For the travelers that we are, points of interests (POI’s) are super useful.
We’ve all been in situation when we’re in middle of nowhere and we need to find something around, the classic is obviously….running out of gas and we need a gas station close by.
But POI’s can also be used to plan a trip and make sure you don’t miss the highlights. Here’s a few ways to create and take your favourite POI’s onboard!
In this tutorial we’re going to show you two ways to import and use POI’s in your VW California and explain two different scenarios to use POI’s.
Scenario 1: You’re planning a trip and you want to import custom POI’s to use in your VW California via the Discover Media. You will need a Car Net connection or a SD Card to transfer the POI’s.
1. First scenario: planning and prepping your own POI’s.
You’re planning a trip (Yay!) and you want to explore on the Internet the places to stay and/or visit. This can be very helpful, we tend to enjoy the roaming and finding nice places by chance, but when you don’t have so many days to travel, a bit of planning will help to find the best camp sites and places to visit.
There are many tools out there to create POI’s but for the purpose of this tutorial we’ll use one very common and which is free(!): Google My Maps.
Step #1. Create a new map
Browse to Google My maps and create a new Map.
For this scenario we assume that you already did your research and you’ve found the places you want to record.
Let’s say we’re prepping a trip to Isle of Wight. Start by naming your map and the default layer properly. Your new map should look like this:
We recommend adding one layer per type of POI’s, so it’s easier to see and filter on the type of POI’s later on. Using the Add layer button you can create new layers and rename the layers properly:
Step #2. Add POI’s to your map
In our scenario we’ll create one layer for the Camp Sites and one layer for the must sees. Once you have your layers you can start adding your POI’s on the map.
Click on the Add Marker tool and place your marker on the map for the location you want to record. Give your location a name and a description then save.
If it’s a location you might want to call later on, we recommend adding the contact details in the description so you can directly find those from the POI on your Sat Nav.
If the location is already known by Google maps which is often the case for camp sites, you can search for places using the search box. And click the Add to Map link:
Continue adding all your POI’s on the map using the method explained above until you’re happy with your map:
You can see our demo map here.
Step #3. Browse & navigate to your POI in your VW California
Now you have two options to use your POI’s:
- Using the Google Maps app on your smart phone connected to Car Play.
- Exporting the POI’s to a local file and importing those in your VW California Discover Media. Go directly to option #2.
Option #1: Using Google Maps:
This solution is a bit easier since you don’t need to export/import files but means you need to use your mobile data to make Google Maps work on your smart phone which is not always handy and might cost you a few €€€€ depending on where you are.
Connect your smart phone to your USB interface and wait for Car Play to start on the Discover Media dashboard. Then start the Google Maps app.
The app is more limited in Car Play than on your phone, so you need to search for the POI on your phone. Open Google Maps on your phone and tap the hamburger menu, then tap Your Places and then tap Maps.
There you can see all the Maps that you previously saved using Google My Maps. Tap the Maps you want to use to search your POI’s.
Now the map is shown with the POI’s you previously saved. From there you can now tap any of your saved POI’s and ask Google maps to show you the directions to reach the POI.
And now the app on the VW Dashboard shows the destination and you can start driving there by hitting Go.
If you want to filter on your POI categories, you can click on View Map Legend when opening your map and from there you can select/deselect the categories and even POI’s you want to see/hide.
This solution requires a few more manipulations but when done, the POI’s are available in your Sat Nav dashboard in the VW California which makes it very handy and easier for navigating than using Google Maps.
Step #4. Export your POI’s.
Back on your map click on the 3 horizontal dots next to the name of your map to get the export context menu and click on Export to KML/KMZ.
Select if you want to export all the data of your map or only a selection of layers. Then check the box Export as KML instead of KMZ and click Download.
Now browse to VW Car Net and login or sign-up if not done yet (if you need to sign-up follow the instructions here to create and account and link your car to your account).
Note: Unfortunately, our VW Car Net interface is in French and we cannot change it because we’re based in Belgium.
On the main page scroll down to My special destinations. And click on Manage lists.
Click on Add a new list
Then click Select a file and in the dialog box select the file that you saved at step 4 (make sure that the file is of type KML and not KMZ otherwise VW Car Net won’t be able to import it).
Give your new list an explicit name (that name will appear on your dashboard in the built-in Sat Nav in the VW California. And select an Icon from the list or upload your custom one (needs to be 200px by 200px max and 10px by 10px min).
Then click Save & Send.
Step #6. Import the POI file in VW Discover Media
Now time to go in your VW California & turn on your Discover Media. Connect to WLAN. If you don’t know how to connect to WLAN, please follow the instructions here.
Hit the menu button and enter Car Net
Hit the Update thumbnail.
Check the box My points of Interest and hit the Download button.
On the confirmation screen hit Start.
Another screen to confirm you want to import the points of interest just hit Next.
Now hit the Nav button on your Discover Media and you can search for your POI’s around you when going to POIs and My points of Interest.
You can also show the POI’s on the map, tap the Settings Icon
Then scroll to Show POIs and tap Select categories for POIs.
Now scroll until you find the POIs that you named at step #5 and check the box next to it.
Now your POIs are visible on the map and if you tap on one of the POIs you can see the details and start routing to the POI.
Please note: You can “only” have 50 Special destinations lists (which is quite a lot) and you cannot import files larger than 5Mb (more than 20’000 POI’s depending on how much text the name & description contains).
2. Second scenario: Import POI files found on Internet or shared by friends.
You found a list of POI’s on the Internet and you want to import it to your built-in Sat Nav system.
This scenario might be a bit trickier since you don’t always know the source of the file and you might need to convert it depending on the format you received the file. VW Car Net interface accepts ASC, CSV, GPX and KML files. Usually it’s easier to find POI’s collection in GPX or CSV format. If your file is not in one of the 4 accepted formats, you’ll need to convert the files. Most of the file formats can be converted using this tool: https://www.gps-data-team.com/convert.php
Once you have your file in the appropriate format follow the instructions of Step 5 & 6 above.
Now you’re ready for your next Adventure and you won’t miss a highlight anymore!
Let us know in comment below what you think of this tutorial and if you use other tools to manage your POI’s?
Bonus: want to bring this tutorial on the road? We created a PDF version available for free! Just drop your e-mail below and we’ll send the PDF directly to your mailbox! Yay!
All images © 2019 Explore Further