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Review: Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010
Marvin Hlavac
The following is a brief look at what’s new in Streets and Trips 2010, a comparison to version 2009. Feel free to ask questions and post comments by replying to this discussion thread, or you may start a new topic in our forum here at Laptop GPS World.

New version

S&T has been the #1 best selling travel and map software for nine years straight, according to the NPD Group/U.S. Retail Tracking Service (Jan 2000 - Jan 2009). It provides street-level map detail for USA, Canada, and Mexico. It also includes detail road map for Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and all three U.S. Virgin Islands.

European street level coverage is provided by Microsoft AutoRoute (link).


What’s New:


Driving Time, Next Stop, Distance To End

Driving time, next stop, and distance to end

The program now shows remaining driving time to destination, distance to next stop, and distance to end destination, all in the bottom right corner of the Navigation pane. This is a very welcome improvement, but I suspect many users may find the font size rather too small to see. I would vote for the removal of the progress bar, which in my humble opinion has very little practical value, and instead use the space to show the new Driving Time, Next Stop, and Distance To End, all in a larger font. And perhaps add ETA, too, so people will not have to add the driving time to the current time to know they will arrive at 7:35 PM.

Save custom map settings and reuse them when the map reopens

Over the years S&T users in various online communities have shared the not-so-easy step-by-step process of how to customize the way the program opens. It involved setting up the map just the way you wanted it, zooming into an area you wished to see each time the program started, selecting your preferred font size, and whether you wanted to see the GPS pane or the Route Planner, etc, and then saving a new template file with a specific name in a specific folder.


Doing it the old way was perhaps only a minor inconvenience for users who have done this numerous times, and who knew exactly how to do it. But I suspect many users never customized their S&T because they just simply didn't know how.

Now there is an easy way:

New map options


The "Save upon close" option may be useful to those who wish to see the last viewed map area when they start the software. The "Save current settings" is for those who like to set their application once, and then have it start always the same way.

Here at Laptop GPS World we have a forum section called Wish List for Microsoft Streets and Trips, yet none of us has ever posted there a suggestion to simplify the process of saving a customized map file as template. I guess we were just used to doing it the old (hard) way.

Import/Export .GPX files

Some of our forum members have posted the following in our Wish List.

I would like to be able to import my after the fact GPX file...
I wish that GPX format was fully supported period.
Hard to believe that GPX import is not supported. I use it almost daily (geocaching etc.). To import and display the track/route recorded by a handheld GPS is very nice feature and should be fully supported.

Your wish has come true! In the new version 2010
you can now export your Waypoints (Pushpin data), Route points and GPS Trail (Tracks) into a GPX file.

I see that the behavior of GPS trail has changed. It no longer is possible to select it by clicking on it. Perhaps it no longer is necessary for the purpose of copy and paste to another map, since we can export and import it instead. But in earlier Streets & Trips versions GPS trails behaved the same way as lines drawn by the Scribble tool, and it was possible to right-click to select such features as show size/hide size, and add point/delete point. Earlier versions also allowed users to delete GPS trails, but I see no way to achieve that in the new 2010 version. I'm not sure if people will miss some of the old functionality, but overall I think the new ability to export and import GPX files will give people more options. Thanks for implementing this functionality, Microsoft.

Export to a GPS navigation device / Export to mobile phone

A trip planned in Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010 can be exported to a GPS navigation device either via a USB connection or wirelessly via MSN Direct.

This may become a popular feature, but I personally use my laptop computer for both, trip planning and navigation. I don't own a GPS navigation device I could use for testing this new Streets & Trips functionality. But I'm looking forward to reading feedback from users who do.

Export to GPS or mobile phone

Streets and Trips 2010 allows users to right-click a point on the map, for example a restaurant, and then we can select (among other options) to send the restaurant's name, address, and phone number via an SMS to a cell phone.

POIs (Points of Interest)

From the Wish List:


I wish they add pharmacies POIs someday to Microsoft Streets and Trips. If you need one when traveling it would be nice to be able to locate one with the software.
Pharmacies may come handy during a travel far from home. I've heard people requesting a new post office category, too.

Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010 now has 41 POI categories versus 36 categories in Streets & Trips 2009. New categories are: Community centers, Ferry terminals, National parks, Pharmacies, and Post offices.

Community centers actually were included on the map of S&T 2009, but the category was not in Find nearby places > Categories, so users were unable to switch these POIs on/off.

Post offices I believe were included in Streets & Trips many years ago, and it is nice to see them reappear again.

Pushpins

Pushpins

One of the disappointments of the last year's Streets & Trips 2009 was the removal of the familiar pushpin symbols and substituting them with only 45 new ones. Version 2010 brings us 348 new pushpins. I think they do look just fine. They all wouldn't fit on this page, but if you want to inspect them, click here: Streets & Trips 2010 pushpins.

Show/Hide pushpin set, Show/Hide pushpin information

Show and hide pushpins, show and hide pushpin information

For many years, users have repeatedly asked for the ability to easily turn on/off pushpin information balloons, and also to turn on/off pushpinsets. But just like with the GPX import/export feature mentioned earlier, I had never really expected to ever see this feature in a new Streets & Trips version because user requests for it in the past never succeeded.

This version 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. Again, kudos to the good people @ MSFT for implementing this so very helpful functionality.

In earlier version it might have not been practical to keep too many pushpins in one file, but it may start being quite practical now. The following link contains a free Streets & Trips 2010 file with over 200 various POI collections (many thousands of POIs). Feel free to download it, and experiment with the new pushpin management features: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2595-poi-mega-file-pushpin-collections-truckers-rvers-other-travelers

Tom Bernardi has observed that the new export and hide/show functions are connected:
Another great feature of this is that it will only export the pushpins that are showing, not the hidden ones. So, you can control what you export to your GPX file.
Delete visible pushpins inside or outside of a selected area

Delete pushpins inside and outside an area

This is another new Streets & Trips 2010 feature which will help users manage their pushpins.

The 10,000 addresses import limit has been removed

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

Back/Forward

Back and Forward

In the last year's Streets & Trips version Microsoft removed the back/forward functionality. Streets & Trips 2010 doesn't bring back the back/forward buttons on the menu bar, but the functionality has been restored, and it can be accessed either by going to the View menu, as shown on the above picture, or by using keyboard shortcuts Alt+ LeftArrow and Alt+RightArrow.

Rename Route Stops

Rename stops

Rename Route Stops is one of those new features in 2010 that is comparatively minor but really adds a lot of 'usability' to route planning. Thanks for that MSFT.
Pause Windows Media Player during spoken navigation instructions.

Configure Streets & Trips to turn off your music while voice instructions are spoken. This is an excellent feature, and I wish all other GPS navigation software products would have it. Actually, at the moment I cannot think of any that does!

Perhaps a future enhancement of this functionality could include the muting of all sound sources, not just be limited to controlling Windows Media Player.

Highway exit search

This is a feature that used to work years ago, but stopped working I think due to the fact that the word "Exit" was removed from exit numbers ("Exit 26" versus only "26"). I've heard several users asking for the ability to search for highway exits.

From the Help:
To find an exit on a highway, type the highway name and exit number separated by an ampersand (&) in the Street address box. You'll get the best results if you also include the state.For example, to find exit 773B on highway I-110 in Texas, type I-110 & 773B, TX.
To test this feature I searched for Hwy-401 & 369. (For those who don't know, Highway 401 is a highway that extends across Southern Ontario, Canada. It is the longest 400-Series Highway in Ontario, and one of the widest and busiest highways in the world. In fact, the segment of Highway 401 passing through Toronto has the distinction of being North America's busiest freeway.) Unfortunately, searching for Hwy-401 & 369 failed. Hwy-401 used to be known as Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, so I had to type the long version, macdonald-cartier fwy & 369, to finally find my exit. The interesting part is that Streets & Trips 2010 does show the name Hwy-401 along this highway, but it fails searches that include the name Hwy-401.

I'm sure this feature will work just fine in most situations, though.

Improved discoverability of "Click 'n' Drag Routing" feature


This feature was always there in the product but now has been given some cool UI changes for easy discoverability.
  1. Move your cursor over the route you want to change. The cursor changes to a small hand when it is positioned over the route.

    1 - Click 'n' Drag Routing
  2. Click and hold the segment of the route where you want the new stop, and then drag the cursor to the location where you want to add the new stop. A dotted line stretches from the current route to wherever you drag.

    2 - Click 'n' Drag Routing
  3. Release the mouse button. Your route snaps, or is redrawn, to include the new stop, and subsequent stops are renumbered.

    3 - Click 'n' Drag Routing
Fixed: 0 mph / 0 kph

Fixed 0 (zero) miles per hour issue

I'm sure there must have been many other "bugs" and "oversights" fixed in the new Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010, but here's at least one that I've spotted. In the previous version, the speedometer sometimes would no go down to 0 (zer0) when we stopped, but instead it would show 3 or 4 miles per hour (or corresponding number in kilometers). This has been corrected in version 2010.

If you notice a fix or a feature I have overlooked, please reply to this thread, and I may add a quote from your post into this review.

Related information

S&T Team blog - Blog by the developer of Microsoft Streets & Trips
Forum - Share experiences with other Streets & Trips users
Tips & Tricks - A collection of tips and tricks by many users and from many sources

S&T with GPS Locator

If you already have a laptop GPS receiver that has worked satisfactorily with any earlier version of Streets & Trips, you do not need to buy this package that includes a USB GPS unit. Buy the less expensive software-only product.

For those who do not have a compatible GPS receiver, please read the following few lines.

USB GPS Locator

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2010 with GPS Locator includes the identical USB GPS stick which was first introduced with Microsoft MapPoint 2009 and Streets & Trips 2009 a year ago. The model number of the USB GPS receiver/antenna unit is GPS-168. The manufacturer is Navation Technologies. The unit is based on u-Blox 5 technology.

I have been using this GPS receiver exclusively for the past few months, and it works sufficiently well. However, in side-by-side comparisons with physically larger GPS receivers, when tested in difficult environments, such as among tall buildings, the Navation GPS 168 doesn't perform the best. Even though the u-Blox 5 chipset is excellent, the smaller size of the antenna cannot compete with the RF gain of larger antennas.

In areas where the signal from GPS satellites is strong, the GPS 168 by Navation works just fine, just like any other laptop GPS receiver.

It is important to mention that numerous users in the past noted the GPS unit may not work well (or it may not work at all) unless the included USB extension cable is used. Some laptop computers may emit RF signals that may interfere with the GPS receiver when in too close proximity. This is not the fault of this particular USB GPS dongle. Users of other USB GPS dongles gave the same feedback at Laptop GPS World. Luckily, Microsoft does include a short USB extension cable for this purpose.

Navation GPS 168 is a very nice looking USB GPS stick. It's small size may make it attractive for some users. If small size is not a priority, users may consider slightly larger USB or Bluetooth GPS receivers instead.

For a GPS receiver to be compatible with Microsoft's mapping software (Streets & Trips, AutoRoute, MapPoint), the following are system requirements:

* NMEA compliant
* 4800 baud rate
* 1 Hz refresh rate

If you wish to buy a different GPS unit for your Streets & Trips equipped laptop, check out some of the USB or Bluetooth GPS receivers discussed by members of our forum.

Updated map data for Streets and Trips 2010

I suspect most of us buy new Streets and Trips mainly for the fresher map data, and the new features and fixes are just a little bonus. The following is a quote from a traveler who has just given us his feedback on the improved coverage of Mexico:

They made a huge improvement in Mexico in 2009 and 2010 is even better. We can now see local streets in even some small towns all over Mexico. Mexico is building a lot of new roads at a somewhat rapid pace (for Mexico) and Streets and Trips is not far behind. They must get their info from the Mexican Gov't or someone who gets if from them as they are very close behind when the official maps are issued. S&T is an amazing tool for all our travels. We are fulltime RVers traveling all over North America and S&T is there for us almost 100%
My wish for Streets & Trips 2011.

The Microsoft people working at Streets & Trips have done remarkably well with the product. Yearly they've added several new and useful features, and despite an occasional bug or an oversight, switching to a new version for me has been a pleasant experience each and every year.

I would love to see a future version of Streets & Trips that could be (optionally) started in full-screen mode. Perhaps a new button (or a few) could be added to the existing full screen navigation toolbar, such as "Enter Destination". Users who don't at the moment require sophisticated trip planning features could stay within the simple full screen mode, and they could be given access to just few very basic features such as enter a destination address within a very simple user interface (a touch screen friendly UI).

For a simple A to B navigation users don't need 99% of the functionality of Streets & Trips. Most PNDs (personal navigation devices) have perhaps less than 3% of the capabilities of Streets & Trips, yet they offer easy-to-use interface even a first time user understands. I would love to see Streets & Trips 2011 to have such simple, easy to use interface, added to the existing full screen navigation mode. (And let users start S&T in full screen mode, if they want.)


Questions? Comments?
taoyue
I was surprised to discover that the Microsoft Volume Licensing webpage lists not just one, but THREE products coming out of the Mappoint team for the 2010 product year:
  • Streets & Trips 2010
  • Autoroute 2010
  • Mappoint 2010 (Standard Edition and Fleet Edition)

Note:
  • The last release of Autoroute was 2007.
  • Mappoint has been on a 2-3 year release cycle for about a decade. Since Mappoint had a 2009 version, a 2010 version was very unexpected.
This certainly signals the continued health of the S&T/AR/Mappoint product family. Given our recent worries about the possible discontinuance of all Microsoft consumer products, this may come as a relief for those people who rely on these products.

The group is not totally out of the woods yet. In January Microsoft announced about 5000 layoffs, to be distributed over the year. Last I heard, only about 3000 have actually taken place. On the other hand, the economic outlook has become more hopeful since then. And the expansion of the product line suggests that the mapping sector is viewed as strategic, which helps to give the product more political clout within the company.

So a fairly positive sign, overall.
mr2
I like the progress feature. For me it is a very quick scale ref. to the next turn and can be seen at a quick glance. I need glasses to really read any font size, however, the bar gauge is easy to figure where you are in ref. to time, distance and speed IMHO.

That said there is plenty of area in the button field to have one's cake and eat it too. Font size wise.
Attached Images
cake-eat-too.jpg  
MisterMoonlight
mr2:
That said there is plenty of area in the button field to have one's cake and eat it too. Font size wise
The area you used to draw the new instructions is already reserved for the street guidance information. There is not so much place in this spot. Sometimes, the guidance instruction will almost fill it all (more than one line).

But i agree with you. The quick scale for me must stay there. When i am driving, this is where i am looking to estimate the next street turn distance when not driving with audio guidance. It is much more effective and quicker to see this analog bar than trying to read the numbers.
cooknkpl
I still have the little GPS receiver that came with my S&T 2007. I plan to buy Streets & Trips 2010 and wonder if there is any advantage to upgrading?, if so recommendations?
RsH
With GPX export, what precisely is exported and is it GPX 1.0 or GPX 1.1 format? How often are points recorded in the file that is exported? Is that configurable... Once per second, or once every 5 seconds, or whatever? Latitude, Longitude, Elevation, Speed in m/s?

In other words, what precisely does it handle in both GPX export AND in GPX import? In import, is it similar to the way Street Atlas from Delorme handles a GPX import, as a path, or does it do the old sort of pushpin path?
Ken in Regina
I still have the little GPS receiver that came with my S&T 2007. I plan to buy Streets & Trips 2010 and wonder if there is any advantage to upgrading?, if so recommendations?
If the Streets & Trips 2010 receiver is the same Navation receiver that came with 2009 then there is probably no advantage to upgrading your 2007 receiver (assuming it's the Pharos GPS-500 receiver) if yours is still working well.

If you're interested, you can take a look at this thread for a distinctly unscientific comparison.

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2184-testing-three-usb-gps-receivers


...ken...
My Point...Exactly
Thanks for the early look Marvin! Can't wait to try it out.

From your screen shot - it doesn't look like the back and forward buttons of pre -'09 made it back in - that right?
sledgehampster
From your screen shot - it doesn't look like the back and forward buttons of pre -'09 made it back in - that right?
Back/Forward

Streets & Trips 2010 doesn't bring back the back/forward buttons on the menu bar, but the functionality has been restored, and it can be accessed either by going to the View menu, as shown on the above picture, or by using keyboard shortcuts Alt+ LeftArrow and Alt+RightArrow.
Attached Images
streets-trips-2010-back-forward-20090829.gif  
My Point...Exactly
Awesome. Thanks S&T Team and thanks sledgehampster for replying so quickly!
SpadesFlush
Thanks, Marvin, for the taste of Streets and Trips 2010. From you description, it sounds like a fairly conservative update consisting largely of 2009 fixes. Still, I shall give it a go.

On the subject of the Driving Guidance Pane, I am with 'mr2' on font sizes. MSFT would not have to reduce the (useful) progress bar very much to enlarge the font sizes.
Nodonutz
OK advice......I ordered Streets & Trips 2009 w/ GPS from Amazon 2 weeks ago, and it hasn't shipped yet!!! ...paid $39.95....is it worth the extra $30 to get the 2010 w/ GPS?? Since y'all are the experts and I haven't used S&T at all....We will be traveling extensively in the US and Canada - using an Acer D250 netbook .....Thanks in advance

NoDo
Nodonutz
Also....when will the Streetsand Trips 2010 full version be available to purchase?? Can only find the 'trial version'....doesn't help, unless I go out and buy a GPS receiver, which may not be a bad idea... what to do....

Probably will cancel the 2009 order, buy a Bluetooth/USB GPS receiver and then get the ST10 software when it becomes available. I have a trial ST '09, just haven't played with it yet.....

Today is my first day of 'retirement' and getting things ready to hit the road next month!!! So I will have time to figure it out.

Thoughts?

NoDo
flannigan
Marvin: Thanks for the review on M.S. Streets and Trips 2010. I looked for it and found it ONLY on Amazon. 1-3 weeks delivery and it was $44.95. I guess it isn't really available yet ???
I'm going to try the link you sent for the trial version.
Thanks,
Mike Flannigan
Marvin Hlavac
Tao - thanks for the great news about AutoRoute 2010, MapPoint 2010, etc.

mr2 - I know some people like the progress bar. The reason I don't use it is this: if it shows I have passed 10% of the road segment, how useful is that piece of information to me? 10% of 200 miles is something different that 10% of 200 yards. 10% of 200 yards means I need to make my turn now! I cannot judge how soon I need to make a turn by the progress bar. I need to glance at the distance number, or I just need to glance at the map. However, that's just how I use Streets and Trips. We all use it slightly differently, and I've heard from others they like the progress bar, and I respect that.

MisterMoonlight - you will be very busy now... I don't want to ask for ETA ... Good luck with your S&T Keys project...

cooknkpl - just as Ken says, if you are happy with the performance of your existing laptop GPS receiver, there is no need to buy a new one. They are all compatible.

RsH - I will try to take the time to export a GPX file tomorrow, and attach it to a post for you.

Nodonutz - if your order hasn't shipped, see if you can cancel it and order version 2010 instead. If you cannot cancel, don't order S&T2010 w/GPS. If you want the new version, all you need to buy is the software-only product.

flannigan- Mike, as of right now, Amazon only has the software-only product. The package with GPS should be in stores soon, though. I heard S&T's official released date has been postponed from Sept 1 to Sept 2. It is still too early.
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