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Review: iGuidance 2009
Marvin Hlavac
iGuidance 2009 (a.k.a. version 4.1) by iNav Corp is the newest version of this popular laptop GPS navigation software program. The following review will look at the changes that have been made to this version since version 4.0, which was released a year ago. Feel free to ask questions, and add your comments. With your comments (positive and/or negative) readers of this thread will be better able to decide if this product is the right one for their needs.

iGuidance 2009


New in iGuidance 2009:

Traffic Pattern (incl ETA & ETD calculation based on historic traffic for accuracy improvement)

Some GPS navigation solutions offer live traffic integration, which is in most cases a paid, subscription-based, service. An often discussed problem with live traffic service is its availability limited to only some cities, and even in markets where such service is available, it often does not provide information about traffic incidents as quickly as needed.

Traffic flow and traffic incidents reporting is not yet at a level many consumers would find satisfactory. Is there a better alternative? The makers of iGuidance 2009, iNav and Intellinav, do think so.

iGuidance 2009, instead of using live traffic data, uses historical traffic pattern data.

iGuidance 2009 - traffic pattern


iGuidance 2009 Traffic Pattern routing:

Sunday 8:39am vs. Monday 5:43pm

iGuidance 2009 - traffic pattern routing

The above two screen shots depict an area I travel quite frequently. Many Torontonians are familiar with Hwy-404 and Hwy-401 traffic pattern. During rush hours the traffic is painfully slow on south bound Hwy-404 (Don Valley Parkway) as it crosses Hwy-401. I plotted a route from just north of the "bad" area to just bellow it. Right now, Sunday morning, iGuidance 2009 with Traffic Pattern feature enabled routes me happily via highway, since historically it knows the traffic is very light at this time. However, when I plot the same route on Monday afternoon (I tested it around 5:43pm), iGuidance 2009 suggested route was longer in distance, because it wanted me to avoid the historically "bad" section of the highway. I believe local people familiar with this area would likely take the same route during rush hour traffic as correctly suggested by iGuidance 2009 on the second screenshot, and during other times most people would likely take the route correctly suggested by iGuidance 2009 on the first picture.

During the few days I've been testing the new Traffic Pattern feature in iGuidance 2009 I've observed that the routing seems to be improved by this feature, but on several occasions I've also noticed that estimated time of arrival (ETA) was sometimes too pessimistic (when outside of busy downtown area), and the ETA without the new feature was more accurate (when outside of busy downtown area).

iGuidance has always been very good at calculating ETA, so I think it may be difficult to try to improve on this. However, I have to repeat that I've only tested this feature for a few days, and my testing of it was limited to my geographical area. We will be able to form much better opinion of the usefulness of the Traffic Pattern feature only when more users share their positive and negative feedback.

3D realistic junction view (where available & provided by Navteq)

iGuidance 2009 - 3D realistic junction view

iGuidance 2009 contains approximately 3,000 static images of highway junctions. 3,000 is only a very small percentage of all the junctions across the USA and Canada. Nevertheless, this is a very interesting example of new technology, and a sample of what we will likely see more of in future versions of iGuidance and other products, too.

The above picture shows 3D junction view of south bound Hwy-400 ramp to east bound Hwy-407, north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Map Data - 2008 © Navteq

iGuidance 2009, at the time of its release, has the most up-to-date map data in comparison to other laptop GPS software programs. This however is ever changing, a few months from now we may be able to say the same about a new version of another product.

iGuidance 2009, just like its previous version of iGuidance 4, contains street-level navigable map data for the USA, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and all three US Virgin Islands. iGuidance 2009 includes street-level map coverage for the whole of Canada – all provinces and all territories (including Nunavut).

On-screen help for option menus

This is a new (and helpful) feature introduced to iGuidance 2009. Simply press the "Help" button, available in options menus, to get more information on a particular feature.

PDA version of iGuidance 2009 is a separate purchase

Earlier versions of iGuidance included PPC (Pocket PC) version for PDA users on the same DVD as the version(s) for Windows-based laptop computers, UMPC's and CarPCs. This has been changed. The PDA version of iGuidance 2009, for users of PDA's, will ship installed on a 2GB microSD card w/ miniSD & SD adapters, upgradeable to 4GB at additional cost.

Will this new PDA version be locked to the memory card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by inav
Unfortunately, usage of the license will be tied to the specific SD card we ship.

Standard size is 2GB, and we will offer 4GB upgrade option as well. We are still considering 8GB and/or 16GB depending on user demand.

We have thought about allowing customers to ship their existing card to us, so we may install the license on the card for them and then ship back. But this method will require add'l admin overhead, shipping cost both ways, customer privacy issue (info on their card), virus, shipping damage, etc., so we pretty much ruled that out. We just haven't been able to find any software company that does copyright protection for PPC's. And since it's not cost effective for us to write the copyright protection software ourselves, we end up having to resort to the same SD DRM technology that other vendors are using to reduce illegal copy. I really hate this. Because this type of copyright protection measure is always result of others but end up inconveniencing the good and paying customers....
And a little bit of additional info:

Quote:
customers will be able to edit/copy their other files to/from the card. It's only iGuidance program that will be tied to the specific SD card.
As upsetting as this may be for some long time iGuidance users, I think no one can blame iNav for doing this. iNav has been one of the last ones to implement any sort of anti-piracy protection into their software. A year ago it was the Laptop/UMPC/CarPC versions, and this year it will be the PPC PDA version.

POI lookup by distance w/ 3 options: 5, 10, or 25 miles

iGuidance 2009 - menu

A brief look at the various menu buttons in iGuidance 2009 reveals that the layout is the same, the options are the same, just the look is prettier than it was in iGuidance 4. The graphics is nicer to look at. Some of the users who in the past were able to customize the look of the buttons, may no longer want to go through all that effort (if they like what they see).

iGuidance 2009 contains 6 million POIs (points of interest) in the following categories:

  • Automotive: auto club, auto dealer, auto parts, car wash, gas, motorcycle dealer, rental service, road assistance, truck stop
  • Community: church, city hall, civic center, court house, funeral home, government office, library, police service, police station, post office, retirement home, synagogue
  • Education: higher education, school
  • Entertainment: amusement park, casino, cinema, convention center, historical monument, museum, nightlife, performing arts, tourist attraction, tourist info, video/game rental winery
  • Food & Dining: banquet hall, bar & pub, convenience store, grocery store, restaurant, specialty food store, wine & liquor
  • Health & Medicine: dentist, hospital, medical service, optical, pharmacy, physician
  • Home & Garden: floor & carpet, furniture, garden center, glass & window, hardware, home center, home specialty, lumber, major appliance, other house & garden, paint, realtor, repair service
  • Legal & Financial: ATM, attorney, bank, check cashing, money transfer, tax service
  • Other Professional Services: business, mover, photography, storage, telecom
  • Personal Care: cleaning & laundry, hair & beauty, tailor & alteration
  • Recreation & Sports: boating, bowling, camping, golf course, golf practice, health club, ice skating, marina, park & recreation, race track, recreation center, RV park, ski resort, sports activities, sports complex
  • Retail: clothing, computer software, department store, entertainment electronics, flower & jewelry, general merchandise, gifts/antiques/art, shoes, shopping center, specialty, sporting goods
  • Travel & Transportation: airport, border crossing, bus station, ferry terminal, hotel, local transit, park & ride, parking, rest area, train station, travel agent & ticketing

iGuidance 2009 - restaurant types

iGuidance 2009, just as the previous version of iGuidance 4.0, allows users to perform restaurant search in one of 57(!) categories. You may search All, African, American, Austrian... all the way to Vegetarian, or Vietnamese.

Notice the new 10km, 20km, and 40km buttons. (If you switch to miles, you will see 5, 10, or 25 miles buttons.) If I could ask for one single improvement in iGuidance 4.2 or iGuidance 2011, I would ask iNav and Intellinav to consider removing the following 6 buttons: 10km, 20km, 40km, Alphabetical, By Distance, and List All. Add just one new button that would replace the six. The new button would allow users to enter name of a business, and the results would be listed from the closest to the farthest. I feel there are just way too many options/buttons now. I suspect most of us, users, are just too confused which one of the many buttons to press.

Guidance view

iGuidance 2009 guidance view

In past version of iGuidance, one of the first thing I did after installation of the program, was to disable "guidance view". I didn't like the blue lines on the sides of the screen obstructing my view when ever the "automatic zoom" kicked-in, when I was close to making a turn. I preferred to use "map view" at all times.

iGuidance 2009 adds transparency to the left and right borders in "guidance view". This allows drivers to see wider area. So far I have not disabled this new "guidance view", and I think I will leave it on. The addition of the transparency is just a little thing, but I think it makes a noticeably positive improvement.

New graphic engine

According to the makers of iGuidance 2009, this new version uses new graphic engine. The resulting effect is supposed to be smoother lines and better 3D performance. I'm not exactly sure what to look for to notice the improved 3D performance, but users of iGuidance 4 (or older versions) will very likely notice the smoother road lines on the map of the new iGuidance 2009.

Pedestrian mode (for street walking)

Those with pocket-sized Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPC), such as OQO2 or Sony UX, may appreciate the new pedestrian mode.

Parked-car locator (provides routing to parked car)

Just like the new "Pedestrian mode", also this feature may be useful to the users of pocket-sized UIMPCs, or users of the PPC PDA version.

Additional safety features (emergency, school zone alert, etc)

This was actually one of the first new features I noticed when I connected GPS to my laptop, and started to navigate. The voice unexpectedly announced I was approaching a school zone. These safety features my be disabled or enabled by users.


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This has not been meant to be a thorough review of iGuidance. This article only attempted to point out some new features of the latest version of iGuidance 2009. If you have never used this software program before, you are welcome to read its various reviews listed at the following link: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/37-list-laptop-gps-navigation-software-programs-reviews

Questions? Comments?
Alan_
Marvin in the route options you posted I see something about carpool. What's that about? Do some places actually have carpool lanes? I have never seen carpool lanes in any place.

edit 9:04AMEDT 7-29-2008 Boy I'm a fool as I noticed the carpool is an old iGuidance feature. I just never understood why it's there!
Alan_
I received an e-mail last night from iNav.
Quote:
iNav iGuidance Online Store Order inavcorp-storeXXXX
Hi Alan:
We are sorry to inform you that expected shipping date of iGuidance 2009 Laptop, UMPC/Car PC version has been delayed to end of next week. Your order will stay on hold status and get shipped as soon as the prooduct becomes available.

Thank you for your patience.
Customer Service
www.inavcorp.com
Marvin Hlavac
Alan, yes, it seems they are putting on some finishing touches... Yesterday, in another thread here, inav posted the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by inav
Please be informed iGuidance 2009 Laptop, UMPC/Car PC edition shipping date will be delayed to 1st week of August for more fine tuning. Thank you for your patience.
Alan, I've never even attempted to use the carpool feature, but the feature has been there ever since I started to use iGuidance (version 1.1). Your question, however, lets me mention another new (and very useful) feature of the new iGuidance 2009: contextual help. Simply press the "Help" button, available in options menus, to get more information on a particular feature.

I just added info about the new "Help" feature to the above review of iGuidance 2009.
maustin155
I have to say when I first purchased iGuidance 3 years ago it set the bar for other PPC navigation, now they seem to be limboing under it. A few years ago it was a no brainer as far as software; today there are lots of software offering the same if not better options. If these companies haven't realized it, the majority users of PPC navigation arenít for the large screen or great graphics....duh! Itís convenience. Convenience in not carrying a separate device, convenience in having an all in one carry around, convenience in not having to lug or remember additional gadgets, pieces and items to carry. Convenience is the #1 reason that outweighs screen size, options and graphics that we use a PPC for navigation.

Now that iGuidance 2009 is no longer setting the bar, the last thread that kept me hanging on was convenience in not having to carry a separate card. With that thread cut, I think it would be a no brainier to keep iGuidance without doing some shopping. I'm all about copy-right but did they survey any existing customers to realize that toting around an additional card is not the answer for PPC users? Did they determine how many existing customers they would lose compared to how many copyright infringement cases it would save? Unless they carry an 8MB with minimal up-charge, Iíll be reserving my funds for the bar setters.
Marvin Hlavac
I haven't been paying much attention to the PPC market, as I've always been much more into GPS on laptop computers, but are there still some current versions of Pocket PC GPS software programs that are sold any other way than what iNav is going to do starting with version iGuidance 2009?
inetquestion
New features are of marginal importance at best. I have seen lots of websites where customers have been asking for the same features over and over since version 1.x. Apparently the white-box agreement inav has with the software producer doesn't include for much more than map updates from navteq.

By the way who is the company who actually writes this anyway? there have been lots of versions of this software out over the years which look similar except for branding...


-Inet
Marvin Hlavac
Hi inetquestion,

Welcome to Laptop GPS World.

The software is written by Intellinav. Over the years the software has been sold under various branding. In 2003 I first started to use it as Deluo Routis 2004, which was the equivalent of iGuidance 1.1. To the best of my knowledge the same software was in the past also sold under the name of Dell, HP, Arkon, and likely others, too. The same software has been used in PNDs (personal navigation devices) by various manufacturers. My wife uses one such device (branded FineDrive). I let her try it a while back, at the time she was using a TomTom. She sold her TomTom shortly after .

Intellinav has started to sell it's own PNDs. The first one was called Intellinav One. The following video clip shows 1,250 of Intellinav One units sold in 15 minutes on Shopping Chanel (in 2007).

<edit>Expired link to the video was removed</edit>

Not enough new features in the new iGuidance 2009? Many users would undoubtedly agree with you. I think even iNav agrees with you, as this is just a minor version upgrade for them. They are going from version 4.0 to version 4.1. On the box it will say iGuidance 2009, and internally they call it version 4.1.

Historically they've been very conservative in adding new features to iGuidance. There have been UI changes in the past, but I think the core product hasn't changed much from what it was when I first started to use it in version 1.1. It was a reliable, easy to use, and simple software 5 years ago, and that hasn't changed.
Alan_
There are positive benefits about reliable, easy to use, and simple plus with new maps and the new historical traffic pattern data for the new Traffic Pattern feature in iGuidance 2009. It sure seem like it will be great to have iGuidance 2009.
MikeTwo
The only major feature that I wish they would add is YOUR OWN POI's or User created POI's.

I can never find Canadian Walmart's or Tim Hortons for the ENTIRE city half the time when I visit other Canadian cities. Or it has so few that they are over 15km away when there is one just 2 km away.

One cool feature is that new "Parked-car locator provides routing to parked car". So cool, before you get out of the car, I guess you set where you are parked. Then if you get lost getting back to your car, you can turn this feature on!
Marvin Hlavac
MikeTwo, that's a very good link! Thanks for that! It is a comprehensive comparison of features of iGuidance 2009 vs. older versions.
malaki86
Until they add the ability to import your own POI's (and to create new ones on the fly - "Save current location") I won't be using iGuidance.
fsthebook
Marvin, you mentioned other programs doing the job as good or better than iGuidance due to the SD card issue. I have an HP HW6955 and am looking for recommended software that will cover Canada and US with a good POI database. I dont think (but I could be wrong) that iNav offers POI routing for your current route but rather only the radius view of the 10-40 km aspect. If I am wrong, which I hope, please let me know. What do you recommend on the WM 5 platform? Thanks for any help on this as I am brand new to PDA GPS combos as well as this forum.
tcassidy
I have a WM6 iPAQ 210 PDA with iNav v4 and Garmin XT and a 2003SE Toshiba E800 PDA with iGuidance v3, SA 2008HH and Garmin Que. If I understand your question, you are looking to display POIs near your current route. I do not think any of these PDA programs is capable of that function.

The only program I believe can do that is Microsoft Streets & Trips and it is not available in PDA format.

If I am misunderstanding your request, please let me know.

This is a laptop GPS forum but someone else may have more information.

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
Hi fsthebook, and :welcome: to Laptop GPS World.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fsthebook
Marvin, you mentioned other programs doing the job as good or better than iGuidance due to the SD card issue.
I don't recall saying anything like that . I actually re-read some of my comments above, and I couldn't find anything like that . I'm not sure what I would have meant by such a comment .

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