HomeDeLorme


Garmin is buying DeLorme
Boyd
Will this be the final nail in the PC navigation software coffin?...

http://newsroom.garmin.com/press-release/corporate/garmin-signs-purchase-agreement-acquire-delorme

Quote:
Garmin Ltd. today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of DeLorme, a privately-held company that designs and markets consumer-based satellite tracking devices with two-way communication and navigational capabilities.
Marvin Hlavac
Street Atlas with Navteq map data could be a very useful PC software (unless Garmin discontinues Street Atlas).
Boyd
I have a very old copy of StreetAtlas and a few years ago looked on their site and the user interface looked basically the same, from the same era as Garmin nRoute.

Garmin discontinued nRoute long ago. And they discontinued MobilePC about 4 years (?) ago, which was much more modern software that worked well on a touchscreen.

IMO, they have zero interest in the PC as a navigation platform. Read that news release and all they mentioned was the satellite communicator devices. It would be pouring money down the drain to update Delorme's legacy PC software. They could have easily continued with MobilePC (basically just the Nuvi on a PC) if they were interested.

They are all about hardware (as usual) and trying to adapt to a changing market. So now they keep introducing products like sports watches, wearable video cameras, a bathroom smartscale, a baby monitor and a collar to stop your dog from barking.

They must view these as growing markets for young people. Navigation software on Windows is not.
Marvin Hlavac
Boyd, even DeLorme I think was already struggling for the past several years whether or not to discontinue Street Atlas. The product was unlikely making profit. Likely SA now has even less chance to survive than under DeLorme. It's a pity to see these products go one by one.
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
...It's a pity to see these products go one by one.
Especially considering one salient fact (which seems to be ignored by all the upstarts - mainly googlemaps - that have taken over the market): products like S&T & SA, as flawed and cumbersome as they are, have far better trip planning capabilities than anything else available on any mobile OS.

For a short trip across town that starts now, googlemaps is hard to beat, especially considering that its local search trounces all its competitors.

But for a loooong trip, one that a lot of planning goes into, and where you want to be at certain places along the way at certain times, google maps, mapquest, etc. are woefully lacking.

As an example of how they don't seem to get it, I noticed that googlemaps added a start time option a while back. But the resulting trip is still expressed in elapsed time, rather than time of day.
Ken in Regina
Boyd asked in the original post if this was the nail in the coffin for PC navigation software. No. That happened a long time ago. I've said before that mobile devices were the nail in that coffin. This transaction is just one tech company snapping up another for its IP (intellectual property) and has nothing to do with PC navigation software, really.

As GoneNomad said, some of the current alternatives do an excellent job of some things but as a group do not do trip planning very well. In truth, the Microsoft products - Streets & Trips, AutoRoute, MapPoint - were the gold standard for complex trip planning of almost every kind: vacation travel, sales routes, etc. The only current product that makes any attempt to do similar functions is Garmin's Basecamp. Most who have tried to use its routing/planning features agree that it still leaves a lot to be desired by comparison to the Microsoft products.

This is all a function of the marketplace - we, the consumers - doing as it does.

The majority of navigation use is simplistic: let me enter an address or search for a place name (POI, city, etc.) and take me there. Some will want a bit more sophistication in the form of being able to select shortest vs fastest route and perhaps being able to set some avoidances for toll roads, unpaved roads, ferries, etc. Add the ability to store some "favorites" and you've got a package that probably addresses 80% of those who want/need navigation assistance.

These navigation needs are served extremely well by standalone navigation devices. Not surprisingly the majority of apps that appeared for mobile devices, particularly phones, have mimicked that functionality.

The simple fact is that the majority of the (our) demand is for relatively trivial navigation functionality.

Even those who wish to occasionally do extensive trip planning probably use the trivial basics far more frequently than the extensive complex stuff. I certainly fit that mould.

Going forward, the majority of the marketplace who want more features/functions on standalone nav devices or mobile devices, and are prepared to pay for them, are focused on personal activity tracking. In these features, GPS/location is incidental and certainly has little to do with navigation. It's more like geotagging photos -- recording locations for review after the fact.

So that leaves those [relatively] few who want/need complex extensive trip planning kind of blowing in the breeze.

And that's regardless of whether you want it on mobile devices or PCs.

For those who prefer Windows on PCs or laptops I think the mobile side of Windows 10 is the best hope for development of navigation software. The upside is that the mobile apps for Windows 10 are, like apps for other mobile devices, much more touch friendly which is something laptop nav users have always spent a lot of time trying to make happen with various add-ons.

The downside is that it's going to take awhile for that part of the new Windows platform to attract developers to create products or port their existing products from other platforms.

When you search the Windows Store for "maps" you get an extensive list but most are minimal or trivial. The native Microsoft Windows Maps app is pretty good. HERE maps is good but last time I checked it wouldn't run on a Surface Pro with Windows 10. Sygic has their product there now but I haven't looked at it to see if it's any better than the original PC program was. I didn't see anything else that I would even look at for general navigation and trip planning.

For my purposes, Google (Maps or Earth) combined with Garmin's Mapsource and Basecamp programs and my collection of Garmin-compatible maps serve me very well. But those are my personal needs. I never did need many of the planning functions that the MS products did so well so I don't miss them.

To make this relevant to the DeLorme section, the writing was on the wall for them many years ago when they chose to restrict their products to the continental 48 states of the US. Given that they also made no effort to embrace mobile devices I have to think the buyout offer from Garmin was a major relief.

Perhaps it was even solicited by DeLorme. ??

...ken...
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...The simple fact is that the majority of the (our) demand is for relatively trivial navigation functionality.

Even those who wish to occasionally do extensive trip planning probably use the trivial basics far more frequently than the extensive complex stuff.... ...ken...
That's certainly true. But there's the other aspect of that: although 'the majority of the demand is for relatively trivial navigation functionality' a large part of that subset (short trips across town to one destination that start whenever) can be filled without any mobile nav app at all. For someone familiar with the area they live in, looking up the destination on an online map is often all they need because they already know how to get to the vicnity, without any need need for any mobile nav along the way.

In comparison, those who take long trips through unfamiliar areas and who need to keep to a schedule, REALLY need a LOT more than that.

So we have a situation where the needs of "casual users" (for lack of a better term) are over-served, and the users who NEED better tools are drastically under-served.

This may be partly the result of automated data-driven assessments of customer usage patterns, which fails to adequately differentiate between the far more numerous use cases where mobile nav is slightly helpful, and the minority of cases where there is a very significant NEED for a lot more than google maps for anything but local search.

What is needed is a different front end that accesses google's unmatched POI data and provides the type of trip planning that S&T could have provided if the UI had undergone meaningful beneficial development in the decade before it was cancelled, i.e., if it was not a Microsoft product.

It is possible (google's APIs provide a way to do it), but it would not be a simple task, either.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNomad
...
So we have a situation where the needs of "casual users" (for lack of a better term) are over-served, and the users who NEED better tools are drastically under-served.
Amen!!

Quote:
This may be partly the result of automated data-driven assessments of customer usage patterns, which fails to adequately differentiate between the far more numerous use cases where mobile nav is slightly helpful, and the minority of cases where there is a very significant NEED for a lot more than google maps for anything but local search.
It's less sophisticated than that. The analysis most companies do on this sort of thing is to try to find out what features, or packages of features, are customers paying for. Not just one time but what are they re-purchasing.

Quote:
What is needed is a different front end that accesses google's unmatched POI data and provides the type of trip planning that S&T could have provided if the UI had undergone meaningful beneficial development in the decade before it was cancelled, i.e., if it was not a Microsoft product.

It is possible (google's APIs provide a way to do it), but it would not be a simple task, either.
Yes, that's what some of us would like to have. And Google Maps is getting closer, as is Bing/HERE. I can do some pretty sophisticated trip planning with Google Maps, including having it present me with multiple variations of a route and adding interim points to force its routing more the way I want to go.

The native Windows 10 Maps app is already pretty decent for navigation functions. Its planning functions are still a bit limited. It only allows you to enter a start and destination. It's quite good at offering multiple routes to choose from. It has all of HERE's POIs in the maps. And it includes selectable avoidances. For a free preinstalled app it's not half bad.

But it's not for complex sophisticated multi-stop multi-day trip planning.

Developers in the new "mobile" environment are still casting around to see what they can make a living from. If there's enough demand from people willing to pay for the more sophisticated trip planning features, those products will re-appear.

...ken...
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...Google Maps is getting closer, as is Bing/HERE. I can do some pretty sophisticated trip planning with Google Maps, including having it present me with multiple variations of a route and adding interim points to force its routing more the way I want to go.

The native Windows 10 Maps app is already pretty decent for navigation functions. Its planning functions are still a bit limited. It only allows you to enter a start and destination. It's quite good at offering multiple routes to choose from. It has all of HERE's POIs in the maps. And it includes selectable avoidances. For a free preinstalled app it's not half bad...

...ken...
FWIW, I just spent several hours updating mobile devices with the latest map/nav software as was surprised to find that although you can plan routes on maps.here.com (which does allow you to drag the route as needed just like google.com/maps, unlike their mobile OS counterparts) and save them to the "here" account (max five routes, WTF!?), you can't do what almost anyone would obviously like to do with those saved routes: access them on a mobile OS version of the Here app.

Not surprisingly, I see threads going back over a year where people have complained about that.

Google is also still stuck at a similar version of stupid. You can plan long multi-stop routes on google's "My Maps" website, save that map & route (along some customized POI lables & icons if you add them) and then access that map & route in the Android Maps app. But you cannot actually use that route to navigate; it will only allow you to chose the stops on the route one at a time, then chose to navigate to them using the default routing (ignoring any 'Via waypoints' that were added by dragging the route when it was built in "My Maps"). Except for being able to see the overall route, it provides no advantage over simply having a list of favorite places.
matt
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
Street Atlas with Navteq map data could be a very useful PC software (unless Garmin discontinues Street Atlas).
Guess What Marvin?
I just got confirmation that Street Atlas is Dead.......
No future versions, no updates.....
I'm miffted.
Matt Colie
Boyd
Not much of a surprise really… is it?

Garmin MobilePC is dead
Streets and Trips is dead
Street Atlas is dead

And you can add several others to the list. The companies just can't make any money selling this software anymore because nobody beyond a tiny niche is using Windows for navigation.
matt
I will keep beating SA like a rented mule until I can't. Nothing else is as complete a planning system. It isn't maps that are the issue they have been junk for the last three issues. It is loading a route and seeing where end of day and fuel stops fall. This is all stuff that I can do on paper with dividers, but SA sure was easier. When one takes on 50 gallons at a time, it is nice to know where you can do that advantageously.
Matt Colie
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
...The companies just can't make any money selling this software anymore because nobody beyond a tiny niche is using Windows for navigation.
...maybe more accurately, nobody beyond a fairly small (if not tiny) niche is willing to pay anything for mapping/navigation (on any platform), given that google maps now does such a good job of handling the needs of most people, who usually want/need directions for a short trip that starts now. As google continues to (very slowly) add features (like multiple stops) that were practically mandatory more than a decade ago in programs like SA/S&T, they siphon off more of the value of the remaining paid products (e.g.: CoPilot), especially considering that google's map accuracy and local search is usually much better than any of the paid products.

I don't expect this situation to change, because googlemaps/nav has siphoned off the bulk of the users, leaving too few potential customers to justify the development cost of a modern version of SA/S&T on any OS.

All of this is bad for those of us who need to plan complex trips that last several days and have to stick to a pre-defined schedule, and will have to continue to rely on some kluge of SA/S&T for trip planning between waypoints that almost never change, and something else for the actual navigation, with moving data back and forth between the two being a major PITA.
Ken in Regina
Excellent analysis.

...ken...
Boyd
Yes, all very true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNomad
...maybe more accurately, nobody beyond a fairly small (if not tiny) niche is willing to pay anything for mapping/navigation (on any platform)
I would expand on this a bit.... The number of people who want to use a "laptop" for navigation in their vehicle today is "tiny". maybe "miniscule"? I don't think the number of people doing this ever reached the "fairly small" level in the past either.
laptopgpsworld.com About