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I love my Garmin Nuvi.  As I’ve mentioned before it’s one of the best pieces of technology I own for use, form factor, fun, and coolness factor.  I’ve got the 260 which suits me fine, but if I had to buy a new one, I’d get the 760 now.

One of the weird things is that I keep it on all the time when I’m driving, even if I know where I’m going.  The points of interest (POI) feature is awesome and has helped me discover new places to eat every once in a while.  There are other customizations you can achieve as well like custom voices (I have the UK and Australian female voices on mine to make me feel distinguished) and icons.  All of these are generally announced on the Garmin blog, which is regularly updated with information about Nuvi and all their other product lines.  You can get custom icons from the Garmin Garage location as well.  One thing that I highly recommend is using the POI Loader.

This software enables you to create your own POI waypoints.  You can create them as regular POI waypoints or you can also create “proximity” points that alert you when you are getting near a specific point.  This is generally why I keep it on all the time now.  I’ve created a few of my own POI waypoints for areas of construction that I might forget about, some speed limit changes that I may forget about, etc. 

Recently though, I also found a guy who has organized all photo radar points into a database (you could create your own of course) and sells them for $10 for a 12-month subscription.  Boom, done.  Saves me the time looking them all up and I just have to click and they are uploaded.  The database (which I found on eBay and he has Arizona database as well as other states for photo radar) contains not only fixed points, but also “known” speed trap regular areas.  Just this morning I was on my way to Costco and was alerted to slow down with a notification of a potential speed trap (they weren’t there this morning, but they are regularly there for sure as my wife’s driving record will attest to).  The image (which is the image captured here) displays an icon (notice the little radar dude) as well as a warning banner.  A sound is also audible as well to help you pay attention to the warning.  Very cool.  For $10 I get database updates monthly from this guy (which has 1197 points for Arizona).  Hopefully recent movements by our Arizona state legislature may make me worry less, but until then this helps remind me to drive safe and also keeps me out of trouble (hopefully).

UPDATE: The service I used to use isn't available anymore, but if you want to get red-light/radar points-of-interest (POI) for your GPS device, you can get them here.

The other “customization” I made this week was to purchase the lifetime map subscription.  I’ve been royally burned by lifetime subscriptions in the past, so I was leery on doing this, especially since the lifetime subscription applies only to the particular device.  I knew, however, that I was going to get at least one more map update, so for the extra $30, I get 4 updates per year for the lifetime of my device.  Seemed worth it to me at the time of purchase.  The update was surprisingly huge (1.5GB) but now I’ve got the latest map, updates for “life” and 1197 statewide radar alerts plus my own custom points.

If you have a Garmin device…have fun customizing!


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.


1/24/2009 12:13 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
I HAVE to convince my wife to buy this, as she puts it, "boy toy" :)
1/24/2009 12:30 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Hey Tim,

Hope that stays legal in your place. These devices are illegal in Switzerland (I think it's the only country in the world...) Yeah I know, we're crazy this way...

Cheers,
Laurent
1/24/2009 8:03 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
@Laurent how so? It is a GPS that happens to have some additional data put on the map. It isn't a radar detector or jammer.
2/19/2009 7:03 AM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Radar - in order for a civil violation to be valid in the state of Arizona, the recipient must acknowledge receipt. Mail (without acknolwedgement i.e., certified) does not constitute a valid delivery method. Photo radar in AZ are private companies working on behalf of the agencies. They mail them out. If you call/email/etc regarding it then you've acknowledged it and it becomes a valid violation you must rectify. If you ignore it, that's fine, but some agencies send out processors. Someone may come knocking on your door to serve you -- then it is acknowledged.

Photo Radar is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle and they attempt to match to a driver that is known. If it isn't you driving the car (and you can prove that -- i.e., the pic looks NOTHING like you) then you can submit that evidence and it will be cleared for you.
3/5/2009 8:33 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Hello all. I have been informed some states are adding a seizure clause in the photo radar ticket. I don't know if this is true but why take a chance. I can't believe adding points of interest to your GPS is illegal in Switzerland. Here in the United States there is a gps poi database new to the market that is available for as little as $9.99 and is totally legal. The database is compatible with Garman, TomTom and Magellan as well as many more. It works as a warning system letting you know a speed trap, photo radar camera, or red light camera is ahead. It is super cool because it warns you far enough in advance to slow down. www.avoidphotoradarticket.com
7/2/2009 6:19 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
I download the POI's for free and it includes the whole country. Why pay 10 bucks a month for something that is free? Also when I get a photo radar ticket it meets my shredder. A ticket has to be "served". That is what the nice policeman does when he gives you the ticket and you sign it. Sending it through the mail is not being served. There is an additional 25 dollar charge I believe if you do not send payment and they have to come to you to serve you. I understand there were over 80,000 tickets in the Phoenix area alone last nyear that did not get served. So what do you want to do....pay the 2 or 300 ticket or throw it inthe trash can and if by some miracle yu do get served you pay the ticket plus 25 bucks. Hmmmm I think the odds are pretty good you won't get served but even if you do so what..you pay the ticket plus 25 bucks. So it is Zero dollars or the slight chance of paying the ticket plus 25 bucks....I know what I do. Also you can get a plate cover that blurs the numbers from above and from the sides which I now have and I have had several police behind me and they have never said a word about it. It is not illegal in AZ as far as I know.
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9/13/2009 1:45 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
I just purchased my first GPS (Garmin 255W) and can't get the whole custom proximity points thing right.
If anyone could provide a simple and basic walkthrough so I could add a new school zone and a new photo radar warning that is both audible and written.
Thanks in advance.
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9/13/2009 4:45 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
I tried again using both MapSource and GeePeeEx but can't get my Garmin 255w to display the same image shown above in this blog.
I'm stumped!

"NOOB!"
10/16/2009 2:27 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
it would be nice if i could get radardetect for my gps
11/29/2009 9:54 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Given that your blog is almost a year old, I wasn't surprised that link to radar points isn't good now. (Disappointed, but not surprised!) If you have current info on obtaining - I'm sure I'm not the only one that would be interested. :)
11/29/2009 10:01 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
AlaskanPrincess - I know -- it's weird. I stopped getting monthly updates too (not a problem for me, because they hadn't changed much) -- there are plenty of sites that provide them, but this guy was cheap.
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12/27/2009 6:59 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
I'd like to know if the above pic speed alert is a fake or real.
I've been trying to duplicate the warning on my Garmin nuvi 255w and can't.
12/28/2009 10:11 AM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Ray -- I assure you the above is real. It is my own personal Garmin Nuvi 260 that I took a screen capture from.
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12/28/2009 6:38 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
Thanks for the reply :)
I'm glad to hear that it's real!
So what am I doing wrong?
I created a Speed.txt file, I added the line 45.29635,[email protected] and saved it.
I then renamed the file to Speed.csv and placed it in the G:\Garmin folder on the unit. Nothing happened!?
What did I do wrong with my nuvi 255W? (Please help!)
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1/7/2010 8:01 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
My problem is that Garmin tech line says it's not possible
to have the nuvi 255w give the above warning and they don't
support any third party modifications.
If anyone could walk to through the process it would be greatly appreciated!

Jon
[email protected]
6/16/2017 9:05 PM | # re: Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more
The site you "recommended" for speed camera POI is a scam. paid a buck and nothing. Yeah it is only a buck but I do not like to get scammed and social media sites are a real bitch to scammers and their "Affiliates". You should really watch who you recommend!!!

 
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The opinions/content expressed on this blog are provided "ASIS" with no warranties and are my own personal opinions/content (unless otherwise noted) and do not represent my employer's view in any way.