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Genealogy - Is DeLorme Street Atlas 2009 Suitable?
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
My thirty years as an IT professional and a few years with Garmin's handheld navigation devices helps me very quickly understand the basic stuff and find the features I'm interested in, that's all. Once it gets deep, I get lost, or lose interest, quickly.

...ken...
Ken, seems we have a similar background and inclination to learn quickly but not too deeply. (I retired after 40 years as an IT System Analyst.) I do a lot of research and reading quickly when I get interested in a new toy or hobby, but I also stop when it gets too deep - or when another new interest captures my attention.

I am currently reading a lot about GPS in general plus the User Guides for both SA and S&T, as well as playing around slowly with those apps to see what I like or don't. However, after I determine exactly how I will use either or both of the apps to link kin (living and dead) to map locations so I can print maps and related info for my genealogy documentation, I will stop learning and get on with the actual grunt work.

Even if I don't make a single trip to see a place where relatives live(d), I will probably create routes to those places and play them on my laptop in my home - becoming familiar with GPS and the apps (and Google World or other online sources folks like you suggest) even without becoming a frequent traveler like most folks on this forum probably are.

One difference between us is that instead of just learning the features I am already interested in, I am somewhat open to discovering features that I did not expect to find and seeing if I can get some good use out of them - such as using these apps for genealogy in a unique way.
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
In that context, it seems rather unfair to criticize those same map products for not having the old places, especially when they may have merged or disappeared altogether in the nonce.
...ken...

Ken, I was not trying to criticize map products but rather to notice the difference between products. Although I originally just bought SA2009+, others on this forum suggested I also buy S&T2008 as it might provide more hits for me. Having learned that Delorme is a small company (as stated by their sales rep in a recent phone call), I can understand how they may struggle more to keep up with new or missing map info than Microsoft does for S&T (they pay a third party for their map info).

Just yesterday I found some of the places using S&T that I was unable to find using SA2009 (Ramara and Ramara (census subdivision) specifically). I will not be expecting map products to maintain these places when so many folks are anxious for new current changes to be updated to the maps - and they would not be valid if they were no longer official.

I plan to examine my other sources (wikipedia, Google, genealogy web sites) to pinpoint where on current maps to link my genealogy info, including my reference to different names the area had over the years - or during a particular event like a specific Census Year. But I want my kin to see the places on a map, rather than just mentioned in a paragraph or bibliography, so using a mapping program with many customization capabilities will help me do that in a unique way.

Thanks for your help.
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
Originally Posted by marusian
... Delorme is a small company (as stated by their sales rep in a recent phone call)
Hey, not that small , they actually made it into Guinness Book of World Records in 1999. And, by the way, Street Atlas is only one of their several mapping products.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delorme

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eartha
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by marusian
Ken, I was not trying to criticize map products but rather to notice the difference between products. ...
Ooops. I guess I worded that poorly. I was trying to be funny. I certainly understood that you were not being critical. Sorry about that.

When I search for Ramara in Garmin's Mapsource using their City Navigator North America maps I get three hits:

Ramara, ON, Canada
Ramara Centre, Ramara, ON, Canada
Ramara Township Hall, Brechin, ON, Canada

All are on the east side of Lake Simcoe.

Garmin's City Navigator North America map product is based on data supplied by a company called Navteq. This is the same company that supplies the data for Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 so it's no surprise they get similar results.

In doing this side-by-side testing the thing that keeps jumping out at me, and keeps me from using either SA or S&T more, is the horribly slow load times of both products. I can be into Garmin's Mapsource and do the search on two different map products in slightly more time than it takes SA or S&T to load.

...ken...
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I can be into Garmin's Mapsource and do the search on two different map products in slightly more time than it takes SA or S&T to load. ...ken...
OK, you got me. What is Garmin's Mapsource and what two different map products are you talking about? Is this something I can use with my Garmin LT-40?
tcassidy
Your LT-40 is a Delorme GPS. MapSource is a Garmin mapping and routing product which supports GPS-aware Garmin nRoute and Garmin Mobile PC (see appropriate discussions). The LT-40 will work with Mobile PC but not with nRoute.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by marusian
OK, you got me. What is Garmin's Mapsource and what two different map products are you talking about? Is this something I can use with my Garmin LT-40?
As you may be aware, Garmin has map products for all over the world. You can buy their map products independently of their GPS nav devices. So, you can buy, say, a Nuvi with City Navigator North America bundled with it. Then, if you want to travel in Europe or New Zealand or Australia or whereever, you can buy the standalone map product for that part of the world to put on your Nuvi.

Like SA or Streets&Trips, Garmins map products also have a huge database of points of interest (gas stations, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, etc.)

If you buy a Garmin map product on CD (DVD, whatever) it comes with an application program called Mapsource. This program has all the trip planning features that SA or S&T have. You can search for cities, addresses, points of interest and so on. You can click on two points and have it calculate a route, insert VIA points into the route, save the route and so on. It allows you to create or import and save waypoints and routes. You can import track files and display them. And so on.

So, if you want something just for trip planning on your PC, like many people use SA or S&T, you can just buy the appropriate map product from Garmin and use it that way, using the included Mapsource program, without having to buy a nav device from them. But if you want trip planning and no nav functions, SA or S&T are both probably better for that purpose. The only reason to consider a Garmin map product with Mapsource would be if you need some other part of the world that you can't get from DeLorme or Microsoft.

The two Garmin map products I was refering to are City Navigator North America v8 (equivalent to SA USA 2007 or S&T USA 2007) and Metroguide Canada v4 (a Canada-only map product).

Mapsource does not have any nav capabilities. It is just like SA and S&T were before nav functions were added recently. So, no, you can't use your LT-40 with it. However....

There are two other programs from Garmin that can be used for navigation. One is called nroute. It is essentially a version of Mapsource that has nav functions added. It still has all the trip planning stuff in it but it also has all the functions you would expect of a nav program. It works very well for navigation, in my opinion. Better than either SA or S&T for navigation, again in my opinion. And best of all it's free. ... Of course it's no good without some Garmin, or Garmin-compatible, maps to go with it and maps from Garmin are a long way from free.

Mapsource and nroute don't have as pretty an interface or map display as either SA or S&T. But they are both really responsive. They both load really fast and nroute's map redraw when driving is smooth and consistent.

nroute works great with my Pharos USB GPS receiver that came with S&T so I would expect nroute to work just as well with the LT-40. The only issue is that nroute wants to see the proprietary Garmin GPS protocol instead of NMEA protocol so you need to get Franson's GPSGate to use a non-Garmin GPS with it.

Garmin's other nav program for laptops is Garmin Mobile PC. Garmin has taken the interface from their newest nav devices (Nuvi, etc.) and used it for the PC. In my opinion it's the prettiest of the laptop nav programs I've looked at (SA, S&T, nroute, Mobile PC). If you have a touch-screen it's designed to work really well with it.

I only used it for the free trial period so I didn't get into it extensively. It loads as fast as Mapsource and nroute ... way faster than SA or S&T. It finds your GPS and starts using it immediately .. normally no special setup required at all and no need to "start" the GPS tracking. At least that's the way it works with the Pharos USB GPS receiver that I got with S&T. I would expect it to work the same with the LT-40.

Hope that helps.

...ken...
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
The only reason to consider a Garmin map product with Mapsource would be if you need some other part of the world that you can't get from DeLorme or Microsoft.

The two Garmin map products I was refering to are City Navigator North America v8 (equivalent to SA USA 2007 or S&T USA 2007) and Metroguide Canada v4 (a Canada-only map product).
Ken, thanks loads for very informative reply. I have done some research on Metroguide Canada v4 and considered getting it, but since it is "Metro" does that indicate it is not much more detailed in rural areas outside of big cities than the Canada info found in SA and S&T?
Marvin Hlavac
marusian, there was a very interesting, four pages long, discussion by Ken and Terry recently, on the topic of Canadian map data quality in Metroguide Canada v4 vs. other mapping products. Here's the link: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/320-garmin-mobile-10-a
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
There are two other programs from Garmin that can be used for navigation. One is called nroute. ... And best of all it's free. ... maps from Garmin are a long way from free. ... need to get Franson's GPSGate
Ken, thanks - I will research this combination of products to see if it will work for me. Any suggestions on web sites with cheapest prices?
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
marusian, there was a very interesting, four pages long, discussion by Ken and Terry recently, on the topic of Canadian map data quality in Metroguide Canada v4 vs. other mapping products.
Marvin, thanks for the info - I will study it soon.
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
Hey, not that small , they actually made it into Guinness Book of World Records
Marvin, the sales person stated "We are a small company" when I asked if there were options to purchase an extended warranty on the LT-40 because it only came with a 60 day warranty. (I like to be sure I can use a product for 3 years before I start investing my time and energy. They did, however, tell me the retail price of the LT-40 hardware was just $60, and that Support personnel might even reduce that price if I had a problem with the hardware.)

My research revealed that Delorme most likely has less than 300 employees, produces many non-digitized mapping products, digitizes its own maps, and cannot have any where near as many employees doing the digitizing as Navteq, the 3300 employee company who specializes in providing digital map info to many of Delorme's competitors.

To me this explains why DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2009 maps may not be relied upon to be as current as those in some other products - and trying to keep up with new roads probably means very little time spent going back to add older roads omitted from earlier releases of SA.
Marvin Hlavac
That's true, marusian. That's a very good observation.

The bad: The map data may be inferior in comparison to that of Navteq.

The good: DeLorme doesn't have to pay licensing fees, which are likely very expensive, for features DeLorme wishes to implement. For example, DeLorme Street Atlas is the only consumer mapping product I'm aware of, that lets users add their own routable roads, and edit road properties. I suspect DeLorme's competitors cannot introduce such functionality due to Navteq licensing restrictions and/or they would have to pay more to Navteq for the right to introduce such feature.
marusian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
That's true, marusian. For example, DeLorme Street Atlas is the only consumer mapping product I'm aware of, that lets users add their own routable roads, and edit road properties.
Marvin, is there somewhere on the web that you know compares the features in SA2009PLUS to those in S&T2008?

It may take me quite some time to get there, but I eventually expect to identify differences in those features I am most interested in. (Prior to my retirement I frequently evaluated RFP's and produced reports showing comparative strengths and weaknesses - but - I no longer wish to work that hard. Instead I will just periodically indicate on this forum things I think work better in one product versus the other - and let others comment on those opinions and perhaps provide additional suggestions for me to try.)

For now, I am slowly reading the User Guide/Help file information that I printed from these two products, doing research on the web when I encounter a term that is unfamiliar to me and not well explained in the docs I am reading, researching products and ideas presented by others like you on this forum and playing around a little with the two software apps.

After a couple of weeks researching and then purchasing these mapping GPS products, I need to get back to my number one priority of researching my mother's ancestors in England before my World membership to ancestry.com runs out July 4. My number two priority before July 25 will be organizing my research results to take with me when I visit my mother in Niagara Falls.

Any time left will be spent learning to use GPS on my laptop for places I will visit around Niagara Falls (where my father and his siblings grew up), around remaining parts of the Erie Canal (where some of my father's ancestors lived and worked), and areas across Lake Erie from Toronto between Lewiston and Rochester, NY (where some ancestors supposedly built cobblestone houses). No telling how much mapping/GPS knowledge I will or won't gain before I return to Texas in mid-August.
Ken in Regina
Hi marusian,

Please do read the discussion that Terry and I had, which Marvin pointed you to. But I want to highlight a couple of points that might not stand out in that discussion.

First, the issue of what is "rural". In areas like southern Ontario, the "lower mainland" area of British Columbia, the Atlantic northeast portion of America, southern California, and similar densely populated areas of North America, there are no truly rural areas in the context you were thinking about.

To illustrate with Navteq (supplier of data for Garmins City Navigator North America and Microsoft S&T USA) versus DMTI (supplier of the data for Garmin's Metroguide Canada)...

Navteq focusses the bulk of its updating efforts on "urban", eg. densely populated, portions of North America. And that includes the areas that residents of those densely populated regions would normally refer to as "rural", like the area around Lake Simcoe that you are looking at. Navteq does a pretty good job of updating changes and new developments in roads and streets in those densely populated regions, both "rural" and "urban".

In those areas of lower population density, Navteq does not seem to have so much interest in keeping things current, with the exception of the areas in and around any sizable cities.

DMTI, the supplier of the data for Metroguide Canada, did an exemplary job of supplying very comprehensive data for all of Canada, regardless of population density. (More on that in the thread Marvin linked you to.)

So, in the case where most of your Canadian regional interest is in southern Ontario, you will see good results from Navteq-supported products. Our search results on "Ramara" illustrate that to be the case. The search got good results in both Garmin's North America product and S&T USA, both Navteq-supplied data. Anywhere you have high population density over a large region, you can cheerfully ignore the question of "rural" versus "urban" where it involves Navteq data. If it's a region with lots of potential customers, they'll keep it up to date.

Second issue is the geographical details, like rivers, lakes, parks and other green spaces, etc.

Here is where Metroguide Canada really shines. In this regard there is almost no difference between Metroguide Canada and the Topo Canada product. Of course the Topo Canada has loads of other details that you would only expect in such a product. But Metroguide Canada does an excellent job of displaying such things accurately in all regions.

Navteq-based products really suck in this regard. They show almost no small to medium sized water bodies. The larger ones they show are usually a grossly simplified representation that are often a joke. There are regional and even major parks that simply don't show up or are not delineated visually. And it goes on and on.

If an accurate visual representation of natural geographic features are of any value to you, you won't get it in any Navteq-based product. Metroguide Canada provides it in Canada (and those are elements that don't change much, so the issue of Garmin's abandonment of the product is less of an issue).

DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2009 sort of splits the difference. Where they provide the geographical features their representation is good. For the stuff I've looked at in western Canada it has been pretty much the same quality as Metroguide Canda. The problem is that it's not as complete as Metroguide Canada.

In your case, where you have both SA and S&T, any time you care about geographic features you will need to look at SA. S&T will consistently disappoint in this regard.

As I've mentioned earlier, so far I haven't seen any reason for you to get more than your SA and S&T, and possibly Google Earth Plus if you discover anything useful when you explore the free version of Google Earth at some time in the future.

The only reason I can think that you would want to consider a Garmin product at this point is if you get frustrated with the navigation functions of SA or S&T. Navigation is where Garmin shines. Navigation is where they started. The planning stuff came later and has not received the same attention. SA and S&T are just the reverse .. main focus on planning and only adding nav features recently as the costs of portable computers and GPS receivers has come way down.

...ken...
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