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Is DeLorme Street Atlas the best piece of software for navigation?
medic
Hello everyone,

I'm sure I don't need to announce "I am new here" since it may be obvious...

But anyway, I too have an Asus H1000, just got it yesterday, I am sooo excited. I have 2 other laptops, but very clunky in a vehicle to use mainly for navigation. I do have a Garmin unit attached to my windshield via suction cup, but I wanted a little more deeper navigation tool than my Garmin StreetPilot C300 something???

I am in the service business and I travel to maybe 3-6 different destinations every work day along with my normal routine maintenance stops.

I was told about the DeLorme Street Atlas program as being possibly the best navigation software, but I am not sure. That is how I stumbled upon this website & have become a "New Member".

Is that a true statement? DeLorme's S.A. is the best piece of software for navigation. If so, do I buy SA 2009 or should I wait for 2010?

I will possibly subscribe to Sprint/Nextel's new 4G all around WiFi Air Card to be connected to the Net, & it has a built in GPS chip that will work with navigation software. I think it comes with its own piece of software or bundled with a generic version? I don't know.

Any advice??
Ken in Regina
Hi medic and welcome to the forum.

There is no "best" navigation software.

The only thing that matters is which package is best for you. That is, which one is most likely to suit your purposes best.

You said you wanted "a little more deeper navigation tool " than your Streetpilot.

1. What sorts of things would like to be able to do that the Streetpilot doesn't do at all?

2. What sorts of things would you like to be able to do better than the Streetpilot does them?

3. What specific things about Street Atlas interest you, besides the fact that someone said it's good?

Sorry about the third degree, but it's impossible to make any sensible recommendations without understanding how you plan to use it and what things are critical to you versus nice to have (sometimes you can have it all but sometimes... ).

....ken...
kuvanito
hi medic and welcome to the forum,i am new here too and have a five year experience with GPS Navigation Softwares for Laptops and Tested many hardware Units.I am still learning and soon will have a review on three GPS Dongles by Live Testing Comparison.

When it comes to THE BEST as Ken said there is no best but what actually what suits you. I will personally never use a small device like The Garmin C300,lucky you that only go to 3-6 different places a day I instead MUST go from 20-50 homes a day in different counties.

Street Atlas USA is one of the most complete when it comes to Addresses or Locations,Spell Correction and GPS Autodetection but I personally don't like the look of it and the Navigation screen is just a little smaller than my Favorite(Mappoint)

I must stress that is just a matter of preferences, Mappoint 2009 and Streets and Trips 2009 are Basically the same program produced by the same Company(Microsoft).

I only use Street Atlas 2009 to find an Addreess that will not show up on Mappoint(Very Few) or I will use the Internet if there is any Open WiFi as I drive around to find that Impossible Address,.If you really want to buy Street Atlas wait a month for the new 2010 version but for 3-6 places your Garmin will do fine.I just need a bigger screen so that I can see where most of my 35-45 homes are so that I can decide where to start,what area to get me the most done in time.I like to pick and choose according to location,Right click and Zoom To I here I go,GPS please show me where I am.I am a big fan of GPS software and Hardware for Laptops.Done so for the past five years but you always learn something new averyday.
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
I was told about the DeLorme Street Atlas program as being possibly the best navigation software, but I am not sure.
medic, Street Atlas is perhaps the most feature-rich laptop GPS navigation and trip-planning software. But as Ken and kuvanito mentioned, "best" can be anything that suits your needs the most. It may or may not be DeLorme Street Atlas.

Quote:
I am still learning and soon will have a review on three GPS Dongles by Live Testing Comparison.
kuvanito, such review would be most welcome!

Quote:
If you really want to buy Street Atlas wait a month for the new 2010 version
DeLorme Street Atlas 2010 is actually already available for pre-order. But first make sure the software is indeed what you want. Tell us a bit more about what you are doing, how you plan on using it, et
TravelFreak
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
medic, Street Atlas is perhaps the most feature-rich laptop GPS navigation and trip-planning software.
I don't know if that is true. I bought SA 2009 for a road trip that I am planning in fall and found it not so user friendly to work with it. It lacks basic windows standards and not that intuitive in learning something new out of it. Marvin, you are a GURU and you have been soaked in these softwares so Usability may not be an issue for you. On the other hand, I found Streets & Trips easy to use and it meets all the needs of trip planning. Marvin, I found this review here about Streets & Trips 2009 very useful in getting some insights on this software. And with a free trial version download of Streets & Trips from here, I was able to put my learning into use even before owning the software. I wish I was able to do this for SA2009 instead of buying it.
Ken in Regina
Hi TravelFreak,

Marvin was talking only about the features of Street Atlas, not the ease of use. He is correct. Street Atlas is one of the most feature-rich GPS programs for the laptop. Streets&Trips (and Mappoint) is the other.

Both are loaded with features for planning simple or very complicated routes and trips.

I found both to be a royal pain to learn how to use. I found Streets&Trips at least as difficult to figure out as Street Atlas. I'm not really crazy about either one. Both of them have ancient style user interfaces. Both of them make it much more difficult to do some simple things than it needs to be. You can see that evidenced in the feature request lists in the forum sections for both programs here.

Streets&Trips users have the benefit of the S&T Keys add-on program to help make it easier to use some of the most common features. It's a great thing that Marvin and the others have built for S&T. But it's disappointing that it needs so much help in the first place.

But they are both loaded with the sorts of features that you want to have for planning complicated trips and routes and either is well worth the learning curve.

I agree that it would be nice if all software had full-function trial versions like Streets&Trips so we could check them out before paying for them. That would be so great.

...ken...
medic
Hello to all

Thank you for replying. Wow, so much info to soak in. Well lets see, to answer the first question

What do I want additionally than my street pilot offers?
  • I would like to program different addresses in the begining of a day, and then maybe have the software plan a route? I heard that maybe they can do this? Maybe by dropping pins? with numbers? I don't know, maybe asking for much? I have 8-15 total stops a day on average, and wow Kuvanito, up to 50 stops a day - GPS all the Way!!!
  • Most definitely, a larger screen so I can see a larger map
  • Garmin had the option of showing time of arrival and distance to next destination, I would like to keep this function.
  • Points of interest, such as fuel & food, is always good.
  • and I don't know, i heard that many different addresses can be stored in something like a contact list or address book. Is this helpful?
I saw here on the forum, a thread about Garmin and something called Mobile PC with either a bluetooth or usb receiver. It appears the format and feel is very similiar to what I am currently using - the streetpilot. Maybe if it has more functionality or more bells & whistles than a streetpilot, that might be the way to go?

Any insights on the differences or an opinion or two?

Thanks.
Ken in Regina
All of the programs listed on Laptop GPS World will do all the things you have listed.

Microsoft Streets&Trips makes it easy to import names and addresses from an Excel spreadsheet so you can maintain your list in the spreadsheet and import it whenever you have updated it. When you import the list as a Pushpin Group in Streets&Trips you can easily select the whole pushpin group and have Streets&Trips calculate the best route to get to all the addresses in one trip. Or you can select some specific addresses from the group and get a route for just those you selected.

Garmin Mobile PC has its own internal "Favorites" database for names and addresses. Once you put the names and addresses in there you can select them to add to a route and as you add more addresses to the route Mobile PC will recalculate it for you.

Mobile PC knows how to link with Microsoft Outlook so you can maintain your addresses in Outlook and when you are selecting for a route you can get at them directly from Mobile PC without having to import them.

iGuidance and Street Atlas both have internal "addressbook" features, like Streets&Trips pushpins and Mobile PCs Favorites but I don't know how easy it is to get bulk lists into them.

All of the programs have the ability to save a route once you have created it, so if you want to use the same route multiple times you don't have to recreate it each time.

The bigger screen comes from the laptop so that's not an issue with any of the programs. They all go fullscreen for you. Mobile PC and iGuidance have the best navigation displays and make the best use of the screen when in navigation mode, I think.

Streets&Trips and Street Atlas have the most features when it comes to complex trip planning. But if all you want to do is store a bunch of locations and get the nav program to create optimized routes from them, they'll all do that.

Yes, Garmin's Mobile PC interface will look very familiar to you. It will be sort of like if you stripped off the GPS receiver and stuffed the software and the maps into your laptop, just with a bigger screen. It will be a little bit different but you'll be immediately familiar with all the basic stuff. The maps are the same City Navigator North America maps you have in your StreetPilot so you'll have all the same POIs and address searches and stuff that you have now.

By the way, your StreetPilot should also allow you to do multi-stop routes right now. If you have some addresses in your Favorites on the StreetPilot you can start a route by routing to one of them and then edit the route to "Add Vias". This allows you to add some more addresses to the route. As you do that you can recalculate to get the new optimized route and then you can save it when you're ready to use it. Go for it and have a little fun right now. It will also give you an idea of what it will be like with Mobile PC, except you can use Outlook with Mobile PC to manage the addresses if you have it.

...ken...
medic
Ken & everyone else, thanx.
So much information that was so useful and insightful.

I just did not realize how much complex a mapping program could be, and yet at the same time, so easy to get used to having.

I played with my streetpilot a little yesterday as far as putting in "via's" and it was something I did not realize I had the option to do. I really like that StreetPilot had the option to use "Previous searches". This is really a feature that I have used alot. When I need to get to there from a new/different here it is very useful. Will these mapping programs like SA 2009 and Microsofts product S&T 2009 have this feature. I would presume that Garmins Mobile PC would have it?

I have just downloaded a copy of Microsofts trial product & I am going to try it out today, on my route as I go & make service visits.

I have another question: I think Marvin touched on this on a different thread. Is there a GPS recievier that is better than others for keeping a sattelite fix "Locked"? I don't have a stand alone unit yet. I am using the new Sprint 4g/3g(mobile broadband) U300 Air Card (mobile modem). It has a gps chip within it. I got this so I can be online to communicate with my office & remotely acces my desktop to run invoicing, or credit cards or etc. I though I would be able to use it for navigation as well, not the best. The only drawback of this unit is it has to have an internet connection for it work well. or at all, I think? I have been looking online, like ebay, amazon & the like and I can find a plethora of GPS receivers.

Any single brand I should stay away from? If I end up purchasing either microsofts product or Delormes's product, the bundled reciever that comes with them, are they good? or is something better and I should just buy the software and get a different reciever?
Ken in Regina
Hi medic,

You will find that Streets&Trips has no concept of "Here". You always have to give it a starting point when routing. That astonished me when I first tried it.

I can't recall if Street Atlas understands "Here" or not.

Mobile PC, like all Garmin stuff, does understand "Here" so if you want to route from "Here" to "There" you only have to tell it "There" because it already knows where you are.

The downside of this aspect of Mobile PC is that it makes it a less flexible routing tool for playing with routes when you want to start a route from somewhere other then "Here". You can do it by making sure the GPS receiver is unhooked and setting the current location manually to where you want the route starting point to be (just as you would do with your StreetPilot). It's not a big deal but it gets old quick if you are trying to play with routes, or route segments, with a variety of different starting points.

I've done it by just making the first Via in the list to be the real starting point and ignoring the part of the route from "Here" to the first Via. That's quicker than messing with the Current Location multiple times.

For trip planning I use Garmin's Mapsource. It isn't a nav program so it has no concept of "Here". The routing allows you to use search results and waypoints ("Favorites", whatever) for both start and end points as well as Vias but it also allows you to just point and click on a bunch of points on the map and it will create a route to connect the dots.

If you load your "favorites" into Mapsource as waypoints you can select multiple addresses from the list, right-click and choose to "Create Route from Selected Waypoints" and it does pretty much the same thing you can do with Streets&Trips pushpins. You can transfer these routes to Mobile PC (or your StreetPilot).

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
You will find that Streets&Trips has no concept of "Here". You always have to give it a starting point when routing. That astonished me when I first tried it.
There are so many different ways to use Microsoft Streets and Trips. However, if you happen to have a GPS receiver connected to your laptop, the above can be achieved rather easily. Since version 2009, S&T can be set to start with GPS tracking enabled. So all that you really need to do after you launch the program is to type a destination address to the entry field on the bottom of GPS pane, and then press F3 (a Streets & Trips shortcut for "recalculate").
Ken in Regina
That's good to know, Marvin. I don't know how useful that is for planning indoors on your laptop, though.

Mobile PC, like all Garmin handhelds, retains the last known location, which it considers the "current location". So if your "current location" is your driveway or the hotel parking lot ... whereever you left the car, which is also where you are most likely to be leaving from to start your trip, you can do lots of route planning using your car's current location as "Here".

As I mentioned, S&T makes it easier to avoid that lock on "current location" as the automatic route starting point. In Mobile PC it can be a proper pain if you don't want to start from "Here". That's why I normally use Mapsource for my route planning and transfer the saved route to Mobile PC when I'm done.

...ken...
Larry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Hi medic,

You will find that Streets&Trips has no concept of "Here". You always have to give it a starting point when routing. That astonished me when I first tried it.
If I follow the question correctly - in Streets & Trips "here" is called "current location". I often use this when creating a simple "take me to here" route.


You can type/paste in any city or address in the combo box or \choose one from the dropdown list that contains the recent addresses. There is no need to enter a starting point with this method.
Ken in Regina
Thanks, Larry. That looks similar to the approach Marvin mentioned where you have to have the GPS connected and a location fix. It's good to know that exists and will be handy on the road. But it looks like you need a GPS signal and location lock for it to work??

...ken...
TravelFreak
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Yes, Garmin's Mobile PC interface will look very familiar to you. It will be sort of like if you stripped off the GPS receiver and stuffed the software and the maps into your laptop, just with a bigger screen. It will be a little bit different but you'll be immediately familiar with all the basic stuff. ....ken...
Ken, I was a little carried away by the number of posts that you have done here and went and got myself Garmin Mobile PC, but now I regret the move that I made. Even to do a basic routing in this primitive tool seems to be one heck of a job. I am just trying to create a route to include a start and end with a via point, but somehow the software does not give me an option to add a start address to my route. I am only able to add a via point and no way I can add a start point or an end.




And with one via point added and with no start and end, there was just this done button enabled, clicking it deleted my route.




I am sure there must be a way to add a start of my choice but this software is not any better than the 3 inch small screen NUVI device that I have, why put the same in a laptop when it does the same thing as a NUVI.


And Garmin Mobile PC does not let you search for a business near a city of your choice without having to change the preferred city everytime, that really sucks.



On the other hand, I was able to achieve all the above basic planning features easily with SA2009 or the ST2009.

Now after reading thru Marvin's post, I am going to try the latest Streets & Trips software when I find time this week.
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