Creating a Google Base Map Map Based on a POI File

 

Recently we bought a new car and a new smartphone. That has created many new opportunities in terms of using GPS data to navigate. As of this posting, I have NOT looked into creating a Google Base Map based on using a POI file, like "Rest Areas Combined-USA".

I will be looking into this capability as the car's in-dash navigation is too difficult to use to locate a nearby rest areas while driving. We do have a Nuvi650 that solves that problem. Nevertheless, I would like to learn how Google Maps functionality can be improved. Android Auto allows the display of Google Maps on the cars in-dash screen, so it should be possible to create a "rest stop" layer.

I was wondering if anyone else has explored this potential?
Would this capability be even possible?

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Not in the least bit

Not in the least bit interested!
Why would I want to experiement with doing that when my Garmin handles it perfectly?

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

Flagpole Photographers Club

The Flagpole Photographers Club has an excellent pdf that explains how to load Custom POIs to Google Maps. Google Help is just not as clear:

http://www.flagpolephotographers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017...

This is my thread about the Garmin Glo GPS receiver, an accessory to give your phone a Garmin-class GPS receiver. This thread also includes how to run POI Factory safety cameras on the phone for Android auto:

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/49770

There is also the thread about Android Auto with the Google Assistant:

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/50046

Android Auto has been working well on the dashboard display on my 2019 Subaru Forester. It responds in real time with a change of route if a traffic problem happens ahead, and Google Assistant explains in English why the new route is needed.

I haven't tried to find rest areas ahead but I suspect that Google will do that, too, without POI Loading, and certainly with POI Loading. A voice request from the driver would be the way to go rather than using the touch screen. Google has improved the Assistant with the intention of eliminating touch screen entries.

All of the above will run on the iPhone also.

dobs108 smile

Thanks. Good leads

Thanks. Sound like good leads.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Success - Imported Rest Areas Combined POI into a Google Map

Well, I have positive results to report. I created a Google base map with a rest area layer. http://www.poi-factory.com/node/6643. I was able to access that map on my smartphone. Have not yet tested it out in our car with "Android Auto". What that means is that I can bypass the in-dash TomTom which is useless for quickly finding rest area while driving. (I can easily locate upcoming rest areas while driving with my Garmin650.) Thank you dobs108 for your link.

The following post by Michael Minn was very helpful: "Google Maps Placemarks From Spreadsheets". http://michaelminn.net/tutorials/google-csv/

For whatever reason, I could not get a CSV spreadsheet file to import; but as noted by Michael Minn "A Google spreadsheet can be imported directly into Google Maps,....". So I imported the CSV spreadsheet into a Google spreadsheet and the import then worked.

The links below are a good place to get started.

https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3024925?visit_id=63...

https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3024836

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Steve, you're way ahead of me!

Steve, you're way ahead of me because I haven't done a single POI map layer in Google Maps. That makes you a pioneer!

There is an advantage in having the POI map layer file which is on the device or smartphone. Most rest areas could be found by doing a Google search, but Google might not have them all. More important, if there is no cell service, the Google locations cannot be accessed. The POI map layer can be accessed without cell service.

dobs108 smile

Google POI Map Layer.

Congratulations on creating the POI map layer in Google Maps. What I will be interested in hearing is if you get this customized map layer to display in Android Auto. I know you can get Android auto to use preloaded Google map segments, but I am not sure these would include the customized layer. Let us know how it turns out.

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Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

android auto is just a display

Android Auto is just a display that replicates the Google Maps Navigation display on the phone. All navigation and maps are running on the phone. Therefore, the Rest Areas layer containing the POIs will be displayed on Android Auto.

dobs108 smile

So.....

I take it you have been successful in displaying the POI's on your Android Auto car display screen. Thanks for confirming. I don't think my Android Auto works quite this way.

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Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Sorry, Android Auto is being difficult with the car display

As I experimented further, it seems that Android Auto will only display the default map when shown through the cars in-dash info-screen. I have not been able to find a navigation method to get to the custom map while the smartphone is hooked into the in-dash info-screen. The good news, is that the rest areas do show-up on the smartphone screen itself. Unfortunately that implies not hooking up the smartphone

Another tid-bit. It appears that only the first 2000 lines from a spreadsheet can be imported into Google Maps as a POI. The rest areas POI file is 2886 lines in size. The size of the McDonalds POI file is 15,484 lines in size.

I found out about the size limitation, the hard-way, when only West Coast McDonald's popped-up on the screen. That created a "H'mmm" thinking moment. That means reducing the size of certain files to the areas you want covered.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

thanks steve

I will load the rest areas to my phone and experiment with finding a rest area up ahead. This needs to be tried with or without a route that is being navigated.

After checking the flagpole photographers pdf, it says to access the POIs on the map layer, the "maps" category has to be accessed. On the Android Auto screen, among other categories or recent locations, maps should be one of the categories.

In the search field always displayed on Android Auto, enter "maps" and the rest areas map should be displayed as one choice.

dobs108 smile

Android Auto.

The map doesn't show on my phone in the Android Auto app. Sure, it shows on the Google maps app, but that is a different app than Android Auto. So I am not sure where you are seeing that custom map layer in Android Auto. Maybe you could give some additional detail about how you get to it.

Edit: Never mind. I just looked again and realized I can bring up the map on the phone on Android Auto. I guess I just never tried it on the phone itself. Keep us posted on your progress in displaying the custom maps layer.

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Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

More experimentation is Necessary

I look forward to the results of any further experimentation. I got the McDonald's and Rest Area files to under 2,000 lines each by focusing on North Carolina and immediately adjacent areas. We can also see how close the McDonald's are to the interstate. This should give us pretty good coverage. We have had a couple of cases where the restaurants/gas stations turned-out to be quite far from the interstate.

PS: This morning I was able to locate: "Welcome to the Android Auto Help Community".
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/android-auto

Left a message. Maybe somebody will respond.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

alandb, you are right

alandb wrote:

The map doesn't show on my phone in the Android Auto app. Sure, it shows on the Google maps app, but that is a different app than Android Auto. So I am not sure where you are seeing that custom map layer in Android Auto. Maybe you could give some additional detail about how you get to it...

alandb, you are right! I edited the Rest Areas file down to 3 locations to create a Rest Areas Google Map. After several hours of testing, I can't get the Rest Areas map in My Maps, Google Maps to display on Android Auto, and worse, can't get the POI Factory POIs into Android Auto, except by saving them one-by-one as Saved Places in Google Maps.

The Rest Areas map works well on the phone while running Google Maps for navigation, but the dashboard display cannot be used.

In addition, it is apparent that the only extra map layer on the Android Auto dashboard display is Traffic. The Google Maps embedded POIs are not even there. Thinking back, I thought they used to be displayed. The commercial POIs make money. What did Google do? Is it a software bug? Did this problem begin with the new simplified Android Auto several months ago? Even the menus are simplified.

Steve, did you succeed in doing this?

dobs108 confused

Stuck for the Time Being

dobs108 wrote:
alandb wrote:

... After several hours of testing, I can't get the Rest Areas map in My Maps, Google Maps to display on Android Auto, and worse, can't get the POI Factory POIs into Android Auto, except by saving them one-by-one as Saved Places in Google Maps.

The Rest Areas map works well on the phone while running Google Maps for navigation, but the dashboard display cannot be used.
.....

Steve, did you succeed in doing this?

dobs108 confused

I think we have hit a roadblock. The rest areas and McDonald's POIs can be downloaded, imported, and displayed into/on a smartphone. Note: There is an apparent 2,000 line limit per POI file downloaded into a smartphone.

----------------------------------------------------------
Since posting, I ran across this:
https://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=goo...

  1. On your computer, sign in to My Maps.
  2. Open or create a map. A map can have up to 10,000 lines, shapes, or places.
  3. Click Add marker.
  4. Select a layer and click where to put the place. A layer can have 2,000 lines, shapes, or places.
  5. Give your place a name.
  6. Click Save.

The significance of the above, is that Google Maps would not appear to have the capability to hold a large number of POI points. The McDonald's POI file has 15,483 lines.

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Once the smartphone is hooked into the car's in-dash info-center and Android Auto kicks in, the rest areas and McDonald's WON'T display. Bummer.

Alternative solutions:

  • Bring your Gamin with the rest area POI file pre-loaded. (old school) This is what we have been doing. But the smartphone looked like it would add new functionality. So far, being uncooperative.
  • Use the smartphone, but do NOT activate Android Auto. You will then be able to see the upcoming rest areas. (Our in-dash navigation device is too difficult to use while driving. Hence, our desire to use a smartphone for this purpose.)
  • --
    Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

    All this work and you've

    All this work and you've still got an "all-in-one" package if you use the Garmin.

    I tried Android Auto and then thought: Why am I using my phone to link to the car display, basiclly using 2 devices to accomplish 1 task. And it is still lacking in fuction compared to the Garmin.

    --
    I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

    2,000 line limit

    Whether we can get the Rest Area map layer to display in Android Auto is a moot point. The 2,000 line limit is a deal-killer.

    Android Auto is Not Yet Ready for Prime Time. Also, the demise of the stand-alone Garmin road GPS has been greatly exaggerated.

    dobs108 rolleyes

    Experimation is Valuable Even If the Results Don't Work

    KenSny wrote:

    All this work and you've still got an "all-in-one" package if you use the Garmin.

    I tried Android Auto and then thought: Why am I using my phone to link to the car display, basiclly using 2 devices to accomplish 1 task. And it is still lacking in fuction compared to the Garmin.

    Very true. A conclusion that we can now endorse after looking into the issue. Looks like I will keep using my stand-alone Garmin650.

    dobs108 wrote:

    Whether we can get the Rest Area map layer to display in Android Auto is a moot point. The 2,000 line limit is a deal-killer.

    Android Auto is Not Yet Ready for Prime Time. Also, the demise of the stand-alone Garmin road GPS has been greatly exaggerated.

    dobs108 rolleyes

    Yes the 2,000 line limit is a "deal killer". Now, as a result of investigating and experimentation we now know. I hope that this thread will be useful to others. My stand-alone Garmin650 is still a useful and still a relevant GPS navigation device.

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    Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

    Loading larger poi files

    Have you tried the App Poi Loader? Click the video tab for info. Not restricted to just Googe maps.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lentz.poil...

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    Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. Android Here WeGo - Offline Maps & GPS.

    looks promising

    Thanks charlesd45. The POI Loader app looks promising. I will test it out tomorrow. It needs to load POIs on the Google Map, not on the My Maps layer. It also promises to do away with the number limit. Another important feature would be to keep the POI database on the device rather than the Google server.

    dobs108 smile

    Point loader lite.

    If you are going to experiment with the app,you may want to use the free lite version. https://m.apkpure.com/poi-loader-lite-your-poi-s/com.lentz.p... some restrictions ,but will give you the needed information.

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    Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. Android Here WeGo - Offline Maps & GPS.

    Versions available

    After downloading POI Loader Pro, I exchanged emails with the developer, Josh Lentz.

    The lite version is no longer available because Google made a change to Google Play Services and the app must be rewritten. The lite version limited the number of POI files to 10 and also limited the number of POIs visible on the screen at one time.

    The license for POI Loader Pro costs $100-. It is the only version that has an offline POI database and works with offline Google Maps. It is used, in combination with another app, exclusively by first responders in New York state.

    The version Josh recommends for me is POI Loader regular, called POI Loader: Your POI's on the Play Store, for $8.99. That is within my budget. I assume that the phone must have an internet connection in order to access POIs in the regular version.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lentz.poil...

    dobs108 smile

    pOI loader for android doesn't work with Android auto

    When running POI Loader for Android, I loaded a test POI file which displayed and ran correctly on the phone (only) with the Google Maps Icon and the Navigate To icon.

    POI Loader for Android uses the same format as POI Factory files. The format is:

    -longitude,latitude,name,text string

    When running POI Loader with Android Auto and Google Maps, the POIs could not be accessed or navigated to anywhere in the Android Auto menus or on the map.

    On the phone POI Loader screen, clicked on the Navigate To icon, and a popup displayed (to paraphrase), "When Android Auto is running Google Maps cannot be accessed on the phone."

    dobs108 smile

    Maps

    Per the video Poi loader works with other maps too. Android Auto works with Google maps. Other options are available. Some phones and tablets have screen mirror option. Also apps are available. My Galaxy phone and tablets all have it. This allows you to display what's on the tablet or phone screen to another device,if they both have screen mirror link available. Some cars now have this feature. That opens the door to use your favorite off line map and display it on the car display.

    Start by connecting a compatible phone to your vehicle's USB port using a USB cable. On the phone, navigate to Settings, and then search for and select MirrorLink. Touch the slider next to Connect to car/vehicle via USB. Next, navigate through your car's apps and features to access MirrorLink and your phone's apps.

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    Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. Android Here WeGo - Offline Maps & GPS.

    Experimentation, a Learning Experience

    Making a POI file suitable for smartphone use, based on Android Auto has severe constraints. Actually, "deal killers".

    1. Android Auto will only display the default map when shown through the cars in-dash info-screen.
    2. There is a maximum limit of 2000 lines (geographic points) per layer
    3. A map can have up to 10,000 lines, shapes, or places

    Nevertheless, I was still thinking of ways to "save" this concept. The simplest approach, filter the POI geographic points to a smaller area. With that in mind, I wrote a Linux Bash script to do that. (It was a good way to significantly enhance my understanding of Bash and an interesting project. Two of the sticking points, using integer math and dealing with negative numbers.) This also would be a good learning project for Python. So I may tackle that next.

    If anyone wants the Bash script, I can post it here.

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    Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC