HOWTO: Loading Geocaches onto your Sat Nav as POI’s


On Saturday I went caching on my own and as a result I was both the navigator and the driver. Before driving to the next cache I studied my map carefully and memorised the junctions and turns I needed to make. I did however have to glance at the GPSr a couple of times (Which isn’t a safe thing to be doing) and I did make the wrong turn more than a couple of times! I thought there must be a better way to do it…

Most cheap sat nav’s support POI files and our Garmin Streetpilot C510 is no exception (My old Navman sat nav does as well) however some don’t accept .LOC or .GPX files which you get from the Geocaching.com site (And for the ones that do I should imagine you have to play around with Geocache GPX files to condense the information in them). It is however extremely simple to get your .GPX file to a .POI file and I was surprised to find out that .POI files are simply just .CSV files (Are you fed up of my TLA’s yet? ;))

So onto the nitty gritty. To get your Geocaches onto your sat nav…

Basic POI Generation
1. Run your Pocket Query or download your cache. Unzip the .ZIP file to unveal your .GPX file.

2. Download and install the free GPXtoPOI software from here.

3. Run GPXtoPOI and specify the GPX file as the input. Tell it where to output the POI file and what to call it. The name can be anything, just ensure it says .csv on the end.

GPXtoPOI Conversion Options

4. If you then open the .csv file in Excel (or another spreadsheet program like Open Office which is free) you will see the lat/long and the GC code.

The POI's in a CSV file

5. You can then simply load this onto your sat nav. Garmin have POI Loader software.

6. Install Garmin’s POI loader and tell it to transfer to your device (Or to a folder on your hard disk. You can then copy it onto your device at a later date)

Select where to output the file

7. Direct it to the .CSV file you produced in step 3 and specify which units of measurement you want to use.

Select the CSV file

8. A POI.GPI file (.GPI Is a ‘Garmin Points of Interest’ file) will be generated and you’re now good to go!

The final file output for use on the sat nav

More advanced POI generation (including GSAK)
If you would prefer to see some of the cache title in your sat nav and some nice piccies rather than just the GC number you can use GSAK to produce something a bit more advanced.
1. Run your Pocket Query or download your cache. Unzip the .ZIP file to unveal your .GPX file.

2. Run GSAK and open your GPX file in a new database.

3. Download the ‘Garmin POI CSV Export’ macro from here. Double click the file that has downloaded and Choose to ‘Install the macro’

4. In GSAK click the ‘Macro’ and then ‘Run’ menu.

5. The export window will run and show you a ton of options, but for now you can accept the defaults, however I’d recommend changing the ‘Export CSV-files to this folder’ path to something a bit friendlier, like a folder on your desktop.

Options, options, options...

6. Click ‘Generate’.

7. The files will now be available in the folder that you specified. Don’t be alarmed that there are a lot of files. The Garmin POI loader software will compile these into a single file.

Lots of files!

8. Install Garmin’s POI loader and tell it to transfer to your device (Or to a folder on your hard disk. You can then copy it onto your device at a later date)

9. Direct it to the .CSV file you produced in step 3 and specify which units of measurement you want to use.

10. A POI.GPI file (.GPI Is a ‘Garmin Points of Interest’ file) will be generated and you’re now good to go!

Happy and safe caching πŸ™‚

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2 Responses to “HOWTO: Loading Geocaches onto your Sat Nav as POI’s”

  1. Martin Says:

    Another useful tool for this sort of thing is gpsbabel:
    http://www.gpsbabel.org/

    I use it to convert GPX files into TomTom compatible data.

  2. geocass Says:

    Thanks very much, I’ll check it out πŸ™‚


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