Periodical Cicada Data for GPS Navigator Devices

Data points from the Cicada Central database have provided as “points of interest” (POI) for loading onto Garmin automotive navigation devices. POI are point data analogous to GIS shapefiles. Garmin Nuvi automotive navigation devices (and some other brands) can display such data, under certain conditions. The advantage of displaying data points as POI is that the required files are very small and display quickly. The disadvantage of displaying data points as POI is that they are displayed only at 300ft resolution (standard screen models) or 200ft resolution (widescreen models). Remember to turn off “proximity alerts” for these points of interest, or an alert will sound each time you approach a record!

Magicicada POI screen on Garmin

The Magicicada POI dataset has been designed with distinctive icons. 17-year broods have a cicada icon with the head facing up, and 13-year broods have an icon with the head facing down. Adjacent broods also have different colored icons, and moving the cursor onto an icon causes the brood number to be displayed. As an example, the screen above shows an area near Siloam Springs State Park, IL, where Brood III (brown icons) and Brood XIX (yellow icons) are in close proximity. In addition, data points from Simon 1988 are shown as circles with Arabic brood numbers. Datapoints collected in 1998 but that could not be assigned to a brood (because Broods IV and XIX co-emerged in 1998) are displayed as a brown circle with a “98” in the center.

To use this dataset, obtain the file “” by clicking here and expanding the file. By downloading this data, you agree to several conditions:

  • No warranty is made as to the accuracy or compatibility of these data
  • Only experienced GPS users should attempt to program or modify GPS units, and by downloading this data set, you accept all responsibility for any damage to your GPS unit.
  • You agree that these data are the property of and you agree not to distribute or republish these data without express written permission.
  • These data are not to be used for scientific research purposes, as their accuracy has not been checked.

Loading points using POI Loader

  1. Go to the Garmin Website and download POI loader (
  2. Connect your GPS unit to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Start POI loader.
  4. At the “save options” screen, choose “Garmin Device” and click “Next”. On the next screen, you will see your device; if it shows up properly, click “Next”.
  5. You now have the option to “Install new custom POI’s…”. Choose this option and click “Next”.
  6. You will now see a screen where you can navigate on your computer to find and select the “magicicada_poi” folder. Do this, and choose “Feet and MPH” as the units. Also, choose the “Express” option for installation, and click “Next.”
  7. Your data points are loaded.

Advantages: Allows removal of points later. Disadvantages: Complex, and requires software and cables. May not be Macintosh compatible.

Loading points using a microSD card

  1. Obtain a blank microSD card (small size will work).
  2. Using your computer, place the file “magicicada_poi” on the microSD card.
  3. Insert the microSD card into the expansion slot of your Garmin device.
  4. Start the Garmin Device.
  5. When prompted to install the data on the device’s memory, click “OK”.
  6. Your data points are loaded, and you may remove the microSD card.

Advantages: Fast and simple. Disadvantages: Without POI loader, you cannot remove the data points.