POI Converter

POI Converter JavaScript for Garmin nuvi GPS devices

POI Converter 

POI Converter is a very convenient tool (Windows JavaScript) used to perform format file conversions for GPS Points Of Interest (POIs).
Used in combination with Google maps or Google earth turns into a powerful POI editing and maintenance solution, as it will enable you to create multiple POIs using the Google maps "My Maps" feature with all the advantages and flexibility provided by Google maps. It can also be used to import POIs into Google to visualize, add or modify them (See Examples below)

            This POI Converter utility was originally developed by David Robertson, and has been further enhanced and maintained by Luis Schwabe.

Functionality summary
  • Convenient Drag & Drop use - Easy, Simple and Fast.
  • Converts from CSV to GPX (Garmin XML based) or KML (Google Earth XML) formats
  • Converts from GPX or KML to CSV
  • Extends CSV capabilities to easily use Garmin TourGuide functionality
  • Extends CSV capabilities to specify proximity values (in the 5th csv parameter)
  • Fully supports "Quoted multi-line" values for Name and Description fields
  • Extracts Phone number into appropriate field for use in units that support Bluetooth based dialing
  • Can convert multiple files with a single Drag & Drop operation
  • Allows for mapping of description line into address fields improving the display of the POI list to include 1st line of address
  • Filters out characters not supported by the gpx/xml format, replacing them with "?"
  • Has only been tested with certain Garmin nuvi models (2xx and 7xx)
  • Has only been tested on Windows XP
  • Completely free, free to try, free to keep, no functional or time limitations, no spyware, no crippleware
  • Conversion is fast and involve minimal number of clicks or steps

PRICE - FREE (No strings attached).

  • For a one liner help, double-click on the script and the following dialog will pop-up

  • Drag and Drop files to be converted into POI Converter script
  • or, If POI Converter was added in the "Send To" folder, then just "right click" on file to be converted and "Send to" "POI Converter"
  • File name created will be exactly the same as the input file, but with the new file extension (as applicable)
  • For CSV files, the script will prompt whether to convert to KML or GPX, answer will apply to all CSV files included
  • .gpx and .kml files get converted automatically  to .csv format (no prompt)
  • .txt files are converted automatically to .gpx file (no prompt)
WARNING: File name created is exactly the same as the input file, but with the new file extension, 
pre-existing files with the target name and extension are automatically overwritten!
  • Conversion statistics will be presented at the end of the execution

  • Now you are ready to use POI Loader to load your POIs into your GPS
  • Right click on the POIConverter.js.txt Attachment below, select "Save Target As..." and then remove the ".txt" extension as you save the file
  • The ".txt" extension is used since this site restricts "JavaScrpt (.js)" type of files to be attached
  • [Optional] Consider adding "POI Converter.js" to the Windows "Send To" folder for convenient "right click" "Send to" use
  • The file does not require any install, it is ready to use. Your windows system might ask for approval to execute JavaScript.
  • For a quick test to ensure the script is running properly, just double-click on it after downloading it, the help dialog should pop-up.
  • [Optional] Open the "POI Converter.js" with a text editor (eg. notepad) and look a the beginning for some user configurable preferences, set your preferences as explained with the comments contained in there.
  • You are ready to use it.          

DISCLAIMER: Utility provided "as is" and has only been tested with some Garmin nuvi models, backup your POI files until you are fully familiar with it. 


Example 1: To convert Google maps to a Garmin nuvi .csv file
  1. Create a Google map using maps.google.com  "My Maps" feature to create a named map
  2. Add s many Placemarks (POIs) as needed, including additional information as required
  3. After adding or editing all your Placemarks, Right-click in "View in Google Earth" and select "Copy link address"
  4. Paste the URL into the address bar of your browser, but do NOT click GO just yet
  5. Locate the text "output=nl" in the address line and replace nl with kml to read "output=kml" and click GO
  6. The browser "open or save" dialog should open; save the KML file along with your POIs
  7. Drag and Drop the newly saved KML file into the "POIConverter.js" script, this will create a ".csv" file with the same name as the ".kml" you saved
  8. The CSV file can be further edited with a text editor (eg. Notepad) or spreadsheet (eg. Excel)
  9. Run Garmin's POI Loader program.
  10. [Optional] Provide feedback on your experience
Example 2To see .csv POIs in Google maps
  1. Drag and Drop the ".csv" file into the "POIConverter.js" script
  2. A pop-up dialog will prompt "Press Yes to convert CSV to KML, or No to GPX", Click on YES for KML
  3. A file with the ".kml" extension will be created
  4. Go to maps.google.com and click on "My Maps" and then "Create new map"
  5. Select a "Title" for your new map and click on "Import"
  6. Choose the KML file you created on step 3, and upload it
  7. [Optional] You can adjust the locations or info of your Placemarks and follow "Example 1" to save your updated KML file
Example 3: To see .csv POIs in Google earth
  1. Assumption is that you have "Google earth" installed on your computer
  2. Drag and Drop the ".csv" file into the "POIConverter.js" script
  3. A pop-up dialog will prompt "Press Yes to convert CSV to KML, or No to GPX", Click on YES for KML
  4. A file with the ".kml" extension will be created
  5. Double-click on the newly created ".kml" file to open it with Google earth.

Example 4: To transfer saved Favorites into csv POI files
  1. Connect Garmin to PC and wait until "mass storage" is ready
  2. Access the Garmin nuvi drive and locate the "\Garmin\GPX" folder
  3. Drag and Drop the Current.gpx file into the "POIConverter.js" script which will create a Current.csv file
  4. Open the Current.csv file with a text editor, like notepad, and cut&paste into your POI files
  5. Run Garmin POI Loader to load your newly updated files
  6. Safely remove your USB drive and restart your nuvi
  7. Check that your POIs are properly loaded
  8. Delete the Favorites that you just loaded into custom POIs, if you no longer need them under Favorites

Example 5To extend csv format to use features not supported on basic csv format
  1. Rename your csv file to a text type of file (.txt), this will prevent POI Loader from loading the file and will direct POI Converter to convert to gpx without prompting.
  2. Your txt file may contain a phone number in a multi-line description field, the script will map this automatically to the proper gpx phone tag for Bluetooth enabled units dialing
  3. The script will also map the first line of a multi-line description into the Street Address tag, for improved display on list of POIs, second line will be mapped to the City tag, and the remainder of the description will be left on the description tag.
  4. Drag and Drop YourPOIfile.txt file into the "POIConverter.js" script which will create YourPOIfile.gpx file ready to be POI Loaded
  5. Run Garmin POI Loader to load your newly generated gpx file
  6. Safely remove your USB drive and restart your nuvi
  7. Check that your POIs are properly loaded

Example 6: To create a Garmin nuvi TourGuide

I welcome your feedback, please e-mail lschwabe at gmail dot com, or via comments below.

Subpages (2): srf Vehicles TourGuides
Luis Schwabe,
Oct 3, 2009, 10:21 PM