very inexpensive and effective way to take our
data on the road is to pre-load the whole data file into a
dedicated GPS (even cheap GPSs do this), like Garmin (all models) or
TomTom (all but the "GO" series), after that you dont need an Internet
connection at all. These data files are called "Custom
POI" files. We make these files available to you free at campgrounds swimmingholes gardens - they are pre-formatted as .csv (for direct input to Garmin GPS). If you need to convert to another file format (e.g.; .ov2 format for TomTom) , use GPSVizualizer to convert. You may be surprised that you can load huge POI files into your GPS easily, quickly and permanently.
Loading our data
GARMIN: Basically, you get the program POI LOADER
(free, from the Garmin web site), put it on your desktop/laptop,
make a new folder and put all your poi files in it (in .csv format),
connect your gps to your computer with a usb cable, then run POI LOADER
to transfer them all. Read this for details.
TOM TOM, Others: We have no first hand experience, do a google search for import custom poi tomtom - there is lots of info on the web.
Printing a map
you know generally where you are going to before you
leave home, print the map (with the 4 letter name labels turned on) off of your computer screen. Take this and your POI-loaded GPS with
you and use the 4 letter labels to find campgrounds (the POI files use the same 4 letter names). Here are some tips on printing from your computer screen:
Even if you dont know the area you will end up at, the GPS is very useful (and fail-safe) in finding places as you go even without a printed map.
- Drag the map to your area of interest and zoom in
until you can read most of the 4 letter labels
- Use "print screen" (on the keyboard) to capture the map.
- Paste it into an image editor, like IRFANVIEW (free)
- Crop it to fit on one printed page, either portrait or landscape (about 900 X 1200 Pixels)
- Print it portrait or landscape on 8 1/2 X 11 paper (color is nice but not necessary).
DONT use "near my current route" in your GPS to find a place - the place has to be very
close to your road (about 2 miles max) to be "near", and this is not
adjustable. Better to use "Near>Where I am now" (if you are ready to
stop) or "Near>A city" if you know approximately where
you will want to stop - this will get you places within a much greater
range of miles. You can then see them (individually) on the GPS map and go there or save them for future use.