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Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 will speak street names
Marvin Hlavac

We will not know all the details about the upcoming new version of Microsoft Streets and Trips till we have a chance to test drive it ourselves, but the following pages of this discussion reveal some interesting facts already:


Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 will release in early October 2008. It will include the long awaited feature:

* Voice direction prompts that include street names (turn right on Main Street, instead of just turn right).

The new Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 will also include a handful of other improvements.

* 2.5D improvements (zoom to turn, indicator icon, etc)

Will this feature now work properly? Several members here at Laptop GPS World don't like the implementation of the '3D' feature in the current Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 version, because 1. the auto-zoom feature cannot be enabled when 3D (perspective map) is enabled, and 2. the GPS icon sometimes travels outside the screen, or is just too high on the map. Have these concerns been addressed in the new Streets and Trips 2009? We will have to take it for a drive to know.

Several members here at the forum also mentioned they could no longer use Streets and Trips 2008, because of the introduction of the automatic rerouting feature. A trip painstakingly planned by a user in this #1 trip planning software, could be automatically altered against the will of the user. Some people, especially those driving larger vehicles (RVers, truckers, etc) just could not leave routing up to the computer software, so they just returned to the previous 2007 version. Will Streets and Trips 2009 let users turn off/on automatic rerouting? I don't know, because it it not quite clear from the description I just read:

* Configurable spoken street names and automatic re-routing

Does it mean both of the features are configurable? Spoken street names configurable, and also automatic re-routing configurable? And how configurable is this (or are those) feature(s)? Hmm, we will just have to wait till Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 is available for a test drive.

Chris Pendleton, Virtual Earth Tech Evangelist, Microsoft Live Search, writes more about the upcoming release of Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009, and Microsoft MapPoint 2009, in his blog: Bing Community
taoyue
And here's what we know is not going in, based on the screenshots. (It's July, the product is basically locked down now-- nothing but bugfixes allowed in.)

(1) The map rendering engine is not changing -- still looks as 1995 as ever. Has not received the enhancements (shadows, glow, antialiasing, subtler color scheme) that have shown up on http://maps.live.com. This lack of engine change also makes it doubtful that the GPS icon problem has been fixed.

(Technical dependencies: The 2.5D view is simply a hack of the 2D rendering engine to isometrically slant the output. The 2D view doesn't keep the GPS icon perfectly centered in order to avoid flickering on redraw. Flickering on redraw is caused by the rendering engine. There are some fairly shallow changes that would allow the rendering problem to be fixed, but it probably means ripping out some of the tight dependencies in the scroll-render loop. When we see the rendering engine change, then many longstanding problems go away automatically.)

(2) No significant upgrade to UI. It's received a cosmetic makeover ("updated icons"), plus some minor reshuffling ("toolbar redesign"), plus some bugfixes ("pane consistency"). That's it.

At this rate, I don't expect to see these changes for many more years.
cmpendleton
Hi,
In response to some of your questions...

2.5D
Yes, this feature has been improved for the 2009 release. In Navigation mode the 'auto-zoom' or 'dynamic turn view' feature is on as well as rotate map to follow travel direction.

Improvements with GPS icon placement have been made to keep it in view and toward the bottom of the screen (as seen in the screenshot).

ReRouting
Can be turned on or off in the Navigation tab in the Tools -->Options dialog.

Street Names
Can be turned on or off in the Navigation tab in the Tools -->Options dialog.

CP
http://blogs.msdn.com/virtualearth/
Microsoft
Marvin Hlavac
Hi Chris, and welcome to the forums. Thanks for the great news about the GPS icon's improved behaviour, and also the ability to turn off automatic re-routing. That's excellent! Keep up the good work.

P.S. Can you share if Microsoft AutoRoute 2009 comes out later this year, too?
cmpendleton
AutoRoute is no more. R.I.P.

CP
Marvin Hlavac
I'm very sorry to hear that . But I understand there will be (at least) MapPoint 2009 version for Europe. Is that correct?
DJEvergreen
Will it be combined into S&T? Or is it gone forever? I never understood why there was a separate program for Europe when it's the same program as S&T just renamed and the map in the east.
TechnoGuy
Cool
pow1983
AutoRoute is no more. R.I.P.
Nooooooooooooooooo!

Tears over.

At least I know there is some development in this arena from Microsoft. Never used Map Point before. I will certainly be looking at the reviews when it's released, hopefully there will be a Trial version as well.
cmpendleton
Yes, MapPoint 2009 will have a European Edition! It will be available October 22 in a country by country roll out.

CP
taoyue
pow1983: To a first approximation, MapPoint is exactly the same as Streets & Trips, but it has an API. You can try the US version for yourself through a Citrix plugin at: http://www.runaware.com/microsoft/en-us/mappoint/td

MapPoint is priced for the professional market, and updated every 2 years or 3 years instead of annually. Almost no consumers are going to go out and plunk down €350 for Mappoint Europe (around $500 given current exchange rates!!!) when they could buy some other company's navigation program for €100.

Basically, Microsoft no longer sells a consumer SKU of its mapping software in Europe. Rather ironic considering that S&T started life in Britain.

And Chris -- is there just no buy-in within the division for more ambitious changes to Streets & Trips? Compare the progress of Virtual Earth in four years, and it's just painful to see how little S&T has advanced. The model seems to be: add features (navigation, Connected Services, driving mode), but leave the core alone.

Little touches like smooth zoom, zoom-on-current-cursor location, and antialiased maps go a long way towards making software pleasant to use. Not to mention a true perspective view. The engine is really showing its age, and it's doubly frustrating because Virtual Earth's maps look a heck-of-a-lot better (and you can clearly see that it's branched off the same Mappoint rendering engine). Compare Streets 98 with Streets and Trips 2008 (and most of 2009), and it's scary how little has changed. Now compare Word 97 with Word 2007, and, whoa.
cmpendleton
Actually, MapPoint is not the same as S&T. MP has the ability to analyze data, plus it extensions for plugging into the entire Office suite, so you get a MapPoint button in Excel, for example and can just add a map to a spreadsheet based on data you've selected. You can do charting, graphing, etc. but it does include S&T functionality and support for the GPS drivers. S&T is a subset of MP.

MP/S&T have kind of been the red-headed stepchild (no offense to those of you who are red-headed step children) of the product group. We've focused the majority of our people and dollars on the move to the web. The grander Microsoft has a software + services strategy. Well, we have the software. Now we have the service. In time, you'll see a brigde between the two. I would love to see more invested into S&T, but with as hot as Virtual Earth is right now you can't really expect to see too much involved until some other competitor (no names here) rolls out something competitive to it.

As for the core, man it needs to be re-written in managed code....yep, still native stuff. Once that port happens (and no one wants to invest in it) you can expect to see more aggressive feature enhancement. It's a matter of biting the bullet to get that done.

CP
taoyue
Oh yes, that's right, I'd forgotten about the analytics. Consumers don't really have a need for it, so I just forgot about it.

There are plenty of native apps that have undergone substantial refurbishment while remaining native code (Office 2007 is the poster child). Something like zoom-on-current-cursor-location can be easily retrofitted into the existing codebase with a couple dozen lines of code. Antialiasing, subtle color scheme changes, etc. -- already available in the Virtual Earth pre-rendered maps, which look like an offshoot of the Mappoint rendering engine.

I know managed interop hasn't really panned out as-advertised (products tend to get ported totally over to managed, instead of using interop). But the danger in thinking that "Everything will get fixed when we move to managed code" is that it becomes a subconscious reason not to implement features ("Now we'll have to write the code twice.")

A modest suggestion: For each version, pick one major problem in the core that's been around for fifteen years. Then fix it. Engage with the community to find out what the biggest pain points are. For example, long GPS trails freeze up the program (search this forum for the complaints) -- and it probably wouldn't be too hard to fix. Slow-but-steady progress gets you a lot of customer goodwill.

Thanks for coming onto the forum, by the way. S&T has had minimal visible consumer connection compared with other groups at Microsoft. Glad to see you here. Bring your friends. :-)
pow1983
MapPoint is priced for the professional market, and updated every 2 years or 3 years instead of annually. Almost no consumers are going to go out and plunk down €350 for Mappoint Europe (around $500 given current exchange rates!!!) when they could buy some other company's navigation program for €100.

Basically, Microsoft no longer sells a consumer SKU of its mapping software in Europe. Rather ironic considering that S&T started life in Britain.
Damn you're right, it is expensive!!

My reason for not looking at devices like TomTom, Garmin etc... is simply because of the way I prefer to plan my day to day journeys. With TomTom etc... it isnt easy to plot several points on your route and force it to direct you on a certain road (i.e. to avoid traffic that you know, without the need of satillite technology, is going to be bad at a certain time of the day). Its also a pain to change your route on the go, i.e. when a customer is not available at a certain time and you need to move their plot down the list to visit later in the day.

With Autoroute its so easy to plot your points in the order you want and see how its going to direct you to each point, then modify it where necessary. Sadly because Autoroute is not updated I've more recently had to resort to just using old fashioned road maps, simply because I can very quickly in my head plot a new course without waiting on technology, call it old fashioned but it gets me from a to b during the day without issues, and because I have local knowledge for my area, I am my own traffic satillite in a way. Only Autoroute has ever fulfilled my map needs. its quite annoying that AR is no more now that that the price of MP has come to light...
Larry
Hey Gang,

Taoyue - The 2009 release contains a bunch of new features but equally important is several bug fixes and improvements on the existing features. For example - the issue with the GPS trail causing freezing problems on long road trips....fixed!! :-)
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