I’m looking for something that will allow me to not only plan routes, but also alter them on the go, also somehting accurate and that will us emy laptop’s GPS receiver to track me as I go.
Right now I’m looking at Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005, which looks great, though I’ve heard some complaints about it’s innacuracy. I’m also looking at Delorme Mapping Street Atlas USA 2005, which also looks good since it has voice instructions that will give you directions as you drive. It looks a little complicated though.
Do any of you guys have any experience with either of these programs? Can you recommend me one or the other, or perhaps one I haven’t considered yet?
I tried Delorme Street Atlas 2003 w/ a NMEA (Holux) receiver.
I found that the interface and navigation via Delorme was poor. Trying to balance a laptop on the front passenger seat was also dicey.
I understand that the interface in Delorme Street Atlas 2005 is better, but I have not tried that. Others on the Delorme chat board seem to like the Delorme/Laptop/GPS receiver combo. My impression is that Delorme is ahead of Microsoft in the “in car” UI. No idea who has better maps.
I bought an IQue 3600, which is a Palm PDA with built in GPS. With a car kit and SD card it would now run you about $500 - 600. I like that product a lot. You get maps of the entire US w/ the product, load the ones you need on the SD card.
The whole US at detail level is about 2G. An SD card that size is about $180-$250, so most people use a smaller card and load a region or selected regions.
Updates maps are available every 18 months or so at a cost of $75.00. That seems steep to some, but it is cheap compared to the $300 that is typical of the fees at your car dealer for an update to the maps of a built-in GPS. You don’t need to update your maps if you don’t want to. I travel all over the US and Canada, so getting up-to-date maps is worth the fee to me. The map data comes from Navtech, which is the market leader in GPS mapping data.
If you already have a Pocket PC based PDA, Garmin makes an add on GPS module and software, and I believe other companies do also. The IQue has a bigger screen and higher resolution than most Pocket PC’s, I think.
I have quite a bit of experience with Hertz “Neverlost” and “Neverlost II” by Magellin. I find that the IQue 3600 has a better user interface, and equal navigation skills. I’ve stopped getting NeverLost in my rental cars, and use the IQue instead.
If you want to know more about the IQue 3600, try this bbs:
Your other option is a dedicated portable GPS. Both Magellin and Garmin make them. The least expensive is about $800, and they go up to about 1200/1400.
The more expensive models have the whole US at detail level loaded onto perm memory or an internal HD.
Why would you want to know where Meryl is going?
I’m a big fan of Streets and Trips (I have the 2004 version). It works great for me.
I’ve used it everywhere in the area around my city (Kitchener-Waterloo ON, CA) and I’ve ended up only having one innacuracy… I was on a street that didn’t exist… Or if it did, it was supposed to be about 500 meters east of where I was. Of course, you have to keep in mind that this wasn’t a major artery… it was a gravel road (I think… it was last summer.)
My summer job is crewing for/chasing hor air balloons, and I used it whenever I didn’t know where I was (a common occurance on the south side of K-W) It never let me down… Well, until my eTrex crapped out on me… But that’s a hardware problem.
My only issue with it is that the route finding feature can be a little wonky unless you set it up perfectly… Sometime it’ll send you many, many kilometers off route if you have it set-up to avoid certain types of roads. This may be a Canada-only problem, just because of different types (well, labels… We don’t have interstates, etc) of roads.
But it worked great for me. And the bundle deal with the USB GPSr is a great deal. (I’ve seen it advertised in the past few days for $90 CDN, which is less than the cost than most USB receivers, which run around $115-$250, and less than any brand-new handheld receivers, where the lowest price is usually around $120)
I have used Garmin’s Mapsource program for streets, and have loaded maps into my Garmin 76map receiver, and it has worked well.
I also bought Garmin’s Mapsource program for topographical maps, but installing it messed up my computer and it took hours of work to be able to use the streets program again. Very unpleasant.
There’s loads of great info including hardware and software reviews at http://gpsinformation.net/
Another vote for dropping the laptop idea altogether and going with a GPS with trip routing ability. Using a laptop while in a car or SUV is just a PITA, too big too cumbersome.