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View Full Version : TomTom RoutePlanner 3.10 and CityMaps 1.10 review


marlof
05-13-2002, 08:32 PM
<span><b>TomTom RoutePlanner 3.10 and CityMaps 1.10</b></span><br /><i>Software to plan your routes in European countries and cities</i><br /><br />TomTom offers a choice of software for mobile computers, including the Pocket PC. In this review I'll take a look at RoutePlanner and CityMaps. I would like to thank Giorgio Cifani for his very valuable contributions to this review.<br /><br /><span><b>Device Requirements</b></span><br />TomTom RoutePlanner and CityMaps run on any Pocket PC, and each requires 800 Kb of storage memory to install. Next to that, each map you add to the program requires storage memory too. The size of the additional maps is depending on the size of the region and the amount of detail you have selected.<br /><br /><span><b>In Brief</b></span><br />TomTom Routeplanner and CityMaps are two programs that enable you to view maps, plan a route and give you driving instructions, all on your Pocket PC. RoutePlanner enables you to find your route between cities on the map of your choice, and CityMaps gives you the high detail maps you would need in the city and its surroundings. <br /><br /><span><b>Where to Buy</b></span><br />From <a href="http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/index.html">the TomTom website</a> You can order both products on CD-ROM (containing Pocket PC, Palm and EPOC versions) for 59,95 each, or buy and electronically download <a href="http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/poc_routebuy.html">RoutePlanner for specific parts of Europe</a> ($24,99 or $34,99 per part) and <a href="http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/esdcitymaps.html">CityMaps for a specific city</a> ($14.99 per city).<br /><br /><span><b>User Interface</b></span><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/citymaps_detail.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 1: CityMaps Detail.</i><br /><br />Both programs have a slider on the right hand side of the map. In CityMaps you can move this slider to the left hand side of the screen. The more you slide this down, the more detail is shown on the map. The top of the screen has on the left hand side a drop down list that lets you choose between Map view, Route view, or a Split view that shows both. Next to that is the scale, and the strength of your GPS signal if present. On the bottom of the standard screen is the menu bar. I found the search functionality in these programs very easy to use. RoutePlanner lets you search for a specific city, and CityMaps has the possibility to look for a specific street, even at a specific crossing. If a street name exists in more than one village in the current map, the village name is shown next to the street name. Next to that, if you know the exact longitude and latitude co-ordinates of your destination you can look it up on the map. As soon as your location is found you can set it as part of your route.<br /><br /><span><b>Planning a route</b></span><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/routeplanner_analyse.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 2: RoutePlanner analysing route.</i><br /><br />When you press the route button on the menu bar in either product, you get to a screen where you can select the start, destination and possible stopovers of your route. As stated, you can also add those from the search functionality within the programs. Pressing OK in the route setup screen will have your Pocket PC start crunching the numbers and analyzing the possible routes. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/routeplanner_route.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 3: RoutePlanner showing route result.</i><br /><br />This analysis leads to a result, where the route is shown both on a map and in a route description.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/routeplanner_followroute.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 4: RoutePlanner following route.</i><br /><br />With a tap on the top left corner of the screen, you can select the view of the map, route description, or like in this screenshot both. The exits you will have to take are shown in advance, both in the description and on the map with a pointer. If you're not using a GPS both programs have excellent turn-by-turn instructions that you can follow with one press of a button. In this review I've taken a closer look at the combination of these products with a GPS receiver though. Especially since there are no voice commands, I've found the split view the best way to keep track of both map and driving instructions when using a GPS. In split view you can also set the amount of detail in the map portion with the slider.<br /> <br /><span><b>Using GPS</b></span><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/tomtomgps_setup.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 5: Setting up GPS.</i><br /><br />RoutePlanner and CityMaps share a GPS program that is easy to setup. You just select the GPS receiver you're using and the way it is connected, and press the on/off switch on the left. My Pharos iGPS was not listed and I was happy to see that the program supported the generic NMEA 0183v2 types as well.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/tomtomgps_use.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 6: Using GPS.</i><br /><br />If you bought these products a while ago, make sure to <a href="http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/support.html">check the TomTom website</a> for free program updates, that are especially nice if you use GPS. With the updates you get to see the GPS signal strength in the app, and it gives more GPS info in general. As figure 6 shows you can see the number of GPS satellites your receiver can find, their position, your location and direction, and the speed you're driving.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/routeplanner_gps.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 7: RoutePlanner GPS location.</i><br /><br />When connected to a GPS receiver, your current position is shown on the map. The map follows your position, so you won't drive off your map. In RoutePlanner you can select if you want your map to point to the North, or if you want to have it point in your direction. If at times you'd find a difference between the GPS location, and your actual location on the map, you can recalibrate the GPS with one tap. If that new calibration becomes unnecessary, you can undo that with another tap. <br /><br /><span><b>Quality of maps</b></span><br />I was impressed with the quality of the maps, especially in CityMaps. The area I live in is only one and a half years old, but it shows on the map in full detail. In the cities I went to using CityMaps, all but one one way streets were indicated right, which is also very important. And if you don't like the colors you see in my screenshots, in both programs you can select one from four different color styles. <br /><br /><span><b>Overlays</b></span><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/reviewimages/routeplanner_overlay.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 8: RoutePlanner Overlay.</i><br /><br />Another nice touch to the customisation in RoutePlanner, is that you can select different overlays that show additional items on your maps. In figure 8 I have selected the overlay for the train stations, and you see them appear as little trains on the map. The overlays are customisable, so you can create any overlay you would like. The TomTom website contains <a href="http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/support/overlays.html">user created overlays</a> as a free download. Too bad CityMaps does not have any overlay functionality.<br /><br /><span><b>Gotchas</b></span><br />Although I was really impressed with these products, there were some things that I would like to see changed or added in a future version. My current gotchas are:<br /><br /><i>both</i><br /> no automatic redirect if you went off the route you initially planned<br /> no "avoid ferry" option, just an avoid area <br /> no voice commands in route directions <br /> maps can be big, so make sure you have sufficient storage memory <br /> the program needs room to play in, so make sure you have sufficient program memory <br /> crossing a map border means manually having to switch maps; I'd love to see the program switching maps between the available maps.<br /><br /><i>RoutePlanner</i><br /> planning a route that covers more than one part of Europe (like travelling from the Netherlands to Italy) forces you to either plan parts of the route on different maps (and manually switch); or you could use the complete map of Europe which has lower detail and is huge (26 MB) and therefore takes a big toll on speed. <br /> no customisation of speeds <br /> slider is right hand only<br /><br /><i>CityMaps</i><br /> no "map heads up"<br /> no "points of interest" overlay functionality<br /><br /><b><span>Conclusion</span></b><br />If you're looking for a way to use your Pocket PC in finding your way around Europe, these programs can really help out. They share a flexible user interface that enables you to get exactly that view and the amount of detail that you like in your maps. Both products can be used for viewing maps only, but their great value lies in the built in route finding possibilities. Especially when you add a GPS receiver to the mix, it will be hard to get lost using the TomTom products.

JonnoB
05-14-2002, 12:23 AM
Do you know if there is a version with support for the US?

marlof
05-14-2002, 01:30 AM
There is a US version of Routeplanner: http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/poc_esdrouteusa.html , but I believe that has the older User Interface. I didn't test that one. AFAIK there is no US version of CityMaps.

JonnoB
05-14-2002, 02:15 AM
AFAIK there is no US version of CityMaps.

Too bad... it looks like potentially the best GPS map software out there and I am desperate to use my PPC instead of my laptop. All of the others just seem to fall short.

Sven Johannsen
05-14-2002, 02:59 AM
I have Route Planner Millennium USA (or Route Planner USA, depending on where you look). It is indeed an older interface. On TomTom's site however, in the support area, it provides an upgrade path from v2.11 to 2.12, and indicates a newer version 3.0 is out. I couldn't find any upgrade, or any indication of what was currently being sold. I emailed for a clarification. Maybe they have upgraded the route planner for the US version as well.

JonnoB, Have you looked at DeLorme's new offering for PPCs? http://www.delorme.com/xmaphandheld/xmaphhstreets.asp I got an email today that they are taking orders, shipping to be week of the 20th.