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Sometimes postcodes (zip codes) don’t just cut it with sat-nav’s especially when trying to find a caravan site. Often you see the warning “Don’t follow sat nav” on site directions which is a bit of a shame as you have exchanged quite a lot of beer tokens for a device to take the hassle out of navigating!

TomTom installed in our Landrover Freelander

TomTom installed in our Landrover Freelander

In Europe it is common for the location of a site to be given co-ordinates (Lat & Long) but sometimes there is confusion on which format your sat-nav can accept these, in fact not all sat-nav devices allow you to input lat & long co-ordinates.

A lot of people check on the route to a site using Google Maps and this helps a lot, but it only gives you the results in a lat & long format. There are programmes that you can down load to do the conversion to create a POI – (Point Of Interest) and even manage them, but there is great on-line resource called “POI Editor” that I have been using for around four years now that I think is really easy to use and despite trying a number of the downloadable offerings, I keep returning to it.

Getting started…

Go to POIEditor.com and click on the “Register” link in the top right hand corner and create an account, it’s totally free to use…. (Don’t forget you can click on any of the images to see them full size!)

Caravan Chronicles POI-01

Start off by filling in some details….

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You will be asked to confirm your email address. I have never received spam mail from this company. Follow the link in the email they send you to confirm your account.

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Once you have confirmed your account you can now log in and you will see a page like this (below)… and you are all set to start creating your POI’s

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Your first POI…

For this example I’ll go through creating the POI for the Caravan Clubs’ Chatsworth Park site which we recently visited…. First I typed in the name “Chatsworth Park CC Site” and I also added the post code for the site…..

Caravan Chronicles POI-06

Once you have the name and postcode entered, click on “Lookup” and a map pin appears on the map. Use the + and – on the map to zoom in……

Caravan Chronicles POI-07

OK, now you can switch views… click on the “Satellite” button on the map window….

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You can now see that the map pin is located in the centre of Chatsworth House  Estate grounds… the caravan site is actually north-west of the map pin…. lets zoom in a little closer….Caravan Chronicles POI-09

OK we can now see the caravan site near the zoom slider. Drag the map pin from the centre of Chatsworth House Estate and drop it over the caravan site… you can drag the map around to centre the pin… 

Caravan Chronicles POI-10

Now here is where we can make it really accurate. If we left the pin where it is, there is always the chance that your sat-nav could try to take you into Chatsworth House Estate via the main entrance, through the car park and try to navigate you through the estate… after all it will try navigate you the shortest or quickest route. If we move the pin to the entrance road to the caravan site, your sat-nav should take you there only choosing the main road. So we drag the pin to the entrance to the site….

Caravan Chronicles POI-11

We can zoom in a little more and place the pin right on the main road in front of the entrance…

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When we are happy with the pins location, simply click on “Save Point”. The map will zoom out and you will see your POI (highlighted in red below) saved to your POI list.

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If you want to add further POI’s click on ‘Add Point” and just go through the steps above for the next POI you want to create.

If you have finished creating your POI’s we now need to save the file and download it to your computer. Click on the  “Save POI File” tab and you will be asked to input a name for your POI file…..

Caravan Chronicles POI-14

In this case it is called ‘My POI’ and you will need to select what file type you want to save it as from the drop down box. In this case I have selected “TomTom.ov2”.

Caravan Chronicles POI-14aNow click on “Download POI’s” and a file will automatically download to your browser download area.

OK now for a neat trick…

The screen shot below shows my POI for La Tournerie Ferme near Montignac, France. To get to the site there is a very detailed set of directions provided by the owner. So rather than doing a bit of map and instruction reading by the navigator, I created a number of additional POI’s or waypoints. Using the satellite view, I started at the point of the first instruction and for each turn I created a new POI. I now have a set of POI’s – La T App 1, La T App 2….etc and the final one is “La Tournerie Ferme”. (‘App’ is my short hand for ‘Approach’ so I know its not a final destination)

So in my GPS I now create an “Itinerary” starting from my first point “La T App 1” to my next point “La T App 2” and so on. Now when I want to go there, I simply program my sat-nav to take me to the the itinerary I created. The sat-nav now takes me to the first point, then the second and so on until I arrive at the site.

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Next Step…

OK you now have your POI file downloaded onto your computer and you need to upload it to your sat-nav. As each model of sat-nav is slightly different unfortunately you might have to resort to checking out the instruction’s that came with your device.

That’s it… that is all there is to creating simple and accurate POI’s and storing them in a file for your chosen sat-nav device.

One of the reasons I use POI Editor on-line is no matter where I am, I can always log in and update my POI’s and download them. If I’m unlucky and loose my sat-nav, I still have the POI file I created to put back on my new one, even if it is a different make or model. While we have been out in the caravan I have been able to add POI’s… I added the stations for the West & East Somerset railways and the front entrance to the car park at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yoevil while sat having a coffee at our favourite site in Somerset – The Old Oaks.

I hope you found this useful.