Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Using Proximity Point Alerts on the GPS

The trip planning software MapSource and BaseCamp both allow users to declare a proximity alert radius around a waypoint.  This feature can be used to alert riders when they are in range of the wapoint of point of interest (POI).   These POI points are just waypoints but saved into a special file with the .gpx extension.  Garmin has a special program to upload these POI files to a GPS.  That program is POI Loader (Windows or Mac) and is a free download from Garmin.

POI Factory is a web site where GPS users get together to share interesting locations and talk about GPS. It has friendly discussion forums and a growing collection of POI files, icons, and sounds for the United States and Canada.  Most of POI Factory's content is free, but it offer paid subscriptions for enforcement camera locations. This revenue keeps POI Factory running and allows it to spend more time working on the site.

One of POI Factory's users has put together a brief tutorial on creating custom POI files and moving them to the GPS.  See:  CharlieG's guide to Custom POI's with MapSource and POI Loader

Once the POIs have been loaded onto the GPS they can be seen in Where To / Extras / Custom POIs.  POI Loader is used to remove the Custom POIs from the GPS.  Any editing of the POI should be done in MapSource or BaseCamp before being loaded onto the GPS.

I've created several test waypoint using MapSource, saved them as a .gpx file and used POI Loader to move them to my zumo 665 GPS.  I gave them names that use the motorcycle rally convention:  ABC 9999 Ap99

Symbol         Name                     Proximity
Green Flag    POI 0001 Ap1            5.0 mi    
Blue Flag      POI 0002 Dp21         10.0 mi  
Red Flag       POI 0003 Ap33         15.0 mi   
Blue Flag      POI 0004 Dp01         20.0 mi 

I rode to these waypoints.  I recorded a Spot OK message when the Proximity Point Alert sounded and did a GPS screen shot of the Proximity Point Alert display.  This is what those PPAs look like on the zumo 665.

Screen Shot POI 0001 Ap1:  The proximity distance for this sample waypoint was 5 miles.  Note distance to via.  The alert sound is three beeps.  The alert banner is not live, in that touching it would bring up the detail about the POI.  It stays on the screen until you arrive at the waypoint.  If you stop moving the alert beeps will cycle as soon as you start moving again. For that you have to select: Menu / Where To? / Extras / Custom POIs / POI 0001 Ap1.