Sunday, March 18, 2012

How many Points of Interest (POIs) do you need?

Points of interest (POIs) are, just as the name implies, a geographic point that may be of interest to you. They are typically divided into categories like dining, shopping, lodging, recreation, etc. If you are navigating to a business, you are likely to use a POI; if you are navigating to a residence, you’ll probably enter an address instead. 

These days, most auto GPS receivers come with anywhere from 750,000 to 6 million or more POIs. I find units with 2 million or less POIs to be extremely frustrating to use, since often, the business I am searching for is not in the database.

I really like Garmin’s approach to this. All of their newer auto units come pre-loaded with City Navigator, which has nearly 6 million POIs. TomTom fudges this a little bit, citing "miliions of POIs" for their products, though my take is that they are closer to the high end of the range than the low end.

Magellan and Mio put more POIs on their higher end devices. On the low end Magellan goes down to as few as 750,000 POIs. You can see how these sort out on my Mio and Magellan GPS comparison charts.

My advice? Avoid GPS receivers with low numbers of POIs.

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About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Roger Karstetter says:

    Can I buy a preloaded topo map on sd card for the magellan 1200 roadmate I would like to use it for hunting and hiking thank you roger

  2. Roger,
    It’s hard to tell from the Magellan site but it doesn’t look like it.

  3. How does one go about getting the location of our business mapped in the overall GPS system? Is there one particular vendor who handles all database entries that GPS manufacturers subscribe to? Also, is it possible to have our location listed as a Point of Interest?

  4. Tom,
    There are two main map data suppliers, NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas. You can submit your location to NAVTEQ at They have a service for chains at
    You can report POIs to Tele Atlas at

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