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Which PC GPS Software Searches POIs by Company Name?
awsic
I am looking for a GPS software that I can use on my laptop where I can enter a search for company name and then the GPS software finds it and I can then navigate to it. I'm not interested in the large WalMarts or McDonalds type of companies, but the mom and pop shops.

This requires a two-way type of search/retrieval to a DB somewhere. My laptop will be internet-connected.

Can anyone recommend a GPS solution that can perform this type of search? I know I can do an address search but normally I don't have that information. I can get it, but am more interested in a simple company name search.

Thx
malaki86
ALK's CoPilot Live 8 can do live searches via the internet by the name of the company.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi awsic, and welcome to the forum. If you wish, give us some sample company names, and we can try to find them in various GPS software.
Ken in Regina
What Malaki86 is implying but didn't say directly is that there is no navigation software that will do what you want.

The problem is in the map data ... specifically in the POIs that are contained in the map data. Simple fact: you cannot expect the POIs in map data to be a Yellow Pages.

The companies, like Navteq and TeleAtlas, that compile the map data used by the various navigation manufacturers, like Garmin and Microsoft and iNav and Magellan, etc., don't say very much about how they get the POI data that they include in their maps, especially the names and addresses of businesses. I don't know if they have salespeople who go out and solicit "listings" like Yellow Pages does or if they just sit back and let businesses ask to be included.

Regardless, it's a pretty hit and miss deal. You will see some large chains included. But many other large chains are not. There are some web sites that were created for just the purpose of sharing POI lists for the huge amount of stuff that is not in the map data from any of the manufacturers. In fact, in the Microsoft Streets & Trips forum on this site, you will find one discussion that includes the ongoing upkeep of something called the "POI Megafile" which contains POIs for a whole variety of things from campgrounds to truckstops and more. These POIs are gleaned from a variety of sources.

You will see a surprising number of mom and pop businesses in the POI data included in most maps. When I check just my local neighbourhood I see a number of home-based businesses in the area. But it only scratches the surface. If I want to find small businesses, it's even more hit and miss than big chains. Probably because loads of them are still not even aware of POI lists in the maps on navigation devices.

As Malaki86 has suggested, your best source of the information you want is online. So you have a couple of options. You can just use a browser to access your favorite search engine online and get the address, which you can plug into whatever navigation software you are using.

Or you can run something like Google Earth on a laptop or Google Maps on a handheld to get addresses and plug them into your nav software.

In either case you need an internet connection to do the search. But that's where you'll get the most complete information because you can even access your local Yellow Pages or White Pages online.

If you are the person who was asking about nav software for a Blackberry, check out Garmin Mobile for Blackberry. That will let you have your nav stuff self-contained on the handheld, e.g. the app and maps are loaded onto the handheld, so you don't need to worry about making a choice between calls and nav. It even includes a feature called "local search" which uses Google to do online searching.

If you want something similar for a laptop, Garmin Mobile PC is very similar. And both are very much like the Garmin Nuvi personal navigation device in the features and user interface.

...ken...
Larry
Hi Awsc,

Since you said your laptop will be internet-connected then S&T may work for you. You can perform simple company name searches and if you are connected then it pulls down fresh results from Bing and displays them on the map. Choose the result you want and click the "Add to route" link. This is about as easy as it gets. You don't need to leave the application, open up your browser, search for the company, copy and paste the address into your GPS software.

You can download the 60-day fully functional free trial and play with it so you can see how it works for yourself.

Below is a screenshot from a search I just did for "Car Wash, Regina, SK" - I got 20 results and could easily add them to my route.

I like to use the online search feature to look for various restaurants when I am traveling. "Seafood, San Jose, CA" or "BBQ, Dallas, TX" or "Mexican, Tacoma, WA" are such examples. If I KNOW the name already I could use that too "Bob's Flooring, Montgomery, IL".
Attached Images
st2010-onlinesearch.jpg  
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
a search I just did for "Car Wash, Regina, SK" - I got 20 results
There are likely many hundreds of car washes in Regina, but the nice thing about Streets & Trips live search is that it focuses it's search on the center of your map. You move your map, you will get new results.

Streets & Trips has about 1.6 million points of interest built-in, so you can use the software without any internet connection. However, if/when you do happen to be connected, you may take advantage of the much greater POI database the live search offers.
SpadesFlush
The way I understand the question is that your search criterion is a company name, but not one that is likely to be part of an established POI set or being any particular sort of generic business type, such as a carwash.

But, the essence of Larry's message above points in the right direction. For instance, you can center the map on your area of interest and type in the business name of your inquiry. If there is a 'hit' for that name in the area of focus, the first line of the search results box will say "business," followed by a number in parentheses representing the number of business hits S&T has found for that criterion in the search area. If you click on "OK", then the names, addresses and telephone number will be displayed. You can see the corresponding numbered red home-plates for each location on the map which you can then add to your route, as appropriate. The map will zoom in to the best level to see the location. I have attached a screen shot showing an example.

BTW, Marvin it pains me to disagree with you about the number of car washes in Regina; but having been there a couple of times, I would doubt that there are many more than Larry's search provided. But, I think this dispute should be submitted to Ken for final arbitration.
Attached Images
11-20-10.jpg  
Ken in Regina
And the Winner is ........ < drum roll, please > .........

..... Larry!!!

Regina is not a large city. I searched a number of different ways and twenty seems about in the right ballpark.

That doesn't make Marvin's point wrong, though. And it's something people doing that sort of search in Streets&Trips need to be aware of ... that, by default, the search looks in the proximity around the centre of the displayed portion of the map. In a larger city that could be an issue because the location you are looking for might be far enough from the centre of what is being displayed that it won't appear.

I don't know what effect it will have if you are looking for a specific business name. Does the proximity to centre constraint have an effect on that?? .... Larry???

...ken...
SpadesFlush
Good question, Ken.

I infer that the maximum search returns for a specific business name is 25 based upon my experiments of this morning. But that includes some poor hits. So, if you center your map on Central New Jersey as an example, and do a search for "Lowes" you will get a lot things that are variants on the search criterion but seem to be centered on your map location. If I zoom further out, I still get more-or-less the same results.
OneRVer
Well you all, I just went in to Live Search on my CoPilot Laptop Version 8 and did a search on three local services. As far as I can tell they are not in my POI's. Area,,, Spokane, Washington. Please remember I am new to this so I might be missing them in the POI's.

The first one is a Quilt Shop called Sew EZ Too. Found it. This is definitely a ma and pa shop.
Second one Western States Cat. Fount it
The third one Advanced Dermatology and Skin Surgery. Found it

I also did a search for Dons Dry Dock in Yakima, WA. Found it. Another Ma and Pa shop. Not in my data base.

So I am with Malaki86 on this one. Gave direction and gps routing. However it did not provide a phone number. But four out of four,,,, not a bad batting average.
SpadesFlush
So, that makes two software applications that will search for businesses. Any more out there?
malaki86
I know as a fact that Mobile PC and iGuidance don't have the ability to do an online search, so scratch those off your list. Delorme Street Atlas may, but I don't know since I don't use it.
Ken in Regina
I'm afraid I can't provide anything useful about DeLorme Street Atlas. I just did a search with it's internal database and all I can do is confirm what I already know ... it's Canadian data is pretty poor. I did a search for Walmart within a 4 mile radius. There is one less than a mile from me. It came up blank.

The positive thing is that it's really easy to specify the search radius. I'm not sure if you can do that in any of the others.

I couldn't find anything in the search menus for online searching. But I only have the 2010 version on this computer. 2011 is on my laptop which is currently buried under some paper filing and computer parts I need to deal with tomorrow. Or Monday. Or .... (Whaddaya want? I'm retired. )

...ken...
awsic
Hi,
Thank you for all the feedback. This at least gets me to a starting point where I can begin to dig deeper into the GPS software that will best fit my needs; looks to be a short list. Looks like I'll start test driving S&T since it does have the trial.

A perfect example of the small company search would be "Wellness Naturals" - 25 mile radius from Vancouver, WA (98684) Would anyone mind trying a search for that?

Thanks for all the discussion on this topic.
malaki86
CoPilot 8 (Android) comes up with 1:

2633 NE Everett St
Portland, OR
15.2 miles from Vancouver city center.
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