(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.
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 routing:
Sunday 8:39am vs. Monday 5:43pm
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 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?
And a little bit of additional info:
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....
| 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
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
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
, 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
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.