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Voice-Recognition, Text-to-Voice etc.
Ed Every
Hi I'm a new guy just looking at the possibilities for laptop GPS navigation (non-truck).

My excuse for considering the laptop route is that we will only occasionally use it and when we do, two people will often be in the car to deal with it.

But when there is only me, it would be useful if the man-machine interface could be verbal (nuvi-800-series style).

Some questions:

I understand from reading other threads that some of the programs might be able to use Vista's voice recognition utilities while offering text to voice inherently. If this is the case, how well would this work given specific navigation programs now available? Which programs are preferred?

What has been done along these lines by the vendors and the users so far?

Besides form factor, what would be the limitations compared say to the high-end voice operated nuvi's?

Assuming there may be a hardware and pre/post trip advantage using laptops, the approach may be worth optimizing. Should it become desirable, what is the history (or potential) for running small dash-mounted sunlight-capable external displays from laptops?
Ken in Regina
I have never played with Vista's built-in voice recognition but if I recall what I've read about it and translate that to what you would need to do to interface with navigation programs, you would be speaking the keypresses you need. So you would likely want a fairly simple interface, like Garmin's Mobile PC or iNav's iGuidance. And you would want to be sure there is a shortcut key for all of the major things you might want to do handsfree.

Depending upon how quiet your vehicle is, you would want a good microphone, probably with some noise-cancelling ability.

It sounds like an interesting project.

Text-to-Voice may or may not be a big thing for you. All of the major navigation programs have spoken directions when a route is active. The only difference in those that make a big deal of advertising their voice-to-text function is that it will pronounce streets in the voice guidance. So, instead of saying "In 150 metres turn left" it will say "Turn left on Broadway Avenue".

You will get mixed reviews on this feature. I have it with Garmin's Mobile PC and it's really no big deal for me. But I've been doing it the other way for years with my handheld navigation unit (Garmin iQue 3600) so I have a pretty good idea how far 150 metres is (or 250 or 500 or whatever). I find it easier to judge where I need to turn based on the distance ahead than to try to see street signs if I'm in traffic. Others find it really handy. They find it a real relief to have a street name to turn onto and not try to judge the distance ahead.

There are many interesting quirks to state-of-the-art text-to-speech. If the directions contain abbreviations you can get some interesting directions. So, you might be told to turn left on "Johnson Doctor" (Johnson Dr) or "Smith Saint" (Smith St). And if the street name is a non-English word you will get some genuinely "original" pronunciations (the voice files are normally American).

The last thing to mention is that the nav programs with interfaces that might be the easiest to use voice directions to use them while driving are also the ones with the weakest pre-trip planning features.

...ken...
Ed Every
Thanks Ken. I notice that you did not mention Streets & Trips for this application. I assume it fails to handle some of the requirements adequately?
Marvin Hlavac
Hi Ed,

:welcome: to the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I have never played with Vista's built-in voice recognition but if I recall what I've read about it and translate that to what you would need to do to interface with navigation programs, you would be speaking the keypresses you need. So you would likely want a fairly simple interface, like Garmin's Mobile PC or iNav's iGuidance. And you would want to be sure there is a shortcut key for all of the major things you might want to do handsfree.
Ed, if you wish to use Streets & Trips for your project, by all means go ahead. It should be doable, but it may take a bit more time and effort on your part. iGuidance and Garmin Mobile PC have simpler interface, so also my first guess would be that your project could be simpler with these two. But that's just a guess, since I haven't attempted to do what you are describing.
Ken in Regina
Shame on you, Marvin. How could you forget your very own baby, Keys?

Ed, I didn't mention Streets because it has a rather ..mmm... obtuse interface (the censoring software on here won't let me use the word I think best describes it). Those who have spent hours learning how to use it will likely disagree, but it's only my personal opinion anyway.

If you wanted to take a run at using Streets&Trips, Marvin is the creator of a free add-on utility called S&T Keys. It's a macro program that assigns a bunch of shortcut keys to make Streets easier to use for navigation. S&T Keys might also make it easier for you to use the voice commands in Vista.

For handsfree navigation you might only need to be able to use voice commands for a very few functions. They will probably already be available as shortcut keys in S&T Keys because it has been developed over a period of time and has had lots of input from people who use it to make their navigation chores easier and safer. Since Marvin created it it has also been enhanced by a couple of other people.

If you are interested in inflic.... trying to do something with Streets&Trips, take a look in this sub-forum for current discussions about S&T Keys. It might allow a happy ending for your experiment. Or at least give you a good start.

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Shame on you, Marvin. How could you forget your very own baby, Keys?
LOL, there still is no reliable version of S&T Keys for the 2009 version of Streets & Trips, so that's one reason why I didn't say a word. But if Ed is set on using Streets & Trips for the project, then S&T Keys may indeed help.
Ed Every
Thanks for the useful replies. This forum is a valuable resource.
MisterMoonlight
Marvin said:

Quote:
there still is no reliable version of S&T Keys for the 2009 version of Streets & Trips
I am working hard to stabilize the new beta 3 version. I have made some very good progress. I have already sorted out some S&T freezing problems related to S&T Keys. Stay tuned, it will be available very soon (when enough tests are done and the major bugs are out of sight). I am confident to achieve a working version so i can use it myself on my laptop
Marvin Hlavac
MisterMoonlight, that sounds very promising!
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