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CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4

9th July 2003

Dave Burrows, Duncan Hill, Peter Bailey

   

TravRoute recently released a new version of CoPilot in the US, and after a little wait, the new version is now available in Europe.

 

The new version has had it's name changed slightly.  TravRoute's new product range is now called CoPilot Live, and then follows the designation of the device it's primarily intended for.  Therefore the version we are currently reviewing here is called CoPilot Live Pocket PC 4. 

 

As with previous versions of CoPilot it currently supports Windows CE upwards, so you can use it on older Pocket PC's that support older processor types like the Casio's that support MIPS, or the Jornada 540/560 range and newer Pocket PC's running Windows Mobile 2003 Operating System.

 

Hardware

There are quite a few different ways you can purchase CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4.  You can purchase it as a

  • Software only version (requires software activation) and will work with ANY GPS Receiver!

  • Software combined with an ALK GPS Receiver is no longer locked to the ALK GPS Receivers, you can still use this version of CoPilot Live on any 3rd party GPS Receiver but the main benefit of using an ALK Receiver is that you bypass the activation of CoPilot Live software when connected to a Pocket PC.

  • Quick Start CF Card also can be used with any GPS Receiver, and again using an ALK receiver will not require you to activate the product until you use it with a 3rd party GPS Receiver.

 

Installation

The easiest way to install CoPilot Live is to use a Quick Start CF Card.  This will get you up and running within seconds!   Failing that, installing the CD's (Europe comes on 2 CD's now) is pretty simple, just insert the CD's, watch the auto-run, and follow the on-screen prompts.  You will be asked to install Pocket Speech, choose whether you want to use text to speech recognition (Fonix) or pre-recorded WAV files, and you'll also be asked to install the CD's to your hard drive of your PC.

 

Now before people get too carried away in the product, we need to make an important point here, CoPilot Live offers a unique new LIVE service (hence the name CoPilot Live) where you can have the PC you install CoPilot to say at home, and someone can send you messages across the internet to your Pocket PC if you have a GPRS connected mobile phone.  This feature works great, and we include it in the review later.  If you want this feature, you have to make sure that you install CoPilot Live onto the correct PC, as when you activate the software, you will be married to that PC for Live functionality, the reason for this is they both connect back through the Live Server and the activation only allows these devices to talk with each other.  The version of CoPilot Live we are reviewing here is the Software Activated version which will work with ANY GPS Receiver.

 

After the install is complete, running CoPilot Live on the PC will give you full access to the maps on your PC (like with previous versions of CoPilot).  When you purchase CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4, there are two versions for European users, either a UK version, or European Version.  If you purchase the UK Only Version, you will still have complete access to NavTech European Maps on the PC

 

Software Activation

The software activation for CoPilot Live on the Pocket PC is pretty painless. 

 

CoPilot GPS and Quick Start CF Card

If you are using one of the CoPilot GPS Receivers, or the Quick Start Compact Flash Card, all you need to do is enter your Product Key Code on your Pocket PC. 

 

Using a Third Party GPS Receiver

For automatic activation, you need to connect your Pocket PC to your PC via ActiveSync, and also have a valid internet connection, if you entered your Product Key Code when you installed to your PC, then the first screen will not appear, all you will be asked is your email address so it can be referred back to you and you can then gain technical support, and the rest is history.  Activation will only take a few seconds.

 

Manual Activation

If you are unable to synchronize your Pocket PC with your PC but do have internet access you can activate manually.  On the Pocket PC select Activate Manually from within CoPilot Live, then tap next and follow the screens to the right (you will be asked to enter your activation code on the Pocket PC in Manual Activation mode.  You will then have to connect to http://activate.alk.com and also enter your Product Key Code, license number and email address and an activation code will be emailed to you.

 

Activation works well through a firewall, we tried this with ZoneLabs ZoneAlarm, and set it to restrict and ask you to allow CoPilot Livewire to talk through the firewall and it didn't complain when activating.  The only difficulty you might experience with product activation is if you're using a proxy server, in which case you can manually activate by calling TravRoute.

 

Maps and Regions

There are two options currently available with CoPilot Live, a single country set, or a group country set.  E.g. North America comes under one country set, UK comes under another country set,  but if you wanted to purchase both, or even a European set maps, then you need to upgrade your license to take this into account.  If you have only purchased a single country activation set, e.g. UK then after the activation on the Pocket PC you'll be asked to select which region you want to use.  Now the beauty about this is, if you have purchased this in the UK but you plan to only use this in Netherlands, then you can select the Netherlands, but be warned, when you first select the country set, that's it, you won't be able to select another one!  If you purchase the European version then you won't be asked to select a country set, as you have the Full Monty!

 

So what's changed ?

TravRoute have added a lot of new features and functionality into CoPilot Live.  First of all the maps are newer and enhanced!  The interface has also been enhanced bringing the best of both worlds, many more POI's have been added and if that's not enough, you can add your own POI's and download them to your Pocket PC!  Couple that with the new Live feature which gives your wife (or husband) full control of knowing where you are with AVL Tracking and the ability to send you a nag to pop off down the local supermarket and to even re-route you there to pick up a pint of milk, this really makes CoPilot Live much more appealing for integrated users.  So what does it all mean ?  Well putting it simply in car terms, it's like going from a BMW Z3 to a McLaren F1, it's bursting with power!

 

As you'll see from the screenshots to the right, CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4 has been greatly enhanced to produce a more 3D interface look, and to give as much information on screen as possible.

 

The text is much larger on screen when giving you directions, all the important information is formatted in bold large text to allow you to not miss this information when you glance at the Pocket PC Screen.

 

 

Desktop Version

As we said earlier (for those who aren't CoPilot users), TravRoute always give you a full map version which can't be used directly with a GPS receiver to install on the PC.  This allows you to customise what data and maps get downloaded to the Pocket PC.  You also have the feature of saving storage space by creating a route and only downloading the route data with a corridor of maps (x miles either side of the route) to allow you to cater for going off route slightly.

 

 

The PC version has also had a face lift with a new shortcuts menu on the left hand side allowing for route planning, the new Live function and the Data Download Wizard.  The PC version doesn't have GPS enabled, so you can't slip in a GPS Receiver into the PCMCIA (PC Card) slot, as it won't work, the PC version is primarily to help customise your CoPilot experience, and it does just that.

 

Data Download Wizard

The data download wizard DDW in CoPilot Live is very similar to how it looked under CoPilot 3.5. 

 

Here you will see a full selection of POI's that you can select and download to your Pocket PC.

 

POI's don't take up much space on a storage card, so adding the POI groups you require is pretty easy to take them with you.

 

 

One thing to also mention which will many CoPilot users will really love, is that the April 2003 edition of the Pocket GPS Safety Camera Database is included in the retail version of CoPilot Live!  We are currently working with TravRoute to allow for an updatable version on a monthly basis.  This will also be expanded as time goes on across Europe and USA.  Currently the Pocket GPS Speed Camera Database can be located under Travel & Transportation\Speed Camera.

 

A good feature that has been included into CoPilot Live is a customisable POI system.  This now allows you to bring in custom POI's from Microsoft Outlook or Excel and to import them into one of the pre-defined categories. 

 

CoPilot Live is just bursting with POI information!  Take a look at the screenshot below.

 

 

This is just a small segment of the 1 Square Mile around the central 1 Square Mile range in London.  Just look at the amount of POI information available!!!  CoPilot always has had lots of Points Of Interest, but it just gets better and better!  In CoPilot Live on the Pocket PC you can setup an alert for any type of POI including our own Safety Camera Database, select TOOLS | LIVE | POI's and you'll have an POI ALERTS ENABLED option.  When you tick this, you can set an alert to pop up, the default is 3, 10 or 25 miles before approaching it.  You also have the option of reporting POI's on your route or also off your route.

 

Landmarking

One final option included in the PC version is Landmark Reporting.

 

 

Landmark Reporting allows you to select a range up to a square mile, and allow you to find major landmarks within this area.  You can check any of the POI groups or uncheck them if you don't want to report on them.

 

Pocket PC Safety Screen

The Pocket PC version is definitely improved.  You see this from the outset when you start CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4 with the new splash screen, and also verbal greeting from the Fonix speech engine.

 

The interface has also changed for the better.  Although TravRoute have decided against putting a 3D view into CoPilot Live which is something PowerLOC and TomTom did with their 2003 editions, the interface is more slick with more information on screen. 

 

This is a new era for CoPilot users, to be able to use absolutely any GPS Receiver on the market and not be tied to the TravRoute GPS Receivers or Compact Flash card is superb, and I'm sure many of you will welcome this and now add CoPilot to your list of software picks in the future.  The new Safety Screen has the direction information in text form at the top third of the screen, the second third of the screen gives visual indication of where to drive, eg straight across roundabout with the distance to this next turn.  Below in the last third of the screen you'll see the following information

 

Current Road you are driving
Current Time / Nearest Town (Customisable)
ETA and Distance to Next Stop
Messaging
Traffic Incident
GPS Status
Driver / Passenger Toggle

 

 

When you get close to a new turn, or if CoPilot thinks you need to know more, the Safety Screen will change and you'll get an embedded map which will auto-zoom depending on the speed you are travelling and will continue to zoom as the turn approaches.  CoPilot will still show the essential information on-screen, and will also give you a compass to tell you which direction you are travelling in.  One thing existing CoPilot users will also notice from this screenshot is there are no repeat pink chevrons!  TravRoute have added a new welcome option to allow for single or multiple chevron's to show where you are travelling.  Using multiple chevrons are good if you wanted to use a track back feature, like you see on handheld GPS Receivers like Garmin and Magellan, but sometimes in-car it can clutter up the look on screen (especially if you're lost and you're driving round in circles, or driving down a lot of small side roads), so this is a welcome new feature, certainly thumbs up in our books!

 

POI's (Points Of Interest)

Once you've selected which POI's you want shown on the Pocket PC version, you can download these using the Data Download Wizard.  You'll then see these appear on the main safety screen and also in the map view whilst you're travelling.

 

Each POI group has it's own seperate icon, so it's fairly easy to distinguish a Restaurant, from a Petrol Station, to a Speed Camera.

 

Don't forget, any POI's that you import using the Custom Import facility in the desktop version, will also show on screen.

 

CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4 Toolbar

This is the Edit Trip button which will when tapped, take you to the Edit Trip Screen

 

 

This is the Map Toggle button.  Tapping this will allow you to toggle between Map View, Itinerary, and Guidance screns

 

 

This button hopefully should be self explanatory.  Tapping this button will allow you to zoom in on any map segment.

 

 

This button hopefully should be self explanatory.  Tapping this button will allow you to zoom out on any map segment.

 

 

This is the Detour button.  If you get caught in traffic, or come up against a road block, tapping this button will automatically calculate a new route, at the next road to immediately take you away from the area you are in.

 

This is the Cancel Detour button.  If you need to cancel your detour at any stage in your detoured route, then tapping this will instantly cancel it and re-route you from your current location to your destination.

 

 

GPS Status Screen

The GPS Status screen gives you all the information you require.  Showing you a full health status on each satellite, showing you what is a healthy signal strength and what is not.  You will also see on the first screen the 3D designation, and on the second screen a check list to diagnose GPS problems, starting with:-

  • GPS COM port opened

  • GPS signal detected

  • Found 8 satellites

  • Position acquired

You will also get full Latitude and Longitude, followed by heading, speed, elevation and UTC Date and Time from the satellites, and PDOP.

 

Commencing your Journey

Commencing your journey can't be simpler.  When you switch on the Pocket PC and run CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4, you'll be greeted with the first screen below.  This allows you to start driving with your last known trip, create a new trip, or edit the current trip.  Once you've decided what your trip will be, start driving, the GPS Receiver will fix, and although it's best to be stationary until the GPS Receiver has acquired a 3D Fix, most of the newer receivers will still obtain a fix in 3-5 mins when you are moving.  Then just follow the directions given on the Safety Screen, switch to Map if you would like to zoon in, and if you want to set a favourite, or destination, use the MODE option and switch from Guidance to Planning.  When you are close to a directional turn that is required, or are approaching quite a number of road junctions, CoPilot will switch into the merged map/safety screen view to give you more information.

 

 

One-Way Systems

We've tried our best to fool CoPilot Live | Pocket PC 4 into driving down a one-way street the wrong way, but all of the one-way streets we know, it's always sent us the right way down them, even if we've tried to trick it by putting a start destination at the end of the road, and a destination at the beginning of the one-way street, it will route you correctly down side roads to get you to the street.

 

Routing and Address Lookup

Previous CoPilot users will already notice the tendency for CoPilot to route a higher preference to major roads as opposed to minor roads.  This is something I used to prefer, and if I'm in a place I don't know I do still prefer.  Address lookup worked well mainly in our tests, although we did have some problems with Southampton which weren't there in CoPilot 3.5 UK.  This is currently being investigated and addressed by TravRoute and hopefully an update will be available in the near future for this.  Basically the problem we found centered around you couldn't lookup a number of roads in Southampton.  What would happen is it would default more to the City Centre.  The same thing happened when entering a postcode for this area.  Postcode lookup is available in CoPilot as it was in previous versions, and currently really is the only Pocket PC product that really supports postcode lookup in the UK.

 

I'll hand over to Duncan for the CoPilot Live Features...

 

CoPilot Live Features

CoPilot Live now allows you to maintain two-way communications with drivers who are using CoPilot and to see where they are currently located using a PC connected to the internet.

To use CoPilot Live functionality requires :-

1. CoPilot installed on a PC connected to the internet.
2. CoPilot Live running in the vehicle.

 

The Pocket PC must have a wireless internet connection, this can be achieved either using Bluetooth GPRS phone or a combined PDA & phone such as the XDA/MDA/Jornada 928.


To begin using CoPilot Live the desktop application needs to be started, as can be seen from the screenshot below the display is split into three panes, the top showing the vehicle list, the bottom the message centre and on the right is the current map location. The current version of the software only supports single vehicle monitoring; in future this will be extended to support multiple vehicles, ideally suited for corporate customers. When the driver starts up CoPilot and a GPS fix is established the information is sent back to the desktop application and the drivers location plotted on the map view.
 

 

 

Right clicking the vehicle in the desktop application provides two options, send message and send route.

Sending a message to the driver

Selecting the Send Message button displays the following dialog, this is where you enter the message you want to send, and create "Customizable Buttons" that the driver will see and select.
 

 

As can bee seen, you have the option to create predefined messages and "response buttons". Pressing the send button sends the message to the CoPilot Live network where it is then forwarded onto the driver.

 

A popup message appears on the drivers Pocket PC and CoPilot speaks the text using the Fonix text to speech engine (if it is installed). 

 

Four standard response buttons appear across the top and allow you to, Speak Message; Defer Message (which will reappear later and useful when you need to concentrate); More Information sends a request for further information and Delete Message.

 

Once a response button has been pressed, the navigator screen is re-displayed and the response sent back to the desktop PC. 

 

The message transfer using a Bluetooth connected GPRS phone was less than 3 seconds each way, which is pretty good and just as fast as you'd receive an SMS text message on your phone!


Send Trip to the driver
The second option is the Send Trip option.  This works in a very similar way, the edit trip dialog box is displayed allowing you to input the postcode or street name along with addition stops. nOnce the route is complete the new route can be sent to the driver using the Send button:
 

 

A pop message appears on the drivers Pocket PC (see above right) allowing them to reject or accept the new route, if they accept the new route is automatically added and recalculated.

 

Regardless of which option is used on the desktop all messages to and from the driver are displayed in the Message Centre window along with the driver’s response (see below).

So what did I think ? Once the system was configured it worked well, my biggest problem wasn’t CoPilot configuration but setting up the GPRS wireless link on my iPAQ.  This initial release of Live is limited to two way messaging and route planning, but both the software and manual mention Live Traffic which is the really exciting feature.  This will send real time traffic information to the driver, notifying him of accidents and incidents along the route ahead.   As soon as the user selects a destination CoPilot will provide dynamic driving directions and regular updated traffic incident reports. At the time of writing the exact details and costs of the service were not available.

Problems Encountered

CoPilot Live works very well.  Apart from the postcode lookup, and a couple of instances where we couldn't connect to the CoPilot Live server on the internet, generally CoPilot works very well and was a pleasure to use.  We did have one problem on an iPAQ 3850 which for some reason wouldn't use the Fonix text to speech option which is still currently being investigated, but it worked flawlessly on all our other Pocket PC's we tested.

 

Summary

CoPilot Live is a well rounded product.  Although CoPilot Live is considered by many as an upgrade as it resembles earlier versions of CoPilot 3.5 and before and it's the latest incarnation of CoPilot for the Pocket PC, CoPilot Live is a completely new product with many new innovative features and functions as well as data that is 15 months newer then Version 3.5. Because of this there is no ‘upgrade’ path from 3.5 to 4.0 and you do have to purchase the UK, or European versions of the product at full price.  However, TravRoute have rewarded the loyalty of their existing CoPilot 3.5 customer base by offering a large discount off the UK and European versions of the product. For UK versions (ordered direct from TravRoute UK), CoPilot 3.5 users will get the UK version for £119.99 inc VAT. For CoPilot 3.5 users wanting to purchase CoPilot Live with European maps, TravRoute are allowing you to purchase the European CoPilot Live license at a discounted price of £194.98 inc VAT. Please bear in mind that both UK and European versions if taking into account the loyalty discount must be purchased direct from TravRoute UK and not through a retailer.
 

Some CoPilot 3.5 UK users may bulk at the price of £119.99 to get CoPilot Live UK or £194.98 to get CoPilot Live EU, but it's worth it just for the updated maps.  The Live functionality will certainly be more appealing to Small Businesses and Fleets when extended to allow one PC to track multiple Pocket PC's, but it will certainly be a good feature to track where your partner is, and whether they've popped down the pub or down the shop on the way home!  TravRoute have newer maps in CoPilot Live from NavTech, and must be commended on allowing you to purchase a license to use CoPilot Live with any GPS Receiver which will fully unlock the potential most earlier CoPilot users were hindered with, and for that alone is well worth the upgrade fee.   Software Activation works well, and we've uninstalled and reinstalled the software on the same Pocket PC's a number of times without fail.  Having the desktop copy really makes other products like AutoRoute null and void.  With Microsoft's dominance in the PC and Pocket PC arena, it kind of makes you wonder why Microsoft haven't created something like CoPilot Live using AutoRoute and Pocket Streets.  I think the answer there lies in Microsoft not really wanting to get into the navigation market direct.  The Points Of Interest are also improved, and contain our very own database of Safety Cameras in the UK.   There isn't anyway at present to update the current set of cameras, but we're working on that with TravRoute.  Pocket LiveWire users could purchase CoPilot Live, but currently you would lose your LiveWire facility.  As explained earlier in the review a likewise system will become available within CoPilot Live, but currently isn't available.  TravRoute have made great gains in the production of CoPilot Live, and it's a great step forward into the realms of interactive driving and tracking.

 

 
Conclusion  
Manufacturers Website http://www.travroute.co.uk
Pocket GPS Reviewer Dave Burrows
Pocket GPS Reviewer Website http://www.daveburrows.com
   
Rating  
Tracking
Re-Routing Quality
Acquisition Times
Voice Navigation Quality
Ability to plot route and follow
   
Overall Rating 90%
How did we achieve these ratings ? Review Ratings
 

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