Parian Lodge No. 662
                      Beaver Falls, PA
Pennsylvania Masonic GPS Files
Do you have a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver such as a Garmin or TomTom? Would you like to find the exact location of any Lodge building in Pennsylvania?  Look no further. Brother Richard Muth, PM, through the assistance of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, has compiled a database of the exact GPS coordinates for every Lodge, and many other Masonic bodies, within the Commonwealth.

These files can be downloaded into portable GPS devices as POI (Point of Interest) files to facilitate Masonic visitation. This page is a intended as a reference to access the files and to aid in their installation.

Garmin and TomTom files can be downloaded directly to most devices from those manufacturers without additional software. The generic formats are installed on most devices by using free software from the manufacturer. If compatible, GPX is the preferred generic format due to the additional information contained in the files (e.g. meeting time and day, etc.). CSV files are comma separated text files, typically with just four fields. More information on all these formats, and links to additional resources, can be found farther down this page.

Download the Files
[NOTE: To download rather than open the file in your browser,
"Right Click" the link and select "Save As..."]

File Subject Icon Generic
Garmin* TomTom*
Pennsylvania Blue Lodges
CSV  GPX
GPI
OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
Pennsylvania York Rite Bodies CSV  GPX
GPI OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
Pennsylvania Scottish Rite Valleys
CSV  GPX
GPI OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
Pennsylvania Shrine Facilities CSV  GPX GPI OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
Pennsylvania "Masonic Centers" CSV  GPX
GPI OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
The Masonic Villages of Pennsylvania CSV  GPX
GPI OV2   Add-To-TomTom
Add to TomTom
TomTom button "Add To TomTom" icon installs the file directly from this page using the TomTom Home program.
The 24x24 icons shown above are already included within the GPI and the "Add To TomTom" files.

Additional icons, and information about using them, are available on the icons page.


The Blue Lodge POI file above will also be available directly from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania at some point in the future. The generic format files for Pennsylvania Blue Lodges, York Rite and the other Masonic locations are also posted on POI Factory (free registration is required to download files from that site).

POI Factory has thousands of free POI files, on various topics, including Masonic Lodges in Arizona, New Mexico and Ohio, as well as Alberta and the Greater Toronto Area in Canada.
 

Downloading and using POI files

The masonic POI files on this site come in various formats. You can edit the generic formats (CSV and GPX) with a text editor or spreadsheet program. You must then convert these files to the proper format for your device, such as GPI for Garmin, OV2 for TomTom, or something else for another maker. This is typically done by means of a software program from the GPS manufacturer that will convert and load them for you. You will, of course, also need a cable (usually USB) to attach the GPS unit to your computer. The software will automatically put the files in the proper folder on your GPS unit. If you upload the files manually you will need to located the correct folder yourself. Note that the folder may not exist by default, but is often created by the loading software when the first POI file is installed. After that, you can usually copy files in and out on your own, if you prefer.

In addition to the few file sets linked here, there are thousands for custom POI files available, for free or purchase, from a great many sources. Some are linked here, and an internet search will point you to others. When you download these files to your computer it is best to put them in a special folder. When you use the POI loading program you usually need to have the custom files you are installing in a folder of its own, with only the related files that are being installed (icons &/or sounds). I have a folder called “My Garmin” and a folder within it called “POIs for upload” where I copy the files when I am ready to load them onto my GPS.

The formats of the files on POI web sites vary, but most are generic, so as to make them accessible to more users without hosting too many versions.  Generic formats  are either GPX or CSV. The latter is a simple “Comma Separated Value” plain text file that holds data in fields separated by a comma. (If the data includes a comma, such as in an address, that field will also be contained within quotes.) CSV files can, and often will, be opened in a spreadsheet program such as Excel, however, when you “Save” that file again it is very important that you tell the program to save it as a simple CSV file and not in Excel format. POI files in CSV format are usually limited to four data fields; one each for latitude and longitude, and two more for things like the site name and address.

GPX, on the other hand, is an “industry standard” file format for GPS data that allows for additional information to be included in designated fields. The files are also written in plain text, but defined within coding tags, much like HTML and other simple programing languages. You can also edit these files manually with a text editor, but it is more complicated than a CSV file. There are, however, some very useful editors available on-line, such as the free Extra POI Editor, which I use, and some others listed by POI Factory and TomTom. In short, CSV files are very easy to create and edit, but GPX files are more robust and can hold more data.

*The proprietary GPI format is what Garmin units use for custom POI files.  Garmin's free POI Loader program will convert GPX and CSV files to this format and load them onto a Garmin GPS unit.  This format allows a unique icon and/or a sound file to be attached to each of the locations in the file.  These additional files must have the same file name (with the appropriate extension (e.g. PA_LODGES.GPX and PA_LODGES.BMP) and be in the same folder on your computer when they are loaded to the GPS unit. The icon and/or sound will be the same for all locations in the POI file.

*TomTom's unique file format is OV2.  It can also add a special icon to the POIs, but the files seem to accommodate less additional data than the GPI files. If you have the TomTom HOME software installed on your computer and are connect to your TomTom unit, you may use the "Add to TomTom" button TomTom button above to install the associated file directly from this page with one click.

[Note: GPS models vary and we cannot provide detailed instructions for each device, refer to some of the resources linked on this page and to your device's manufacturer for additional information.]
>>> Click here for the general POI installation information PDF <<<

>>> Click here for more about POI files from 'POI Factory' <<<
This screen shot shows some of the additional data that appears in the "Info screen" for a POI entry on a Garmin nüvi 3590.  Other GPS units may have different display capabilities.  Remember that CSV files will not usually have this much information due to their data limitations.  This image has a 48x48 "transparent" icon. (The blue halo surrounding the icon only appears on the Info screen, to highlight the icon, but not on the regular map screen.)
 Sample screen
                          shot

This image shows how a nüvi 780 displays the info from the same GPX file
sample screen shot

   Copyright © 2010 Parian Lodge No. 662 F&AM, Beaver Falls, PA.  (Based on design by Robert Susnjer, 2006)