[Loadstone] Updated POI converter.

Rob Melchers rob at loadstone-gps.com
Fri Dec 8 23:11:56 GMT 2006


Hi all,

The following page has been added to the Loadstone GPS documentation:

http://www.loadstone-gps.com/docs/poi_conv.html

On this page you will also find the link to the updated converter.
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POI.csv 2 Loadstone GPS converter manual

An increasing number of sources publish collections of POI's, Points Of 
Interest, in different formats. A number of so called 'POI converters' have 
become available that allow users of navigational equipment to convert the 
different formats to a format that can be used by their specific navigator. 
Among the formats that are generated by these converters is the .csv 
format, an ASCII file with comma separated values. It is this format that 
allows for easy conversion to a Loadstone GPS database.

On a Windows machine a .csv file automatically opens in Excel, the Windows 
spreadsheet. Once opened, you can easily define if the file qualifies for 
conversion to the Loadstone GPS format. The three first columns, A, B and C 
should contain the name, latitude and longitude of a POI in any given order 
and the latitude and longitude should be in decimal notation 
(33.5432,-123.4567).

Input

On the POI.csv 2 Loadstone GPS conversion form page you are asked to enter 
the path to a local .csv file (or use the 'browse' button to search for 
such a file on your harddisk). The extension .csv should be in lowercase 
letters and the file should not be larger than 300 KB.

The 'include header' checkbox is checked by default. Uncheck it if you plan 
to insert the conversion into an existing database or leave it checked to 
generate a stand alone database.

Next you are asked for your UserID. This is the number that is calculated 
from the e-mail address that you have entered in the Options/Settings/Misc 
dialog in the Loadstone GPS program. To obtain this number, you first have 
to export the 'default' database to your computer (see chapter 3 of the 
Getting Started manual). Each data line in this ASCII file ends with two 
numbers: userid and id. The last number, id, is a so called 'time stamp' 
and a database with one userid should contain only unique id numbers. The 
userid number is always the same if you have not mixed the  default 
database with imported POI's.

When your .csv file contains a large number of POI's, you may want to 
restrict the output to a specific area. To do this, enter the latitude and 
longitude that make up the center of the area you want to output and select 
the size of the radius. 'Unrestricted' generates a database with all points 
in the .csv file.

Finally, determine the order in which the data appears in the .csv file and 
select the appropriate option in the Column order combobox. Hit 'submit' to 
start the conversion. If you are converting a large .csv file, it may take 
a while before the results page appears.

Output

On the results page you can read the number of POI's that were converted. 
Also a 'Wait for x minutes' warning appears. As stated, a line in a 
Loadstone GPS database ends with a timestamp. The converter takes the 
current time on the server and assigns it to the first line in the 
converted data. In each successive line the number is increased by 1. This 
means, that a large number of 'virtual seconds' are generated to ensure 
unique id numbers are assigned to each line. However, the server takes a 
few seconds to generate maybe thousands of 'virtual seconds'. The number of 
'seconds ahead' is expressed in the 'Wait for...' message and tells you 
when you are sure to generate lines that have an unique timestamp, one that 
starts after the last generated timestamp.

The converted data appears in an area on the screen that allows for easy 
copying to the clipboard. Move your cursor into the data area, activate 
'forms mode', select with Ctrl+A and copy with Ctrl+C. Now paste the copied 
data into a newly opened text file in Notepad or equivalent text editor. 
Don't paste the data into a MS Word document, as this adds additional data 
that cannot be handled by the Loadstone GPS database. Save the file as a 
.txt file and store it in an appropriate place on your harddisk.

Finally, transfer the newly generated database to your phone and import the 
file into the Loadstone GPS program.

Limitations

The name field in a Loadstone GPS database is restricted to 75 characters. 
The converter therefor cuts off any characters that exceed this limit. Many 
freely offered POI's are distributed under the restrictions that the POI's 
may be used only for personal use. Therefor the 'priority' field in the 
generated database is set to 2, implying a 'private' point. To make the 
converter available on a regular basis the input file is restricted to 300 
KB. This prevents the unwanted effect of a user submitting a mega file that 
would keep the converter busy for prolonged periods. By opening a .csv file 
in Notepad and using the 'Go to line' option, you can easily chop the file 
in usable chunks of 300 KB or less. A ten thousand points .csv file will 
take something between 20 and 50 seconds to convert. Please be patient 
while the conversion is in progress.

The converter can be found at:
http://www.rmpro-hosting.com/loadstone/poi_conv.php
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