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Review: Microsoft Streets and Trips
Marvin Hlavac
Streets & Trips is a mapping software product. It contains street-level map data for USA, Canada, and Mexico. The European version is marketed as AutoRoute (link).

The basic features of the mapping software include address search, route creation, multiple-stop route optimization, GPS navigation, import and export of data, and it includes numerous map annotation tools letting users add text and draw on the map.

User Interface

This computer software offers many more features than the various free online maps do. All the map data is installed on the hard drive, so the use of the program is not dependent on the Internet connection.

Microsoft targets the application at the consumer market, yet it is being used widely by professionals and companies. A more expensive version, which can be controlled programmatically, is targeted specifically at the business market, and is called Microsoft MapPoint (link). MapPoint also comes in separate versions for North America and Europe.
For the benefit of those inquiring when Streets and Trips 2014 becomes available, the following are approximate release dates of a few previous versions:

Version 2005 – August 31, 2004
Version 2006 – October 6, 2005
Version 2007 – October 11, 2006
Version 2008 – August 20, 2007
Version 2009 – August 23, 2008
Version 2010 – August 31, 2009
Version 2011 – February 11, 2011
Version 2012 - never released
Version 2013 - July 1, 2012
Version 2014 - ???

In earlier years, new versions had their release dates set for the end of summer / beginning of fall, but the most recent two version released outside of the usual time frame, making it more difficult to predict the ST2014 release date.
Updated street-level maps for the United States, Canada, Mexico, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 2012 Navteq navigable map data includes 150,000 miles of new roads and 600,000 new POI (Points of Interest).

Note the screen shot bellow. Streets & Trips 2013 on the left, and Bing map areal image on the right. I've never seen this type of detail in S&T before; these are not roads, these are just lanes within a public parking lot. I see the same detail in many shopping malls, universities, etc.

Lanes shown in large parking lots


Show all Pushpin names. Users can now turn them all On or Off by a single click. This feature existed in the app for a few years now but there was little use for it because users had to see the pushpin names for each individual pushpins. But now users can take full control of this feature as it is integrated with the pushpin management module.

Show all Pushpin names


More minutes on the Drivetime Zone calculator. The number of minutes that users were able to set earlier on was limited to 999 minutes and now this has been extended to 9999 minutes, this will let users to calculate the drivetime for the whole North American roads.

Calculate  larger drivetime zones


Speed now shown in FULL NAV. Speed information was only shown on the GPS Pane in earlier versions, but now speed information can be seen in Navigation view so users can close the GPS Pane for more map real estate and still see the speed in which they are traveling.

Speed shown in Navigation view


GPS Heading now shown on the Navigation Pane. Now users can also see the direction heading on the navigation pane. This new addition will help users to see the heading information at any GPS modes and even on the FULL NAV mode.

Direction heading shown in Navigation pane


New look and feel. The high contrast of the clean new Windows 8 UI look makes it easier to read.

Windows 8 UI


Don’t have to click “I agree” on the GPS safety warning every time. Now you can simply check a box to prevent this warning from popping up every time you use the GPS version’s navigation view.

Safety Warning


Fix for "Hangs on Splash screen". Some users of Windows 7 64 bit experienced this issue with ST2010 and ST2011. In January, Microsoft released a fix, KB2643882, more info here. ST2013 installation prompts users to install this fix as a prevention.

KB2643882


Changes to Trial limits. The trial period has been reduced from 60 days to 14 days.

GPS Locator is the same optional unit Microsoft has included with the product since version 2009. The following are a few related discussion threads from the forum:

- Review: u-Blox 5 USB GPS Stick - New GPS Locator for Microsoft Streets and Trips

- Opinions on USB GPS stick from Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009, 2010.

- Testing three USB GPS receivers

- Microsoft's new u-Blox 5 USB GPS Stick and others...

Version 2012 has been skipped.

Get notified of new products and services - This is Microsoft's 3rd iteration of this feature. In 2009 there was a simple implementation that popped up a small dialog box letting the user know that a new version is available. In 2010, it was expanded so the text in the message could be changed and messages could be displayed to any version of the product including the multilingual versions of MapPoint and AutoRoute. Now in 2011, Microsoft has the ability to show the user an image on launch. It can alert users to a new version or a special promotion or to a cool new tip on laptopgpsworld.com LOL.

Send map feedback - Send missing data/road information directly to NAVTEQ, the map data provider, rather than via Microsoft. On the menu bar, click Help, then select Send map feedback. On a couple of occasions in the past, I sent map data corrections to Navteq, and I was delighted to find out they had a system in place that would actually let the user know the result of their investigation.

Some improvement in the driving instructions over previous releases - One of the subtle improvements is the richer "towards" signpost data.This shows up in the Itinerary and is also displayed in the bottom Navigation pane in square brackets []. Also, many additional alternate names have been added.

Full version 2011 review and user discussion here

Driving Time, Next Stop, and Distance to End, are now all displayed in the bottom right corner of the Navigation pane.

Save upon close feature has been added. When enabled, Streets and Trips automatically saves custom map settings, and reuses them when the map reopens.

Import/Export .GPX files ability has been implemented to allow users to export waypoints (pushpin data), route points and GPS trail (tracks) into a GPX file.

Export to a GPS navigation device / Export to mobile phone - A trip planned in Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010, and later versions, can be exported to a GPS navigation device either via a USB connection or wirelessly via MSN Direct.

Show/Hide pushpin set, Show/Hide pushpin information - Version 2010 adds the ability for users to easily hide/show individual pushpin sets. When pushpin sets are shown, users can toggle show/hide all pushpin information balloons.

Delete visible pushpins inside or outside of a selected area is yet another pushpin management feature added to the trip planning software in the 2010 version.

The 10,000 addresses import limit has been removed. Earlier versions of Microsoft Streets & Trips, Microsoft AutoRoute, and Microsoft MapPoint, allowed up to 10,000 addresses to be imported at one time. This hard coded limit has been removed in the 2010 versions of the mapping software.

Rename Route Stops is one of those new features added in v. 2010 that is comparatively minor, but really adds a lot of usability to route planning. Right-click an item in the Route Planner, and select "Rename".

Pause Windows Media Player during spoken navigation instructions. Configure the software to turn off your music while voice instructions are spoken.

Full 2010 review and user discussion here

Free trial version – Starting with the 2009 version, Microsoft introduces free 60 days trial. Try before you buy.

Mexico – Version 2009 adds street level map coverage to most of Mexico.

Voice direction prompts that include street names - Previous versions of the navigation program would simply say: "Turn right", the new 2009 (and later versions) will say: "Turn right on Main Street".

"Pan" and "Select" tools - In the words of Tao Yue, a member of this forum:
The single greatest improvement in usability is the integrated pan/select cursor. Left-drag to pan, right-drag to select. You no longer need to keep switching back-and-forth between the two tools when moving around the map. Saves a huge amount of clicks and mouse travel in normal usage. Nitpick: discoverability of feature.
Automatic re-routing can now be user enabled/disabled

Automatically start GPS when application starts – users can enable/disable this feature starting in 2009 version.

Temporarily disable Windows screen saver while GPS is running
– users can enable/disable this feature

Location Sensor - The location sensor has been moved to the status bar. Latitude and longitude are always visible in the new 2009. Users no longer need to enable Location Sensor.

Full 2009 review and user discussion here

Perspective Map View – Version 2008 adds “Perspective map view”, a feature which users of other products call simply 3D-view, and in later version of Streets & Trips the feature will be named “Navigation view”.

Automatic re-routing is introduced in v. 2008.

Connected Services – Streets and Trips with Connected Services edition adds the ability to visually display traffic flow by color coding road segments green (normal), yellow (moderate) and read (heavy). It shows traffic incident locations, and it lets users to search for current fuel prices of nearby fuel stations. However, the Connected Services edition was later discontinued.

Activation – V. 2008 adds software activation.

More 2008 details here.

Full-screen navigation mode – The 2007, and later versions, can be optionally switched to full screen mode while navigating.

Estimated Drive Time feature - Driving Guidance Pane now shows remaining time to destination (in addition to distance to turn).

Integration with Windows Live Search – In addition to search for POIs (Points of Interest), ST2007 and later, can search much greater POI database online, if users are connected to the Internet.

More 2007 details here.

Voice-Prompted Directions – ST2006 is the first version that adds voice direction prompts.

Driving Guidance Pane is a new feature in S&T 2006 and it includes text-prompted turn-by-turn directions, enlarged arrows indicating where to turn, and distance measurement as drivers get closer to their destination.

Dynamic Turn View, also known as auto-zoom, added in version 2006.

Night Map Style – useful while navigating at night.

More 2006 details here.

Keep Position Centered. This is a feature that didn’t work well in previous versions. Even though Streets & Trips still cannot show your GPS position in one constant place on the screen without moving, it now at least does a better job at it then before. The icon no longer travels all the way to the edge of the map before the map refreshes, but instead it appears there is some "invisible" border close to the centre of the map and when the icon reaches it the map refreshes and icon goes back to the centre. Not a perfect solution but a great improvement.

Rotate Map to Follow Travel Direction - When this feature is enabled, north is not constantly the top of your map, but instead your heading will be the top.

Recalculate Route from Current Location. A click of a button recalculates the route from the current GPS location.

Create GPS Trail feature added in v. 2005

Configure GPS - Starting in the version 2005, users can easily configure the connection between the GPS receiver and the Software by clicking the new “Scan” button. The feature automatically checks which communication port is the GPS receiver connected to.

GPS Pane, introduced in v. 2005, houses all GPS features: Track Position, Keep Position Centered, Rotate Map to Follow Travel Direction, Recalculate Route from Current Location and Configure GPS. It also displays your traveling speed, compass, altitude, latitude and longitude coordinates, and the time of day

Full 2005 review here
Marvin Hlavac
As of today, July 1, the new version has been released to the public. A forum member posted in another thread he had purchased S&T 2013 at his local Microsoft store in Seattle, WA.

I've edited the above review by adding "What's new in Streets & Trips 2013". I've also separated from this review all of the old replies, and created out of them a separate review thread for the now old ST2011 (here).

If you already have your new version, please share with us your first impressions...
Newbee
I reckon the sliders are still place for your drive time speeds, ie. you can't customize your speeds for the roads, highways, etc?
RsH
When saving the GPS information, is the time data for each reading saved so that you can calculate your travel speed, which was missing in previous versions?
SpadesFlush
Pity Curt did not live to see the drive-time enhancement...
doit2010
What is the drive-time used for or how is it used?
Baja Boojum
The Streets and Trips 2013 trial download is now available here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30173
Baja Boojum
The first three changes from S&T 2011 to S&T 2013 I've noticed are all minor:

- The toolbar button style has changed- they're now white on black.

- I think more locations are shown on the medium-scale maps than before, but I can't check this since I already removed S&T 2011.

- The program seems to open faster on my Windows 7 64-bit computer.

I didn't find any obvious new features or menu items.

As before, older S&T files must be converted into the new format.
flannigan
Marvin:
On your photo of the header icons you show a round gear/wheel. On my photo of the header icons, that is missing. I have all the toolbars checked.
Would you know why that is missing on my trial version, and what is it ?
Thanks,
Mike Flannigan
Attached Images
marvins-s-t-2013-header-tools.jpg   my-2013-s-t-header-tools.jpg  
DanTheDriver
Mike, that gear is normally a configuration icon. Might have been to get to the options tools.

So far in 2013...nothing impressive. I have really lost my excitement over S&T.

How can MS have such a fantastic potential product and do nothing with it? Just a poor mapping program now. I recently bought a Garmin and the changes I see and enhancements and features since my last one...fantastic. When I use Basecamp with my Garmin...awesome product. The only thing I am really using my S&T for now is to display a map on the monitors for my passengers.
flannigan
Dan:
Thanks for the tip. I went to the options settings from the "Tools" drop down and couldn't see anything there.
I generally agree with your comment on 2013 except I think I do see a slight improvement in the map detail.
I too was hoping for some interesting improvements like being able to do multiple routes in the same map like Garmin Map Source.
I will probably stay with 2011 unless I find some more interesting things in the 2013 within the trial time.
Mike
Marvin Hlavac
Mike, it's either what Dan is saying, or I made an error. I might have had Microsoft MapPoint 2013 (link) open, instead of S&T, when taking the screen shot. Both products released at the same time, and both are available for download. The look and feel of both is the same. MP has a few more features, it is much more expensive, and it is targeted for business customers.

I will double check that later, and if I mistakenly posted a MapPoint screen shot, I will correct it by substituting it with an S&T one.

RsH, Bob, hi, long time no hear. I'm not able to test drive at the moment, but I will look at .GPX files in a day or two. Unless someone will have a look at it in the mean time.
flannigan
Marvin:
Thanks. It's probably not important. Don't waste you time on it.
Mike
flannigan
I saved a S&T 2013 file for a trip from St Louis to Princeton. From the "Data" tab I clicked on the "Export to GPX file".
Saved it to my desktop. It showed up with the Garmin Icon. The "Properties" showed it to be a GPX File (.gpx)
When I tried to open it the attached MapSource window opened up saying "C:\Users\Mike\Desktop\Princeton.gpx" could not be imported.
Does anyone have an idea why ?
Thanks,
Mike Flannigan
Attached Images
export-s-t-gpx.jpg  
SpadesFlush
What do you mean "...When I tried to open it..."?

GPX files are not conventionally openable; they should be imported into an application that can process the data therein.
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