Linux users - How to create a Garmin Nuvi POI file

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Linux users - How to create a Garmin Nuvi POI file

Orange Jim
I've just added a set of custom POIs to my aged Garmin Nuvi 205W and these operational notes may be of help to others as the standard .csv and .gpx files from most providers fail on these machines if you are a Linux only operator.  The process I describe does not use the PC based Garmin POI loader.

my environment:
Linux Mint 16 running Firefox and GPSBabel v1.4 (1.5.2 not available for Mint16 yet)
Garmin Nuvi 205w with 'POI Loader' folder and software on 2Gb SD card as originally supplied.
When plugged into usb the Nuvi mounts the device as GARMIN: and the SD card as PART00

1. Download 'garmin csv' file and .bmp from web-site of your choice.

2  Open .csv in a simple text editor - NOT SPREADSHEET SOFTWARE - I use Kwrite, Gedit or similar.

3. remove any comment lines from the top of the file starting '0,0'

4  If each row has 4 fields
            (ie '-0.249536, 51.505709,"Tesco Acton Metro", "31 The Vale; Acton; London W3 7XA")
    then add a first line "lon, lat, name, desc"
    If each row has 3 fields
            (ie '-0.249536, 51.505709,"Tesco Acton Metro, 31 The Vale; Acton; London W3 7XA")
    then add a first line "lon, lat, desc"
    If the latitude and longitude values are swapped over in the file then swap the headers, but all the ones I have opened are as the examples above.

5. Save file back to disk.

6 now run gpsbabel using the unicsv format for the input file.
   eg  "gpsbabel -i unicsv -f 'GB-ASDA.csv' -o garmin_gpi,category="ASDA",bitmap="GB-ASDA.bmp" -F ASDA.gpi"

7. Drag the new .gpi file onto the Nuvi at GARMIN:/Garmin/POI/ newname.gpi taking care not to overwrite an existing file unless you want to replace it.

Do not put it in the same named folder on the SD card as the device will then ask if you want to incorporate the file onto the Nuvi.  That would be a permanent change with no easy way to remove or update the data.

And that is all there is to it.  Provided you have used a unique category name in the command you will now have a new list item at .........
    'Where to', [shift down], 'Extras', 'Custom POIs'
and your points should come up in ascending order of distance from your current location.

Occasionally you may have to edit the .bmp file if it is in the wrong format - I use GIMP - or you can leave out the 'bitmap=' parameter on the command.  The icons do not show on the map until you choose the greatest magnification anyway.

Enjoy,   Jim  


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