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Garmin StreetPilot i3 POI Goodness

On the product page for the Garmin StreetPilot i3 (of which I am a proud owner) Garmin now states:

As an added benefit, you can now import customized points of interest with the help of Garmin's free POI Loader software.

So I downloaded it and checked it out. Doesn't really do much except load in POI (Points of Interest, i.e. "Favorites") into the i3. Furthermore, you need to have the native format of the data file as a CSV (comma separated value).

All is not lost however.

What is not known to most people is that MapSource (freeware made by Garmin) will also work with the i3. It's a free download and will work with your existing DVD that comes with the i3 to load in POI's. And yes you do need a data source.

Small note before continuing: Don't try to do routes with MapSource and export to the i3. The i3 doesn't do routes. It only does waypoints. More expensive GPS units like the StreetPilot 2730 will do routes.

MapSource has the ability to export waypoints but doesn't save in CSV. It does however have the ability to save in GPX format.

With a nifty freeware tool called GPXtoPOI, you can convert MapSource GPX files to CSV's and export to the i3 using the POI Loader software.

This begs the question "If MapSource already does all that (as in import/export waypoints), why bother with the POI software?" The answer is compatibility with other GPS manufacturers like TomTom. CSV is a universal format and you should have the ability to create/load/save CSV files.

Here's how it's done:

First I load up MapSource and make a waypoint. I click Find then Find Places, then select the category as All Points of Interest, then type in West Marine for the name (that's a Garmin distributor) and select the state as New Hampshire (for non-USA readers, New Hampshire is a state in the USA). Then I click Find, select the entry for Portsmouth NH USA and click Make WayPoint then OK on the next screen. Now I have a waypoint saved ready to export.


Above: Selecting a waypoint.


Above: Confirming selection of waypoint.


Above: Waypoint now appears in list.

After the waypoint is in your list on the left, you click File then Save, BUT... you have to select the "Save as Type" to GPS eXchange Format (*.gpx) so the GPXtoPOI converter has something to convert.


Above: I named the file "West Marine", selected the "Save as Type" to the GPX format and clicked the Save button in a directory I called "gpx" just so I knew where it was.

Now I load up the GPStoPOI software and convert the GPX file to CSV. It's really easy. Illustrated below.


Choosing a Conversion Profile is not necessary.

Then you load up the POI Loader. This is how it goes:

(Note: You do have to have your GPS plugged into your computer before you do this.)


Hit next.


Your computer will pause for a moment while it finds the GPS. When it does, click Next.


Browse to the directory where you exported your CSV file (for me it was c:\gpx) and hit Next.


If successful, the POI Loader program will tell you that you've successfully transferred your POI to the GPS. If using a StreetPilot i3, the unit will restart itself. Then when you go to "My Favorites", the POI will be there.

If you need a CSV file to start off with, here's the one I used for West Marine in Portsmouth NH USA (very tiny file).

Published 2005 Dec 5

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