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New version DeLorme Street Atlas 2009
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ross
Well, the LT-40 showed up on my doorstep today. I may try to install it tonight or tomorrow. I'll let you know how it went. Remember, I'm a newbie, even to computers. so please be patient with me if I have some questions that might sound stupid to the rest of you. THANKS
Jim, there is no such a thing as a stupid question around here. If someone has to ask a question, there is a reason. Usually the reason is that the software is not as user friendly as it should be.

By the way, my DeLorme Street Atlas Plus 2009 is being shipped today, but it may take a while to arrive - it's coming from the USA to Canada. Packages usually get delayed at the border.
gunnermac
The screen shots of the new capabilities are interesting and are worth exploring.

But the things that still concern me with Street Atlas are:

1. Does it still use the same old non-intuitive interface?

2. Even in SA2008 the map data was - to be nice - not good. How much of an update was actually done for US cities?

3. Will SA2009 route me direct over main roads or will I have bounce all directions against Mapquest or Streets and Trips to insure that I am not being routed through East Podunk.

Frys has a nice rebate going for SA2009. It would be nice to know these answers prior to plunking down the cash.
Jim Ross
To be honest, I haven't a clue. I guess i'm fix'n to find out.
Marvin Hlavac
Gunnermac, yes, map data quality is a big question. That will be one of the first things I will look at after I install Street Atlas 2009. I know exactly what the issues were in previous versions in my geographical area, so it's going to take literally just a matter of seconds to see if substantial improvements have been made or not.
Ken in Regina
I've been monkeying around with SA 2008 Plus and I have to say that I'm ... well, not impressed exactly but much more interested than I expected to be after all the negative comments I've heard about it when it's compared to MS Streets & Trips and Garmin products.

First I installed it to my laptop and played with the phone directory. Then I plugged in the GPS from Streets & Trips, fiddled a bit with the settings in Franson GPSGate, used Garmin's nroute to ensure the GPS had a good lock, then connected SA to the GPS.

Then I tried installing it to my Garmin iQue 3600. It's a Palm-OS based PDA with an integral GPS and Garmin's QUE navigation software.

I don't like the fact that it doesn't know how to use the entire display on the iQue (it has a virtual data entry area that can be used as screen space by applications that understand it). I like the fact that it uses the full resolution of the portion it does use. And I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that it knows how to use the iQue's internal GPS. So I could choose to use SA as the primary nav application on the iQue and it's a way to use the SA maps if I find some features I like about them. Next step is to export some SA maps to the iQue and take a drive to see how I like the in-car navigation on the handheld.

I like the phone directory. It seems to be pretty extensive, even in Canada, and has some interesting features. I think I'm supposed to be able to install the phone directory onto the handheld for portable use but I haven't been able to figure out how yet.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me is the quality of the maps in Canada. It's generally a bit more visually pleasing display than the Garmin City Navigator maps. I think, visually, it compares nicely to Streets & Trips.

The geographical features (for instance water bodies like lakes and rivers) are somewhere between Garmin's City Navigator North America product and Garmin's Metroguide Canada product. The geographical features are not quite as accurate and complete as the DMTI-based Metroguide Canada maps but it's miles ahead of the Navteq-based City Navigator maps (and, of course, MS Streets & Trips which is also based on the same Navteq data).

I haven't looked closely at the street grids and street names yet. That's next on my list in the locations in western Canada I use as my benchmark for comparison.

The only major negative I've been able to find so far is that the search feature doesn't seem to be able to find locations in Canada. I will have to explore that some more to see if it simply doesn't work or if I just haven't managed to get that part figured out yet.

If I continue to like it as much as I do so far I might have to see if I can find a version of SA 2009 Plus that comes without the GPS.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
More playing with SA 2008+.

I was wrong about it not being able to use the full screen space on the iQue 3600. (If I wasn't completely clear in my previous note, the iQue has a virtual grafiti area. That is, the area where you use the stylus to "write" using the graffiti characters is part of the display screen rather than a dedicated hardware pad like on most Palm devices. It can be removed from the screen to allow an application to utilize the full 480 x 320 screen space of the display.) If I manually remove the virtual graffiti area (a simple tap on the applicable icon) SA will immediately redraw the map to utilize the full screen.

I selected some map tiles to transfer to the iQue so I can try navigating with it. It takes SA at least four times as long to compile even a simple map segment for loading to the handheld. I thought Mapsource was slow but SA is truly awful. You also can't select map tiles at a very high zoom level so if you want any sizeable area you are forced to constantly scroll around to get everything you want. Final gripe is that when it gives you the option to transfer to an SD card instead of the internal memory of the handheld it does not actually know how to transfer directly to an SD card reader. It sets it up to Hotsync to the card through the handheld. For a large map, that could be another excruciatingly long process. Garmin's Mapsource also gives you the option of going directly to the SD card if it sees one in a reader instead of on the handheld.

Aside from those annoyances it's pretty simple to select an area and transfer it.

SA on the handheld is quite a bit slower to redraw the map when you are manually panning. That's pretty similar to SA on the computer as well ... slower redraws than Mapsource or MS Streets&Trips. The biggest annoyance on the computer is that SA does not pan seamlessly. You just get a grey cross-hatched area dragged onto the screen instead of the adjacent map display. You have to drag and then wait for it to redraw after you stop. You never know whether you are dragging far enough or not.

Garmin's Mapsource and MS S&T both pan seamlessly on the computer. Garmin's Que software on the handheld also pans fairly seamlessly in most situations. It's not perfect but the iQue 3600 is pretty underpowered by today's standards for Palm devices.

I reinstalled SA 2008+ today. Now I can search for locations (addresses, cities, etc.) in Canada. I think I installed the Phone Book before I installed the SA application the first time. This time I installed the application and maps first and the Phone Book database second. That seems to have done the trick.

I took some time to check my benchmark locations and SA 2008 comes out pretty decently compared to Garmin's City Navigator.

Marvin, you may recall the discussion about Ladysmith, BC, over in the Garmin nroute section as a bad example of Navteq's Canadian data. SA has the full street grid complete with all street names and civic addresses. When you consider that Garmin wants more money just for the City Navigator mapset than you pay for a complete SA Plus package with GPS and phone directory, I would have to say that SA compares mighty favourably.

That said, I also found areas in a couple of larger centres that indicate the data is not as current as it could be for new developments and road changes. It's odd because there are spots where it's behind City Navigator v8, which is roughly a "2007" product, but other areas where it's more complete even than City Navigator 2008 (eg. Ladysmith, BC).

Perhaps I'll take a little drive this afternoon and see what the nav looks like on the handheld.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
First impressions driving with SA 2008+ on the Garmin iQue 3600 handheld...

Pretty awful.

The map is hard to see. Those nice fine high-res details that look so nice when you hold it in your hand indoors just don't get it done when you stick it in the car holder out in the bright sunlight.

There is minimal nav info when you are driving.

If you want to do anything at all you have to poke around through the drop-down menus. You have to pull over and stop to do that.

I guess I'm spoiled by Garmin's Que software on the iQue. It understands the concept of "here" in a number of useful contexts, for instance creating a route. SA doesn't seem to have any idea of "here" when you want to create a quick route on the fly. With the Que software it's dead simple to create a route to anywhere from "here". The first thing that is helpful is it assumes you want to start "here", so you don't have to mess around entering a starting point.

SA kills the GPS, redraws the map to some random place and asks you to tap a starting point on the map. It's all downhill from there.

Doing static route planning on the PC with SA is pretty simple but heaven help you if you want to do any on-the-fly routing on either the laptop or the handheld, which is the kind I mostly do. Eg. I know how to get from here to Calgary or Vancouver without any help from my nav device. But when I need to go somewhere specific while I'm driving around in some strange city I need to be able to pull over, do a simple search for the address, waypoint or point of interest (POI) and be able to punch one button that will calculate and activate the route.

I'm impressed that it works at all on the iQue, and if all you want is to know where you are and create a track log it works fine. But if you want to do anything else it would require programming a bunch of stuff into FastFinger so you don't have to mess around chasing stuff in the dropdown menus.

That's my initial impression.

...ken...
tcassidy
I do have SA2008 on my Toshiba PDA. I wasn't excited about the addresses being by block only. Other than that, I have looked at it but haven't tried to use it. Not easy to use compared to Garmin and iNav products.
Terry
Marvin Hlavac

Ken in Regina and tcassidy, thanks for the feedback on the 2008 version. Let's hope some of the user friendliness and address look up has improved in this new version 2009. Mine just arrived an hour ago. The Plus version comes on 2 DVDs - one contains USA/Canada telephone book data, and the second DVD contains the software program including the map data. I'll install it and play with it as soon as I can .
Ken in Regina
Hi Marvin,

Be sure and install the SA application and maps first and the phone book database after. I had to reinstall mine because I did it the other way around ... just grabbed one of the DVDs and shoved it in the drive without looking at which one. No hideous problems but minor inconsistencies with location and phone book searches that didn't seem to make sense and cleared up completely when I installed them the other way round.

...ken...
tcassidy
SA 2008 on an ASUS R2h UMPC at 800x600. I'm using the Garmin 10x GPS receiver as the built in one doesn't work inside.
Terry
Attached Images
sa_umps.jpg  
Ken in Regina
You don't have much speed in that rockin' chair, Terry.

...ken...
johndeerebilly
Picked up my 2009 Plus on the 6th, installed in on both my laptops, one running Vista and the other XP pro. Downloaded SP2 today, took a while but they had just released it and their server(s) were a bit tied up! Can't believe how great the LT-40 works, locks on INDOORS with 8-10 birds locked on in way less than 60 seconds, outdoors you can't believe how quick it responds. And yes, they are accurate to within a few feet! Really have not road tested it yet, so can't comment on whether or not the extra 20 bucks for the Plus version is going to be all that important .
Marvin Hlavac
Ken, that's a very timely suggestion. Thanks. I'm now installing it in the sequence you've suggested.

Terry, nice photo. I think the new 2009 version would be more suitable for your UMPC, though .

johndeerebilly, that's excellent feedback for the new DeLorme LT-40 GPS receiver!

Only minutes ago I installed DeLorme Street Atlas Plus 2009, and I'm now ready to drive. Here are my very first impressions:


The installation process gives the option to specify whether or not you wish to use the new, UMPC optimized, interface. This feature may be turned on/off at a later time, as shown bellow. The following pictures illustrate the difference between the new navigation interface optimized for small screen, and "regular" navigation interface.



Ken in Regina
Marvin,

Even in the UMPC mode there's still an immense amount of screen space taken up by that clutter around the edges.

Does the routing stuff on the left go away if you don't have a route active?

Can you get rid of the GPS info on the right if you don't care about it?

Can you reduce or remove that huge blue bar that's wasting so much space just to display the street name across the bottom?

That tiny bit of map in the centre almost looks like an afterthought and that's the part I'm normally most interested in.

...ken...
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