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What is GPS POI?

written by: Jogabs•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 8/9/2010

The acronym POI is often included in the list of features of GPS devices. But, just what exactly is GPS POI? What does POI mean, and what is its function? Read on to find out the definition and uses of GPS POI.

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    GPS POI Definition

    GPS POIs, or points of interests, are simply road databases. Basically, these mark locations like gas stations, restaurants, and malls that people often go to whenever they are on the road. POIs are often found on car GPS devices, and, because of the evolution of technology, POIs are now also available on handheld GPS such as PDAs and cellphones.

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    POI, Checkpoint Function, and Cost

    The points of interests on a GPS device are also related to the GPS checkpoint function. The GPS checkpoint function refers to the points of reference, or way points, that help people trace their way back from a starting point.

    All of the competing GPS brands like Garmin use a POI feature as one of their marketing advantages. The more GPS POIs their item has, the better and more useful the device is to the consumer. Garmin, for example, in their Nuvi series, offers six million points of interest in each of its models. GPS Magellan brand GPS devices are also loaded with millions and millions of points of interest that are quite a useful GPS navigation feature.

    Now, if you are worried about how much GPS POI will cost you, you shouldn't because the GPS points of interest feature is free and, as mentioned earlier, is part of the features of the GPS device. In fact, you can even update your POI database for free. Some GPS software also includes updates for your GPS POIs. And, just in case that you are faced with a situation in which you have to pay for the update, you can still smile because it doesn't really cost much. And, if you think about the benefits you can get in return, then updating your POIs is simply priceless!

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    Downloading POIs

    Free GPS POIs can be easily transferred and loaded onto your handheld devices. You can use the data cable that goes with your GPS navigation pack. Just connect your device to your computer, and there you have it! Having a Bluetooth GPS can also be useful in this area because you simply have to open your Bluetooth, and voila! And, of course, the easiest among all the ways is downloading the database directly onto your device, but, to do this, you have to make sure that your GPS device is WiFi capable.

    The Garmin GPS POIs are among the GPS points of interest that can be updated. Garmin GPS devices are bundled with free GPS software that lets you download POI files to be later transferred onto your devices. With this software, Garmin assures its consumers a timely update of their POI files. Some devices also allow for the creation of custom POI lists. For example, the article Attaining a Custom POI List for Your Garmin GPS explains how to create customized lists of points of interest on Garmin GPS devices.