Adding Custom POIs to Mio C230

I always thought POI Explorer is the only way to add custom POIs to Mio C230. I just found out a feature of C230. Adding custom POIs is so easy.

  • Find the POI set from the sites like POIfriend.com .
  • Download the POI set in Google Earth format (kml).
  • Create a folder called POI in the storage card.
  • Copy the kml file to the POI directory.

That’s it. No lengthy conversion is needed.

[Update: 11/29/2007]

I just tried the other Google Earth format (kmz), and it works too. The kmz is a zip file of kml. The file size is much smaller, 3 KB vs 37 KB for a 10 POIs file. You can use Google Earth to manage your POIs.

[Update: 11/30/2007]

My reader reported that after adding custom POIs, the machine becomes sluggish. I also noticed that myself. So far, I only added 1564 Target POIs and when I type something in the POI search screen, there is a slight delay.

I decided to give POI Explorer a try. The internal custom POI file is called iGo.db in the MioMap folder (or MioMap2 if you use my hack). You can use POI Explorer to import from and export to this file. When I am done importing the Target POIs, I then exported the POIs to the original iGo.db. The exporting took a long time, about 20 minutes on my Acer Ferrari 3400. The original iGo.db file is 70KB. It’s now 392 KB after I added the additional 1564 POIs.

After so much trouble, you would think the performance would be better, right? Unfortunately, I didn’t notice any improvement over the previous method. Actually, the startup takes a longer time to load. I think I am going to stick to the straight kml or kmz download for now and load only the POIs I really need.

[Update: 12/21/2007]

A reader has asked for a quick run down for POI Explorer. Note that I found that POI Explorer is very buggy and it crashes a lot. I don’t recommend that you go this route. Anyway, here are the steps:

  1. Download and install POI Explorer.
  2. Turn on your Mio C230 and connect it to the computer using a USB cable.
  3. Mio C230 shows up as F: drive.
  4. Have your iGo.db file ready. It’s in F:MioMapMioMap or F:MioMapMioMap2 if you have unlocked it. Make a copy first, just in case something goes wrong.
  5. Run POI Explorer and click on File -> Import -> From iGo database from file (offline)… and select the iGo.db file from your unit.
  6. On POI Explorer, click on File -> Import -> POI from file… and select your downloaded POI file in csv format. Note that I tried kml files but POI Explorer crashed.

    poi-explorer-1.jpg

  7. (Optional) If you want to change the icons, you can do so by first selecting the POIs and right click and you can change icon. However, the icons are limited to the default icons. I don’t think you can use other icons.
  8. Click and select the folder and drag it under “iGO POI Database”.

    poi-explorer-2.jpg

  9. Repeat the steps 6 to 8 for all the POI files you downloaded.

    poi-explorer-3.jpg

  10. Click on File -> Export -> iGo database to file (offline)… and select the iGo.db file in step 4 or a backup of the iGo.db file. Note that this step takes a long long time. You might want to do something else in the mean time (like donating to this site 😉 ).
  11. When the process is done. Copy the iGo.db back to the original folder.

[Update: 2/5/2008]

A reader has provided a link to request map files of more POIs.


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50 Comments

  1. I am about to get a c320 so I can’t wait to try your hacks. I wanted to clarify that the Google Earth kmz file is just a normal zipped file with the extension kmz instead of zip. I plan on using this to feature to enter all my friend’s addresses.

  2. Hi, what is the path on the storage card for the PIO folder? I put some POIs in kml format on mine, but still don’t see them when running the C230?

  3. amida168,

    does adding these POI’s to the memory card slow down the start-up and POI search significantly? so far, i’ve found that it increases start time by 30-1min (it’ll say STARTING), which is really no problem. but when I try to do a search on the POI name (like starbucks), it hangs for 15+ seconds on every letter before i can enter the next letter. so it take me minutes to enter starbucks.

    is this your experience also? is there no way to use a POI directory on the internal flash to make it search faster???

    thanks! hdfan

  4. hdfan,

    How many POIs have you added? I have 1564 Target store POIs and I didn’t notice any startup lag. I did notice that searching POIs is kinda slow, but it only hangs about 1 or 2 seconds for me. I’ll try other ways to add POIs.

  5. I also loaded new POIS to my mio c230 last night but I used MIOs POI Loader tool from their web site – they show a way to add new POI categories as well to file your POIs in. But alas, It also causes a lag when searching ALL or in the new My POIs categories. If anyone can figure out how to hack them into the actual internal db then there should not be a lag – for instance add them to the already existing Category – such as Shopping…- by the way waht gives with that – it doesnt even include Walmart or Krogers…only ‘shopping centers’ in general! weird….. What is nice – I found – is that once you add POIs from an SD card – you can remove the SD card and still have the POIS (as long as you dont hard reset without the card in). I have not hacked mine yet, so I dont know how that effects it, but it appears the MIO does bring the additional POIS into its internal storage someway. Maybe its just cause they are not indexed that search is slow. I mean if the MIO has 1 million in it already, and you add even 10,000, that should not suddenly slow it down because of too many…it is the fact they are being added in a different way than the original POIs that slows it. Also I’d like an easy way to change or add icons for the POIs. When I drive by a starbucks I want to see the green circle! And finally, on the hacked MIO – can you install anything that can run on windows CE? Like a calendar/organizer? or games?

  6. one more thing here is the link to the mio poi loader tool and instructions

    http://www.mio-tech.be/en/mio-club/poi-loader.php

    I think you have to make an account to get there

    Also I just found my MIO freezes when it calculates a route now that I have added custom POIs wiht this tool, today I had to remove the custom POIs. Like I said abive, I do not have mine hacked yet, havent tried it, so its not that, the only thing I have done is add POIs on an SD card – and I also tried both a regualr SD and a 150x SD – that is not HiSpeed SD – since HS do not work at all I hear – and 150x SD does not make the POI search any faster. I have 3 different types of SD cards, I am going to try each one tongiht and see if they all freeze the MIO….

  7. Ok I did the tests, all the cards cause the freeze and the search for POI delay… after testing all my SD cards I confirmed the MIO can still use POIS after you take the SD card out, it can still route to the POIs after you take the SD card out, but it is VERY slow to route wether the SD is still in or not…and it will sometimes freeze at 100% done but not show the route – if I pop the SD card out it shows the route and unfreezes, and this was even on routing to preloaded POI (not the cusotm ones I added). I think what is happening is it has to load all the custom POIS ‘onto’ the route you make so you’ll see them as you drive (I have them turned ON)….now I will test with out any custom POIs loaded at all, I bet it will all be fast again…to do this I remove the SD card and hard restart (with switch on back)….yes it definitely creates the route faster without any custom POIs loaded. That really bites….it makes me not wanna load any custom POIs…I am thinking of returning my unit to see if another GPS does not have such a lag time for custom POIs due to this issue…. I have 25 more days to make my decision to return it within the 30 day return period at radio shack..too bad it’s such a new unit and no one has found a fix for this yet….

    I bet if a fix could be found to add the pOIs into the systems original POI databse then this would not occur.

    What about playing MP#s and videos – do you see a lag or any freezing when reading from the SD card on your hacked unit?

  8. Tcady,

    From what I have read, using the POI loader is the same as adding kml file to the POI folder on the storage card. There are 3 different sources of POIs.

    1. The original POIs which are embedded in the map files. It cannot be changed unless you change the map file.

    2. User defined POIs which are stored in iGo.db file in MioMap directory. You can manipulate these POIs using the MioMap interface or POI Explorer.

    3. Second set of user defined POIs which are stored in POI directory on the storage card. You can use Google Map or POI Loader to manage them.

    I have played around for the second and third sources. Unfortunately, adding more POIs to these two sources seems to hurt the performance of MioMap. Note that the second source is on the internal flash disk already, but adding POIs here also causes a lag. Therefore, I don’t think using a high speed card would help much.

    Regarding the unlocked Mio C230, you can run some Windows CE applications on it. However, C230 is a stripped down Windows CE, there are a lot of dlls not included. I have tried to run several different applications on it. However, a lot of them do not run because of missing dlls. I know that it can play a lot of different kinds of media files and it can be used to show photos. You can also play some games.

  9. Tcady,

    Thanks for your great input. I am just curious, how many POIs did you add? I only add about 1600 POIs. There are some lags, but it doesn’t freeze on me. I used to own a Garmin C320. I didn’t notice significant lags after adding POIs. But, then again, I didn’t add a lot of POIs to begin with.

    When I played AVI video files on my hacked unit, I didn’t notice any lags. There are some lags when you play H.264 encoded files, though.

  10. Thanks Amida168 and Tcady for confirming the lags. When I read you could add POI’s I put all the ones in the SD POI directory that I thought I might want (Walmart, Starbucks, Target, Circuit City, etc). So I probably added quite a few POI’s there.

    It’s unfortunate that MIO both stripped the built-in POI database AND made it effectively impractical to add your own database (of meaningful size) of POIs. Most of the reviews you see really like the unit but consistently knock the limited POI database.

    And great job overall on the hacks Amida168! It’s always great to get the most you can out of your device, even if the manufacturer didn’t intend it that way!

    BTW, on the topic of missing DLL’s, these can’t be added manually from another device that uses CE?

  11. I probably added 10000 POIs by SD card. The starbucks list alone was 7500- I get lists in csv format first, then I opened them in Excel and removed every POI except the SE states of TX, LA, MI, AL, FL since my brother lives in FL and I thought it would be nice to have them incase I drive there this summer. I have added only ten or so POIS to the internal “Enter your own POI” function and did not notice a lag from it. I am going to reduce the POI lists to 100 or so each, just Houston, area – and see if it effects the lag.

  12. ok, I finally got the guts to hack my mio c230 – i’d never hacked any device before and was worried about bricking it – but it was SO easy, and I love it now!

    Still a delay on SD added POIs but I think I can get used to it, you just have to t y p e r e a l s l o w…LOL

    I love being able to have pics an vids of my baby to show people!

    Please write instructions on how to create your own backgroup bmp, size etc…

  13. I tried a simple experiment today on POI’s. Last time I used a 512MB card, which I thought perhaps the Mio had to “sort thru” each time to find the POI directory, etc. So I used the smallest SD card I had (16MB) and tried it again. Instead of a 20-30s pause between letters, it was more like 5s or so.

    So it was better than the first time, but I also had another variable that may also account for it. The first time with the 512MB card, I had more POI’s in the POI directory. This time, I only had Starbucks. So smaller SD card and fewer POI’s, so either could have accounted for the much shorter delay times.

    I didn’t take the experiment any further, because even 5s between letters is too long for me, so as far as I’m concerned at this point, adding POI’s via SD card is a no-go for me. Hopefully someone finds a way to hack the C230 to enable POI’s to be inserted (somehow!) on the internal flash.

    Tcady, the Miomap version is 3.3 according to the what the device displays. Does that help? Look forward to any updates on your side about further customizations. . .and faster flyover would actually make that feature usable!

  14. Hdfan,

    in my blog at c230.wordpress.com (near the bottom), I discuss how to move seldom used maps from the flash drive to the SD card with no noticeable difference in performance. By doing this you could free up alot of room on your flash drive for POIs. Let us know.

  15. hdfan,

    Yes, I suppose you can add those missing DLLs manually. However, I don’t have access to a Windows CE 5.0 device, so I have to search for the DLLs online.

    By using POI Explorer, you can add POIs to the iGo.db file which is on the internal flash. I didn’t notice any performance improvement, though.

  16. tcady,

    C230 has MioMap v3.3. Those skin exchanges are exclusively for v3.2. They might work partially, but I am not sure.

    If you want to change the background image of the hacked c230, just create a 320×240 bitmap image of your choice. Name it back.bmp and replace the one in the F:\Script directory.

  17. Amida,

    When you say you didn’t notice any performance improvement by adding POIs to the iGo.db file using POI Explorer, do you mean any improvement over adding POI’s to POI directory on SD card?

    I haven’t tried to add POI’s using POI Explorer, so I don’t know if it’s a manual thing or you can add 100’s/1000’s of them easily.

    Basically, I’m looking for any way to efficiently add 1000’s of new POIs to the unit without degrading performance. It doesn’t seem like there’s an identified way to do this though, right?

    Thanks.

  18. When you say you didn’t notice any performance improvement by adding POIs to the iGo.db file using POI Explorer, do you mean any improvement over adding POI’s to POI directory on SD card?

    Yes

    I haven’t tried to add POI’s using POI Explorer, so I don’t know if it’s a manual thing or you can add 100』s/1000』s of them easily.

    It’s a manual process. It’s fairly easy. It’s just that the exporting takes quite a long time.

    Basically, I’m looking for any way to efficiently add 1000』s of new POIs to the unit without degrading performance. It doesn’t seem like there’s an identified way to do this though, right?

    That’s correct.

  19. I just put the kml file on my SD card with the foler name POI. But when I start the GPS, nothing happend in POI. Do I need hard reset or hack it before add the new POI? Thanks

  20. Wxw160,

    You don’t have to do a hard reset or hack it to add the new POI. It’s possible that the SD card is not compatible. You can try another card. Also, is your unit a C230 or some new models? This is only for newer models.

  21. I followed tcady advise and loaded TAREGET/WALMART/STARBUCKS/DUNKIN DONUTS POIs into my mio C230. It was difinitely slow in starting after I hard reset it. But then it was fast it searching the POIs I wanted. It did not freeze. I loaded into separate folders.

  22. MioC230User,

    Thanks for your input. Do you mean have a folder for Target and a foler fro Walmart,…? That’s interesting. Initially, I put everything in one folder. Maybe put them in a separate folder would help the performance.

  23. Amida168,

    Yes, I had separate folders for each of them. Initially I had put them all in one folder, it took a long time to search. So I separated them into folders and the performance improved.

  24. MioC230User,

    Like Wild1961 I’d be very interested in some clarification.

    Did you create a POI directory on the SD card, and then have subfolders called Target, Walmart, etc? If so can the subs have subs?

    Just ordered a SD card so can’t experiment yet.

    Thanks.

  25. I am having trouble with the suggestion made by mioc230user. I created seperate folders for each poi. For example my path was E:\poi with a folder called starbucks and another called wall-mart. Loaded my poi’s into each like normal, but could not locate either when using the the c230? When they are both located within the poi folder I can access them with the c230. Am I doing something wrong.

  26. Thats what I did. Didnt work. Sounds stupid but could you please clarify the steps. I opened the poi loader. Selected the drive that contained the card. I then selected the poi file. Imported it into the c230. I then went into the directory and created 2 folders withing the poi folder. One was starbucks and the other sheetz. I then placed the files into the coresponding folders. It didnt work though. Did I do this wrong?

  27. I created 2 folders on my hard drive, one Target and one Walmart. I then put the csv files in the corresponding folders. Next, I ran POI Loader TWICE, once for selecting the Target folder as source and once for selecting the Walmart folder as source.

  28. Did you make those folders on the SD card using POI Loader? I made to directories on my SD card called Target and Walmart and they were not recognized. When I make a folder POI and do a hard reset they are recognized. Without reseting, it keeps seeing the older directories on the SD card. Seems like it would automatically read the new items on the SD card without the reset.

  29. When you make folders for the csv files, those folders are NOT on the SD card, they are folders on your computer’s hard drive. The instructions I mentioned in comment #33, explain everything clearly. If you still have problems, I suggest you re-read it again.

  30. I didnt see any instructions on comment #33. But anyway, I had already done what you said to do in your comment #35. I thought that you did something else though, because I did not notice any improvement with that technique.

  31. If the method in comment #33 has the POI’s placed on the SD cards memory, then my unit gets extremely sluggish. It takes forever to type in the POI if I add a couple of thousand POI’s. This does not make any sense.

  32. Samson29,

    There is a link to the instructions on comment #33. That’s what I did to add POIs. I added about 5000 POIs and the performance improves.

  33. I tested more today and while the performance improves, the delay is still there. The delay is especially noticeable when you want to search the POIs you added. For example, I added Walmart and Target stores, there is a long delay between letters when I key in Walmart or Target. If I search other POIs, it’s OK. I also noticed that there is no delay when you browse the custom POIs. You can try to browse the custom POIs instead of doing a search.

  34. I called Mio and they said that since so many people have complained about the small number of POI’s that they will be adding more POI’s to the 230. Individuals adding only a small number is possible but hopefully MIO will provide a POI update for the units.

  35. Really glad I read this thread before adding POI’s. My expectations were for it to be very slow, so I was pleasantly surprised. The boot up takes a little bit longer, maybe 10-15 seconds. Keying in search letters in My POI is somewhat sluggish, but certainly not a killer by any means.

    Finding decent POI files with the right formats and data is the only challenge. If Mio makes more available that problem could be at least reduced as well.

    Thanks for all the very helpful info and links in this thread.

  36. Hdfan,

    Tech support told me that it will be in the spring. They did not say that it will cost. I hope they provide it for nothing. Hopefully, they are fast at getting them increased.

  37. I was wondering if you can get google earth to give you a kml file with different poi’s? I know you can get POI’s from poifriend, but how do i get them from google earth?

  38. Amida168,

    Just wondering if you could give me a quick rundown of the steps that need to be taken when using poi explorer. I would really appreciate it! 🙂

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