doesn't state it allows routes or itineraries, then it doesn't so that model is not suitable. For Garmin units it will be those models above the "essential" series.
To find units, troll the various web sites. The manufacturer sites are probably the best for straight comparisons of their units but sites like gpspassion will give you reviews and compare models from different manufacturers. You can start with Garmin at https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-road/automotive/cOnTh.... Tom-Tom's site is http://www.tomtom.com/en_us/products/?WT.Click_Link=top_nav. Rand-McNally, which builds units targeted for over the road truckers and RV owners is http://www.randmcnally.com/
Of the 3, Garmin and Tom-Tom have the easiest interfaces for importing routes and locations from an Excel file.
As you stated you need ROUTES with many way points or stops, you will probably need still other pieces such as computer-based mapping software. Google and Mapquest can do the job from a web standpoint, but something on the order of Microsoft's Streets & Trips, Mappoint or DeLorme's Street Atlas would better serve you. These will allow you to build the custom routes and add or change points within a route easily. They also offer the ability to optimize a route by reordering the way points between the start and finish into a more concise route. You also need to be aware, there is a BIG difference between being able to load the points and having them as routes.
... The most stops a route may have are close to 1300; however our average routes are normally 500-800. I would like to either keep the routes on SD cards and change the routes on the GPS by simply changing SD cards or keep files on my PC and copy them into the unit when needed. ...
MM and Box Car have given good advice, but we probably need to understand what you mean by an "average route". 500 - 800 points is not what I typically think of as a "route" but I am not a trucker.
What you may be talking about is knowing truck restrictions, bridge heights, etc., but you did use the phrase "stops a route may have".
So, if you had exactly what you want in routing, what would it do for you? Such a unit may not exist but there is often more than one way to accomplish something with a particular unit.
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